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Winter 2013

We would like to acknowledge generous support from the following organisations:

The Collingwood Children’s Farm are proud to acknowledge the Wurundjeri of the Kulin Federation as the traditional owners of the Abbotsford Precinct Heritage Farmlands, the land we respect, care for and farm on behalf of all Victorians. The Farm thanks all Wurundjeri Elders past and present, for their guardianship of these lands.

Farm Patron - Mrs Elizabeth Chernov, Government House

2012-13 Committee of Management Cheryl Cameron

Mikyla Hart

Netta McArthur (Pres.)

Helen Semmler (Sec.)

Lachlan Fitch

Pip Hay

Lily O’Neill

Greg Sparks (V.Pres.)

Richard Ginsburg (Treas.)

Jane Ogilvie

Lachlan Turner

Cr Stephen Jolly

Alex Walker (Farm Manager) Farm Yarns is a quarterly publication from the Collingwood Children’s Farm (CCF). The CCF, a not-for-profit, educational small-holding city farm was established in 1979 as a “country experience for city folk”. The Farm is sited on the Abbotsford Precinct Heritage Farmlands, the oldest continually farmed land in Victoria (since 1836). The CCF is guided by a Committee of Management, elected annually. Front Cover photo - 2012’s Winter Bonfire roars into life (image by Josh Beale) Rear Cover photo - Ivy the new Farm dog looking too cute (image by Bridget Bainbridge)


Farm Manager

Alex Walker

Managers Report It seems that the blistering heat of Autumn (that really felt like an extended Summer) has finally yielded to refreshing cool days and the onset of Winter. Hooray. Our animals and visitors are certainly enjoying the change. Winter at the Farm is the place to come and see the changing of the seasons. Put on a coat and gumboots and bring the kids to walk around in the crisp Winter air. No dust, just green everywhere and a chance to maybe even find some mud and puddles to jump into. The next big Farm event is of course the annual Winter Bonfire on Saturday 22 June (see page 6 for full details). As per last year,

Above: The new skidsteer already earning its keep!

tickets will only be available online with a cap




drummers, fire twirlers, yummy food and

enjoyment. So remember to book your ticket(s)

warming mulled wine available. On our June

early on There will

Family Day we will run a lantern making

be the usual crowd favourites such as the

workshop for children and adults.





Below: Indian Runners digging for tasty treats in their Federation Pen yard








birthday parties at the Farm continue to be popular. In May we participated in State Education



tours for Sunshine North, Spensley Street and Albion Primary Schools as well as Concord School and Coburg Teaching Unit. These tours were



sponsored School


tours are

totally booked out for rest of the term. Likewise, Hosted Birthday’s are now solidly booked out until May 2014.



Over the past two years we have been working

the course of one day, cleaned, carded, spun

with Cultivating Communities and the City of

and then knitted into a beanie. Well-known

Yarra in redeveloping our Compost Area. We

Australian author Bill Gammage will also

now have new worm farms and set-up for

share a presentation based on his book, ‘The

making compost. Green waste for the compost

Biggest Estate on Earth’, detailing the farming

will come from local Abbotsford residents and

practices of Australia’s First Nation people. In

restaurants - thus lowering the amount going

his book Bill argues it was no accident that the

into landfill. It also means we will now have

early Europeans found vast swathes of ‘park-

more compost and worm castings for sale for

like’ grasslands across Australia, but the result

our Farm Members and the public.

of careful and deliberate agricultural practices

We are always looking for new ways to make

Below: New bicycle racks outside Reception (images Bridget Bainbridge)

our visitor’s experience an enjoyable one, incorporating feedback when possible. This can bear positive fruit! For many years the Farm has not produced a paper map due to our concerns about energy use, paper waste and recycling. And whilst there are several large display maps, at Reception we would often be asked ‘do you have a map?’. Now everyone can take full advantage of their iPhone or Android device and download a map of the Farm to use during their visit. Speaking of improvements, for those visitors who choose to help save the planet, improve their health and save dollars by not using a car to visit us, we hope you are enjoying the new bicycle racks located outside Farm Reception. We would encourage all visitors to ride to the Farm whenever possible. Plans for the 175th Celebration of Farming on the Abbotsford Precinct Heritage Farmlands (APHF) are fleshing out our celebratory events week, starting 23 November 2013. So far we have a ‘Back to Beanie’ demonstration, in which a sheep’s fleece is shorn and then over



and land management over thousands of

of Honey Week Celebrations on Sunday

years. Should be a very informative talk.

28 April. Not only was the observation hive open as usual, but visitors could don a bee-suit

The Farm Cafe continues to go from strength

and get up close to the hives, taste a variety of

to strength. A glowing positive review in The

honeys, make beeswax candles, have a photo

Age (25 March 2013) resulted in the Cafe

taken as a bee or indulge in bee dancing—to

experiencing its busiest ever service the

list just a few of the fun activities.

following day. This outcome is a great credit to Tom, Pip and their hardworking new team.

The Farm is an active member of the Rare Breeds






As farmers you have to think and plan things

organisation dedicated to protecting genetic

well in advance. Because we do our lambing

diversity in domesticated livestock at risk of

and kidding in Spring, it’s now time to put the

extinction due to changes in farming practices/

rams with the ewes and buck in with the does.

market demands. The RBTA, which has a long

Regular visitors may have noticed we have

association with the Farm, is celebrating its 20th

now split our goat and sheep flocks into

year of activity. We want to both congratulate

breeding herds. Lambrusco (our Shropshire

the RBTA and acknowledge their support in

ram) and Clarence (our English Leicester ram)

the construction of the Federation Pens at the

have stayed for this year’s joining. We have a

front of the Farm. The RBTA is also available

new goat buck, Inca, who is very happy to

online at

spend quality time with his new girlfriends. The School Holiday program of a ‘Be a Farmer for a Day’ will once again be available for the next term break. It is a very popular program, so don’t miss out. All available booking dates will go up on on the 31st of May. It’s important to acknowledge our staff when they move on and embrace new opportunities. So I would like to thank Leonie for her long contribution as both volunteer and employee at the Farm. Leonie started in the early 1990’s as a volunteer and became an employee in Above: Inca eating alongside his new lady friends

2002. She has taken many of the excellent photographs used in our Annual Reports and

The Collingwood Children’s Farm Apiary

Farm Yarns over the years. We wish her all the

group had a very successful ‘Bee Day’ as part

very best for the future.





Bridget Bainbridge/ Nick Karavokiros

Team Leaders Team Leader Report


We are heading into Winter again, a little dryer than it was last year; with a few more animals on the Farm (and for a number of different reasons) we are starting to hit into the hay stacks to keep everyone well fed. The Farm these days is ever busy with programs, school tours, regular and new visitors. School Holiday Program The School Holidays have been and gone, and







Program, ‘Be A Farmer For A Day’. This popular program is run along the same lines as the Young Farmers program, but open to anyone no matter which council area you live in. As always, we had a ball (as you can see from the photos). It’s nice to catch up with the regular participants, as well as meet new people taking part.



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SCHOOL HOLIDAY PROGRAM FUN Feeding Maybell the pig It’s hard slog keeping chooks! Very busy human Zac waiting to be saddled up (images Bridget Bainbridge)


Young Farmers Program

purchased a skidsteer (also called a bobcat)

Meanwhile, the Young Farmers Program kids

machine to turn the compost, thus reducing

have been busy, amongst other things making

the human time required to do this by hand

new signs for all the chook pens (pictured in

and improving the quality of the finished

all their artistic glory above). There are so


many chook pens now we are giving each one

important project, have a look at : http://

a brightly-painted letter plaque to combat

general confusion amongst the staff. We are


half-way through the alphabet!

composting-projects/ .

Community Composting

Donkey Day

We have a new skidsteer (or bobcat if you

Held on a lovely and sunny first Sunday in

will)! With this we recently made a big step

May, this annual event was the usual success.

forwards in getting the Compost Hub up on its

The Donkey Society raised over $1,500 for

feet. A joint project between Cultivating

their efforts of donkey and donkey cart rides,

Communities, City of Yarra and ourselves, the

Farm visitors had a great time spending

aim was to set up the composting facility to

quality time with such a lovely group of

easily incorporate green waste from local cafes

donkeys and their owners. Many thanks to the

and households. This will not only save food

Donkey Society members for their effort and

waste from going into landfill, but provide

hard work bringing their donkeys, carts,

local community gardens (as well as the Farm)

helpers, information and good humour.






with good quality compost. Everyone wins! ANZAC Day Many of you will have seen the new

At the Farm ANZAC Day is the day when the

composting facilities being built: the walled

Waler horses make their bi-annual pilgrimage

concrete slab next to the pigs, and the

to the Farm, complete with masses of

expanded Dumping Area with taps and Water

information about the part these amazing

Garden beside it. And finally the last piece of

animals played in past wars serving with the

the jigsaw has arrived. The Farm and

Australian army. This year was no exception


and those lucky enough to chat with Angela






Tiede on the day will have come away with a

arranged a thoroughly modern parenting-type

sense of the significance of the contribution

arrangement with each piglet deciding which

these horses made to the War effort.

mother it would best like to spend time with. That said, Myrtle seems to be carrying a lot of

As well as having a variety of Waler horses

the feeding duties!

visit, Mega has returned to the Farm for the winter months to help out, which is very good news for the legions of Mega’s friends and admirers (plus Zak is in love all over again!). Piglets-a-go-go Our two Berkshire half-sisters, Maybell and Myrtle outdid each other with two large litters delivered a day apart. Now just over six weeks old, the piglets are running everywhere, especially






Above: Little piglets snoozing and snuggling. Below: Bridget having a great time on the new skidsteer





Recent Farm Weddings



Plant News

Toni Phillips

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FOUND IN THE GARDEN Biggest Stick Insect found outside Queensland Hobledonk Very busy human (images Toni Phillips)



Plants for Animals—Wormwood

simmering 125 grams of wormwood leaves in

Wormwood (all of the Artemesia species) has

1-1.5 litres of water for thirty minutes, stir,

insecticidal properties and so for poultry it is

strain, then add one teaspoon of pure soap and

very useful bedding, being both soft and

leave to cool.

comfortable and it does not allow any mites or bugs to breed or survive.

Be careful as the wormwood spray can leach into nearby soil, interfering and stunting the

Wormwood has traditionally been used for

growth of other plants. Only use it on

both humans and animals as a treatment for

established ornamentals and not on small

worm infections with historic references in

plants, seedlings or edible plants. Use it to

ancient Egypt dating back to 1600 BC. In

spray directly onto target insects or use dried

humans it has also been used for digestive

wormwood cuttings spread onto the soil.

problems such as loss of appetite or upset stomach, to treat fever and increase sexual


appetite. Wormwood is so strong it is not safe

wormwood sprigs alongside carrots and


onions will mask their scent, confusing insects,






breastfeeding or applied to the skin.












wormwood will not have the same growthWormwood is used in the drinks Vermouth and Absinthe (which was previously banned in




inhibiting effects as the fresh plant. Below: Jenny Whipp making sure bedbugs don’t bite the chickens (image Toni Phillips)

instigation of a certain Mr Pernod, oddly the same



introduced the drink Pernod




absinthe was banned). Using a sachet made of wormwood leaves will help control moths. In the garden, used in a spray form it can also be



aphids, caterpillars, flea beetles and moths. This is






Toni Phillips

Community Gardens News Meet the plotter—Danella Connors You have probably all seen Danella sometime

from parents but as Danella noticed, it was

at the Farm, she is often there providing

often left to the same dedicated parents most

support to all sorts of Farm activities.

of the time and so she revved up the rest.

Rebekkah, Danella’s daughter first got her mother involved when she was in the Young Farmers Program (YFP) in 2004. Danella became very active in providing support for the program, to the point where she





contacting all the parents and getting a committed roster for operating the Pancake Stall at the Farmers Market and BBQ on Family Days. These events always had help

Above: Danella as usual busy on the Pancake Stall in 2004 (image courtesy Toni Phillips)

Next Danella started Down at the Farm, a childcare





children. She also got a garden plot. Now she is revving up the Plot Working Bees just like she did for the YFP. And if the last Working Bee with its high number of people and enthusiasm is any indication, she is doing just as great a job with it as her previous contributions. It seems that she has single-handedly and with great determination set out to form a community





Gardens, and it is happening with more plotters rallying behind her as whenever she sends out the call. Thank you Danella for all you have done for really involving people in life of the Farm. You remind me of the saying “if you don’t do it, who will?” I know … Danella will.



Danella Connors

Garden Plotters Arise ... There’s been a quiet steady conversation

care you show for your little garden.

taking place in the Community Gardens about

Honour your agreements for having a plot.



Is your garden tended? Are the paths clear?

community. As the word’s been spreading, the

Are you giving back to the Farm and doing

plotters have been finding their own organic

your share of volunteer help at working

way to take ownership or their responsibilities

bees or functions? Do you need help?




for the plots. It’s fresh and bringing joy and the gardens are slowly taking on a more cared for

Reach out and ask a neighbouring plotter …

face which is wonderful to see.

or anyone else in the garden, there are people who are only too happy to share

Those of us with a plot are caretakers of one of

what they know or to give a little time to

Melbourne’s oldest community gardens on

see a plot is loved and cared for. In time you

land that has provided food for people from

can pay that kindness and support forward

the Wurundjeri tribe right up to today. The

… it helps to grow cooperation as well as

garden plots are an integral part of Farm’s

the plants.

history and it’s essential to care for them

Join the Google group. This is an online

knowing that good food growing is a vital


issue all around the planet right now … people


are hungry for the experience and knowledge

conversations held that are positive and

as well as good food … just spend five minutes

solutions-focused. Please contact Danella



Connors for this or any other information at

conversations that float by! We are a face for or call on her

this in the larger community … so let’s show

mobile 0410 667 954.

our best.

Read what’s posted on the front gate. At











plotters shared

where and

this stage, this is our noticeboard. Things Do you have a plot at the farm and are you

posted are kept current and are simple

involved? Our endeavour is to build a culture

ways to engage and inform you.

of cooperation, appreciation, support and care.

Come on a garden tour. We’ve organised

There are simple ways to engage and

some visits to other community gardens.


The 12th of May is Rushall Gardens in North Fitzroy, we’ve been invited to meet the

First is to love your garden and care for it

plotters and share morning tea with them.

with deep appreciation. We have perhaps

And June 2nd is Mater Street, corner Mater



and Wellington Streets, Collingwood; we’ve

Melbourne’s community gardens and by far

been invited to meet their plotters and share

the most generous sized plots. Give thanks

a barbecue lunch. Plans are afoot for further

for the privilege and give back through the

visits later in the year: Veg Out, Poets







Garden, Wurundjeri Garden Hawthorn and

Any one of the above will add to our growing



movement. Can you take time this week to

gardens, some educational … all will have

give something to the farm culture that will

things to show us and help us develop a

improve things for all? Tend your own garden,

shared sense of perspective and pride in

help a neighbour, share ten minutes with

what we have the good fortune to share.

another plotter clearing a fenceline.



Come to our monthly social gatherings. Once a month, an afternoon is being held

Put in fifteen minutes on the hill … every little

for plotters to come together to talk about

bit makes a difference to the whole … imagine

this emerging culture of cooperation. There

seventy plotters doing a bit and how that

is no agenda, work or meeting.

would build to affect the whole … for the garden, the Farm and the community at large

We simply gather, share food and a drink

who find solace and comfort in the green

(BYO everything including chairs or rug to

spaces of the Farm.

sit on) … and talk to each other about how we can better what’s happening in the gardens. The two held so far have been a

Below: Tomatoes are often associated with love and passion. From little things, big things grow!

great start. Folk have gathered who didn’t know each other at first; it was warm, friendly and supportive. Our second one, in the rain gave rise to a deep, caring and productive conversation. Please join us, for some fun and relaxation … let your voice be heard or enjoy listening to the thoughts of others. Fun is essential to the afternoon’s success. Keep an eye out for plans for future working bees. With Toni, we are going to set







educational and related to plot care and garden growth. So far we are looking at composting, companion planting and edible weeds as possible things to cover. Suggestions are welcome and a plan will be drawn up and shared with all.




Come and help us plant out the riverbank below the garden plots and Barn. In time the new plants will grow and shade out the weeds, look beautiful, provide habitat for native fauna and clean up the water going into the river at the same time! Bring sturdy footwear and weather-appropriate clothing. Be aware that the site is steep in places and has unfenced river access. We will supply all plants and tools, stakes, watering cans etc.

Come along, get involved and be a part of revitalising this beautiful place.



Ivy’s Report

Ivy the dog In

the m rm. a F e e h t t job is w dog a e n e h t t o gro m w that ’m Ivy, I a I e ! it e a r u e q h t t fit s no Hi s it t u b t is rong e, g until it Yes its m o ? d c g a o o d lk n a w fiden -w has a ne t (as the to puppy , d g e o id d c e e The Farm d c s n h a a t h is a s m s r e a a s uid an he F lo to be a g ined as d simple. T a e r t in t e s b e d . e o d t t x il o n peri e ch gh n ce og for a ever, I am old enou d w e o c n H a t ). is o s d s s A g k o m i D is d t u s a Guide nd o be an A t s g id in o K g r o f a g o n D dog. I am i d mals are calle he’s S is . h r t e t ll n a u H ise rural is Katie n ho organ a r w c e g p a u u n o a o Y st r kets. heir m The g c t o d p n r a T e s h h t a is wi in abilitie ebsite s treats ll a w h with Dis n ir e e t h f t o y d n r n o e m a v e e e a r n mo up w really nic re is eve d out e in h f t r m e d t o n a af s.c for l py, just isabilitie p look up d u h ook p it y w s in t kid a r o s f a s g w o I d afte www. e when

m ture of cute pic me... Katie got

my life, f o r a e y t irs for the f y a d o back to g y r o e t v e e im m t r it will be at the Fa t (if I a e n h e b t l h ’l r T I e . , t r f o e a S t og, and next Eas D il t r n e u p and help u ly S r h e e t b f a roug o k t o e trained hild to lo b c n o up to it. t w o ie ’m y I t m n Ka t o e k g c I , , but I re y exams) b m jo ll ody’s pet a ig b s b e s y m a t o p t s e r e p b I get to school up. t’s a s o m t a o x g e y o to grow t m on’t get d on’t pass d t s I u j if I d d, An st as goo o lm a is which hat’s all. t rm , s id k y t the Fa a s with m e r u t en When I s of adv t . lo ly k g ic in u v q I am ha aps very e h g a yummy in t n r e a g le s e and am I sometim , t be well h ig o r t s g g in in n h r a get t o I’m le S . t a e r snacky t quickly! behaved COLLINGWOOD CHILDREN’S FARM

r a with a from far m family .

One da big a d a y This a p of m just


Here are some p hotos of my very

eantim e my w up into g he althy dog, who ts of w it h d f arm and tuff. F ood is set of all my favour . I en ite th joy it well more ing than Th sleep king ing. is is Sa a ch m. ild Il ov autism e h

a min g

ay I h ad adven a ture . is photo me t aken befor e I

favourite things

on the Farm:

t mes ou This co e nder th u m o r f . a horse tail of f! at stuf e r g ’s t I or n chew a c u o Y t. roll in i

This is sque aky duck. H e is fun to jum p on and make squea k. Now I’m getting a bit older thoug h I’m wonderi ng if I don’t actually pre fer rawhide chews..



g. I d thin a e d sa se. This i n the o g n i hew up. like c them h g u o Ic Then

ing When I get big I’m go in my to put one of these mouth!



Emma Koefed

New Arrivals, Old Breeds Recently two of our rare breed Berkshire sows, Maybell and Myrtle, had piglet litters. The thirteen piglets are incredibly active and happily share themselves with both mums. At the moment they are small enough






separating their mum’s sties. The sows are sisters and are not concerned about which piglets they feed. Berkshire sows are excellent mothers. They are really calm animals and produce plenty of milk, so the piglets grow quickly. They can average eight to ten piglets at a time.

Above: Berkshire Pig, William Shiels (1832-38). Only the white socks and tassle tail remain in today’s animal. (image

near extinction of the breed in the middle of the 20th century in England. This was

Berkshire pigs (pronounced Bark-shur), are

due to the increase in intensive farming of

a rare breed of pig that originated from

breeds that grew faster, had larger litters

Berkshire, a county of Southern England.

and leaner meat. The popularity of free

They are Britain’s oldest recorded pig

range pork and consumer driven demand



for quality meat has meant that the

Cromwell’s troops during the English

Berkshire pig has had resurgence. The

Civil War in the mid-17th century. At that

slower growth habit of the Berkshire

time, the breed was a tawny red colour

makes it an exceptionally tender, quality



meat with high marbling. It is highly

pendulous, the body long and thick with

prized in Japan where it is called kurobuta

short legs.

(kuro – black, buta – pig).

The breed has changed considerably to




Berkshire pigs is that they are very well

introduction of Chinese or East Asian

suited to being outdoors, in fact they hate

blood to the breed in the early 19th

being confined so are ideal to free range.

century. The modern Berkshire is a

White or pink pigs that are used in the

descendent from those kept by the Royal

pork industry, on the other hand, are

family since the 18th century. A decline in

easily sunburnt and must usually be kept

numbers being farmed resulted in the




















2 1 3


1 2 3 4 5

PHOTOS Sheep doing a great job of mowing the Stables Paddock before the Farmers Market Donkey Day—always great fun with smiles for everyone! Pendulous aubergine from the garden just waiting to be turned into Moussaka Donkey Day in full swing Putting the donkey before the cart?




Donkey Tails

Olivia Knowles

Recently I have taken on the challenge of

hugs, which rest assured are well worth the

bringing Mickey our donkey out of his shell a

wait. Having some more regular work has

bit more. Whilst he still remains a very serious,

given Mickey a lot more confidence being out

no-nonsense kinda guy, he has been coming

on his own also, who no longer depends on his

along in leaps and bounds. We have been

pony friends as much, and is now not taking

getting to know each other a bit more by going

any guff from bossy ponies like Brandy.

for walks around the farm and down the bike track,





Last Sunday was also a special treat for

interesting to do with his time and the

Mickey, with this month’s family day being

opportunity to sample the many different

Donkey Day. Mickey was reunited with some

patches of grass along the way (although

of his old owners, who he was clearly happy to

dandelion leaves seem to be a personal

see and also had plenty of time to catch up on

favourite of Mickey’s).

the goss with his donkey friends. It was really nice to see him so happy and the visiting

Through this Mickey is becoming a lot more

donkeys were also very keen to make a new

confident with the many surprises living on a

donkey friend (some being a little too talkative

farm in the city has to throw at him, such as

for Mickey’s liking though!).

bikes, cars, tractors and dogs but he still isn’t what you would call a ‘people person’ per say

Mickey’s old owners were happy with how

- as he still doesn’t appreciate pats around his

Mick has been coming along, and told me that

face and ears!

he used to be good friends with goats and sheep on his own farm. Unfortunately our

On our travels together, Mickey likes to pop in

farm goats and sheep don’t share Mick’s

and say hello to the other horses, Tumby,

enthusiasm to be friends!

Tyson and Ted in particular being very fond of him. We have also together done a little bit of

Mickey and I have our first riding lesson

work at re-schooling him for riding, by

together coming up; to develop some pointers

practicing both our steering and getting

on things to work on together which will give

Mickey used to having people on his back

us plenty to build on with our progress so far.

again. So far, there have been no violent

Mickey constantly amazes me with how

reactions from Mick, but he still seems to think

intelligent and perceptive he is. He is by no

me climbing on to his back is a very strange

means easy to get to know, but I’m certainly

thing for me to be asking of him.

glad that we are gradually becoming very good friends. I’m hoping by the next time I’m

He always seems to be quite pleased with

writing something for Farm Yarns that we will

himself afterwards however, and this is often

have had plenty more adventures together to

the time when I get the much-coveted Mickey

tell you all about.


FARM YARNS Next edition due out 1st day of Spring

Collingwood Children’s Farm PO Box 80 Abbotsford 3067


Farmland since 1838

Farm phone: 9417 5806 Email: Website:

Family Fun Days First Sunday of the month (no Family Fun Day in January)

Also enjoy hay rides and pony rides (when available), and other farm activities all for price of standard entry.

Farmer’s Market

Where to find us St Heliers Street, Abbotsford Melways Ref 44 G5 Open every day of the year Entry: $16 Family $8 Adult $4 Child

The concept of a supported held the second Saturday of volunteer program is unique to every month for beautiful our farm. Originally it was fresh,as quality produce. Proknown the Disability gram, but we prefer to focus on abilities rather than the lack of them … just like the renamed RDA riding program! You may ask why the program exists and what are the benefits of it to the participants and the farm. In the case of special school students, both in class groups

Collingwood Childrens Farm Winter 2013 Newsletter  

Collingwood Childrens Farm Winter 2013 Newsletter