Crystal mine theme for student speech

By Country News

When primary school student Charli Hill addressed her peers for a speaking competition she told a fascinating tale about Strathbogie’s international fame in crystal mining.

Charli also impressed the judges with the story behind the naming of the stretch of creek known as Polly McQuinns.

The Benalla Lions Club Junior Public Speaking Competition on July 22 saw students from Years 3 to 5 deliver a speech on a topic of their choice to a panel of three judges.

Perabin Primary College students Isaac King, who attends the Violet Town campus, and Charli Hill, from the Strathbogie campus, took out the top prizes.

Year 4 student Isaac won the Years 3/4 trophy for his speech about the Violet Town public library, while Charli delivered her speech about the Strathbogie region to win the Years 5/6 category, with both impressing the judges.

Focusing on some of her favourite places, Charli delivered the history of some of the most well known areas of the Strathbogie region, including the Crystal King Mines and Polly McQuinns.

‘‘The (Crystal King Mines) first operated in the 1940s but are now used for viewing, walking through and seeing lots of pretty crystals. In fact, one of the biggest crystals in the world was found here,’’ she told the judges.

She said in 1971 Alex Ammess, aiming to create the world’s largest hand-cut stone, selected a 14kg crystal from the mines and set to work.

The cutting and polishing of the clear quartz crystal took more than 200 hours and three-and-a-half months and earned the stone, which ultimately weighed 1.7kg, the name Crystal King.

Much like the mines, Charli said the history of Polly McQuinns, located on Seven Creeks, held another unique story.

‘‘The name Polly McQuinns comes from an old man (of that name) who was driving home in his horse and cart one night and missed the bridge and fell in,’’ she said.

‘‘They never found him or his horses because of the endless depth of the swimming hole.’’

From the town golf course where visitors are asked to put $10 per person in the honesty box for a round of golf, to the local cafe Under the Sun where Charli recommends the delicious lemon slice, the Year 5 student said there was plenty of character and activities to enjoy in the region.

State Member for Euroa Steph Ryan, who was on the panel of judges, said it was a tough competition to judge.

‘‘In addition to being judged on the content and delivery of their speeches, students in Years 5 and 6 were required to answer an impromptu question, ‘Should junk food be banned?’ with just 10 minutes to prepare their response,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘It takes guts to get up in front of a room full of people to deliver a speech but all of the students did it very well. The competition was of a very high standard.’’