School shuts gates on protest
SHE planned to protest with 900kg bull Southern Cross Joe but Warwick State High School student Emma Thompson was faced with padlocks and chains as the school shut the gate on her attempt to save the Agricultural Science cattle section.
Students were forced to jump the fence to gain access to their ag classes at the corner of Victoria and Guy streets after the gates were padlocked yesterday.
The Daily News revealed on Saturday students were in tears as news spread Cooper Downs - a Banana property which has supplied cattle for six and a half years - had until Friday to remove the 14-head herd from the grounds.
This was one day before 10 students were set to show the beasts at the Brisbane EKKA.
But the Southern Downs Regional Council young ambassador revealed the students would make the trip to the EKKA if they had the school’s support or not.
“The students have got together and we’ll show the cattle privately but it’s sad we won’t be representing the school showing under the school emblem,” Emma said.
“We’ve worked with these cattle all year, preparing and breaking them in. The cattle program was the reason why I chose to go to the school.
“This time last year we were preparing the cattle for EKKA but we’re not at the moment. Partnerships with studs get students’ names out there so we can further a career in this industry.”
Peter Watt’s daughter participates in the ag course and said he hoped the cattle program would remain a permanent fixture at the school.
“She’s almost finished but she did enjoy it,” Mr Watt said.
Education Queensland (EQ) were questioned as to the reasons why a suitable contract was not able to be agreed upon between the school and Cooper Downs but Darling Downs and South West Queensland regional director Gregory Dickman refused to clarify.
“EQ will make no further comment on the details of this contract,” Mr Dickman said.
The school will hold a meeting to discuss the future of the cattle program at 5.30pm today.
Fred Rowe from Cooper Downs said he hoped to recover a positive relationship with the school.
“I still want to stay with the school,” Mr Rowe told the Daily News.
“Our relationship was good for the beef industry and I hope they’ll be a positive conclusion to this today.”
The WSHS cattle team basked in EKKA glory last year when one of their Droughtmaster cows took out the reserve champion and was sashed second in the breed’s group.
In the heifer 18 to 20 months section the school also took out first Southern Cross Champagne and in the junior handlers competition they did well with three students placing in the top 10 of the Under-14 class in field of 24 students.