Luther Heights Youth Camp History: In God hands
We can only credit God, our Creator and Redeemer; there is no other way to describe the story of Luther Heights Youth Camp. The stories in our history are too outrageous to be made up, often surprising and always humbling: inspiring. The Luther Heights Story is not short of hard work, of human sacrifice or toil and yet it is not these things that are most notable, rather it is God’s hand that has been ever present that delivers the gold. So as is the history of Luther Heights Youth Camp, again we thank and praise God for his continued favour, his protection and for calling and allowing us to be part of this amazing place and the live changing work that happens here.
Find a Block…
This is special story in the history of Luther Heights. Even as I researched the story and am writing it for you, I am astounded at how God delivered the site that is now Luther Heights.
The Lutheran Youth of Queensland were in the market for a suitable block of land for a campsite, and so they put the call out to the congregations of the state.
Through some connections with a real estate agent members from Nambour Lutheran Church had found what they thought might be a suitable site. The site not easily accessed by car – more easily accessed by boat across the Maaroochy river, was inspected three or four times but no one was aware of just where the boundaries ran until 6 months after the deposit was paid! As it turns out the Nambour team had secured 38 acres of hill top land, overlooking the ocean in Coolum Beach.
No one could believe the price – even in 1958!
“You can’t buy land in this area for that amount of money” – was the advice of the day.
485 pounds – the amount the Nambour council was looking to recover in unpaid rates.
485 pounds – the EXACT amount the Lutheran Youth of Queensland had to spend on buying a campsite.
The real estate agent of the time questioned whether the decimal point was in the correct spot! It was only available because everyone assumed it must be swamp for the low asking price!
God again (still) present; guiding the whole process. A suitable block found, one tenth the going rate of the time AND a price that matched EXACTLY the funds available. Hallelujah.
Next came the dorms:
A determined and tenacious group of servants found ex army huts; that would soon become the first dorms at Luther Heights (still in use today! NB they have now been at Luther Heights for over 60 years and we bought them second hand!!). The first four buildings included a Girls dorm, Boys dorm, Dining hall and assembly hall were all already in use and needed to be dismantled from their location in Brisbane and shipped 150 km on the back of wheat trucks – some of which had already travelled 250km to the pick up point.
The dorms where then rebuilt with volunteer labour – some volunteers living in tents on site with no running water or toilet facilities for months on end during the construction process. The dedicated volunteers dug by hand all the footings, the septic tanks and trenches needed for plumbing and power – humbling!
The original bunks where welded together over several weeks; accessing a workshop only available at night. These bunks were built in a workshop in Dalby -330km away!
The first camp ever held at Luther Heights was in January long weekend 1958. With the girls sleeping in the new dorm and boys under a tarp on a pile of barley straw. It must have been an exiting time for all involved.
The volunteer stories that emanate from the 57 years that Luther Heights Youth Camp has been running are all remarkable, humbling and a great testament to the Holy Spirit moving people into action. The volunteers across the last six decades have paved the way for connection with over 500,000 souls. This vibrant ministry, with everlasting impact has always been in God’s hands.