The first Edmund Rice Camp was held at Parade College, Bundoora, Victoria in 1981. Since this time, the camps have spread to all states of Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Africa, South America, and North America.
In January 1991, Br Damien Price and Br John Henry Shepherd attended three Edmund Rice Camps in Victoria, with a view to begin camps in their own regions, New Zealand and Queensland.
The future of Edmund Rice Camps in Brisbane depended upon connecting with children who would benefit from the camps, and engaging quality volunteers to run the camps.
At the time, Sister Rosemary Grundy, a Presentation Sister, was working at a Community Centre at Carole Park. She was very enthusiastic about the proposed camp program, and knew of several children who would benefit greatly from participating. The children for the first camp came from Carole Park and Kingston, and also included some children from the boarding house at St. Joseph’s Nudgee College.
Students of St Rita’s, as well as old boys of St Patrick’s and St Laurence’s, were approached to act as leaders on the camp. Together the young women and men formed a team of enthusiastic volunteer leaders. The first Queensland-based Edmund Rice Camp was held at Camp Laurence, Moogerah Dam, during the Christmas holidays, and was a resounding success.
The rest, as they say, is history!
WHO IS EDMUND RICE?
Edmund Rice was born in Ireland in the 1700s. In his mid-twenties, Edmund fell in love, was married and became a father to Mary. Edmund was a successful businessman, and was blessed with wealth and happiness.
However, tragedy changed Edmund’s life: Edmund’s wife died in unfortunate circumstances. In his deep despair, Eddie’s eyes were opened to the poverty and injustice in his home town. He felt compelled to make a difference, and started a school for the poor and homeless children in his town of Waterford, Ireland. Eddie gave everything he had—his money and his life—to help others, especially children. Other men joined Edmund in his mission, and these men became known as the Christian Brothers and their work spread throughout the world.
The work of the Christian Brothers continues today: there are many schools across Australia that educate young women and men in the spirit of Edmund Rice. One of the ministries of the Christian Brothers is Edmund Rice Camps.
A CHILD'S WORTH
"Eddie Rice Camps have been such an awesome thing for me!
The games and activities they put on for us kids is the best fun I've ever had.
I feel so good about myself and my new friends when I get home".
— Will, Camp Participant