Camp’s chapel has a new lease on life

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Sunday service: Hymns are sung by families at the Crosby Memorial Chapel, Camp Manyung, Mt Eliza, in the 1950s.

Sunday service: Hymns are sung by families at the Crosby Memorial Chapel, Camp Manyung, Mt Eliza, in the 1950s.

VICTORIA’S longest-running camp, YMCA Camp Manyung, is celebrating the restoration of its historic outside chapel, the Crosby Memorial Chapel, after receiving $74,000 from Victorian Heritage Restoration.

The body is dedicated to the preservation of heritage values.

After six months of research and construction, the 77-year-old chapel has been brought back to life with original pews, landscaping, and paintwork using the original colours and former pathways.

The chapel was designed by architects Walter Burley Griffin and Eric Milton Nicholls, with Griffin best known for designing the townships of Mt Eliza and Canberra.

The chapel was dedicated to Charles Fenwick Crosby, one of Melbourne’s most generous, active and best-known social and philanthropic workers – as well as being president of the YMCA for 27 years. It was used widely 1940s-60s for services and community events before falling into disrepair.

YMCA Camp Manyung community development officer Steve Merson says the restoration has been a gratifying project and history lesson for all involved: “We thought this would be a good year to undertake this project as it coincides with Camp Manyung’s 90th year, so it’s quite a reflective and exciting year for the camp,” he said.

“It’s important not only to preserve Camp Manyung as a heritage-listed camp, but also to recognise the significance the chapel has for the community; how it has brought people together and how it can continue to do that in the future.”

He said preservation was a wonderful way to reconnect with older people who spent time there during the 1950s and 1960s. “The chapel is a beautiful place for the local community looking to hold events, whether they for presentations, services or even a wedding.

“It’s definitely a special space, as much for quiet reflection as it is for celebration, to enjoy the outdoors and provide a place to connect as a community.”

A ceremony to commemorate the origins of the chapel will be held 10-11.30am, Thursday 12 May. Members of the public are welcome to attend and to visit the new chapel.

Call Camp Manyung, 9788 1100.

First published in the Mornington News – 10 May 2016 

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