This year is the first year the Leslie Gladstone Robertson (LGR) Society has run activities all year- round, thanks in no small part to the work of Year 12 student and long term LGR Committee member, Harry King.
As the LGR Secretary last year and the Chair this year, Harry spearheaded the move to establish a winter walk along the Larapinta Trail, a 223 km track running through Central Australia’s West MacDonnell National Park. “I thought if I could come back in 20 years and there was still an LGR camp going on in winter, that would be a visible legacy of my work on the Committee,” Harry explains.
A third-generation Melbourne Grammar student, Harry has always had a special connection to the outdoors, with his father Andrew (OM 1988) also a member of the LGR Society. “When I’m out on a walk, it’s a kind of detox,” Harry explains. “Being in Year 12, I’ve had plenty on my plate, but I’m always happy and at home in the bush. I always need it in my life.”
To create this year’s hike, Harry first had to submit a feasible itinerary and budget to the Outdoor Education department and the Trips, Camps, Tours Committee, then gain enough interest to make the expedition viable. In the end, this LGR trip attracted a solid group of 12 participants spanning across Years 9 to 12.
The walk itself took in around 74 km of the 223 km trail. While a Melbourne Grammar staff member was always nearby in a “tailing” role, students had no direct interaction with them after the first few nights, relying on their own motivation and skill to complete the walk successfully. “It was a phenomenal walk,” says Harry. “One day we’d be at the top of the highest peak, then we’d be down in a chasm.”
Guiding the group strengthened Harry’s leadership skills as he adjusted his approach to the needs of a diverse group. “It’s a balance of managing group dynamics, as well as working on skills within the group so everyone moves towards the same level,” he says. “By the end of this camp, we were a pretty efficient machine.”
“Harry has a real passion for what he does,” says Director of Outdoor Education, Mr Simon Finnigan. “He has an ability to quietly get things done. At the same time, he has the maturity and self-awareness necessary to be an effective leader. He knows that, while he’s very capable, an aspect of leadership in this context is about empowering others to do things for themselves.”