Camping at Diamond Head Beach
We went to Diamond Head for one week but we stayed for two. After a seven-hour drive, we set up camp under trees 70 metres from the beach. With ten kids under 12 years old, we had a good time keeping them under control.
When meal times came, it was chaos with jaffle irons everywhere and toasting forks as weapons and kids tripping over each other round the fire.
The campsite had a road running around it making it like an island. We had all the tents set up around the outside facing the centre, with the campfire in the middle. This gave us more privacy and room.
We had only seven surfboards, so the kids had fights over who got first go but they had lots of fun at the beach. We had a hard time keeping an eye on all of them at times; but when the time came to take the boards back to camp, nobody wanted them.
At night, we walked along the beach under the moonlight. As we walked under the stars dodging waves and sand crabs, we played spotlight with torches. We looked at the way the static electricity lit up the sand when we rubbed it with our hands.
When we got back to camp, we sat by the campfire telling ghost stories. Funny things started to happen, like flapping tents with plastic bags flying around and strange sounds. The kids started to get scared, and then they saw the ropes working them.
During the night, some of the kids started sneaking around the camp and spooking each other and letting tents down. This went on nearly every night we were away. Two men in the next camp complained to the ranger that kids should not play before 9 am, but the ranger told them they could always camp somewhere else, because kids will be kids.
Some nights the kids sat around the campfire and toasted marshmallows. We held singsongs by the light of the fire, then later we went spotlighting for opossums, other night animals, and one night we saw wild dogs running around the camp.
Kids had fights at times but soon made up. They picked one poor kid to be (it). Then they all started to chase him all over camp and tried to pull his pants down. He was running around like a startled rabbit until we told them to stop.
One day the kids went down to the beach, so with them all gone we could sit down in peace and quiet. Therefore, we set up our chairs and drinks around the campfire. We sat with our hats pulled down over our faces and just relaxed in the shade.
Then it happened–unexpectedly they came–monsters disguised as children, running around, screaming, fighting, and throwing sand and mud at each other. With ten kids with sand in their hair and eyes, we had to set up the shower to wash the sand out of them. Then the boys decided to climb a tree near the shower–which had no roof–to look at the girls in the shower.
One day my sister’s family and I were walking in the bush. When the kids saw leaches, they started crying and panicking. The youngest was 4 years old so she sat on the ground screaming, “Pick me up!” whilst trying to lift herself up by the toes.
The girls started screaming that the boys were looking at them, so we told the boys to come down out of the tree and stop looking at the girls.
With water in short supply, we had to supervise the amount of water they used as they had a habit of wasting water when washing themselves. As there is no drinking water in this camping area, we had to cart water from a town six or seven kilometres away. Along a rough gravel road in plastic drums, in a box trailer behind one of our cars every day
Then, one night, we had a very heavy rainstorm that flooded the camp area. I was camped in my van on the only site that never flooded, it was the only campsite left, as I was the last to arrive. The camper, who saved the site for me, said he was camped in the best site. In this area but after the flood it looked like a lake with 200 mm of water running through his tent so he was not very happy.
One day we went for a walk over the headland for a look. It was a good day out and, although we all got sunburnt, we had a wonderful time walking along the cliff tops and trails. The next day we had to go home so, with heavy hearts, we said good-bye to each other until the next time we go camping at the beach.
(C) Jessica Blair
Memories of a Childhood Camp
When I was eleven, my father, Brothers, and I went camping at Wyangala dam in my brother’s Austin A40. As it had a new motor, he needed to run it in so we could not drive over 40 MPH on the way there. We hired a boat for five days and four nights but the boat was old and leaked water soon filled the bottom of the boat.
When the water reached the flywheel of the kicker motor it picked it up and sprayed all of us and in the hot sun, the water was so cool. At night, we camped under the stars, by a campfire for warmth. We slept on the ground on a piece of canvas using another piece as a blanket and our clothing as pillows.
By day we cooked on open fires Bathing was the hardest because we had no privacy and I was embarrassed, undressing in front of the men, my father told me to stop being a sissy. During the day I sat on the grass and made daisy chains for hours but when my father saw me, he made me take them off.
The weather was very good all the time we were away. We fished, looked around, and had fun all day every day. Fish could be seen swimming under the boat in schools, sometimes in hundreds but we never got a bite. although the flies and mosquitos had plenty of bites of us!.
As we drove home, the memory of the boat, flowers and the fun lingered and best of all I remember sleeping under the stars even though we only had canvas as blankets. Even over thirty years later the memory of the tales around the camp fire still lingers
(C) Jessica Blair