Outdoor Education in Year 9

Ironbark is pioneering outdoor education program based at the College’s Ironbark Centre near Crows Nest, Queensland. For five weeks in Year 9, students are required to live and breathe farm life, free from the distractions of electronic media (mobiles, TVs and computers). The program focuses on the values of community, commitment and connection. Students are encouraged to discover strength born of teamwork and persistence and to awaken their individual capabilities.

Four main elements make up the Ironbark program. These are: 

  • Outdoor pursuits
  • Farm skills
  • Environmental awareness 
  • Community living

Students immerse themselves in all of these elements across the over 600ha property. Each activity is designed to challenge and develop—from handling livestock, to gardening; hiking to abseiling; blacksmithing, to meal preparation; and bushcraft to dormitory living.

For further information, download the Ironbark Information Guide.

Ironbark History

Ironbark began in 1976. The program was the brainchild of then Head of College, Dr Carson Dron, who sought a new way to develop St Peters students. Dr Dron believed, passionately, in exposing students to the natural environment—he knew that, by creating opportunities where students would be challenged physically, spiritually, intellectually, emotionally and socially in the context of the outdoors, he could set them apart. For generations, he has been proven right. Students consistently return from Ironbark stronger, wiser, more resilient and more self-confident. The program has become a rite of passage for St Peters students.

Over the years, the Ironbark program has seen minor changes (reducing in length and being offered to different year levels), but the overall aims and values have stayed the same. The benefits of the program have been recognised by schools and colleges all around Australia and, in 2018, the St Peters Student Counsellors formalised these benefits in their Ironbark Research Report. The Ironbark Research Report examines the positive and important impact that Ironbark has on students.

To read the full Ironbark Research Report, click here.


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