Camp Seed - Activities.
The Camp. Stuart Mill. The Region.
The facility commenced operating as the Bishop James Camp and Conference Centre in 1961 before becoming Camp Seed in 2013. The Camp has been utilised for:
- Family gatherings
- School camps
- Country Women’s Association of Australia meetings
- Church events
- Wedding receptions
- Birthday parties
- Base for car and trail bike rallies
- Mountain bike groups
- Music festivals
The Camp was established in 1961 by the Bendigo Diocese of the Anglican Church. The land in Church St was gazetted to the Church of England in 1869, at the same time as the Catholic Church, when the township of Stuart Mill had a population estimated over 10,000.
In October 1959, Bishop Winter spoke at the synod and proposed a memorial to Bishop James, the first Bishop of he St Arnaud Diocese.
"...as Bishop James had been a very practical man, he suggested that 'a Diocesan centre or Youth Centre would be something that would have appealed to him'. It would serve for youth rallies and camps, gatherings of men, women, girls and boys for conference and recreation..."
Three workman's cottages were purchased from the State Rivers at the Cairn Cairn reservoir, and a kitchen and dining room were purchased from the Army, with all buildings transported to the site.
"The camp had the only electricity in Stuart Mill provided by generator and stories are told how local residents would gather in the dining room to socialize, because at home they only had lamps and candles. The centre itself was also fairly basic. The patrons washed in a line of enamel basins on a bench outside the kitchen and the toilets were up the hill at the school next door.
There was a major upgrade in 1989 ... and in 2002 the cottages were removed and attractive mud brick accommodation units built along with other improvements."
In early 2013 the Church sold the property, and the Camp was subsequently renamed Camp Seed.
The township of Stuart Mill sits at the base of the 13,900ha St Arnaud Range National Park.
"St Arnaud Range National Park features mainly steep, forested terrain and is an ideal place to experience what the forests of Central Victoria were like before the gold rushes. The rocky ridge tops in the park offer fine views for bushwalkers and four-wheel-drive tourers, and there are ample opportunities for hiking in the steep and rugged terrain. The Upper Teddington Reservoir is a peaceful place for picnics..."
"The park contains one of the largest and relatively intact areas of box-ironbark vegetation in Victoria, and its large, hollow-bearing trees provide significant habitat for threatened species such as the Powerful Owl and Brush-tailed Phascogale.
It's also important habitat for nectar-feeding species that prefer to forage from large trees, including Australia's nationally endangered Swift Parrot. In September the forest lights up with the flowering of Australia's floral emblem, the Golden Wattle.
At other times of the year look for patches of Gold-dust Wattle, Gorse Bitter-pea and orchids.
Wildlife to look out for includes Feathertail Gliders, Diamond Firetails, Tree Goannas, Black-chinned Honeyeaters, Speckled Warblers and Marbled Geckos."
The Park offers great four-wheel-drive and trail bike trails, such as the Teddington Track. The Teddington Reservoirs provide a good location for fishing, with brown trout and redfin commonly being caught.
The Matarangi Stud offers rides on their quarter horses. Contact John Rahaley for details.
Stuart Mill is situated in the Northern Grampians Shire and is located near the Pyrenees wine district.
Aboriginal people are believed to have inhabited the area for approximately 13,000 years.
The region was settled in the 1830's, with large sheep runs across the region.
Gold was found in the Pyrenees Ranges near Avoca in 1849. The Camp Seed grounds contained a working gold mine that produced over 424oz (~12kg) of gold.
In 1868 a vineyard was established just outside of Beaufort, but ceased commercial operation in the 1870's. A vineyard and winery commenced operations in Avoca in 1887 and ran until the 1920's. In 1963 a vineyard was planted just outside Avoca and became the Blue Pyrenees Estate. Since then the wine industry has continued to expand, with over 30 wineries operating in the region.
Just 15 minutes to the North of Stuart Mill, the town of St Arnaud contains many buildings reminiscent of the gold rush era. It is also home to the oldest fire station in Victoria.
St Arnaud contains the closest shops to Stuart Mill, with a supermarket, bottle shops, hardware and cafes with delicious food and great coffee.
Gateway to the Pyrenees. If traveling from Melbourne, it is the last chance to stop to pick up any last-minute supplies before reaching Stuart Mill and Camp Seed.
A thriving town with a lively main street. Nice route for return journey to Melbourne via Clunes and Daylesford.