Outreach blog week four: sun, sand and retro eyeliner

Publication date
Tuesday, 4 Sep 2018

This blog post written by Master of Science Communication (Outreach) student Merrilyn McKee.

Final week of the Shell Questacon Science Circus Queensland tour for 2018! When we’re not busy doing shows, workshops and assignments, we love to explore the regions we’re visiting. I’m going to take you behind the scenes of our final week of tour, in Gympie and Caloundra.

After our lovely rest day on Sunday, we travelled from Hervey Bay to Gympie on Monday. Gympie saw a group of us putting on pretend accents and touring around op shops in preparation for our themed end-of-tour party later in the week. Throughout the week, there were visits to the Bone Museum in town (I didn’t go… there were flesh-eating beetles), and frequent trips to the beautiful duck pond and playground opposite our accommodation. After the warmth of the day, I don’t think any of us were prepared for the cold Gympie nights…       

Playing on the playground opposite our Gympie accommodation

Playing on the playground opposite our Gympie accommodation

On the travel day from Gympie to Caloundra, I became a chauffeur for one of our team members who was unwell (my travel partner), and also for our truck driver, Wayne, as the truck was parked away from the accommodation. I dropped my travel partner off at the accommodation to rest up, and then Wayne and I had a great afternoon putting up posters and enjoying milkshakes and donuts for lunch.

Checking in at our Caloundra accommodation was great as one of the best so far! Each room had its own washing machine and drier! But perhaps the most amazing part of all was the views – glorious blue skies beaming down on golden-bathed sands and deep blue waters. It was three days of accommodation paradise.

The next few days were a blur of school shows and our final exhibition on Saturday. One of my schools was at the Glass House Mountains – I painted the mountains for an assignment during my breaks between shows. On Saturday, I was trained how to safely light a fire that someone could hold in their hands!

On our last night, after the last exhibition, we had an 80s themed party to celebrate the end of tour – there were lots of bright eyeshadow, punk eyeliner, teased hair and hilarious newly-shaved retro moustaches. We ate lots of cake. 

Our 80s-themed party to celebrate the final night of tour

Our 80s-themed party to celebrate the final night of tour

The days went by very quickly, and on Sunday afternoon, our plane arrived in Canberra just as it started to rain. In one way or another, we were different people – more tanned, more well-travelled and tired but fulfilled. I personally felt more confident, especially when performing to larger crowds, and more fit thanks to all the truck packing/unpacking and physical exercise. I had somehow accumulated more art supplies than before and now have more of my paintings on my wall as memories.

And that was tour three.

Ever wanted to travel the country, talk about science and maybe even hold fire in your hands? As part of the ANU Master of Science Communication Outreach you get to tour around Australia with the Shell Questacon Science Circus. There's a stipend and some really amazing experiences. Applications close on the 31st of August each year.

Read more about our Master of Science Communications Outreach.