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ANZAC Day 2020 – The Bisset Brothers

LSC&PH has had a long and storied connection with the ANZAC’s and the Australian Military. This year, we want to share a little of the story of the Bisset brothers.

Stan Bisset, alongside his brother Hal, was an integral part of the Power House Rugby Club in the 1930s. In 1939, Stan was poised to captain the Australian Rugby team on a tour of England. Merely one day after they disembarked from their 6-week sea voyage however, they turned around and headed home to Australia. World War 2 had been declared that morning, the 3rd of September 1939.

The 1939 Wallabies, featuring Stan Bisset

Instead of fifteen-a-side for 80 minutes stretches, Stan would enlist as a private in the global fight which would last six years and decimate millions of people.

Back at home, the 14th Militia Battalion – C Rifle Company was a training unit made up entirely of Power House members. In Stan’s words, “my older brother, Hal, had already joined. He was known throughout the battalion as Butch. We were both pretty good marksmen. We grew up mostly in Melbourne, but we spent a couple of years at Warrandyte in the Victorian countryside. We used to build rafts and raft down the Yarra River for miles and miles. We had .22 rifles and we learned to shoot a flame out at 25 metres. We could also shoot rabbits on the run”.

Stan and Butch first saw action together in the rugged mountains of Syria, Lebanon and Beirut before returning home in 1942.

Their next posting was at a place seared into Australian history and lore – Kokoda.

They were a part of the 2,500 strong Maroubra Force charged with relieving the few hundred soldiers standing on treacherous, muddy ground – between Australia and thousands of enemy troops.

For five months, the Kokoda Track was home to raging battles, loss of life and heartbreak. Butch was killed in action on the 29th August. He was in command of 35 men who held vital high ground for 4 days; repelling eleven front-on assaults, each of 100 men. While distributing hand-grenades to his men, Butch was mortally wounded by a burst of machine gun fire which caught him across the stomach.

It was hours before Stan heard what had happened and could find Butch.

“I sat with him for six hours. He was quite conscious at times. We talked about Mum and Dad, our good times and bad times, what we did as kids. I sat with him until about 4am, when he finally left us. We buried him beside the track.”

At our Somers Campsite, the honour board which rests high above our Mess Hut commemorates the scores of men who served in the Power House battalion and never made it home. Hal Bisset’s name among them and occupies a special place in the memories of many.

Stan was awarded the Military Cross for his efforts in Kokoda. Historian W B Russell reckons Stan earned his MC ‘several times over’; as a private who rose through the ranks to Captain with outstanding leadership and courage. When Stan passed on the 5th October 2010 aged 98 years, he was the oldest surviving Wallaby Rugby international.

In 2020, LSC&PH will commemorate ANZAC Day with a traditional ANZAC eve service – held online to adapt to our current situation.



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The Art of Power House 2020

This exhibition of LSC&PH artwork showcased the artistic pursuits of members who vitalise our organisation with their creative ideas. While the physical exhibition is under postponement, we instead celebrated online. Scroll through the images below and hear from our organisation’s talented creatives!


Derek Skues

From India to Japan, and the highlands to the low. Derek is a Power House artist whose travels have graced him with a wide breadth of style and perspectives.




Danj Beadman

An icon of our organisation – and the famous Somers Bridge! Danj Beadman’s rendering of the Somers Bridge from a time gone by is a fitting tribute to an important LSC&PH location.




Greg Cater

Some of the timeless LSC&PH photos have been captured by the deft hand of Greg Cater, whose own works traverse how light interacts with the urban and natural world.




Greg Ure

Greg’s studio is a rich tapestry of colour, with his works evoking the spirit of the bush and the sea littering the walls. Get a glimpse at a part of the process he goes through to create such stunning printed works!




Sarah Hemmings

In Sarah’s installment, see birds of brilliant colours and how Sarah’s sketches are finely sliced to create intricate printing patterns. Sarah’s sharp eye catches the many beauties of the world around her in Echuca.


Andre Sardone

Andre has been bending and shaping steel for years, in his trade and art. His latest evolutions take on remarkable personalities, both human and beyond.



Jono Cowan

Jono is an accomplished cinematographer, whose sets and films often feature fellow Power House members. Top Dogs, packed with our local stars, takes a look at the darker side of authority, set in the marvelous time of Christmas.

The Tog Dogs director’s commentary includes some strong language, adult themes and stylised violence – and is recommended for ages 16 and over.


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Easter Camp LITE

Easter Camp is a much loved and anticipated date on the Somers calendar. Generations of friends and families gather to enjoy sitting shoulder to shoulder in the Mess Hut, huddling around the camp fire and sharing good times in Swannees over drinks, card playing, trivia and storytelling.

In times of self-isolation and social distancing, a lesser man or woman would therefore think Easter Camp is not possible. But in true Somers tradition this was a mere challenge – a technicality to overcome. So in 2020, Easter Camp moved to the virtual world and Easter Camp LITE was born.

Through the powers of Facebook and Zoom, 107 Easter Campers participated in four days of fun online activities. Many much-loved Easter Camp traditions were replicated online or we saw the birth of new ones such as the videos created by the kids teaching us new skills in cooking and crafting.

Easter Camp LITE began on Good Friday with would-be Campers woken by the familiar sounds of reveille and 3RS breakfast radio with Sam and Tim Dakin. Breakfast radio so good, you would have sworn you were lying in Yellow Hut. Friday continued in a relaxed fashion with Somers’ stunts, Easter Bunny drawings and Mary Bawden soothing excited campers, young and old, with bedtime stories over Zoom.

The Saturday programme was even busier with Gillian Lee and musical melodies for the kids following the much loved dulcet tones of 3RS breakfast radio, more virtual stunts (Tula the Hula girl is a must-see), and the classic chocolate ripple cake competition to see which family could create the most epic ripple cake. The Zoom meeting platform was also hard at work with Mike Officer hosting a virtual Swannees happy hour with 29 participants followed by a very popular and intensely competitive online trivia, expertly compered by Kristen Hammond.

Onto Sunday and isolation wasn’t going to end our traditional Easter Camp Bush Chapel service. Mandy Hutchinson and special friends delivered a heart-warming service, the perfect tonic for the circumstances we are all living in. A special mention also to Steph Payne and the Easter Camp ‘Pub’ Choir and the wonderful rendition of Lean on Me. And no day at Easter Camp, full strength or Lite, is complete without happy hour at Swannees.

And finally, on Monday Campers were treated to the fourth installment of 3RS breakfast radio before another Easter Camp tradition – the virtual Sophie Mason Car Rally. This year, teams were able to travel far beyond Somers thanks to the Syko family, crossing international borders on the way to completing tasks and cryptic clues across the globe. Truly a car rally every bit as competitive as a non-virtual one.

So, although these times of self-isolation meant we could not gather in the traditional sense, the true Somers spirit of fellowship was lived and celebrated. Easter Camp brought us together once more, albeit in a different way. In these times of isolation, this fellowship was especially welcomed and valued by all. Thanks to all the enthusiastic families and friends who were a special part of a very different and first ever virtual Easter Camp. Proof, that in isolation we can all remain connected. An EC2020 story for the history books, however I look forward to a more traditional Easter Camp in 2021.

Stuart Douglas Red 1985

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Lord Somers Camp goes online!

Because the Coronavirus is currently preventing our happy campers from coming to camp, our Camp Activities Coordinator Josh Clark has come up with a fun way everyone can keep enjoying Somers Camp-style activities – virtually!

Our first Virtual Camp Activity goes LIVE on our Instagram @lsc.ph this Thursday at 10am! To catch up with our fortnightly activities as we go along, check our Instagram ‘Camp Activities’ Highlights.

We hope you enjoy our fun virtual activities program and very much look forward to seeing you play along!

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Power House Pre-Consultation Survey

Power House is home and the result of our not-for-profit organisation which has served the Victorian community for 91 years. The organisation focus is with the leadership and personal development of young men and women; and service to the community. The organisation has around 16,000 engaged alumnae and 1500 active volunteers who provide annual in kind service to the community valued at around $5.1m per annum.

The Social impact is clear, and the re-development of headquarters at Albert Park is vital for the future of Lord Somers Camp & Power House.

It is of high importance that we develop the new building to be a iconic destination for many and that it embraces its local community charter which is why we want to hear from you. We want to hear from you so we can refine the design and uses of the building so that in every way, the Power House becomes a strong, and connected community hub.

To participate in the survey and consultation, please Click Here

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Oldies Camp Highlight

For 25 years, LSC&PH have been running Oldies camp, a camp where over 55 year old men have the opportunity to attend a weekend camp at Somers. The year was a huge highlight with over 70 men attending camp having plenty of fun, telling plenty of stories and connecting together for an all round good time.

In our social fabric it is incredibly important that we engage in intergenerational connections and this camp was supported by a number of young volunteers that cooked, cleaned and ran games for those who did the same years (or some decades) before. It is a chance where men can connect with others to ensure a strong sense of belonging is recharged whilst having plenty of fun along the way.

In a few weeks time, we are looking forward to Goldies camp, a chance where over 55 year old woman will connect down at camp.

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Coronavirus Update

Lord Somers Camp & Power House are committed to health and safety of all volunteers, participants and guests and are currently monitoring Department of Health alerts regularly.

In line with the Department of Health guidelines regarding Coronavirus, any volunteer or participant that has transited through mainland China, Italy, Iran, Japan and any largely affected areas in the last 14 days or has been in close contact with a confirmed case of Coronavirus in the last 14 days is not to attend camp and should contact the office (via phone or email).

Additionally, to maintain a safe environment, those who are able to attend camp should continue to maintain good hygiene by washing hands frequently with soap and water, cover coughs and sneezes, dispose of tissues and if at any stage you feel unwell, avoid contact with others and notify the safety officer.

Some background

Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. Symptoms are generally flu-like, and deaths have only occurred in the elderly or those with pre-existing conditions. There is currently no specific treatment so treatment is focused on treatment of symptoms.

As of the 9 March 2020, Australia has 80 confirmed cases of coronavirus (COVID-19), including 3 deaths. Most confirmed cases, and almost all deaths, have been in mainland China. Cases outside of China are mostly people who have been in Wuhan or have been in close contact with somebody who has been in Wuhan.

It should be noted that the situation is evolving and our position may change at short notice.

The Department of Health and Human Services have released an informative poster regarding Coronavirus. You can download it in English or Chinese.

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Milkshake Drive for Fire Relief

At our recent Lady Somers Camp, a group of passionate volunteers coordinated additional efforts to raise money through the sale of milkshakes for fire effected communities. The team managed to raise just over $600 which was capped off by Lord Somers Camp and Power House to $1000.

We were delighted to donate $1000 cheque to the local fire brigade in Somers which was graciously accepted by Captain John Rogasch and Lt Bruce McCallum.

Lady Somers Camp, a program where 100 young girls challenge the perspectives they hold about themselves and others. Through introducing 100 young women to a broad range of peers, we help dismantle social barriers through an increased understanding and acceptance of diversity.


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50 Years on the Yarra

Recently Power House Rowing Club celebrated 50 years since building their new club rooms on the Yarra River. Originally house at Power House on Albert Park lake the club soon continued to expand its program and required the longer length of the yarra to continue to develop their talent. Since then, the club continues to represent increadible well with many successes along the way.

During the event, the club christened 4 new learn to row boats, to encourage people of any ability to come and join the club and keep active and healthy whilst doing so. Tim Ryan, CEO of Lord Somers Camp and Power House said “It was great to see the continued connections between Lord Somers Camp and Power House and the Power House Rowing Club go from strength to strength and 4 new boats to the fleet is testiment to the clubs continued focus on development youth, and celebrating diversity”.

Tim was joined by Peter Leahy, President of Power House Rowing Club together with Steve Stefanopoulos, Mayor of Stonnington.

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From the Archives

The Power House Archives Group meets weekly to work on capturing and restoring both the cultural and physical heritage of Lord Somers Camp and Power House. The mission for Archives is people today reconstructing yesterday, people tomorrow reconstructing today and building bridges for people between time and place. This is achieved through managing the selection of non-current records for physical preservation and storage, together with the documentation, recording and retrieval of material.

Next week on the Eve of ANZAC Day, we will be taking some time to pay our respects to those who served our country with a service at Power House in Albert Park. During war times our Somers Campsite served as a training site for the RAAF. Additionally, following the announcement of WW2, the LSC&PH Auxiliary turned the Power House Clubhouse into a space for servicemen to come together and share food, participate in activities and partake in dance classes. Thanks to a close link with Kodak at the time, LSC&PH were able to arrange for servicemen to obtain two photos and one negative of themselves which could then be sent home to their loved ones, for free. The card accompanying the photo had on one side photos of the activities run out of the Clubhouse and the other a message from the Camp Chief at the time, Dr. C. Gordon McAdam.

This photograph comes to you with the compliments and good wishes of “Power House.” “Power House” is a club consisting of all those youths from industries and great public schools who have been selected for and passed through an annual Lord Somers’ Camp, at Somers, Victoria. The Camp was founded twelve years ago on similar lines to H.M. the King’s Camp in Britain, and aims at bringing together young men from every walk in life, so that they may learn to understand on another’s view point and to appreciate one another’s worth. With this understanding and appreciation they work and play in “Power House” for the common good and National advancement.

“Power House” as one of its efforts towards the winning of the War has thrown open its Club House at Albert Park, Melbourne, to all men of the fighting services who have nothing to do on Sundays. Many facilities are provided – meals, hot showers, games of every description, concert parties, dancing […], car rides round Melbourne, beds in private homes on Saturday nights, pedicure, mending, washing, reading and writing material, the taking of photographs to be sent to relatives and friends, and assistance in any difficulty. Everything is free. “Power House” finds the necessary funds from its own resources. A greater part of the organisation and work is provided by “Power House” Auxiliary – a band of wonderful men and women, the parents and relatives of “Power House” members – who in this War are doing their bit. You can be sure your man is well looked after in Melbourne every Sunday.


Camp Chief and President “Power House”

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