Shoreham Beach Pictorial Heritage - 1840 to 2011

YMCA Camp Buxton - Part 1 - History

About this Project
Heritage Timeline
Heritage Pines
YMCA Camp Buxton - Part 1 - History
YMCA Camp Buxton - Part 2 - 1952 Visit
YMCA Camp Buxton - Part 3 - 2011 Gallery
The Beach
Beach Hikes
Maps of Shoreham
References and Bibliography

1920 YMCA boys at Mt Evelyn Camp, near Melbourne


The YMCA was established in London in 1844, with the aim of building spiritual strength amongst young men. The concept quickly spread within England and abroad.

The first branch of the YMCA in Australia was probably the Adelaide Branch of the London YMCA, founded in 1850. A Melbourne branch was established in 1853.

Figures influential in the early days of the YMCA internationally included Henry Dunant, regarded as the founder of Red Cross, and later Robert Baden Powell; the YMCA played an important role in establishing the Scout Movement.

The YMCA was active during World War 1, providing recreation huts and social activities for the troops to help maintain morale.

The YMCA also ran the Lord Mayors Camp at Portsea, Victoria, to provide seaside holidays for underprivileged children, particularly those from rural areas.

In the earl;y 1920s, the YMCA had a small boys camp at Mt Evelyn, in Melbourne's outer east.

The Headquarters of YMCA in Victoria was in City Rd, Melbourne, opposite the old Trocadero ice-skating rink. Both are long-gone, with the land now part of the Arts Centre.

1941 Camp Buxton

1945 Camp Buxton

Camp Buxton, Marine Parade, Shoreham, was established around 1925 by the YMCA on 6 acres of bushland provided by the Buxton family.

It was to provide facilities for YMCA activities. Including young boys' camps, conferences for older people, and meetings in a rural, coastal environment.

1929. The first buildings were constructed on the site. These were timber and cement sheet designs, which included a hall dining room, bunk houses and other facilities. Other accommodation and facilities were added in later years.

1932. The camps operated between Boxing Day and the end of January, and commenced around 1932. At other times of the year, the camp was occupied by people from other areas of the YMCA, and was also used for international, Staate and national conferences of the YMCA.

1940.  The Buxton family gave an additional 6 acres of bushland to the YMCA, extending the area to 10 acres.

1946. The Melbourne Argus of December 31, 1946, reported that about 1000 boys were to visit the camp between Christmas 1946 and the end of January 1947.

1955. I do not know when the Camp ceased – the Camp was still operating under the auspices of the YMCA in 1955 - a story in the Melbourne Argus newspaper in January 1955, stated that about 500 boys had attended the 1954/1955 camp.

It was ultimately sold by the YMCA and became privately owned as a school and youth centre.
At that time, the YMCA was consolidating its Victorian rural activities, which meant that its camp at Mt Eliza gained greater priority.

1990s.The facility became a B&B business, open to the general public, following refurbishing and modernising of the original buildings. At that time, the remaining bushland which had been part of the original site was made available to the local Shire and became a Forest Reserve, which survives to the present time.

The original property included the Oval (now owned by Council) and some adjacent land.

It is set within a mature landscape dominated by conifers.  Surviving features of the original facility include an outdoor chapel, comprising low stone entry and pulpit, and bench seats, dedicated to Cyril Young, Chairman of the Camp Buxton Committee in 1939 who died on active service in 1945.

1953 Peeling spuds!

1945 Boys at Shoreham Beach

1940 Beach scene near the Camp

1939 Camp Buxton - boys at baseball practice

1939 YMCA HQ building City Rd, Melbourne

1936 YMCA Conference at Camp Buxton

1939 Boys on beach called by bugle!

1940 Hall/Gym at City Rd -boys and parents

1936 YMCA meeting at Camp Buxton

1929 The New Hall at Camp Buxton

1940 Meeting at Camp Buxton

1950 Aerial view of YMCA building, City Rd, Melbourne


  • 1853  First mention of YMCA in Victoria in a letter from Dr Thomas Embling.
  • 1871  First recorded notes of YMCA's work with young offenders.
  • 1872  First recorded attendance of women in the Victorian YMCA
  • 1878  Victoria's first gymnasium opens in Russell Street building.
  • 1882  YMCA assists in the establishment of the Salvation Army in Melbourne.
  • 1890  Table tennis introduced to Victoria by the YMCA.
  • 1905  First recorded game of Basketball in Victoria - played at Y facilities in Melbourne.
  • 1909  First YMCA camp organised.
  • 1924  Foundation stone laid for the YMCA building in City Road, by the Earl of Stradbroke.
  • 1925  Camp Buxton opens.
  • 1926  City Road premises officially opened by the Governor, Lord Somers.
  • 1944  Celebrations held for the 100th Anniversary of the YMCA movement.
  • 1956  Nine YMCA members were selected as competitors in the Melbourne Olympics.
  • 1961  Melbourne YMCA receives its charter.
  • 1978  Village People release the song 'YMCA

Comments, and reactions are welcome, to Bob Padula