CEBS Camp Bindaree
Yarra Valley, Victoria
I found this to be a really interesting smaller scale camp than some of our ‘full activity’ member camps. Set on 7.5 acres of bushland, a ‘stones throw’ from the Yarra River and township of Woori Yallock. CEBS Camp Bindaree is owned and managed by the Anglican Boys Society. CEBS is an acronym for Church of England Boys Society. On the visit I had the pleasure of meeting some of the ‘old boys’ from the Society. These extremely talented hardy volunteers that I met (some well into their 80’s) could swing an axe and wield a chainsaw with more ease than people a third their age.
Every week this group of volunteers carry out routine (and some non-routine) maintenance. Why? Because they believe that the camp experience they offer should be of the highest standard and reflect their own camp experience values. They have all been leaders at the camp over the past 30-40 years.
The property was purchased in 1961, and back then was only used for the CEBS groups, of which they all stayed under canvas. It must have been chilly out here at certain times of the year! It wasn’t until 23 years ago, that they wanted to make the camp available to all families and community groups. CEBS had some buildings designed and built by Holmesglen TAFE off site, then transported and assembled. The camp is mainly set up for weekend groups and can sleep up to 42. A fairly minimalist operation, offering self-catering, a dining hall with a very well appointed kitchen, an ablution block, bunk house with five separate bunk rooms and substantial games room. An outside fire pit (which looked as if it had been vacuumed cleaned it was so neat), BBQ area and outside chapel make up the rest of the camp.
It is all set in a spectacular location right on the ridge line above the Yarra River in the shadow of the Yarra Ranges National Park.
I cannot recall visiting a camp anywhere that was so well maintained, in such neat order and all done by volunteers. Long live our volunteer workforce!