Those of you who had children in Benalla Primary schools in the late seventies will remember the establishment of the 15 Mile Creek School Camp, by local school principals and others. In fact it began in 1975 when one man had a vision to help "the youth of this area". There was the potential of closed schools to be used as a school camp and 15 Mile Creek was chosen as it had closed in 1974. The Education Department had a policy that closed school buildings could be re-located and so the no-longer-used Bungeet school building was moved to the site. There were two ablution blocks and a mess hall at the State Rivers Camp at Lake Mokoan which were also no longer required so they too were moved. The camp opened in February 1977 and of course many people donated endless hours and manpower to achieve this.
One of the prime movers was Noel Thomas, Principal of Benalla West Primary School, so his school was given the first two weeks at the camp. I think our eldest daughter was in that group but I can't be sure, but I have fond memories of the camp as parents were required to cook and serve the evening meals. It was great fun.
The camp had permission from the owner to use the bushland, including the creek surrounding the camp, for all manner of outdoor activities, which were an essential part of its operation. Imagine my horror when in 1980 I heard that the landowner was selling the land and it would be planted with pines. How can you have a camp surrounded with pines? Nobody else seemed to be doing anything so I wrote letters (actually the same one) to everyone I could think of - from the Premier, Minister of Education, Member for Benalla, Opposition politicians, the Camp Committee and more.
After lengthy negotiations between the committee and the landowner, 15 acres were purchased for the camp in 1982, and he donated another five. An excellent outcome.