A place for all of us: History of Alex Park
1933: The Presbyterian Young People’s Fellowship Association’s first Easter Camp at Alexandra Hostel.
1933-42: The site is used for Easter camps and grows in popularity. During this time the hostel is put up for sale a number of times but no buyer is found.
1942: The Alexandra Hostel is requisitioned by the Australian Army. The windows are painted black and Easter camps are put on hold for a couple of years.
1945: Queensland Presbyterian Camps purchase Alexandra Hostel at a reduced cost. They began setting up the camp home for the Young People’s Fellowship Association. The purchase comprises 173 acres of land and plans are immediately afoot to use it as a training centre for youth workers, youth leaders, organised camps, a holiday centre and a rest haven for people needing a place away.
1946: The first Easter Camp in “their own home” is held the night before Good Friday, on April 19. comprising 200 campers.
The landscape of the local region was very different in the 1930s and 1940s. The roads consist of sandy dirt tracks. Travel is arduous. Buderim locals would often take a days’ outing and cross the swamp to Mooloolaba beach.
Working parties were constantly held for things like repairs on the original hostel, planting trees for the surrounding regenerated rainforest and building the outdoor chapel (located on a different part of the property today), which features a stone Communion table and altar.
1988: The biggest build in the history of Alex Park is undertaken. On what is the second land sale of the Alexandra Park site, the Presbyterian Church “let go of” (sell) a chunk of the property to fund this historic development. The new facility comprises two accommodation blocks, a main building with offices, an auditorium, kitchen and a dining room.
1992: Concept plans underway to add an additional accommodation area complete with meeting room, laundry and amenities, and to extend the main auditorium to double its size.
2004-05: 2004-05: The project begins. Bungalows are finished and Auditorium B is completed with a stage extension that doubled the size of the stage area.
2017-18: The swimming pool area is updated including a new Bali hut seating area and stencil-crete. Volleyball area is improved to be a white sand court.
2018: The site is air-conditioned, including the auditoriums, all meeting rooms, Banksia, Bungalows and dining rooms.
2019: New audio-visual systems fitted to auditoriums and meeting rooms. Acacia rooms are air-conditioned.
2019-20: Updated Interior design implemented, including new flooring, painting, window coverings, beds, cabinets and more to all rooms.
Site-wide Wi-Fi is installed and commissioned complete with a 200mb dedicated fibre-optic internet link.
2020: Added low and medium-height rope challenge elements to the high ropes course. An entry arbour with a cross is added to the outdoor chapel.
2021: A Venue Use agreement is signed with the Australian Olympic Committee, acting on recommendations from the Sunshine Coast Council that we would be the perfect delivery partner for the local region during the 2032 Brisbane Olympic Games.
2021-22: A more modern “look” is decided upon with refurbishments and new buildings added to the site. Including a roofed arrival area where guests disembark buses. A new entry portico that leads to reception and the new front dining/ meeting room.
Two new dining /meeting rooms complete with outdoor alfresco dining areas are built. All of these are undercover. The two new dining rooms are glassed-in with sliding stacker doors so they can open up to nature.
2022-23: A second bathroom is added to the Beattie Cottage Retreat house.
2023: Two new buildings are approved to be built, comprising eight accommodation rooms, each with an ensuite. The six-room building is adjacent to Banksia accommodation and is destined to be called Pandanus. The two-room building is adjacent to the existing Bungalows area, and will be called Grass Tree Bungalows.
The face of Alex Park might have changed over the years but one thing hasn’t: our goal to bring people together and see relationships strengthen. We’re looking forward to continuing this tradition with many more wonderful groups. They grace us with their presence.