Bowraville Central School wins Science and Engineering Challenge | photos, video

The successful Bowraville Central team with the winners' plaque
The successful Bowraville Central team with the winners' plaque

ONE of the smaller schools in the Nambucca Valley has turned the engineering world on its head with an against the odds triumph in an interschool challenge run by the University of Newcastle.

And when Bowraville Central – in the proverbial ‘group of death’ against heavyweight private schools – were announced winners of the Science and Engineering Challenge at Kempsey, “everything got a bit crazy”, said Bowra teacher John Day.

The competition was open to schools across the Mid North Coast and is aimed at Year 10 students. But with a secondary school enrolment of just 130-odd, teacher Kerry Kete said they had to include some Year 8 and 9 students to form their team of 20.

“We’ve always had a strong science program with robotics and the like, but to win … let’s just say we were very excited,” Kerry told the Guardian.

Evidence of the good things happening at Bowraville Central is that the school came second in the engineering challenge last year – and has gone one better in 2017.

Brandon Lambert and Tyrone Noble in the catapault challenge

Brandon Lambert and Tyrone Noble in the catapault challenge

The challenge was exacting – as the Bowra students were split into smaller groups and tasked with everything from bridge building and tower construction through to designing a suspension system for a ‘rover buggy’.

The competition ran over a full day, and accompanying teacher John stressed he wasn’t able to assist the young scientists.

“You can give encouragement but that’s it. It’s all on the kids to work things out,” he said.

“I was especially pleased that one of the university people remarked how well our students had interacted and bonded during the exercises. That made me very proud.”

Hear from Delaney Boorer, Sam Goodwin, Olivia Rogers, Jack Sullivan and Dene Lyons:

The winning team from Bowra comprised Grace Walters, Joven Walker, Zahra Kete, Ruby Keller, Brady Atkins, Matthew Williamson, Michaela Jones, Crystal-Rose Harte, Olivia Rogers, Sam Goodwin, Hunter Primmer, Dene Lyons, Jack Sullivan, Simon Walker, Kurt Smith, Ethan Davidson, Brandon Lambert, Delaney Boorer, Tyrone Noble and Shayne Boswell.

Bowraville achieved first place in four of the 12 events on their way to a whopping victory – 360 points ahead of the second-placed school.


1st – Bowraville Central School (science teachers Kerry and Josh Le Cerf) 1163 points

2nd – St Paul’s College Kempsey 803 points

3rd – St Joseph’s College Port Macquarie 800 points

4th – Mackillop College Port Macquarie 766 points

5th – Kempsey Adventist School 722 points

6th – Heritage Christian College Port Macquarie 674 points.