Economic stimulus package… you know, it’s interesting the times that you play the devils’ advocate.. See the coin from the flip side. Many of us remember all too well the proudly built 1970’s architecture of state high schools across the country.. We definitely remember the days it hit 40 degrees in the graphics portable at the top of the school… Especially if you were lucky enough to have one of the seats on the western wall… and how you could blindly feel your way through just about any country Victorian high school (using the pebble-crete walls as braille) and still manage to make it to the tuck shop… Corryong or Hamilton, guaranteed you’ll get there! Of course, as central Victorians, we are reminded of that particular class each time we take a trip down the Calder hwy past BRB’s yard in kyneton these days… Acres of the damned things blotting the industrial estate… And as fast as we castlemainians can turn them into studios and retro fitted homes… They keep coming! Actually… The BRB story is a happy one in the land of salvage, instead of crunching these portables, they are being allowed the chance of a second life. Unlike the thousands they just can’t manage to take from over 200 state schools across Victoria these past couple of years and more to come.
The economic stimulus package has injected millions of dollars into new infrastructure for schools across the country (hello Castlemaine secondary college)… and while it’s all very exciting to know that our kids will be able to concentrate properly in the climate controlled environment of new, and not be able to waste teachers’ time in summer by putting rotting matter behind the air conditioning units so that the smell is carried through the ducting to the entire 4 science labs in b-block (I’m sure that wasn’t purely limited to my far flung high school?) and everyone has to evacuate but the culprit is never caught… I can’t help but feel just a little bit overwhelmed at the once (not really so very long ago) new, now (seemingly) defunct infrastructure that is literally being… Land filled.
Possibly that feeling of sad exhaustion that I felt watching a particular secondary college just be ripped apart on a searing summers day late last year.. comes from the first hand knowledge of how much ENERGY it takes to create, gather, truck, organise and construct just little buildings… Let alone those to harbour 300 students day in day out.
As we trundled off, chuffed with securing 6.5 km’s of like new, old gauge corrugated iron from the roofs… there was definitely a heaviness in the cab of the truck that neither of us had to bother addressing. Bloody hell… the pile of deep ceramic science lab sinks and fittings, the waxed linen geography maps (you know the ones, timber edged… Hand Drawn by eye)… hundreds of them… Getting caught in the tracks of the excavators… and webbed trusses… exposed throughout our classrooms of old, ripe for throwing school jumpers just out of reach on a freezing morning… Just crunched like twigs.. Makes me feel pretty small and helpless.. slightly ill too. Just musings of a salvage yarder!