FOR most children, the thought of spending night after night riding dodgem cars and eating fairy floss would be a dream come true.But the romantic notion is far from reality for the children of the sideshow alley vendors who travel the agricultural show circuit with their amusement rides, food stalls, showbag stands and carnival games.Before the Queensland School for Travelling Show Children was established in 2000 by the teacher Catherine Fullerton, show children went from school to school sometimes all year. For generations, many families working on travelling shows were trapped in a cycle of illiteracy.Today, 65 children are taught in the school’s two custom-fitted semi-trailers. Each trailer has two teachers and one operations officer who doubles as driver, cleaner, computer technician and teacher’s aide.”Some of these families are fifth generation showies,” said the school’s acting principal, Gary Sandstrom. ”Children were missing out because they were having to go to the local school which is very hard.”After lobbying by the Showmen’s Guild of Australasia, the school was set up by the federal government and run the Queensland Department of Education.Nestled among the caravans and semi-trailers in a muddy field in Flemington, children aged four to 12 have continued learning the Queensland syllabus during the Royal Easter Show.”We try to broaden their experiences by exposing them to things outside their world because it is a very closed world,” Mr Sandstrom said.Reba Miller, 9, whose parents own vans selling chips and fairy floss, wants to be a nurse when she’s older.The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW estimates 900,000 people have visited this year’s show, which finishes today.Organisers of the rival Sydney Family Show at Moore Park say their estimated attendance of 185,000 surpassed expectations.
Nanjing Night Net