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Picture: Terry Floyd Foundation/Facebook

Clifton Creek Primary: The international effort to rebuild an ‘idyllic’ place of learning

Clifton Creek Primary School was once an idyllic place for learning, set among the foothills of East Gippsland, Victoria, where the “farmland meets the forest”. Now, however, it is no more – yet another casualty of the worst bushfires in Australia’s history.

Built in 1911, the small yet modern school reflected the values of the small rural community, a place where students not only learnt mandated subjects but tended to their vegie gardens, a “secret garden”, their chook pavilion and “frog bog”. It was a place where the community came together through annual events such as the Kids and Blokes Evening, Mother’s Day Dinner and the end of year concert. Now that’s all gone – for now.

But with the help of charity groups such as the Terry Floyd Foundation and the generosity of Australian individuals and businesses, Clifton Creek Primary will once again be that idyllic place to learn. According to the foundation’s Facebook posts, it has been “inundated” with brand new books to restock the school’s library and is now calling on generous Australians to make monetary donations.

However, it’s not only Australians who are coming to the aid of this much-loved school. The Terry Floyd Foundation’s Facebook page is full of comments from people overseas who desperately want to help the school in any way they can. As the ITV News report below shows, pupils from St John’s Church of England Primary School in Sandbach, England, have joined other students across the northwest of England in “packaging up supplies and letters of support” for the burnt-down Australian school.

The students’ volunteering activities are part of a broader campaign to help the school, organised by Gill Benning, a former teacher. With family members living in Australia, Benning was aware of the catastrophic fires in Australia and knew she “had to do something”. Only days into the campaign, schools and companies in the UK have already donated a host of much-needed items, including stationery and sporting and musical equipment – even African drums.

The campaign also has the support of Joey Lussick, one of the UK Super League’s leading Australian players, with the footballer calling for anything that will help rebuild the country.

“I just say to people over here: imagine waking up one day, people at your door saying ‘Get out of your house – you have no time to do anything’,” Lussick says in the video.

“And you come back and there’s nothing left.

“Any fundraising, any support that can be put towards schools, hospitals and homes … really does make a difference.”

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