About Us

History of the YMCA of Brisbane

YMCA in Queens St, 1864

The YMCA of Brisbane is a non-profit, community service organisation under the management of a volunteer Board of Directors who are elected from within the community. Established in 1864, the YMCA of Brisbane commenced as a bible studies club for young men. The current YMCA, in addition to operating camping programs, provides a wide range of Child Care programs, Education programs, Youth Programs, Gymnastics, Fitness, Affordable Housing as well as benevolent services such as Vocational Schools, Youth Mentoring, School Breakfast Program, and OSHC for Young People with a Disability.

YMCA Camp Warrawee

The first ever YMCA Camp occurred in New York in 1885. Camping has since become a cornerstone of YMCAs worldwide, with the first YMCA camp in Australia opening in 1925. Today, the YMCA is one of Australia’s largest providers of school camps and active outdoor recreation programs with fourteen venues throughout Australia.

Brisbane’s inaugural camp, YMCA Camp Warrawee, was purchased in 1949 and officially opened in 1956. The development of the YMCA War Memorial Camp commenced in 1951 with the building of the main hall and for the first year of operation, camps were held under canvas. During the following twenty years, much development was carried out by the voluntary labour of YMCA members and friends together with the assistance of many other service organisations. Some of the buildings were built on the property while others were renovated buildings obtained from the Archerfield aerodrome. A number of other projects were undertaken over the years including creation of the outdoor chapel. The work of the “Dad’s Club” and the labour of many volunteers is acknowledged in the establishment of Camp Warrawee.

Camp Warrawee, aboriginal meaning of ‘Come Here,’ is dedicated “not only to the memory of men who served their country in time of war but to the development of Christian manhood and womanhood and to the building of better human relationships - that war may be no more.”