The Schoolies Tradition

9 10 2009

first run to the beach

What started in the 1970’s Schoolies has become a very popular Australian tradition. Schoolies week, or better known as Schoolies is the custom where highschool graduates travel predominantly to Queensland and other bay areas for a week long party. Although many travel to Queenland’s Gold Coast, by the 1990s Schoolies destinations have extend past the Gold Coast to other bay areas within Queensland and out of Queensland such as New South Wales’ Byron Bay and South Australia’s Victor Harbor. In the current years, overseas destinations such as Bali, and the South Pacific Islands have become increasingly popular.

Schoolies at Lorne

Over the decades, schoolies has been associated with the rowdy antics of youths consumed by alcohol, and the consequences it has on the local community as well as the Australian government. However, Schoolies started as a rite of passage transitioning from being youths to the emergence into the adult world. The ritual ‘first run to the beach’; whereby the run to the beach into the ocean after school has finished, symbolizes the freedom that is the essence of schoolies. Being the first trip these youth’s have taken without parental supervision, can at times cause havoc especially if alcohol is added into the equation. But schoolies has the potential to be enjoyable without it being destructive.

As mentioned previously, with the arrival of Australian youths from all over Australia congesting in one area, it causes problems for the local community. The main problems that arise from Schoolies week is the issue of Violence and property damages due to alcohol intoxication. Millions of dollars have been spent annually by the Queensland government to help crackdown on alcohol violence and prevent damages to local property.

violence at schoolies

read the accompanying story here glassing, stabbing in night violence 

Schoolies 2007 highlighted the dangers that came out of schoolies. Raymond Liu, a 2007 graduate attended schoolies with one thing in mind, “Me and my mates just went there to get as drunk as we can, to party, celebrate the end of high school and relax”. This is what schoolies has become renowned as in today’s terms.

“Everynight was a party…you’d be able to see a brawl every night, mostly small ones, but it was crazy”, Raymond said, “these people would get riled up over the smallest things when intoxicated. You could accidently bump into them and they’d find an excuse to start something with you.” But schoolies is not all about the parties and the alcohol culture that Australian youths have come accustomed to, “The media has the tendency to sensationalise minor events. They concentrate on the negative aspects of schoolies and barely on the positive. Even is they did, they’d put it back to back with a fight where 20 people got injured so all the public would see about schoolies is the binge drinking and the violence, which is really not what schoolies was like.”

When asked about he’s son participation in Schoolies, Michael Liu replied, “I was worried at first knowing the history of youths and alcohol, with no parents too, but I said to myself ‘Raymond has to grow up eventually’. This was a big test to see if I could trust him with he’s new found freedom and independence. I’m glad Raymond didn’t get into serious trouble.” Parents and their children now are able to find informative websites like Youth Central set up by the Australian Government which covers topics such as getting organised for schoolies, accommodation and how to take care of yourself during schoolies.

Problems that arise from schoolies is not just alcohol alone. Sexual assault, drink spiking, drugs, and toolies are other problems that those attending schoolies might face.

For more information about having a safe yet fun upcoming schoolies 2009 visit Schoolies by the Queensland Government.

The map below, pinpoints destinations of interests for those attending schoolies. Along with that, it also shows accommodations that accept schoolies, as not all accommodations accept schoolies week participants.

View Larger Map

Schoolies Survival via The Morning Show @ Channel 7

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