LIONS CAMP DUCKADANG STORY
Original story (1998) by PDG Maurice Drake was updated several times by Peter J Boge. This update January 2018.
How it began
In 1972 Linville property owners Mr Graeme and Mrs Valmai Burnett wrote to the then District Governor of 201K – Lion Frank McNamara, offering a site on their seventeen hundred acre property for Lions to use as a Youth Camp. The area of six acres (2.4 hectares) is approximately one hundred and forty kilometres north of Brisbane and can be reached by an all-weather highway either via Caboolture, Woodford, Kilcoy and Moore, or alternatively via Ipswich, Esk and Toogoolawah. The offer was made to Lions after various other youth organisations were unable to come to satisfactory arrangements with the Burnetts. The letter to Frank McNamara was subsequently forwarded to the incoming District Governor Bill Oakley for his attention and the matter was placed in the hands of the District Youth Exchange Chairman Ian Dalgleish.
You can see how in these early days the theme of this proposed camp was on Youth, and it was as a Lions Youth Exchange Camp that made the site attractive.
Following an inspection of the proposed site by Ian Dalgleish and Zone Chairman Jim Bayley accompanied by Mr and Mrs Burnett, a report was presented to the 1973 District Convention at Caloundra. What was then known as the ‘Linville Project’ was adopted unanimously by all delegates present as a District Project. Nothing further happened during the term of District
Governor Bill Oakley and the next District Governor Syd McDonald took a first positive step to get the project commenced. Arthur Heddle was appointed Project Chairman and a committee comprising Ian Dalgleish, John Hamilton and Architect Eric Parups set about formulating ideas on how the camp should be established.
About this time economy of Australia particularly in the rural sector, was not the healthiest and the then Labor Government introduced the ‘RED Scheme’. This scheme subsidised capital works carried out by Local Government and Service Organisations with the proviso that 50% of the cost of projects would comprise labour from within affected areas.
District Governor Syd and his committee acted immediately upon announcement of the scheme, with plans and specifications expedited and an application submitted. Back came a reply from Treasurer Bill Hayden that approval had been given and that the Australian Government would contribute $250 000 toward the project, subject to conditions mentioned previously.
The project commenced under management of Lions Architect Eric Parups, Engineer John Wellington and the Building Committee Chairman John Hamilton. Brisbane Builder John Scott was the construction authority, with local farmers and unemployed persons making up a major portion of the work force, supplemented by tradesmen of the builder. As you can appreciate, work quality at times was not first class, and efforts of successive Boards of Directors have been channelled into bringing all buildings up to an acceptable standard.
Towards the end of 1975, funds from the RED Scheme were insufficient to meet a balance of construction cost. Although buildings were at lock-up stage a great deal of internal finishing had to be completed. Many Clubs made weekend projects of visiting the Camp to build partition walls and to clean up grounds. Without their efforts the camp would not have progressed. Similarly the assistance of Lioness June Jamieson and Lions Syd McDonald and Jim Bayley in furnishing the buildings named in their honour was of untold benefit.
A problem at this time was that although $250 000 had been spent on the site; difficulty was being experienced in obtaining title to the land. The Burnetts for some unexplainable reason would not sign a duplicate plan of survey, after an original one signed by them had been lost. It was only after a great deal of effort on behalf of Past District Governors and the Committee, and following issue of a Supreme Court Writ on the Burnetts, that title was transferred.
During all this time improvements were being made to buildings, but it was policy of Past District Governors that the Camp would not be officially opened until title had been obtained. Clubs were asked for further assistance in the purchase of laundry equipment, mowers and refrigeration and many responded magnificently.
In 1978 with prior consent of District Convention and International Board, the District Project was incorporated under the Queensland Companies Act with the name ‘LIONS CAMP DUCKADANG’. This enabled the project to be administered by a Board of Directors subject to Queensland Companies Act and also have title to the land transferred to the corporate name instead of being held by trustees. December 1978 also saw an official opening of the camp by His Excellency Sir James Ramsay and what a wonderful weekend of fellowship and ceremony accompanied this event.
Trial bookings were accepted in late 1978 – early 1979, but the Camp really operated from March 1979 as a facility for Youth and Disabled Persons. After the first few months it became evident that Camp facilities had to be expanded, by the provision of a recreation hall and games facilities. At a special meeting of Clubs in June 1979, approval was given for the construction of a hall costing $77 000, and the Board of Directors also approved construction of three compact tennis courts costing $14 000. It became necessary for the company to use overdraft facilities to complete these two projects, and up to $40 000 was used. Since then with a Queensland Government subsidy of $3 333 for compact Tennis Courts, plus proceeds from the Miss Personality Quest and District Funds from Christmas Cakes, the overdraft was eliminated.
Part of the Camp’s attraction is its setting on upper reaches of the Brisbane River. Closeness to such a natural asset was well known to early planners of the project and river facilities were high on many attractions offered. It was therefore with concern that Directors faced the ‘Cholera problem’ that erupted in early 1980. Many organisations also were worried about their members’ health and a marked drop in bookings resulted from all the publicity. Also over preceding years we had observed the volume of water in Brisbane River adjacent to the Camp reduce dramatically during periods of extreme drought.
The Board acted immediately and in March 1980 an application for subsidy on a swimming pool was made to the State Welfare Department and a one third grant of a total cost of $20 000 was approved. For this subsidy to be accessed it was necessary for the project to be commenced before June 1981 and hence it was with a note of urgency that Clubs at the annual general meeting held during the Caloundra Convention be again asked for support. The pool was completed and paid for in September 1981.
Duckadang was named after an Aboriginal Tribal Elder best remembered for his persistence, determination and sense of duty. It surely has been aptly named, because this project has had to survive many attacks on its existence both from within and without the Lions movement, but like our namesake with determination and a sense of duty, the project will go on and further enhance reputation of Lionism and commitment to Community Service.
By 1990, the complex consisted of :
McDONALD HOUSE Dormitory for twenty-four persons
JAMIESON HOUSE Dormitory for twenty-four persons
BAYLEY HOUSE Dormitory for twenty-eight persons
RUBIE HOUSE Originally for Supervisors or VIP for eight persons
FARMER HOUSE Managers’ Cottage of two bedrooms
TRESISE REFECTORY Kitchen and Dining Room
JONES ROTUNDA Outdoor BBQ
HAMILTON HALL Indoor Activities
DRAKE TENNIS COURTS
Water for drinking and living use was provided from a bore at the base of the cliff on the river bank, with Power supplied by Energex.
What is there to do?
- Participate in relaxed country style living.
- Delight in interesting flora and fauna of the area.
- Engage in interesting and informative bush walks.
- Canoe or kayak in upper reaches of the Brisbane River.
- Swim in the pool.
- Observe cattle raising and farming.
- Play compact tennis, volley ball, table tennis and indoor games.
- Relax at an informal evening campfire and get – togethers.
- Observe stars and moon through the Stewart Observatory.
- Use the open air Amphitheatre / presentation area.
- Use the low ropes course.
- Play on the nine hole mini-golf course.
- Learning activities centered on water quality, etc.
Accommodation is provided for approximately one hundred persons in modern dormitories and units. Comfortable living quarters include roomettes which contain four bunks and other features include a common room with fireplace, tiled bathroom and toilets. First class cooking facilities exist in the modern kitchen, with plates, cutlery and cooking utensils being provided plus refrigeration, dishwashing and solar hot water. Each group must provide their own linen and blankets and be supervised. The resident Managers provide catering at reasonable prices for groups using the Camp and attend to every emergency. However, self-catering is available. The Camp would not function without the excellent care and attention of the Managers.
The story of Lions Camp Duckadang is one of great interest to all members of the Lions family, for it is a never ending story of the power of Lionism to overcome all obstacles, and to provide for the world of tomorrow.
Lions Camp Duckadang is a youth project and venue owned by all Lions Clubs of Districts 201Q1, Q3 and Q4.
Its Mission Statement is: ‘To provide educational and environmental opportunities for youth and community groups in a safe, rural environment.’
As members of Lions Camp Duckadang they have a share in an asset worth approximately two million dollars. Managers run the daily operations of the Camp. Strategic direction, overall management and supervision are provided by a Board of Directors comprising Chairman, Vice-Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and three Directors, who meet as required and are responsible for finance, marketing, assets and maintenance committees. Directors are subject to election by Club Delegates at the Annual General Meeting held in October. The District Governors of Districts 201Q1, Q3 and Q4 are automatically Directors ex-officio during their term of office. Reports on the Camp are supplied regularly for Newsletter Editors of the three Districts to publish for the information of the Lions family. Static displays and presentations are arranged at District Conventions wherever the program allows.