Castlemaine, a picturesque country town 120kms north of Melbourne, has a wonderful history being the origin of Australia’s Gold Rush of the 1850’s. Heritage architecture paints an idyllic backdrop.
So, what a more fitting venue than The Old Castlemaine Gaol, built in 1861, to house 245 grade 5-6 students doing battle over the board.
Schools such as Yapeen, Elphinstone, Harcourt, Campbells Creek, are small outlying towns (many drought-stricken) consisting of some of the smallest, under resourced schools in Victoria.
The program secured funding to hire tutors from the Castlemaine Chess Club to visit classrooms on a weekly basis as part of the maths program.
Chess Kids, who run 190 schools tournaments a year Australia-wide, were amazed by the tournament, claiming it was the biggest rural event they have ever participated in- by about 100 students.
A blog, documenting the program development since May can be found: