In 2013 Camp Seed was proudly purchased by Ben Stevens and Donna Cooper.
The facility commenced operating as the Bishop James Camp and Conference Centre in 1961 before becoming Camp Seed in 2013. The Camp has been utilised for:
- Family gatherings
- School camps
- Country Women’s Association of Australia meetings
- Church events
- Wedding receptions
- Birthday parties
- Base for car and trail bike rallies
- Mountain bike groups
- Music festivals
The Camp was established in 1961 by the Bendigo Diocese of the Anglican Church. The land in Church St was gazetted to the Church of England in 1869, at the same time as the Catholic Church, when the township of Stuart Mill had a population estimated over 10,000.
In October 1959, Bishop Winter spoke at the synod and proposed a memorial to Bishop James, the first Bishop of he St Arnaud Diocese.
"...as Bishop James had been a very practical man, he suggested that 'a Diocesan centre or Youth Centre would be something that would have appealed to him'. It would serve for youth rallies and camps, gatherings of men, women, girls and boys for conference and recreation..."
Three workman's cottages were purchased from the State Rivers at the Cairn Cairn reservoir, and a kitchen and dining room were purchased from the Army, with all buildings transported to the site.
"The camp had the only electricity in Stuart Mill provided by generator and stories are told how local residents would gather in the dining room to socialize, because at home they only had lamps and candles. The centre itself was also fairly basic. The patrons washed in a line of enamel basins on a bench outside the kitchen and the toilets were up the hill at the school next door.
There was a major upgrade in 1989 ... and in 2002 the cottages were removed and attractive mud brick accommodation units built along with other improvements."
Below are a sample of comments from people who have stayed at Camp Seed.
"The Donald High School Year 9 class have been undertaking their ‘Green Week’ environmental camp for a number of years now. Each year they spend a week at Camp Seed and get involved with local Landcare and Conservation groups, planting trees and reviewing feeding exclusion sites in national parks.
Donald High School continues to book into Camp Seed every year because of the beautiful location among the trees and its convenient facilities. Given we have large groups of students, the dorm style rooms are ideal, as are the large bathrooms and well-equipped kitchen. Each night on camp a group of students cook a 2-course meal for the entire group and we have never wanted for any utensils, everything is right there, from an urn, to toasters, to industrial ovens.
There are also separate toilets and showers for staff, which are clean and tidy. And the students always enjoy sitting around the wood fire, telling stories of an evening, or playing games in the common room - ranging from table tennis, cards and board games."