Meldanda campsite opens at Cambrai

A SHEEP farmer's dream has become a reality 22 years after his death, as the paddock he donated to local school students has become a landmark for environmental education.

Hundreds of students from around the region descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for an opening day celebration on Monday.

The hundred-acre property, formerly used for grazing, has been transformed into an outdoor classroom for use by students from Cambrai Area School and visiting groups as they learn about the outdoors, the environment and Aboriginal culture.

Almost 300 Scouts put the finishing touches on the site a fortnight ago, and Carclew, the South Australian Youth Arts Board, OPAL and Mid Murray Council have also offered valuable support.

Students toured the campsite's seven sections - native bush gardens, a butterfly garden, "Bat Island", a frog pond, natural spring "Mermaid Lake", a bush tucker garden and a recreation hut - before sharing lunch and taking part in a variety of inter-school challenges.

School principal Paul Paulenas, who had overseen the site's development for the past 11 years, said its completion would be a shot in the arm for the Mid Murray township.

"To have our opening, to me, was the vision and it is fulfilled," he said.

"The hard work of so many volunteers, teachers and kids has all been worth it."

Hopefully in the longer term it's going to provide employment for locals in catering, caretaking and working with kids.

"It puts Cambrai on the map."

However, the campsite will be unable to accommodate visitors until its solar power system is upgraded.

"What we've had has been fine for us for nine years' setting up, but you need something more reliable (for groups)," he said.

The school will continue looking for donations towards the estimated $30,000 cost of such a system.

- Details: If you can help the school achieve its fundraising goal, phone 8564 5028 or email paul.paulenas14@schools.sa.edu.au.

Present at Meldanda's opening day were Andrew "Cosi" Costello, Mid Murray councillor Mardi Jennings, Cambrai Area School principal Paul Paulenas, Ngarrindjeri and Peramangk man Kevin Agars and artist in residence Tony Hannan.

Present at Meldanda's opening day were Andrew "Cosi" Costello, Mid Murray councillor Mardi Jennings, Cambrai Area School principal Paul Paulenas, Ngarrindjeri and Peramangk man Kevin Agars and artist in residence Tony Hannan.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Cambrai Area School students Isaac Beare, Cameron Murray, Brock Hutchings and Allanah Phipps introduce visitors to Mermaid Lake.

Cambrai Area School students Isaac Beare, Cameron Murray, Brock Hutchings and Allanah Phipps introduce visitors to Mermaid Lake.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Hundreds of students from nine schools descended on the Meldanda campsite at Cambrai for its official opening on Monday.

Mannum Lions Wally Hammond, Dudley Frahe, Leighton Schulz and Bill Dew work the barbecues as they aim to feed 400 schoolchildren on a hot and windy day at Meldanda.

Mannum Lions Wally Hammond, Dudley Frahe, Leighton Schulz and Bill Dew work the barbecues as they aim to feed 400 schoolchildren on a hot and windy day at Meldanda.

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