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From Outback to Campus: Navigating the differences between Broken Hill and Bathurst

From Outback to Campus: Navigating the differences between Broken Hill and Bathurst


After an interesting Humans of Charles Sturt piece, Cooper talks more on living in Broken Hill, the ten hour move to Bathurst, and the differences between the two.

Written by Cooper Wielozynski

Hi, my name is Cooper Wielozynski, and I’m 18 years old. I’m currently living in Bathurst, NSW, while attending university completing a Bachelor of Education (K-12) PDHPE.

Bathurst is roughly 10 hours away from where I grew up in the NSW outback mining town of Broken Hill.

This is a far different environment in many ways from where I grew up.

Growing up in Broken Hill

Broken Hill is a typical country town where you practically know everyone; it’s a friendly country town with strong community spirit.

Growing up in Broken Hill, I enjoyed school and have had some wonderful, encouraging teachers. I also enjoyed going to the small township of Menindee, about an hour away, for fishing and camping.

Menindee has been in the news a lot lately for the massive fish kills. I spent much of my childhood in that small town and am saddened by what has happened in the river system.

It was a typical country life, and it’s a lot different from the life I live now in Bathurst.

Camping in Menindee.
Camping in Menindee.

Being Accepted into University

Finding out I was accepted to university was both exciting and scary. It was exciting and rewarding that all my hard work and study paid off, but it was also scary to leave the comfort and familiar surroundings I always knew.

It also made me more determined to succeed and give back to my community, to show people that have helped and provided support along the way a way to pay back and pay it forward.

Hopefully, one day, I can help someone the way I have been helped.

I have learned to always work hard, give it my best, and always work towards the greater goal.

I cannot wait to give back to my rural community and do what it takes to succeed and help others.

Cooper and his first year photo with the Charles Sturt sign.
Cooper and his first year photo with the Charles Sturt sign.

Living in Bathurst

Bathurst is a far cry from what I was used to.

I was excited and scared to be accepted to university, excited for the chance to further my studies and go back to my rural community and become a teacher, knowing first-hand the shortage of teachers, especially rural.

What a cultural shock!

I’m used to red dirt and dust storms that blanket the town and sometimes turn day into night.

Broken Hill during red dust storm.
Broken Hill during red dust storm.

One particular example, I was still in primary school, just about to finish the day when, just like that, a massive red dust storm hit. We couldn’t leave school; we had to stay in our classrooms as it was so bad that you wouldn’t have seen your hand in front of your face.

But that’s normal, not out of the ordinary to experience dust storms, especially after years of drought.

Then to come to Bathurst, it is so lush and green, and rain is definitely far and few between at home.

Bathurst and its 'lush and green' landscape.
Bathurst and its ‘lush and green’ landscape.

The Best Decision

I was scared of leaving the security and familiarity of home and all I knew. Would I change my decision? No.

I have enjoyed growing up in my hometown and now will experience a different opportunity while I continue my studies.

I will learn and grow from these experiences regardless of what life throws at me. In life, learning, growing, trying, and putting your best into everything, you might not always succeed the way you want to.

But never give up and always put one foot forward to keep reaching for your goals.

On top of Mount Panorama/Wahluu.
On top of Mount Panorama/Wahluu.

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