School Camps

Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges - near Rawnsley...

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Working for an Outdoor Education company (albeit in the IT department) sometime makes me think back to all those school camps I attended as a child.

Preschool – Stockwell
My brother is several years older than me and our mother was a stay at home mum most of our lives.
When my brother was in Primary school and I had yet to start school, so when mum volunteered to help out at my brother’s Stockwell camp I tagged along.
I have memories of my brother’s classmates dressing me up and including me in one of the nightly school plays.

Primary School (R-6) – Stockwell
Our Primary school had an arrangement in which all students were able to attend camp at an Education department property in Stockwell, South Australia.
Each year level would jump on the school bus, head up to Stockwell, marvel over the closeness to Truro (“a girl was murdered there, do you know the story?”).
It was an old school building with added dormitories and ablutions block.
There was a fantastic flying fox at the back of the property that no one would get away with using today.

Primary School (Yr7) – Heysen Trail
In Year 7, in honour of the sesqui-centenary of South Australia our annual school camp was moved from Stockwell to a walk along the Heysen Trail.  We were not happy.
Can’t remember too much of the walk, except the rain.
It rained non-stop for 3 days. Canvas tents, over packed, water gets in.
After the first night our air mattresses were floating.
I also remember being sent home early, my mother not being home for the first time on record.
The next door neighbour took me in, gave me a hot shower, hot milo and vegemite toast.
Still my favourite solution for cold conditions.

Primary School (Yr7) -Choir Camp – Stockwell
Lucky for some of us we were still able to head to Stockwell for one last hurrah.
The school choir headed to Stockwell for a few days to practice and have lots of fun.
We even had a performance one night. Still not entirely sure where they found the audience.

High School (Yr10) – Chemistry Camp – Woomera, Rawnsley Park
Our Year 10 Chemistry trip was supposed to head to Andamooka to check out the mines.
Unfortunately the rains came and completely washed away the roads.
We were stranded in Woomera for a couple of extra nights. Sleeping in the school library was fun.
Sleeping in a random shed in the middle of someones’ property was interesting.
Boys on one side, girls on the other, a row of furniture across the middle to separate the two.
The night in Rawnsley Park was a little more civilised – lots of cabins with bunk beds.

High School (Yr12) – Geology Camp –Flinders Ranges, Parachilna Gorge, Wilpena Pound
Several previous Year 12 classes had a ‘get to know each other’ camp at the beginning of the year.
Until my year. Rumour had it that the previous year’s class had trashed the campsite so badly that they would not have us back.  Understanding the organisational side of camps now I wonder whether that was the real story.  It may have been more likely that are bigger class size could not be accommodated or that none of the teachers wanted to volunteer.
The camp was excellent – being Geology focused we saw lots of rocks, dirt, rivers and fault lines.
Luckily the Flinders Ranges is full of said formations so there was lots to see.
We stayed at Angorichina Lodge, a nice basic hostel style accommodation. Small general store on the property where I bought an extremely overpriced block of Cadbury Peppermint chocolate.
This also earned me the ‘Chocolate Queen’ award.  Awesome.
Favourite memory was sitting on a ridge a little way from the lodge being mesmerised by an enormous full moon flooding the landscape with light.

Now I have a better understanding of what went into making these camps possible I have a new respect for all the teachers who gave so much of their time for the students to enjoy themselves.
I’ve probably forgotten 99% of all the classes I had, but I still have fond memories of all the camps.

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