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Smallest schools on show at NSW Parliament

19 OCTOBER 2004

The lives of primary school students from six remote schools are being showcased in a new exhibition opening at New South Wales Parliament House this Thursday.

The National Museum of Australia's Snapshots of Remote Communities exhibition includes 300 photographs of community activity around some of the state's most isolated schools - where student enrolment averages 10 and it is more than an hour's drive to a major town.

Snapshots features the farming activity, local landmarks, pets and people captured by students from public schools at Boree Creek, near Wagga; Cabramurra, near Tumut; Corinella, near Forbes; Enngonia, near Bourke; Marra Creek, near Nyngan; and White Cliffs, near Wilcannia.

These New South Wales schools are the first to have their work showcased in Snapshots. The photos also appear on the National Museum's website - and in local exhibitions at each school.

"We're giving cameras to children in remote areas and asking them to explore what makes their special places so different - and sometimes so similar - to other Australian communities," said National Museum schools officer Laura Griffiths. "At the same time we're teaching kids about museums and adding a rich body of work to our collection."

Cabramurra Primary School principal David O'Rourke said Snapshots was uplifting for students. "Any recognition outside the local community, because of our isolation, is a good thing. Snapshots is an inspiring way of showcasing our school in Sydney and beyond."

The National Museum developed Snapshots as part of the Studies of Environment and Society curriculum and worked with the Education and Community Relations Section of the New South Wales Parliament to select the schools and stage the inaugural exhibition.

Two remote Tasmanian schools are mounting a similar exhibition at Launceston's Queen Victoria Museum and Gallery next month - and other Australian states will follow in the next four years.

Students photographs can be seen on the National Museum's website at:
http://www.nma.gov.au/exhibitions/community/snapshots_of_remote_communities/

Snapshots will be officially launched by NSW Legislative Council president Dr Meredith Burgmann and Legislative Assembly speaker John Aquilina in the Fountain Court of NSW Parliament House at 10.45am this Thursday, 21 October. Media are welcome to attend.

For interviews or images please contact Leanda Coleman at the National Museum on 02 6208 5338, 0438 620 710 or l.coleman@nma.gov.au