Hittin' the road - Episode 12: Dubbo

Testament to its size and importance as a large regional hub, Dubbo actually has three campuses (campai?)

From Bourke I headed south-east on the Mitchell Highway and began the long trek back home. But I still had a couple of stops on my schedule and some new friends to make.

Some of these new friends were in Dubbo, my next serious stopover. The distance between Bourke and Dubbo is about 360kms – a lonely drive of almost four hours. I broke the journey in Nyngan, which is approximately halfway. This town of about 2,000 people has a local TAFE Campus, but unfortunately it was closed when I passed through town. Incidentally, Nyngan is only a hop, skip and a jump away from the exact geographic centre of New South Wales, something that's marked with a cairn (pile of stones).


I had another pit stop in Warren, a charming leafy little town on the Macquarie River, not far from Dubbo. Again, the TAFE Campus was closed, but it was nice to get out of the car, stretch my legs. Are we there yet?


Dubbo has a population of 42,000, effectively making it a huge city according to the standards of most of the other places throughout the TAFE Western catchment area. Testament to its size and importance as a large regional hub, Dubbo actually has three campuses (campai?). My schedule allowed me to check out two of them.

My first visit was to the Myall Street Campus. While delivering training over a large cross section of different industry areas, the hair and beauty school is definitely one of the more popular ones. Hair and beauty is a large and thriving industry in Dubbo, with graduates often finding work in the city's many salons, or starting up their own businesses in their own garages. Another feather in Myall Street Campus' hair and beauty cap is that one of the teachers, Bronwyn, actually trained with make-up guru Napoleon Perdis many moons ago! Now there's a name to drop casually into the conversation.


Another cool feature at Myall Street is the purpose-built learning facility for Indigenous students. The Yarradamarra Centre offers these students a comfortable and culturally-sensitive environment for learning, something that's often overlooked in educational settings, and which can make a big difference to outcomes. I learned about some of the underlying issues that can impact on the learning of Indigenous students back at the Coonamble TAFE, so can really appreciate the need for a facility like this one.


I also had a quick peek at the fine arts section at Myall Street. Some stunning work in progress in this room, as evidenced by this photo, which I took with the student's full blessing.

Dubbo TAFE just goes on forever! Here's their fine arts studio :) #tafewestern #taferoadtrip

A photo posted by tafensw (@tafensw) on Oct 28, 2014 at 5:52pm PDT


My next visit was at the Narromine Road Campus, located on the other side of town. My visit here was dominated by the Campus' awesome Heavy Vehicle Diesel Mechanics Facility, the only one of its kind west of the Great Dividing Range. Okay, so imagine a huge hangar-type space the size of about four football fields and the height of a three-storey building. These transport industry training digs offer everything your budding grease monkey could wish for – from auto electrical testing facilities, to rooms designed for working with fuel (complete with all the proper exhaust systems), to properly fitted-out mechanics classrooms.


In fact, it's more than a facility – it's a complex! I think my jaw was hanging open the whole time I was there. The facilities are so good that it often takes in students from other parts of the state, as well as interstate students.