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Murdoch University Orientation, 1989, Forest Edge Campsite

It's our second day here. Already the great hall that we occupy feels like home. The entire place is a rectangular building, with a central courtyard that acts as a basketball or volleyball court. Along one wall are benches which are the usual meeting place of the populace of this small community. On the opposite wall there are rooms which are occupied by the guild staff, a tuckshop and a recess which does double time as a sort of lounging room. In this recess is housed the stereo, which has speakers which would do credit as part of Stonehenge. The stereo plays almost all of the time, usually belting out INXS or Jimmy Barnes, or Billy Idol. Between these two are housed the kitchens, from which flows a wonderous array of foodstuffs. Opposite the kitchens is a small pathway, with stairs to the upper levels. In this recess are housed the toilet and shower blocks. Above the lower courtyard are the bedrooms which house between four and eight people. There is a railing which allows those on the upper floor to observe the activity in the courtyard. Also upstairs are the twin leisure rooms. One contains some lounging chairs, the other has two ping-pong (table tennis) tables.

The people in this little house in the woods are a curious mix; friendly, yet slightly reserved. Already, distinct social groupings are beginning to emerge. There are the camp co-ordinators, who are a group to themselves; the athletes, who spend most of their spare time playing either basketball or volleyball; several groups of trendies, forming their own little cliques; the mature age students, who tend to congregate together, perhaps feeling a little out of place among all of the 17 - 18 year olds. Then there are the studs, the boozers, the smokers and the assorted odd-bods (of which I am one) all coming together to make up one big confused community.

The views from Forest Edge are absolutely superb. From the front verandah, you can see straight down the valley, and onto the coastal plain in the west. To the southwest, can be seen an Alcoa plant, which looks like a fairytale city when it is lit up at nights. To the north, east and south the campsite is surrounded by hills, covered by dry grass and scrubby gums. Lower down the hills, blackboys flourish near the creek. Some of them tower over people, hinting at immense age. The view can't really be described, it has to be seen, especially at sunset.

Forest Edge is a privately run camp or convention facility near Waroona, to the south of Perth.

This work is copyright Meg Thornton 1989 - 2005. All rights are reserved.

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