Quirindi visits Bellingen for Beau Valley Shield

Bellingen High reclaimed the Beau Valley Shield last week, winning 28 of the 34 events and sending Quirinidi High home with the consolation prize of the wooden shield.

Sports teacher Jon Winfer noted that the host school usually does win, as sheer force of numbers gives them the capacity to put forward their strongest teams.

"They [the visitors] come with maybe five good soccer players and six rugby league players. So we won fairly easily."

Quirindi brought 67 students across for the three days, continuing an annual tradition that started in 1974 and used to be commonplace at schools across NSW.

The friendly but competitive pairings were set up 46 years ago as a way of exposing coastal kids to the inland lifestyle, and vice versa.

These days, Bellingen/Quirindi, Dorrigo/Walcha and Gosford/Orange are among the few left who still do the exchange visits.

"At lots of schools it fell by the wayside," Jon said. "Probably just for logistical reasons."

During their visit, the Quirindi students and staff were exposed to both a green landscape and falling rain, two things they haven't seen for some time as the drought grinds on further west.

Jon said the atmosphere during the visit was extraordinarily good.

"I've done 14 Quirindis now," he said. "And it was by far the best I've seen in terms of camaraderie. Some of our students actually played for Quirindi because they were short on numbers or weren't doing very well."

He added that Bellingen were also triumphant in the staff competition, which saw 25 local teachers and seven from Quirindi vying at darts, poker and pool.

  • Story updated to include Gosford/Orange as another pair still exchanging visits