History: Alfred Hines Seaside Camp for Children

The Crippled Children’s Seaside Home Society INC. was formed in 1937 with Alfred Hines the main instigator. He worked tirelessly to help improve the life of children who had crippling diseases. For much of twentieth century there was no direct or sustained contribution of state or federal governments in the care of young people with disabilities. Rather the care of crippled children fell very firmly on the shoulders of their families and the few volunteer societies which existed to help them. It as this void in social services which prompted Alfred Hines, a Fremantle businessman and councillor, to first offer a seaside camp for rural children with disabilities in the difficult years of World war Two. The Society was formally Incorporated in 1945 and the committee was well supported by the likes of people such as Alfred Hines, Sir Frank Gibson, G Fraser, John Tonkin – who later became Premier, J.B. Sleeman and T Fox who were also serving members of state parliament. Frank Wise was the state’s premier when he was elected as one of society’s vice-presidents.

The first camps run by Alfred Hines were in 1942. For the next fifteen years camps were run at various sites while the Society tried to find a permanent home. Several sites in and around Kwinana were offered but nothing eventuated. Around 1954, two main sites were considered by both the government and the society; one at Coogee where the first camps had taken place and, the other, at Palm Beach in Point Peron, near Rockingham. Ultimately the society was allowed to choose between two sites and, in late 1954 or early 1955 they settled on Point Peron. In 1957 the first camp was run at the society’s new home in Point Peron.

The new Point Peron site was opened for its first camp in 1957, but the society had been running annual camps since January 1942.

Today fifty years on the purpose of Alfred Hines Seaside Camp for Children still remains the same. Groups from Activ Foundation, Rocky Bay, Spina Bifida Association and many others bring young children and young adults down for camps; some family camps and some respite camps.

After fifty years of continuous use and many patch-up jobs on the camp it was decided that we should bring our children’s camp into the twenty first century. One of our committee members Rob Morris took on the task up upgrading our facilities. Rob became very passionate about this project and before long, after several newspaper articles, Rob had an army of volunteers who were very eager to up-grade the facilities at Point Peron. Because of Rob’s diligent hard work and desire to see a more modern facility, he soon had sponsors and volunteers coming out of the wood work.

Local businesses and the Rockingham community have been fantastic in their support and we look forward to working with them again in 2007.

The Management Committee committed over $200 000 to begin the refurbishments in 2006 and this was matched with another $200 000 from local businesses and the community. The donation of time by all the local residents cannot be measured in dollars but it was immense. This year starting from 26th May, we are entering stage two of our refurbishment. Most of volunteers from last year and the supporting  businesses are back on board with the promise of huge commitments once again.

Recently, Bunnings Rockingham held a Ball at the camp site to raise money for this years refurbishment programme and this was a huge success. We thank all the Bunnings staff for their commitment to the program.

From the 26th May 2007 we will recommence this year’s refurbishment. We are seeking more help from the local community and anyone who might have had the pleasure of staying at the camp when they were younger. We have some huge jobs that need to be undertaken over the next couple of months and we require lots more volunteers to assist us achieve our goals. Jobs such as removing asbestos, redoing the walls, insulating, painting the dorms and landscaping the grounds are our priorities for the immediate future. If you can spare a couple of hours over the coming week-ends or some time throughout the week, please call the society on 9527 1127 and register your expression to help. Your support is vital to our organisation and will be greatly appreciated by all the young children with disabilities that use our camp.

We desperately need people to come on board to assist with our landscaping of the grounds. We would love to hear from nurserymen, turf farms and landscapers who may be able to assist us with supplies, donations or their valuable time.

The camp is beginning to look like a million dollars and we want to continue this refurbishment in honour of the late Alfred Hines.

Whilst, we rely heavily on our wonderful and supportive volunteer base that does all the hard tasks, we also need to have committed people who would like to serve on the committee. If you are a community minded person and want to give some time to a valuable cause why not join our society and become a committee member. We can always do with more people who have vast experience and knowledge in all walks of life. Sit back, read the article and then make a commitment  to join a group of people who continue to make the lives of people with disabilities more enjoying through camps by the seaside. We desperately need to a committed person to take on the role as project manager for the refurbishment that will take place this year. If you can assist please call the society. Our sincere thanks to all those wonderful people who put in many hours last year to bring the camp up to the standard we now have. We look forward to continuing the partnership this year.