QUEENSLAND, AUSTRALIA – In 2007, Year 8 students at the Wilsonton Campus of Toowoomba State High School created a ghost tour of their city, including an MP3 download, GPS navigation and a published guide. The finished product appropriately called, the Toowoomba Ghost Guide – was launched after months of hard work by the students and teachers in partnership with the Toowoomba Council.
The teaching team comprising of Debbie McKay (Humanities Teacher), Cameron Lapworth (Mathematics/Science Teacher) and Susan Dalton (Japanese Language Teacher), facilitated the student directed project over the course of a year.
The project was set in the context of a SOSE (Studies of Society and Environment) unit on local area study with a strong pre-European and early settlement focus. Inspired by local history books, written by respected local author, Don Talbot after attending his book launch for “Toowoomba – More Strange and Unusual Tales”, the students developed the concept of creating an interactive multi-media tour to share Toowoomba’s spooky ghost tales with tourists and the rest of the community.
As well as working with Mr Talbot, who agreed to be a community mentor, the students also worked with local council services to assess thedemand for their idea from tourists visiting our city; what information was already available; and how they could collaborate to provide a new offering to visitors to our city.
Further partnerships developed with the local council history library and the Toowoomba Visitors’ Information Centre, which convinced students they were on the right track with their tour idea and also learned that there was a demand for tours with Japanese translations available.
The students researched ten of the most interesting ghost sites recommended by Mr Talbot. In pairs, they prepared 100 word and 200 word narrative/expository paragraphs about the stories behind the ghosts as well as the history of the buildings in which they are said to reside.
Aside from researching and writing, the students gathered statistics, tabled and interpreted data; applied GPS theory and practice to a plan a route for the tour; made Japanese translations; and recorded their scripts using Audacity.
As part of the project development, students undertook a full day’s working tour of the sites they had researched. They were accompanied by the Toowoomba City Council Marketing & Tourism Officer as well as Don Talbot and members of the historical society. At most locations local owners or proprietors met and talked with the students and showed them around their premises.
While the original intent was to create a digital tour that could be uploaded onto GPS and MP3 at the Tourist Information Centre, it become apparent there would also be demand for a hard copy brochure with map.
The launch was held during Education Week at the Toowoomba Railway Station to highlight just one of the ten haunted buildings in the guide.
- Project description from 2008 Regional Showcase application
- Ghost writers tell tales of city haunts – 23 Jul 2008 The Chronicle