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Hubdate March 2020

Camping in the outdoors is almost second nature to veterans and we often find ourselves sitting next to an open fire contemplating life and its challenges amongst friends and family. This experience is incredibly under-rated for its therapeutic relaxation and social connection value and we often overlook the underlying benefits of getting away from the increasing momentum of life.

Groups of veterans have formed over time that provide peer support to their respective age and service demographics and one such group, the Vietnam Veterans Federation (VVF), have taken it a step further by creating a purpose built camp ground. They have steadily built this area, generously offered to the veteran community by a local farmer, over a period of decades into what is now a fully equipped camp ground with hot showers, toilets, power and a full camp kitchen.

Named after Australia’s first casualty of the Afghanistan conflict, SASR Sgt Andrew Russell, Camp Andrew Russell (CAR) – as it is affectionately known by the VVF – is a place of peace and serenity nestled amongst 18 acres of Mallee bushland just outside of Alawoona, roughly 32 Km from Loxton in the Riverland. The camp includes a memorial dedicated to our fallen and features secluded camping locations accessible for caravans and for the hardier veterans a covered swag shed.

Future improvements will include a short golf course and putting green (on synthetic turf) and a bocce green as well as a children’s playground. With the Murray River only a short drive away, it is an ideal location to base yourself for kayaking, fishing and other water-sports and you don’t need a 4 wheel drive to get into the camp ground.

The VVF are very keen to see the younger veteran community making use of the camp either individually or in groups.  Access is very easy and affordable at $5.00 per head per night. The nearest shops are in Loxton (roughly 30 minutes away), so campers need to bring all food and drinks, but remember the restrictions around bringing fruit and vegetables in to the Riverland.  It is recommended that campers purchase fresh fruit and vegetables in Loxton.

To access the camp, contact the VVF at their HQ on 08 8296 2411 or contact Bob Haslett on 0429 166 186.  You can also email them at vvfsa@tpg.com.au.

The camp is available for all current and former serving members as well as their friends and families, so please make use of it, it could be just the therapy you need.


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