Children's University Tasmania kids make their small screen debuts in Rosehaven

Published 23 Oct 2017

Students from Collinsvale Primary School will be glued to their screens when Tasmanian-made hit comedy Rosehaven makes its much-anticipated return.

The historic school, in the rolling green foothills of Mt Wellington, and its students will feature in series two of Rosehaven on ABC TV, which was filmed in and around Hobart and the Huon Valley recently.

School principal Kel Innis said the show’s production team were attracted to Collinsvale, on the rural fringe of Glenorchy, largely by the school’s 19th Century façade.

“It is one of the most beautiful schools in Tasmania, possibly Australia,” she said.

“It has a Little House on the Prairie look about it.”

Ms Innis said there was never going to be a shortage of volunteers when the students were asked to be extras, and Children’s University Tasmania school coordinator Rhonda Turner recognised the offer as a perfect fit for those involved in the Peter Underwood Centre program.

Children’s University participants are issued with a Passport to Learning from their school to record their hours of validated activity. The activities are chosen by the children and the emphasis is on experience as a powerful learning tool.

“We had a group of motivated kids already doing all the things they do through Children’s University, and with all the skills they learn from those extra-curricular activities,” Ms Innis said.

An early morning start in bitterly cold mid-winter weather did little to dampen the enthusiasm of Collinsvale’s budding thespians.

“Their resilience was unbelievable, because it was freezing,” Ms Innis said.

“Each scene took about 2-½ hours, and involved them doing very similar playground activities like skipping and running around, over and over.

“They were cold but they were very good.”

Stardom may have come at a price, but it also has its fringe benefits, even for the extras. Ms Innis said the children were dazzled by the bright lights, cameras, director’s board, the TV production lingo, and of course the chance to meet the stars and creators of Rosehaven - Celia Pacquola and Tasmanian comedian Luke McGregor.

“The cast were awesome, they interacted with the kids a lot,” Ms Innis said.

“The crew were also fantastic, and they had catering vans which made morning tea and lunch for the kids, which they thought was awesome.

“They are starting to get very excited now about seeing themselves on TV.”

Year Five student Adella Jackson said the filming was a lot of fun.

“It was a great experience as it allowed us to practice our acting and it was pretty cool to meet some famous actors,” she said.

Rosehaven producer Andy Walker said Collinsvale Primary featured in Episode 2 of the new series.

"Daniel (Luke McGregor) returns to his old primary school to motivate current students - and do tuck shop duty.  About a third of the finished episode was shot at Collinsvale Primary - in one very busy and very, very cold day," Mr Walker said.

"Collinsvale Primary is a beautiful school in a stunning location.  It’s compact size worked perfectly for our fictional rural town of Rosehaven and the surrounding hillsides made it a picture-perfect match for our town."

He said one word summed up the Collinsvale kids: "amazing".

"They did exactly what was required of them take after take - and they did it brilliantly," Mr Walker said.

"The cast and crew were so impressed. The kids were all incredibly welcoming and keen to learn about the process."

Ms Innis said Rosehaven had made a significant donation to the School Association, which would be used to create artwork around the school.

Peter Underwood Centre Deputy Director Aspiration and Attainment, Dr Becky Shelley said Children’s University was all about building confidence and encouraging and celebrating learning outside the classroom.

“The Rosehaven activity at Collinsvale Primary is a fantastic example, and another one which was shared at our School Coordinator Day for Children’s University Tasmania last week was a group from Herdsmans Cove Primary finishing third at the recent Southern Tasmanian Dancing Eisteddfod,” Dr Shelley said.

Since being launched in July 2015, Children’s University Tasmania has grown to include 14 schools, and is set to be extended to 10 schools on the North-West Coast following a $350,000 grant from the Tasmanian Community Fund.

Launched in February 2015, the Peter Underwood Centre is a partnership between the University of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Government in association with the Office of the Governor of Tasmania.