By Ken Maxfield

Opened in 1948, Camp Getaway was an initiative of Rotary Bendigo in response to the need for a youth camp in the region. Today, the camp is a wonderful respite that caters for people of all abilities and mobility. It is a meeting place for support groups, and offers those who need it most a sanctuary away from their daily struggles. Whilst disability and related support groups have priority for booking dates, Camp Getaway welcomes bookings for family groups, church groups, clubs, special functions, business meetings and recreational groups.

Situated at Axedale, twenty kilometres east of Bendigo, the camp has myriad activities available, as well as fantastic tourist attractions within close proximity. It can accommodate up to 72 campers in three cabins each containing two twin bedrooms with ensuite; and two dormitories, each with 28-30 beds.  Other main buildings include recreation and dining halls/lounge catering for up to 80-90 diners.

Management of the camp is through a Board made up of 15 Rotarians from different clubs. An onsite resident caretaker family oversees the day-to-day activities and voluntary Board Members provide the vast majority of labour input.

Whilst the Camp’s operating costs are met through site fees, the funding of capital improvements, major building maintenance and equipment is sought from Rotary club donations, local and regional businesses and individuals. And there are a number of projects that are needed, such as the rehabilitation of the double tennis/basketball court area, the refurbishment of the two toilet blocks and, an upgrade of the camp septic effluent disposal system.  Over the next five years, mechanical and electrical equipment items, such as air conditioners will reach the end of their useful life and must be replaced. 

Camp Getaway is a unique and important asset in District 9800 in which all Rotary clubs can be involved. You can assist the camp by:

  • Including the camp in the distribution of your club’s funds;
  • Sponsoring under-privileged groups in your area to midweek camps. This will provide a much needed community service and help boost the camp’s operating income;
  • Visiting the camp, perhaps even partnering with another club, for a weekend away. The weekend could take the form of a working bee – there are lots of little jobs to do around the camp – or just a getaway for fun and fellowship in a COVID-safe way.

The camp’s on-going viability and success is dependent upon the contribution and involvement of Rotarians and clubs across our District. For further information, email kmaxfiel@bigpond.net.au (no ‘d’) or telephone 0412 489 580. I am also available as a guest speaker.