THURUNA, the popular Uniting church campsite south of Tumby Bay, is celebrating it's 50th anniversary this year.
The purpose-built retreat overlooking Spencer Gulf contains self-catering, self-contained accommodation for families, church, schools and community groups.
The concept for the facility arose following the popularity of Easter youth camps on Eyre Peninsula during the 1950s, with live-in camps regularly held at Arno Bay and Yallunda Flat show grounds while billeting at Tumby Bay and Cummins.
In 1961 a letter from the Tumby Bay Youth Fellowship to the Tumby Bay Church Council requested the matter of a permanent campsite be investigated, with Hamilton's Beach, south of Tumby Bay, the most favoured spot.
The foundations for a cement block building with a jarrah floor were poured on March 19, 1962 with the completed building open on October 27 that year.
On-going building work since then, including the installation of a redundant school building from the Tumby Bay Area School, has resulted in facilities that include a meeting hall, games area, dormitories, a commercial kitchen, retreat rooms, toilet and bathroom facilities.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary, a day of thanksgiving and celebration will be held on Sunday, October 21, starting with morning tea at 10.30am.
There will be an official welcome at 11.30am followed by a barbecue lunch, then a worship service for all ages at 1.30pm. This will be followed by an afternoon of sharing stories, reminiscing and looking at memorabilia.
Past trustees, committee members, volunteers and campers are welcome to attend and a guest book will be provided to sign with an opportunity to write individual memories or experiences.
Anyone with any old photos, slides or information about the campsite or camps, or to RSVP for catering, is asked to contact Kym and Janet Shepherd on 8688 0040 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.