Tuesday, 10 August, 2021

Happy Census Day; Vanuatu’s cyclone-proof houses; Netball sets sights on Brissie Olympics; and Kitty, the cat who wears glasses.



Vanuatu’s cyclone houses: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/aug/09/the-house-that-can-withstand-a-cyclone-how-traditional-dwellings-are-making-a-comeback-in-vanuatu 

Truffles the cat: https://edition.cnn.com/2021/08/08/us/kitty-glasses-national-cat-day-trnd/index.html


Paralympics Q+A

A two-minute introduction to goalball: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0bZ51jzmbAQ 

Tyan Taylor’s training routine and support crew:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LtVY34jmjNs


Squiz Kids Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/squizkids/?hl=en

Got a birthday coming up and you want a shout-out? Send us an email at [email protected]

Squiz Kids is proudly supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas





Happy Census Day everyone! What’s the census? It’s kind of like a snapshot of the nation … where the government asks questions of all the many millions of households in Australia on one particular night –  to gather a whole bunch of what’s called demographic information. This is stuff like how many people are living in a house, and in turn a suburb, town or city; how many of them are male or female; how many have jobs, how many are retired, how many are at school or university. How many speak different languages at home, how many belong to different religious groups, how many rely on community services, how much money each household earns. 

The idea is that on one night, every five years, the government asks every house in the country to stop and take stock of who’s there and what they do, and what government services they use. And tonight’s that night. 

Some ten million households, covering Australia’s 25 million people are expected to fill out this year’s Census.  

It’s all really important information to help governments paint a picture of modern day Australia and use that picture to make decisions about how to best run the country. Which suburbs need more schools, which ones need more transport, which ones need more hospitals. So now you know.




Each day we give the world globe a spin and find a news story from wherever it stops. And today we’ve landed in Vanuatu, where traditional building methods are making a comeback. 

Back in 2015, a massive cyclone devastated our Pacific Island neighbour, displacing 65,000 people and destroying 17,000 modern buildings. But people who sought shelter in traditional structures known as “cyclone houses” made it through just fine, and now, perhaps not surprisingly, more and more of them are being built all over the country. 

A cyclone house is designed as a place for villagers to sleep. It is low to the ground, and its frame is buried in the ground. The walls, roof, and beams are all made from plants that are specially chosen for their flexibility and durability – that is, their ability to bend and still be strong.  

As well as being safe in a storm, locals say a cyclone house is also a delightful place to spend the night: the natural materials act as insulators, keeping you warm on a cool night, and cool on a warm one. Take a look in your episode notes for some photos of a typical cyclone house. 



Did you know that netball is played by an estimated 20 million people in more than 80 countries around the world?

So why isn’t it an Olympic sport?

That’s the question being asked of the International Olympic Committee with Netball Australia – the people who run the sport here in Australia – determined that netball is an Olympic sport by the time the 2032 Brisbane Games roll around.

Star shooter, Gretel Bueta – formerly known as Gretel Tippett – yesterday joined calls for netball to be played at Olympic level – saying it was important for all the girls here in Australia and around the world who played the game every weekend to be able to dream of one day playing for a gold medal.

And boys: don’t think you don’t have a vested interest in this. According to Netball Australia, more and more boys are playing the sport, such that by 2032, there could well be a standalone national men’s competition too. Contact!



Let me introduce you to Truffles the cat. Truffles lives in the United States, with her human mum, Danielle – who’s an optometrist. An optometrist is someone who checks your eyesight and fits you for glasses if you need them. And lots of people do need glasses – whether it’s to read or even just to see things in everyday life. The thing is: lots of kids are a bit scared when they go to an optometrist. They’re nervous or self-conscious about having to wear glasses. Which is where Truffles comes in. She’s become famous in her town for wearing glasses – to put the kids at ease. They see Truffles wearing glasses, and they giggle and suddenly, it’s not so bad or scary for them to do the same. Truffles’ owner Danielle says her kitty has helped hundreds of local kids overcome the fear or self-consciousness of wearing glasses. And along the way, Truffles has accumulated an impressive collection of eyewear. Apparently the purple ones are her favourite. And if you take a look at the photos in today’s episode notes, 

you’ll understand why. She looks very fashionable. 




Are you missing the Olympics already? Me too. But don’t panic – because the Paralympics are on their way. And to celebrate the fact we’ll soon have a whole new bunch of sports to get excited about, we’ve invited Aussie Paralympian Tyan (Tee-ahn) Taylor to take the Squiz Kids hot seat and answer your questions before she heads to Tokyo.

Tyan is one of the greatest goal ball athletes this country has ever produced. This is her third Paralympics. 

What’s goal ball? Only a really cool Paralympic sport played by teams of people who are visually impaired – which is to say, their eyes don’t work as well as other people’s. 

There are links in your episode notes to learn all about goalball. Tyan will also be happy to answer any question you have about how the Paralympics work, how they’re different from the Olympics, what sorts of events there are, how many countries participate, how she got into goalball. But don’t dilly dally … she’s got a plane to catch to Tokyo – so you need to get your questions in by Friday – email them to [email protected]  




This is the part of the podcast where you get to test how well you’ve been listening …

  1. What’s the name of the big government survey that’s happening across the country tonight?
  2. Which South Pacific nation has started experimenting with traditionally made cyclone houses?
  3. What’s the name of the cat in the US that’s helping kids who go to the optometrist?




It’s August 10… The first day of the Islamic New Year … happy new year!

It’s also a special day to these Squiz Kids celebrating a birthday today… Vincent from O’Halloran Hill, Zavier from Bathurst, Akira from Abbotsford, Blayke from Woodhill, Ethan from Albany Hills, Luca from North Parramatta, Isabella from Five Dock, Eli from Nambucca Heads, Matilda from Brisbane, Pheenix from Queanbeyan, Thomas & Kiera – twins from Canberra, Emma, Phoebe and Ava from Cannon Hill, Finlay from Singapore and Violet from New York City.

Belated birthday shout outs go to …Max from Northbridge.

Plus!!  … Because our friends in Victoria and Greater Sydney are still in lockdown – we’re continuing to send out Home Learning Herograms …

to all the Year 3 and 4 kids from Mount Terry Public School in Albion Park  – your teachers want you to know how proud they are of all the hard work you are doing homeschooling and to stay strong and positive  –

 Also a herogram to Miss Lyon and Classes 2W & 2L at Cammeray Public School  – and thank you Miss Lyon for making zoom calls really fun.  Lastly, Charlotte in Grade 1 at St Roberts Primary School in Geelong sends a herogram to all her classmates and teachers Miss Grinter and Miss Chelsea -who have all just started lockdown number 6!! 

Plus a couple of classroom shout outs to those of you not in lockdown…

Mr Stuart’s 5/6 class at Boorowa Central School, the Grade 5 /6 classes  at St Joseph’s Primary School in Narrandera and their teachers – Mrs Graham, Mrs Smith and Mrs Flynn.  And lastly 4PA and Mrs Plamenac at Albany Hills State School. 


The S’Quiz Answers:

  1. Census
  2. Vanuatu
  3. Truffles