Magnetic Island North Queensland
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March 20th 2008
Island rallies to save last camp

Lorna Hempstead Following yesterday's article, "Mike back at crease over Island Camp," we learned of Community Development Association President Lorna Hempstead's efforts to lobby the Department of Local Government, Planning, Sport and Recreation in a letter to the Department's Director Generals which puts the issue into an historical context. The letter, which follows, was sent on March 2 and is yet to be answered by the Department.

Dear Ms Farmer and Ms O'Bryan,

I write on behalf of the community of Magnetic Island concerning the current options paper that is being developed on the future of the Magnetic Island Recreation Camp.

Magnetic Island, once had 3 such camps, Camp Magnetic, run by the Uniting Church that would take about 80 groups a year from 25 people to 120 people (though Outward Bound for 10 days each Easter was always of the order of 160 people). In the last full year of operation they hosted more than 7200 people. It was closed in May 1998 and the land sold as part of a rationalisation of Church assets.

Churches of Christ Camp on the Island had a smaller capacity (about 40 when they closed) closed shortly after this as the entity did not reach the current building standards.

The community would not want to see our last camp close. As well as hosting school groups, and specialised youth camps such as music and other art forms, the Picnic Bay Camp is a welcome break for Camp Quality and other children with special needs, as well as many adult groups. World Heritage Magnetic Island has much to offer to those who live in less idyllic circumstances and the Island community wishes to continue sharing its unique location with others, both by offering the opportunities afforded by the Camp itself and the associated educational and recreational opportunities of the Island.

I hope that this might be the start of a constructive dialogue.

Yours sincerely
Lorna Hempstead

So that other Island residents can express their opinions over the camp's possible closure Magnetic Times has provided the email addresses for correspondence to the Departmental Director Generals: Ms Dianne Farmer - and Ms Tracy O'Bryan -

Island residents and readers who wish to contact the appropriate Queensland Government Minister over the issue can email, The Honourable Judy Spence:

Story and photo: George Hirst

To add your comment, see below

Island rallies to save last camp
Bruce Williams
March 21st 2008
The THREE camps mentioned by Ms Hempstead in her historical missive to the government are as follows: 1. The Presbyterian Camp in Mandalay Avenue (on the land beside the International Hotel), 2 The Methodist (latterly Uniting Camp)in Mango Parkway, 3 The John Oliver Feetham Anglican Camp (cnr The Grove and Clark Streets, Nelly Bay, 4. The Lutheran Camp in Sooning Street, 5. The Picnic Bay Recreation (once National Fitness)Camp and 6, a much earlier Salvation Army Camp in Horsehoe Bay operated by one Billy Batton at the end of Pollard Street.

Despite a few inaccuracies in delivering the message, the cause is just, and residents and ratepayers who support the notion of a broad spectrum of tourism on Magnetic Island should pester our Brisbane bureaucrats to right the wrongs. A bit of community support for the Nelly Bay swim-through aquarium would also help this drive to make Magnetic, magnetic.
Bruce Williams
March 21st 2008
I might add to the above that this issue is bound to be a hot topic at the next MIRRA monthly meeting at the RSL Hall, Arcadia on Saturday 5th April at 10.00 am. (a donation of a gold coin would be welcomed)

What do you think? Send us your comments.

Readers comments
Syl Hayes In reply to Fair raises $15,000 for school
What a wonderful outcome for the school! I had a great time face-painting with Luke and Sasha, met lots of kids and parents,scored some great books at the Trash n Treasure stall, and even remembered to vote. Everywhere you looked people were enjoying themselves...such a tribute to the organisers. Well done!
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