This year our homeschool camp had the theme PIONEER and our camping spot was just perfect!  Though we wanted to consider pioneers in general it was a perfect opportunity to become familiar with some of our local history as we looked at the regions pioneers.

 

Our corner of the campsite – actually you can’t see our kitchen which is based from our trailer.  We usually have our trailer close to the left of the big tent but we moved it further to the left to get some shade.

The older kids listened to their well known story, Kings in Grass Castles, by Mary Durack before we went on camp.  Josh mentioned that this made the whole thing worth while – having some context for the activities at the camp; knowing the story, knowing the people.

 

They tried their had a several pioneer type activities.  Making a tent using sticks, rope and a piece of Hessian, building a stone wall, and making a bed from bamboo, rope and Hessian sacks.

 

Nomi and Daniel making a tent.  They had to learn which angle to hammer the tent peg, how to tie knots, how to work as a team (there were about another 4 kids in this group).

The also had the opportunity to go fishing but the fish weren’t really biting so there was only a few with success.  The kids also re-enacted different scenarios, which were videotaped, acting out the different aspects of a pioneers life.  Gold prospecting, droving, setting up a homestead.

 

The other activity which was just fantastic to see happening was the kids all prepared our Saturday night evening meal – pioneer style.  The little boys were responsible for the fire and filleting the fish (they looked on more than anything here but they loved it!).  The girls were responsible for making Johnny Cakes (flat damper, bush bread), the big boys put the stew meat together (floured it, chopped the onions and browned it over the campfire), the girls chopped, chopped and chopped veggies.  

  Jess chopping sweet potato

Nomi kneading damper

Daniel (and many other helping hands) flouring the stew meat

Joshua pulled the camp oven out of the fire so they could give it a stir, and add vegies and water. 

Watching one of the dads keep 4 camp ovens going with hot coals was a highlight for me.  I have wanted to cook in a camp oven myself but the science of it completed baffled me so know I’ve seen it done I might give it a shot (I won’t be inviting anyone over for dinner though!)  He was impressive as he kept a fire going to provide hot coals, kept the four camp ovens cooking as well as keeping a few hotplates going for the Johnny Cakes.   It was full on work for him.  Stock Camp cooks, who use this method have my admiration!

 

The big kids went for a 2 hour bush walk taking them to an amazing lookout.

View from lookout.  You can see the dam wall in the middle of the photo.  This relatively short wall holds all this water.

 

We came home completely exhausted but we had a fabulous weekend and our thanks goes to the mums who put so much thought and effort into making it a memorable (and learning) time.

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