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Cottage By The Sea (VIC)

Cottage by the Sea Queenscliff, Victoria Accredited Cottage by the Sea was established by the Ministering Children’s League (MCL) to assist primary school aged disadvantaged children. In 1890, a very forward thinking group of women (some having just arrived on boat from the UK) raised money to purchase property and build a very small cottage right by the sea, in fact the cottage overlooks the rip at Port Phillip Heads. So, by 1895 the original cottage opened and catered for convalescing children. It staggered me the shear traffic of huge container ships stacked so high listing under the weight of LCD TV’s and Smart phone’s destined for Harvey Normans, no doubt, that passed through the heads during my brief visit. By 1936, the cottage had become very run down and was demolished and a new one built; the one that stands today. It is big, double story and sits proudly boosting the best views in Queenscliff. It reminded me of a posh looking beach side hotel. No wonder the army took it over as a hospital during the war! Not much has changed in the 120 years of the Cottage being run as far as the purpose it serves. Cottage by the Sea is now a not-for-profit, non Government organisation, still providing programs and accommodation for primary school aged disadvantaged children. They still rely heavily on donations and fundraising to keep the property and staff of 24 going. When I visited they had recently been donated movies, AV equipment and a screen by Disney Studios. An army of volunteer knitters tirelessly provide socks for the 1300 children who attend camp each year. I saw boxes and boxes of these socks ready and waiting for little feet to occupy them. Each child is given a pair of socks to keep and more importantly wear indoors during their stay. Additionally, each child is given a CD photo slide of themselves participating at camp to take home as a souvenir of their time. A nice reminder of how much fun you can have on camp! Accommodation is in dormitory rooms upstairs, as has always been the case. Most of the programs run at camp are seaside programs that utilise the instant access to the beach, swimming, surfing, paddle boarding etc. A small playground and low-ropes initiative course is located on site.

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