Vintage is an important time for students at Faith Lutheran College in the Barossa Valley; not only is it the time of year when students crush twenty tonne of grapes to make wine at the school’s winery; but vintage time is also when the first steers for the year are welcomed to the College’s extensive grounds.
Over the course of thirty years, the College has built a strong reputation for the quality of its agriculture program. In fact, according to Agriculture Coordinator Bob Mitchell, approximately two thirds of graduates have studied agriculture at some stage of their schooling, and even more have experienced involvement in one of the College’s three livestock clubs.
The Steer, Sheep and Goat Club teams have become an integral part of College life. The approach to the Clubs is much like any activity at the College – a community of people coming together to create something truly special. This includes the students and staff that work tirelessly over many months, and a stream of volunteers and donors that loyally contribute to the College community. For over three decades the College has benefited from the support of many long term partners. In 2018, Steers have been generously donated by:
Doering Brothers – Walmona Dutton
RM Wilson & Son – Oakwood Red Poll Stud
DC & RD Leese – Davelle South Devons
Sandra Keatley – Pebbly Range Limousin Stud Mount Torrens
Angus JP & C Hassing Carrical Flaxman Valley
During Term 1, Merino Wethers arrived at the College with the support of Roger Fiebig from Hilton Heath Merino Stud in Mount Pleasant.
The goats also have a story, with Faith alumni, Tracy Bonython of Bon Chevon supplying Boer Goat kids and continuing to be actively involved with Faith’s Goat Club.
While classroom learning places some focus on the animals, it’s at recess and lunchtimes that the animals receive extra special care and attention. Livestock clubs form early in the year at Faith College, with students spending over six months of recess and lunchtimes tending to the animals in their club of choice. Animals are named and passionately cared for by students, while they learn how to prepare and handle the Steers, Wethers and Goats for the Royal Adelaide Show. Older students mentor younger students and the clubs become a close knit team, which becomes undeniably evident during Show week.
As is the community at Faith, father and son team, Bruce and Craig Doecke of Angaston Transport transported the five steers to Adelaide, as they have done for the past 32 years. It’s the time and generosity of people like the Doecke’s that enables the smooth arrival of the animals to the Show.
Travel, early mornings and hard work all feature at the Show, and the support of families is integral to enable students to be involved. Whilst some may measure show success by the number of ribbons, for Bob Mitchell and his team including, Marianne Nelson and Craig Moore; it’s the energy, passion and teamwork displayed by students and the Faith community that is the real highlight of the two days of competition.
This year the Faith Lutheran College community was thrilled to receive the following ribbons:
- Faith BoJo – 3rd in Live Export 35 Kg- 37.9 Kg
- Faith Pretzel – 6th in Live Export 41 Kg – 43.9 Kg
- Sophie Hanna – 4th in the Handlers Competition from 161 students
- Annabelle Pinchbeck – 1 of 17 finalists in Handlers Competition
- Schools Competition Merino Wethers – Three Most Valued Skins
- Sophie Brice – 1st prize in the junior merino fleece judging competition
- Rhiannon Bishop – 2nd prize in the junior merino fleece judging competition
- Fourth place – Santa Gertrudis, Heavy Domestic Class 486 Kg – 497 Kg
- Second place – Red Poll, Heavy Domestic Class 522 Kg – 528 Kg
- Second Place – Angus, Export Class 634 Kg – 658 Kg