Words by Robyn Hargrave


Camping at Lennox Head in the 1920s and ‘30s had no resemblance to today’s ‘glamping’. Canvas tents and tarpaulins roped to tea tree poles were the order of the day.

When arriving for holidays Sally Buntine remembered, ‘On top of the bank a deep pit was dug and a frame built around onto which hessian was tightly tacked.’ That was the shared toilet. Drinking water came from public tanks and a dip in the Lake was the daily bath. Of course there was no electricity – only kerosene lamps.

Campers were stoic folk, using the shelter of sand dunes along the foreshore, opposite the current Hotel Lennox, against onshore winds and weather.

During the 1950s, the enterprising Hutley family saw an opportunity for a caravan and camping ground adjacent to their store at the corner of Rayner Lane and Ballina Street. This was later enhanced by the Gradwells.


However, by the 1960s demand exceeded supply and heath was cleared for the present park with luxuries of a few hot showers and flushing toilets.

Debbie Smith, manager of the Lennox Head Holiday Park, said, ‘There are families who have returned to ‘their’ site for over 50 years. Most are from north coast towns so it’s a real community atmosphere and great environment for kids to holiday’.

EDIT: The October 2016 Landmarks’ article contained information which has been corrected by Peter Gradwell, long time Lennox Head resident. Peter’s parents, Bill and Beryl, purchased the store at the corner of Rayner Lane and Ballina Street in 1956 from the Jack family and established the caravan park there, not Hutleys as published. The caravan park expanded when Peter’s family purchased adjoining property to the south.

Sources: Bunting S (nee Lems), Ringing the Bell Backwards, Hilary Wilson (ed), Lennox Head Heritage Committee (LHHC), Lismore, 2003; LHHC. Photos courtesy of: R Lutwyche, nee Ainsworth; LHHC.

Readers with information on this or other Landmarks of Lennox, please contact Robyn Hargrave phone 0412 660 994, email