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It’s a special time for a group of students at St Brendan’s College who have agriculture as their passion and their future; as Beef Australia rolls around and they get their chance to shine, showing cattle and experiencing one of the biggest events on the beef world stage.
Sprawled at the base of Mount Barmoya on 300-acres on the Capricorn Coast, St Brendan's College has an agricultural education centre working to mirror the open space of home for many of its students, with a range of academic offerings to ensure students are fully aware of the myriad of possibilities for agricultural careers.
In the past two years the College management and staff have put a concerted effort towards ensuring the agricultural program has the resurgence it deserves.
St Brendan’s College Principal Mr Robert Corboy came to the College in 2018 and was immediately impressed by the facilities and offerings within the Agricultural Program.
“Our Agricultural Department is 110 per cent committed to giving our students every opportunity; from the academic program including OP Agriculture and Vocational Agricultural certificates, to the external opportunities including Cattle Club, Rodeo Club and Shooting Club,” Mr Corboy said.
Head of Agriculture, Ms Terrina Bailey, has spearheaded the agricultural resurgence at the College, and with the support of Agriculture Teacher, SBC Old Boy and ex-grazier, Mr Bill Oram, is working to give the students a significant grounding across the agricultural sphere.
“In 2017, we registered ‘Brencol’ as a school stud for the new Queenslander breed, a combination of Red Brahman and Droughtmaster genetics,” Ms Bailey said.
“We made the decision to support a new breed, still in its development phase, as it offered a unique opportunity for our students to extend their knowledge and understanding of cattle breeding and the establishment of standards,” she said.
“We offer Certificate I in Agrifood Operations in Year 10, followed by Certificate II in Rural Operations in Years 11 and 12 and OP Agricultural Science to those who are looking at agriculture as a profession.”
“We travel to regional shows giving the students the opportunity to learn livestock handling, showing and cattle judging, and while this is only a small part of the agricultural program, it’s an important one for students whose future lies in agriculture,” she said.
“In everything we do in our Agricultural Department, we want our boys to realise that agriculture offers strong career pathways, and there are a multitude of opportunities across grazing, cropping, horticulture, and technology.”
And while ‘Old Boy’ success across the academic and professional careers is revered, so too is that of the varied pathways of St Brendan’s College ‘Old Boys’ who have made their mark in the agricultural industry.
“The College’s original site and current campus was purchased in 1908 with the dream of gathering ‘the sturdy station children, the sons of cattlemen and sheepmen from the great, grand heart of the West’ and this vision has shown itself to be true through to the present day,” Mr Corboy said.
“We have a significant number of Old Boys who are running large agricultural enterprises throughout Central Queensland and beyond, and working as professionals in the agricultural sector,” Mr Corboy said.
“We know, as well as they do, how important the agricultural industry is to Central Queensland and the Queensland economy, and we feel we are doing our part to ensure this is recognised within our academic offering,” Mr Corboy said.
"We encourage familes - if they are visiting Beef Australia - to come and say hello. We have our Cattle and an Agricultural Display at C215 just off Graeme Acton Way, and our SBC Information Stand is at P63 in the Sidney Kidman Pavilion."