Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chronicle 07-04-2015 Contents Tuesday, April 7, 2015 - 14
Farrer's ancestors go back to their roots
Farrer Primary School acting principal Linda Heath, left, with Lyn, William
and Andrew Farrer, from the UK, during their visit to Canberra.
In a rare event, descendants of the man
that a Canberra school and suburb is
named after have paid the school a
Relatives of William James Farrer,
the famous Australian agronomist who
featured on the $2 note, visited
Farrer Primary School welcomed
the Farrer family who had journeyed
from the United Kingdom to retrace
their ancestor s footsteps as part of a
larger research project about their
Andrew and Lyn Farrer and their
seven-year-old son, also named
William James Farrer, were
overwhelmed by the reception they
"Young William was given shirts
and pens and a $2 note, Andrew said.
"We were a bit overwhelmed by it
all but we really appreciated it."
William Farrer was the originator of
the Federation strain of wheat,
distributed in 1903, among other
highly successful varieties.
His portrait was printed on the
reverse side of the Australian $2 note.
Andrew said the family would visit
Lambrigg farm, near Tharwa, where
the famous strains of wheat were
cultivated, as part of their ancestral
Farrer Primary School acting
principal Linda Heath said it was rare
"I ve been teaching in Canberra for
30 years and I ve never heard of
descendants coming out for that sort a
visit, she said.
"We were absolutely thrilled when
we had the email from the Farrer
family saying they were coming out
for a visit and could they come to the
Ms Heath said it was a fantastic
learning opportunity for the
community and the students.
"They have certainly learnt a lot
about William Farrer and the
contributions he made to Australia in
the agricultural area, she said.
"It has been fantastic to meet the
young William James Farrer."
William Farrer was a tutor at
Duntroon before settling at Lambrigg
Station near Tharwa in the 1880s.
Farrer s initial attempts to establish
a vineyard were thwarted as the soil
proved unsuitable so he turned his
attention to wheat cultivation.
The wheat strains he produced led
to a major improvement to Australia s
wheat industry within a few years.
KIDS AT PLAY
Preschool children in Canberra will be
encouraged to run, jump and catch to
boost their physical skills and set them
up for an active adult life.
Health Minister Simon Corbell,
who launched the Kids at Play
program at Charles Conder Preschool
last week, said early childhood was an
ideal opportunity to educate children
on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
The program was designed for
children between three and five years
and will be rolled out to preschool and
early childcare centres across the ACT.
Therapy ACT occupational
therapist Rebecca Smith said the
program equipped early childhood
teachers to work through 12
fundamental movement skills such as
how to jump, catch, run, hop, kick
balls and throw.
Those skills were then integrated
into games and active play to build
childrens confidence in their physical
Preschoolers in terms of their
developmental stage, they re learning
about what their bodies do, she said.
Sometimes there ll be preschool
kids who have fantastic skills, they ll
have older brothers and sisters, they ll
have had sporting opportunities and
they ll be ready to go.
But there are actually quite a lot of
preschool kids who don t have those
fundamental movement skills.
Kids at Play is about having fun
and learning the fundamental
Conversations about aged care should always evolve
Member for Fraser
Harry Truman lived on Spirit Lake, at
the foot of Mount St Helens, in the
north-west of the United States.
The former World War I pilot and
bootlegger was 83 when the volcano
began to rumble. Authorities tried to
get him to move out but he worried his
lodge would be vandalised.
If this place is gonna go, I want to
go with it, he said.
On May 18, 1980, the volcano blast
covered his home beneath a massive
In his book Being Mortal: Medicine
and What Matters in the End, Atul
Gawande tells the story of how
modern medicine struggles to get aged
Nursing homes often place too
much emphasis on safety and not
enough on quality of life.
Most people want to end their lives
at home but many end up dying in
Two-thirds of doctors overestimate
how long patients with terminal
diseases will survive.
The status of age, Gawande points
out, has changed over time.
In the 18th century, survey
respondents tended to shade their age
upwards, desiring the dignity of old
age. Now, the tendency is for people to
understate their age.
Modern society has less respect for
those who are full of days.
Having seen my grandmother lose
her self-esteem in a nursing home, I
was struck to learn from Gawande the
model largely derives from the post-
war era, as a means of reducing
At their worst, nursing homes suffer
from the three plagues: boredom,
loneliness and helplessness.
But not all are like that.
In one study, researchers found that
nursing home residents who were
given responsibility for watering a
plant ended up living longer.
Gawande describes radicals like Bill
Thomas, who put a pet bird in every
resident s room.
In some homes, students are regular
visitors, supplementing their history
lessons with real stories. One student
developed such a strong bond with a
patient he befriended that he ended up
speaking at the man s funeral.
In Canberra, we have some terrific
aged care facilities. Last year, I joined
Play Up, a humour therapy group that
drops into Kangara Waters to put a
smile on residents faces.
This not only helps address the three
plagues, it also helps foster a sense of
community and boosts the quality of
We can do better at end of life care
too. Cancer patients who see a
palliative care specialist not only
experience a higher quality of life, but
live 25 per cent longer.
When I jog past Clare Holland
House, a hospice on the shores of Lake
Burley Griffin, I m reminded of how
its staff allowed my friends Peter
Veness and Liz Dawson to maintain
dignity until their final curtains fell.
We need a deeper, richer and
smarter conversation about aged care,
and Gawande s thought-provoking
book isn t a bad starting place.
Volunteers are needed to help staff the
homeless men s shelter in Braddon.
Safe Shelter runs over the winter
months to provide emergency
overnight accommodation for those
Volunteers must be over 18, hold a
working with vulnerable people card,
attend a two-night training course, and
be willing to spend a minimum of one
night per month staffing the shelter
between April 28 and October 1.
Volunteers work in teams of three or
The next training course is
scheduled to be held on April 14 and
15 from 7pm to 9pm at St Columba s
WELCOME TO THE WORLD
Dale and Rachelle Pulli, of Theodore, with 3.25kg Reino born on March
Sheridan Collins, of Eden, with 3.27kg Aurora Brereton born on April 1.
Photos: Matt Bedford
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published in The Chronicle? Send full
details, including baby s weight, date
of birth, parents names and location to
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