Students fill the shoes of Tom Kruse

TRAVELLING MUSEUM: Joshua Saxby and James Van Amstel with education manager, Ian Reed.
TRAVELLING MUSEUM: Joshua Saxby and James Van Amstel with education manager, Ian Reed.

The National Motor Museum drove into several schools across the Mid North last week, to expose students to two education programs that explore the journey of Tom Kruse and the role of hawkers in the early 20th century.

The program which visited Airdale Primary School students from reception to Year 7, put the students in the shoes of the legendary Tom Kruse, who drove his Leyland Badger truck along the Birdsville track from Marree to Birdsville. 

The students followed step by step, the challenges that Tom faced along his journey and were integrated into his life through different roles assigned to them. 

Education manager and facilitator Ian Reed explained that ultimately they want students to take home how important this legend is to South Australian history. 

“We are talking about the Tom Kruse journey that went from Marree to Birdsville, we are not talking about the Hollywood actor. This is a way to get the students involved in stepping into the shoes of a great legend”, Mr Reed said.

“It taps into the HASS component and it is comparing what we do now, to what they did back then. It has also got  STEM in it. We talk a little bit about levers and pulleys as well.”

The state-wide road show is being held across the year over ten schools and after the Mid North they will then tour to the Riverland and then to the south east. 

The interactive program provides each student with a role through out Tom’s trip including five lucky students who are able to drive the truck, a student who plays Tom Kruse and several others who Tom met along the way including locals, post masters and even media.

“We really hope that students will get to understand what a great Australian legend it is and what constitutes that”, Ian explained.

“Everyone has a role in this program. We have some mechanics, some people who load the truck, post masters, general people he met along the way.”

“We also hope they will understand his relationship with the Aboriginal people at the time and all the other people along the way.”

The incursion will be in the Riverland in Term 3.

Year 7 student Raine Dietman says the incursion is a great opportunity for everyone to learn about Tom Kruse. 

“I am the reporter and am taking photos and writing down information along the track.”