In 1989 Piers Hartley was appointed as Camp Director for a five
year term and took up the position on 1st January 1990. At this
time BOEC was operating as a School Camp, part of the then School
Support Teaching Service (SSTS), along with other school support
units, such as school support centres and curriculum centres. It
was not a school. The Goulburn North-East Region handled the day to
day matters between the Department and the camp, and the camp came
under the Regional Director's authority.
Brian Keeble had an ongoing position as Assistant Camp Director
and the remaining staff were on secondment from various schools,
subject to annual confirmation. There was no security of ongoing
The camp had a number of staff houses available for staff.
Camp finances were complex, minimal and operating on an
unpredictable basis, where the Director had to seek funds annually.
Grants from the Department were held and managed from the Region.
Claims and accounts were submitted monthly and paid by the Region.
Under the then Government regulations, the Camp was not permitted
to keep any dollars generated from student fees, other than to pay
direct expenses such as equipment and transport. All other cash had
to be paid back to the Department, never to be seen again. Thus the
Camp had to keep two separate sets of books, one for the claims and
one for the student fees. It was an inefficient and iniquitous
Threats of closure: In the last year of the last Labor
Government (1991) there was a serious attempt to close down some or
all of the three camps i.e. Bogong, Rubicon and Somers, as a
financial saving. All camps mounted a large, effective and
widespread public campaign through media coverage, support from
user schools, petitions to parliament and deputations to the
Minister to stop this. The campaign had the desired effect and the
plans were scrapped.
However in the first year of the Kennett Government, a serious
and major review of the camps was ordered by new Minister Hayward,
with a view to either confirm their value to the state system, to
privatise or sell them off. The review found that the camps were
best left in the state system, but with some fundamental
operational changes to be put into place. The major one of these
was that the camps increase their revenue flow through greater use
and higher fees with the aim of becoming largely self funding over
In 1992 the camp changed its name to Bogong Outdoor
Education Centre. This was accepted as a reflection of the
educational purpose and function of the centre.
Teaching staff appointments during this time: Roger Blackwell,
Craig Chapman and Heather (Hedge) Thompson. Paul L'Huillier worked
a number of term contracts from 1996.
Lyn Harley, the centre's bursar, retired in 1993 after 20 years'
service. Cheryl Jarem was appointed as the new bursar in 1994.
From 1997 to mid 2000 Peter and Jo Eastey held the catering
In 1995 Ken Gilmour was appointed as the centre's maintenance
officer and his wife, Anne, as housekeeper.
The establishment of the camp as a school in the early 1990's
led to major and far reaching developments.
- The establishment of a school council, with the same powers and
responsibilities as councils of a mainstream school provided BOEC
with a proper staffing structure, and with the same appointment
processes and ongoing positions for staff as in schools - this was
a major improvement of working conditions for staff, giving
certainty of their positions for the first time.
- Setting up funding processes that followed the same principles
as those operating in secondary schools - again, this was a major
improvement as it provided certainty of funds and a greater income
flow for the centre.
- Becoming a Pilot school in the Schools of the Future
Other developments during this period were:
- The sale of Bogong Village by Southern Hydro to private
developers and the consequent redefining of the Department of
Education lease conditions within the village.
- Major improvements to the facilities, including major
renovations to the dormitory, redevelopment of Kiewa and Nelse
Lodges, rebuilding the student recreation room and canteen;
refurbishment of the dining room, kitchen and scullery.
- Major improvements to equipment levels so that all student
equipment (such as skis, jackets/overpants, bush walking and
climbing gear) was kept in top condition and regularly
- Abseiling on and under the dam wall was banned in the early
90's because of legal liability problems.
- When mountain biking was introduced it soon became apparent
that the route had to be either flat or downhill to cater for all
abilities (downhill would have necessitated transport). In 1995 the
present half day mountain bike, half day rock-climbing arrangement
out to Strawberry Saddle on the Bogong High Plains was
- The village hall was demolished and the canoes stored in an
SECV garage now.
- In 1995 the construction of an outstanding high ropes course by
Eric Westrup (an outside consultant), Russell Bellingham and Roger
Blackwell. It is set in mountain ash forest on the shores of Lake
Guy. The low ropes course which was constructed in 1970 on the spur
above the tennis courts, was dismantled in 1996.
- In 1996 the development of BOEC's website by Peter Bradley and
subsequent updates by Ian Ryan and Paul L'Huillier. The address is:
- Establishment of the annual Bogong/Rubicon Conference in 1990.
The purpose was to build closer working relationships between the
two camps and to share the expertise and experience of staff. BOEC
and Rubicon take turn about in organising and hosting the
- In 1998 the construction of the indoor climbing facility, at a
cost of $25,000, expanded the rock climbing challenges around the
centre. Roger Blackwell co-ordinated its construction.
- Purchase of two Coaster buses and a school vehicle to provide
greater flexibility to program delivery.
- Widespread use of hand held radios and mobile phones to improve
- In-depth curriculum development work, bringing the curriculum
documentation and delivery into line with current curriculum
- Introduction of programs for students doing VCE Outdoor
- Introduction of a range of 5, 6 and 8 day programs in
- Introduction of a group instructor or leader system
and provision of written reports for every student at the
conclusion of each program.
- Undertaking and gaining full camp site accreditation with the
Camping Association of Victoria (CAV).
- A major two year research project by NOELS (National Outdoor
Education and Leadership Services) into the educational
outcomes gained by students attending BOEC programs. This was
a significant research project, undertaken under the guidance of a
highly credited professional research organisation, which evaluated
for the first time in Australia the educational outcomes flowing
from a short stay residential outdoor centre. The research provided
valuable confirmation of the outcomes gained as well as providing
pointers to areas for further program development.
The research "reveals a well run organisation and program
which is highly valued by its clients and is producing a variety of
real outcomes for its students. The study showed that there were
areas of particular strengths, especially in improving the
students' effectiveness in dealing with life and in developing more
positive general self concepts."