Science Week 2023

Science Week 2023

‘Innovation – Powering Future Industries’

Highlights from The Cathedral School’s ‘Innovation’ themed Science Week.

Orpheus Island Biology Excursion

Orpheus Island Biology Excursion

Each year, the Year 12 Biology students set out on a three-day field trip to Orpheus Island to study the ecosystem, basing themselves at JCU’s Research Station.

Story by James Haydon, Emily O’Callaghan & Sara Jalaleddine.

‘From the 16th to 18th of February, the Year 12 Biology students were enjoying the outdoors, using transects and quadrats to collect data in a Fringing Coral Reef Flat Ecosystem. This was one of the many activities that were planned for us.

Our camp to Orpheus Island began at 4am on Thursday the 16th of February. The alarm clocks went off and we raced to get ready to be at school by 5am. It was pouring rain. This was making our teachers, Mrs Smith, Mrs Morrison and Mr Farrell very concerned. However, we persisted and packed the bus ready to leave for Lucinda. The boat ride from here was eventful – well it depends on which boat you got to ride. Mr Farrell’s group had it easy, 50mins of travel and they had arrived at the JCU Orpheus Island Research Station. Unfortunately, the rest of us were left to a 90min trip and it was a rough ride!’

‘The itinerary was jam packed – arrival, induction, unpacking, and by 11am we were already seated in the lecture theatre starting our first lesson. We connected with Dr Allison Paley, a Marine Biologist and researcher in the fields of coral biology and coral eco-physiology. That afternoon we completed our first snorkel off Pioneer Bay. We were all given a different area to survey, across deep, mid, and shallow waters.

We ran 10m transects out under the water and collected data on four different coral forms. While we had a lot of fun being in the water, we were really tired at the end of the first day. However, our itinerary indicated that there was more on the agenda for the evening! We worked in groups to cook the meals and at night one was spaghetti, a crowd-pleaser.

By 7.30am on the Friday, we were already in stinger suits ready for the next snorkel- this time we got to go out in the boats and collect data in a different bay. After a quick lunch, we spent the afternoon exploring the reef flat – collecting data in two different habitats, mangroves, and the sandy flat. Part of this involved us looking for mudskippers and shrimp-goby burrows. This was a lot of fun.

Our last night ended with butter chicken and hard-boiled rice – we had located a rice cooker for this meal but it decided to break halfway through the cooking process. This meant rice was heated up in smaller amounts using the microwave – it is safe to say the rice was not the tastiest thing on the menu. With all that said, we had a great experience. It was really awesome to be able to connect with Dr Paley in the field and then be able to collate all of our data as a cohort.

If you do Senior Biology – this is an opportunity you do not want to miss. We would really like to thank all of the staff for their work in organising the trip.’

Industry visit by SMEC

Industry visit by SMEC

The Cathedral School welcomed industry experts SMEC to speak to our Year 8 students last week – discussing the importance of rocks, mining, and future careers in Engineering, Geology.

Story by Miranda Mackee – Year 8

‘Today we learnt the importance of rocks and minerals. Cathedral had Terry McCauley and Chloe Madden come in from SMEC and teach us about rocks and the different ways they can be used throughout the industry.

Chloe taught us the importance of rocks and how they can be used for bases in structures like a house, bridge and a dam. Rocks can also help hold structures steady like at the strand they have rocks to stop the erosion of the shoreline. We learnt the importance of making sure the supporting rock of a tunnel must be strong to make sure that no rock and debris can fall on a person or trap a person in the tunnel.  Terry then took over and taught us about the biggest rock industry – mining. We learnt the two types of mining methods – mining underneath the ground and mining at the earth’s surface. Mining underneath the ground can be done by digging shafts and cutting paths for the machinery to be able to move up and down. Mining at the earth’s surface can be done by drilling away the waste rock to reach the ore body from the ground surface.

Terry taught us about how massive the machinery they use in mines are and what happens to the things they mine out of the earth, as they take the waste rock in one direction and the ore body in the other. The ore body rocks are than taken through this process of concentration, refining and smelting. Terry and Chloe were interesting speakers as they kept the grade interested through questions, which had prizes to be won! We were told about the different job opportunities in the industry like geologists who look for minerals in rocks, geotechnical, civil and mining engineers who look at the properties of rocks to use as a structure or support structure. After the lecture we got to look at some rock samples which are from the Hells Gate Dam project. The lecture has gotten me more interested as I have learnt the different ways rocks can be used in everyday life, and how important it is to be mining and looking at the rock samples that come from earth.’

– Miranda Mackee – Year 8




SPARQ-ed Immersion Progam at the Princess Alexandra Hospital

by Anika Logan – Year 12

Over the July holidays, Michelle and I attended an immersion program at the Translational Research Institute at the Princess Alexandra Hospital with the University of Queensland.

The program is aimed at Year 10-12 aspiring STEM kids to give a taste of third-year university biochemistry and research.

We performed a two-day experiment in a level two lab using human cell lines and micropipettes. Our research was about the pathways into human cells of two proteins, and to see if we could successfully inhibit that pathway so the protein makers would stay on the outside of the cell.

On the final day of the program, we gave a presentation on our results to several researchers in TRI and PhD students. Through this program, I have learned lab skills with highly precise equipment, data analysis, and interpretation of microscope cell images and gained an insight into biochemistry research.

This program has inspired me to continue my STEM studies and pursue a career in the sciences, and I highly recommend to any student that is interested in STEM and research.

What is SPARQ-ed?

SPARQ-ed (pronounced spark ed) is a unique educational facility established in collaboration between the Department of Education and The University of Queensland. Our cutting edge facility features a fully equipped PC2 biomedical teaching laboratory and learning centre, located at the Translational Research Institute (TRI) in Brisbane, providing school students a practical introduction to biomedical research.

To find out more, visit:

Motel Mystery

Motel Mystery


By Milla Blanco and Grace Burrows

“Today in Year 8 STEM, we investigated in the fictional death of Barnaby Hill. A fake crime scene was set up in the St. Mary’s Motel.

It was just like a real crime scene, with caution tape and labelled evidence. We even had to go around taking pictures and collecting items. It was heaps of fun and helped improve our knowledge of forensic investigation. The best part was the hazmat suits that gave us a lot of laughs.

Overall, it was a great experience and we look forward to solving this ongoing investigation.”



The Cathedral School joins the ICT Gateway to Industry Schools Program (GISP)

The Cathedral School joins the ICT Gateway to Industry Schools Program (GISP)

The Cathedral School has officially signed with the ACS ‘Gateway to Industry Schools Program’ for 2022. This is an exciting opportunity to help support our students, parents and staff with support for work pathways for students and professional development for staff and students. GISP is an initiative from the Department of Employment, Small Business and Training (DESBT) and ACS.

ACS is the professional association representing the ICT sector and profession in Australia. As highlighted by ACS, the aims of ICT GISP are to:

• Promote the ICT Industry to students and parents as an outstanding career choice
• Raise awareness of the hundreds of different and interesting ICT roles within this career choice
• Highlight the different study and training pathways to enable students to prepare for an ICT career
• Connect schools and students with ICT Industry Partners to provide industry experience
• Provide ICT GISP schools with access to teacher training and resources

‘A career in ICT can cater for all types of academic, personal and professional passions. The emerging technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution, such as 3D printing, Virtual and Augmented Realities, Artificial Intelligence, the Internet of Things, and Robotics promise more possibilities for a career in technology. The most in-demand skillsets from tech employers are communication, Problem-Solving, and Collaboration. There is a career for everyone in the tech world, and it can be flexible, creative, fun, and well-paid.’ 
– GISP Project Manager, Matthew Jorgensen.

The partnership places The Cathedral School at the forefront of ICT-based P-12 education in North QLD and compliments the development of the school’s new ICT Leadership role headed by Ben Dallimore in 2022. The school is also in the final planning stages before undergoing significant structural developments on campus, featuring a dedicated STEM/ICT educational wing. The wing is scheduled for completion mid-2022.

The agreement was signed by Principal Ian Gamack and GISP Project Manager Matthew Jorgensen, with Industry Partner/Head of Smart Precinct NQ, Miranda Mears. Pictured L-R: Andrew Arratoon – Director of Studies, Katrina Wilshire – Pathways Manager & Careers Advisor, Ian Gamack – Principal, Miranda Mears – Head of Smart Precinct NQ, Ben Dallimore – Director of ICT (beginning 2022), and, Matthew Jorgensen – GISP Project Manager.

Find out more about the program here