Six albums of photographs of Alexandra Camp Park from between 1953 and 1964 were recently donated to State Library of Queensland. Nola Warrick, guest blogger, tells the story behind this new collection.
In 1945 the Presbyterian Church saw the potential of turning a large area of land and a huge old boarding house at Alexandra Headland into a campsite/conference centre. It was purchased and opened in 1946. Norman Nelson, known affectionately as NFN, took charge of the development of the site, and the camping movement for children and young people flourished.
Norman Nelson was a gifted photographer; some very early movies that he made are now in the National Archives in Canberra.
He took many beautiful photographs of campers and views of the Sunshine Coast between 1953 and 1964.
The best of these pictures he put into albums. There were two sets of six albums that we know of. One set was left at the property and is now at the new conference centre, still called Alexandra Park, still at Alexandra Headland, but no longer on the esplanade.
The other set he gave to his loyal assistant, Dorothy Gibson. Dorothy died recently at the grand old age of 106. Before her death, she gave the albums to her niece. Dorothy was delighted to know that the albums were to be given to the John Oxley Library to be preserved for posterity.
This collection, 31870 Norman F. Nelson Alexandra Park Camp photograph albums and typescript can be viewed onsite at State Library of Queensland.