UON Science and Engineering Challenge tests Bega Valley's creative minds

Coordinating bumpy missions to Mars, building bridges and configuring bionic hands were just some of the challenges put to local students at the Science and Engineering Challenge at Sapphire Coast Turf Club on Friday.

The University of Newcastle (UON) program attracted students from seven secondary and primary schools across the district to take part in hands-on activities involving principles of science, engineering and technology.

Lumen Christi Catholic College, in partnership with St Patrick’s Parish School in Cooma, topped the event with most points just in front of Eden Marine High School.

It was the first time the event has been held in the Bega Valley, much to the delight of teachers and parents attending the event.

The ultimate activity required students to build a bridge made of icy pole sticks that would support the weight of a moving wooden train.

If successful, the train would become heavier until the bridge finally collapsed. 

Bega High School’s creative design ensured its students took out the top prize for the category.

Other activities included constructing an earthquake-proof tower, wiring an ‘ElectraCITY’, moving a Mars rover across bumpy terrain and building a bionic hand with straws.

UON director of the Science and Engineering Challenge Terry Burns said the event would not be possible without support from local businesses and volunteers.

“The event really empowers local kids,” he said.

Rotary Club of Bega president Charlie Bloomfield said the aim of the day was to showcase the role science and engineering played in everyday life as a way of encouraging kids into those careers.

The challenge is a cooperative venture between UON and Rotary Clubs, local communities, local businesses, governments, professional groups and other universities.


  1. Lumen Christi Catholic College & St Patrick’s Cooma – 1056.22 points
  2. Eden Marine High School – 1051.46
  3. Bega High School – 818.66
  4. Sapphire Coast Anglican College – 798.86
  5. Merimbula Public School – 511.13
  6. Tathra Public School – 338.06