JUNE MARKS 50-YEAR CAMPING TRADITION AT MASSY
Massy Greene Reflections has welcomed back loyal guest June Theuerkauf this summer for her 50th year of camping at the popular holiday park.
“Every year we re-book here because if you don’t there are hundreds in the queue and we’ve got one of the best spots on the riverfront,” the 80-year-old Brisbane grandmother says.
Massy Greene Park Manager Lorna Carr said it was special to see June return each year and reconnect with friends made over the decades.
“June’s presence is felt when she is here and she’s watched generations of kids grow up, not just her own, who also return with her to enjoy the park,” Lorna says.
“Camping simplifies and slows down the pace for everyone and allows these meaningful friendships to be made among families, too.”
June was 30 years old with three kids under the age of seven when her husband Barry told her that he was buying a tent to take the family camping at the Brunswick Heads park.
“He said to me, ‘It’s the only way to get you away from doing work at home,” she remembers with a chuckle, adding that at that time it was “chaos” because she was working in retail and raising children as the couple built their first home.
The year was 1973: Gough Whitlam was Prime Minister, the Sydney Opera House was opened by Queen Elizabeth II and AC/DC would play their first major gig in Sydney.
Meanwhile, Barry and June crammed their tent, esky and kids into the car and drove about an hour south from their Brisbane home to tranquil Massy Greene, an area they grew to love when they lived briefly at Mullumbimby Creek.
After their inaugural camping trip, Barry and June repeated the journey every year, returning to pitch a tent at Massy Greene Reflections at Easter and Christmas.
“We started on a site near the old boat ramp and then got shifted to the back a bit but then eventually we got site 111, right on the river,” June says.
Time marched on – Gough got dismissed, Australia had the recession it had to have – and Barry, June and the kids kept on camping.
In 2006, tragedy struck when Barry died from a massive heart attack in his sleep, aged 65.
Taking solace in the fact her husband didn’t suffer, and throwing herself back into work, June had to decide whether to continue the family camping tradition.
“I said to my son, ‘About Brunswick Heads … are you prepared to come down and help me set up, and then pull it all down at the end of three weeks, otherwise I’ll have to stop going’, and he said, ‘Of course!’.
June continues to stay on an unpowered site at Massy Greene, however the tent is long gone, replaced by a camper trailer that her son has equipped with solar power. There are two annexes attached to the trailer and numerous beds, allowing her to accommodate her extended family: she has three grandchildren and a great grandson.
Continuing the camping tradition played a part in redrawing strength after losing Barry, June says, because of the community around her.
“When you go camping you meet so many other families and our kids grew up together and I think that’s the part I love – catching up with all those people, meeting new babies and so on,” she says.
“Every year I would wonder if things might change but it’s basically the same.”
These days, June only stays at Massy Greene Reflections at Christmas, and she’s not planning to stop her much-loved ritual anytime soon.
“Heck no,” she says. “I just love it.”
Brisbane grandmother June Theuerkauf is holidaying for her 50th year at Reflections Massy Greene
Reflections is a Crown Land Manager that operates 39 holiday parks, camping grounds and unique properties in coastal and inland NSW, and cares for 45 nature reserves on behalf of the public of NSW. Reflections is not your average holiday park - it reinvests profits back into the parks and reserves it cares for and it is the only holiday park group in Australia that is a certified social enterprise.
Penelope Green 0437 144 526