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Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award Grove—7-11 October 2013

October 12, 2013

This week a great group of gold award participants continued to develop the Duke of Edinburgh’s Hillary Award (DoEHA) Grove at CUE Haven. The Grove is approximately one hectare near the top of the property, where gold award participants complete their residential service requirement by working on a community project.

Four earlier teams have put in a walking track, planted native trees and started some of the art projects, including a koru arch over a boardwalk built by one of the teams and a mosaic to welcome visitors to the Grove.  The task of this week’s team was to continue with the koru sculpture and mosaic and also to do some maintenance work on the walking track.  Walking tracks need constant attention, especially after wet winter weather.  Additionally, a patron has donated a bench so that future visitors to the Grove can take a rest and enjoy the scenery.  The team had to select a good site for the bench and install it.

The team arrived on Monday morning and included Bridget, Byrony, Caela, Eloise, Ethan, Leo, Jessica, and Leearna.  The team leaders were Ananda and Gemma.


Elizabeth Honey, an architect and DoEHA alumni joined the group for part of the time to help with the mosaic and Andy Woodhouse, DoEHA Co-Director of Training and Development also joined the team for part of the week.

One of the requirements of the DoEHA Residential programme is that none of the participants know each other, so we spent some time Monday morning getting acquainted over morning tea.  Mahrukh also gave an overview of the CUE Haven project and Andy outlined the objectives for the week.


The first task was to get started on the mosaic, which would require the greatest amount of effort.  A previous team had cleared the site for the mosaic, but it was necessary to dig out the site so that two layers of concrete could be put down for a base.  It was a challenge because the site of the mosaic is about 200 metres from the nearest road.  We brought up the cement and builder’s mix and water in utes but then the participants had to carry everything down by hand.

Part of the group worked on digging while the rest brought down materials.





Once the area was dug out and smoothed, the actual area of the mosaic had to be marked out.


A bund was built to contain the first layer of cement.



The cement was mixed up in wheelbarrows and poured into the ring.








The team recorded their names in the first layer for posterity.


Once the first layer had hardened sufficiently, the second layer of concrete was laid.   The first step was to put down wire mesh to secure the second layer.


Then the bund had to be built up to accommodate the next layer.


Then the second layer of concrete was put down and smoothed.





The concrete was allowed to harden overnight and the next morning Elizabeth came out to assist the team with the creation of the mosaic.  She had printed out a copy of the DOEHA logo in the size of the mosaic and it would be used as a stencil for laying down the tiles.  Elizabeth and Jessica prepared the template.


Andy and Elizabeth had previously acquired a supply of marble offcuts in black and white, the colours of the logo.  The pieces were of varying sizes and it was necessary to break them up into smaller pieces for the mosaic.  Several team members put on safety goggles and picked up mallets and went to work.


Once we had a good supply of pieces, we took them down to the mosaic site in buckets.  A fine layer of cement to hold the pieces in place was spread over the concrete platform and the stencil was copied onto the surface as a guide.

The team could then begin to create the mosaic.  It came together slowly as the team had to fit the different irregularly shaped pieces together.




Once the pieces were in place, fine cement was used as grout and then the whole mosaic was cleaned.  The mosaic is an amazing accomplishment and the team who worked on it should be very proud.  Future teams will finish it off and devise a border and landscaping.


While the some in the team were working on finishing off the mosaic, Bridget and Caela went to work on the koru sculpture.  The previous team had built the smaller koru and installed the support post for the larger one.


Andy had secured a length of pipe and they formed it into a koru coil and fitted it into the support post.  They then wrapped the structure in wire to form the sculpture.



The next step was to coat the structure with layers of concrete.  It was a slow and tedious job to taper and smooth the surface, but the end result is worth it.





The makeup of the teams varied depending on the tasks we were working on.  Sometimes everyone needed to help out with mosaic and other times space constraints meant only a few people could work on it.  As a result people moved around and helped out as needed on different tasks.

One of the big jobs that needed attention was the walking track drainage around the mosaic.  The walking track had been built during the summer during a drought and we couldn’t be completely sure about how water would flow in the area.  In early September we had some heavy downpours and were able to observe water flows along and across the track so that we now know where culverts and drain pipes are needed.

Several team members worked to enhance the drain channels and installed a culvert and drainage system.  It was a messy job that required a lot of digging, but the walking track is much better as a result.





The other major task for the group was to install the beautiful bench that had been gifted to the Grove.  The team spent some time agreeing on where to best place the bench and then Ethan, Jessica and Leo tackled the challenge of installing it.  Because it would be outdoors, it would have to be anchored down.  The first task was to attach brackets that would be set in concrete.



Once the brackets were in place, we took the bench up to the site.


The front legs of the bench would sit on two concrete pads while the back legs with the brackets would be anchored in concrete.  First Leo and Ethan dug holes for the concrete.


Because the ground is not level, the team had to figure out how to make the bench level and they came up an ingenious way to determine how much concrete to put into the holes.


The result is perfect and the bench is a great addition to the Grove and the walking track.


In addition to all their hard work, the team took time to relax in the evenings.  They worked on jigsaw puzzles and played Monopoly and other games.




And we also celebrated Ananda’s birthday.


We’d like to thank Nestle for providing drink bottles, Milo and Uncle Toby cereals, hot chocolate, Nescafe Menu and iced Nestea for the participants—they were much appreciated.


A big thank you to Elizabeth Honey for providing valuable assistance on the mosaic. We look forward to having you back and helping future teams create other art work for the Grove.


And thank you to Gemma and Ananda for their hard work and team leading efforts this week.


We’d also like to thank Andy Woodhouse for all his efforts towards making this another successful DoE Hillary residential at CUE Haven.

And most of all we want to thank the DoEH award participants and congratulate them on all their accomplishments for the week.  It was a pleasure watching them come together as a team and cooperate to accomplish so much creative work.

We wish you all the best for completion of your gold awards and all of your future undertakings.  Do come back to see us again and to see how the Grove is developing.



One Comment leave one →
  1. October 13, 2013 10:11 am

    We are all in good stead whilst we have a younger generation(like these) looking to better our enviroment, and hopefully gain further recognition for their efforts.

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