About Bickley

The Bickley Outdoor Recreation Camp is more than a physical site available for group bookings. It's a special place where Western Australians of all ages can participate in unique and exciting activities in a tranquil bush setting.

Whether it is the conquest of the first abseil, the team success of building a raft or sharing a camp-fire with your peers, your time at Bickley will be an adventure to remember.


Bickley Outdoor Recreation Camp is located on the Darling Scarp alongside the picturesque Bickley Reservoir, 25 kilometres from the Perth CBD.

The camp offers dormitory and leaders’ accommodation for up to 76 people, tent camping for 50 people and a day use area for up to 100 people.

The facilities, equipment and programs are ideal for school, corporate, sporting, church, youth, family and community groups wishing to experience a variety of recreational and educational opportunities.

The natural bush setting means you can choose from a diverse range of outdoor activities including abseiling, flying fox, vertical challenges, leap of faith, crate climb, canoeing, raft making, orienteering, team building, search and rescue, mountain biking and swimming.

Bickley is also ideal for field studies, music camps, retreats, leadership and professional development camps.

Our professionally trained staff can design and organise the right recreational experiences for your camp, function or professional development day.

History of Bickley Outdoor Recreation Camp

The foundations of the Bickley Youth Camp, as it was first known, go back to the early 1940s when, in response to a governmental need for the promotion of healthy recreation for the youth of Australia, the concept of a youth camp was discussed.


The National Fitness Council was designated to investigate possible sites for a camp and the idea reached fruition on June 3rd, 1945 when the official opening ceremony at Bickley Camp in Orange Grove took place. At that time, a dining room, lecture hut, kitchen, store and shower rooms were the only buildings erected and campers were accommodated in tents. Perseverance and hard labour on the part of the volunteers moulded the camp’s character and encouraged the workers to appreciate this facility more than if everything had been provided for them. Voluntary organisations of all kinds came to the Bickley Youth Camp to experience the new concept of camping and to learn the skills of sharing and living together.

Bickley, the State’s model youth camp, was discovered by the Gould League of Western Australia in 1951 and annual, fortnight-long camps were held for many year six school children until the early 1990s. The T.S. Edmondson sanctuary was established by the Gould League with its commemorative sundial, seats and birdbath.

Improved facilities were gradually added to the Bickley Youth Camp, starting with the erection of huts. These old army-style buildings replaced the original tents. The construction of a 55 yard Olympic standard swimming pool, in the Bickley Reservoir was well received. The jetty was constructed using original timbers from the old Causeway, Perth.

A subsidised fee structure applied and in the early days it cost one shilling and threepence a day to camp at Bickley with proviso that 'special rates may be given to non-working groups'.

Another early addition to the camp was the old Pickering Brook schoolhouse. This stands just inside the gates and has been used over the years as a recreation room.

In the early 1950s, a youth hostel was built at the Bickley campsite by the Youth Hostels Association and was later gutted by fire.

Ted Bogan was the initial warden from 1945 to 1959; he didn’t have separate accommodation at camp and had to leave for the weekends when there was a camp in. Ted would catch a lift with the Water Supply crew early on Monday morning to get back to camp.

A Warden’s hut was fitted out for the next warden, Bert Wilkinson. Bert retired in 1976.

Bill Booth, the next warden spent many hours building the stone walls, barbecue area and the amphitheatre. Bill remained as an enthusiastic warden until 1988.

In 1985 the dormitories were rearranged and ablution blocks were incorporated under the same roof.

Recreation activities started to emerge with the arrival of Russell Small, the inaugural camp manager. One of the first ropes courses in the state was constructed and became a well utilised facility for over twenty years. Abseiling, canoeing, orienteering and other recreation activities started to become part of a campers’ itinerary.

In 1995 the Department of Sport and Recreation (formerly the National Fitness Council and various other names) camps chain started to focus on all their camps having a higher degree of structured recreational activities. Bickley staff members Craig Waite and David Hall were heavily involved in creating the range of programs available to client groups and were instrumental in training up a variety of other professional instructors to assist with the program delivery.

Aaron Bertram became the new camp manager in 2005. With the support of his staff the camp has been able to expand its program options even further. In 2017 the department had a name change and is now called Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC). The camp constructed  a masterplan that will influence future improvements to tent camping facilities and the accommodation and meeting assets at this unique site.

Information for camp leaders and supervisors

Leader responsibilities

What is your role on camp programs?

All clients with participants under the age of 18 must supply sufficient adult supervision at each program activity location. Bickley staff will supervise the participants while participating in department facilitated programs and minimise the risk of injury to them wherever possible.

Group supervisors are required to take responsibility for the monitoring of the group and individuals’ behaviour, and enforce disciplinary actions as required. Bickley staff members have the right to discipline or remove participants from a program either temporarily or permanently if they are deemed a risk to themselves or others in the group.

We encourage adult group leaders to build a strong rapport with their group, provide duty of care, assess risks where appropriate and enjoy the experience.

Creating a positive experiential environment

We expect group leaders to ensure the following:

  • Participants are on time and prepared adequately for the specific program.
  • Participants are encouraged through a positive, non-intimidatory approach to the program.
  • Adult group leaders should refrain from providing too much support or advice to their group to allow the group to learn and develop skills independently.

There may be occasions where adult group leaders are asked to help facilitate certain aspects of a program. The instructor will discuss this responsibility with the adult group leader prior to the program.

What is your role outside of camp programs?

It is recommended that a supervision roster is developed to supervise free time, meals and other activities. It is also recommended room checks are done after ‘lights out’ to ensure participants are asleep.

It is encouraged that all staff are briefed about their roles and responsibilities prior to coming to camp.

Camp organiser (group leader) — what to bring to camp

Personal gear list

As well as including the items on the participants gear list, the group leader should also pack:

  • alarm clock/phone
  • eye mask
  • first aid kit
  • day backpack
  • client information pack
  • camera
  • relevant paperwork including student medical forms, emergency response document
  • whistle.

What to leave at home

  • chewing gum
  • spray aerosol cans (use roll-on deodorant and insect repellents)
  • expensive jewellery, electronic devices and cameras
  • high heeled shoes.

Client briefing

The majority of client groups will receive a client briefing upon arriving at camp. Groups arriving on weekends or late at night may not receive this briefing.

It is recommended for groups arriving during these times to have a camp leader attend the camp prior to the group arriving to discuss the camp rules, cleaning requirements, risk management and emergency response protocols and other important information.

Camp considerations

 Bickley Outdoor Recreation Camp is a beautiful place, you can help protect it by:

  • ensuring all rubbish is placed in the appropriate bins located throughout the camp-site
  • respecting and caring for plants and animals
  • swimming in the reservoir only as directed by the Bickley Outdoor Recreation Camp
  • lighting fires only in designated camp-fire/cooking areas in accordance with fire restrictions and camp management advice.


The boundaries of the camp are shown on the map.

Eating in drinking accommodation areas

The consumption and storage of food and drinks in accommodation areas can attract unwanted guests and cause damage to camp property. We ask clients not to eat or drink within all dormitory areas.

Moving mattresses

Mattresses are not to be removed from their location without camp management approval.

Drink fountains

Water fountains are located in the Kookaburra camp-site area in several locations.

A water fountain is located next to the washing up area in the Billabong camp-site area.


A number of bins are located throughout the camp. Bins that are dark green or light blue in colour are for non-recyclable materials (general waste). Bins that have a yellow lid or are yellow in colour are for recyclable products excluding Containers for Change items. Bins that are orange in colour are for Container For Change items. There is also a large white metal bin to the south of the Kookaburra kitchen for cardboard products. Cardboard products should be flattened before placing in this bin. It is very important that the correct items are placed in the bins located at the camp..


It is highly recommended that enclosed and secure footwear be worn at all times when outdoors. Secure and enclosed footwear is required for all department facilitated programs, including aquatic programs.


Damages and breakages should be reported to the adult group leaders and camp staff as soon as possible. This will allow for repairs or replacements to be organised and address any safety concerns.

Damages and breakages will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. The circumstances that led to the damage/breakage occurring will be taken into account when determining liability and cost recovery.

Camp duties

The adult group supervisors are responsible for the creation of duty rosters for the participants and themselves. Camp duties may vary depending on whether the group chooses to self-cater or use the camp caterers. Duties may include cleaning the dining room after meals, the dormitories, meeting room and the camp grounds.

Dining room

The Kookaburra dining room is supplied with sufficient rectangular trestle tables and chairs to cater for the capacity of the area. Groups can set up the tables and chairs in a configuration to suit their needs and group size.


Bickley Outdoor Recreation Camp  is located in the Bickley Valley catchment area and has numerous species of flora and fauna within and outside the camp boundaries. Wildlife that lives in the Bickley Reservoir is protected and is not to be removed under any circumstances. The feeding or removal of wildlife including wild flowers is prohibited.

Parents and guests

Going on a camp is exciting for most children but can be terrifying for others. It is important that parents talk with their children prior to them going on camp to discuss any concerns they may have, such as missing home; sharing with others; or fear of participating in a certain program.

Parents/guardians should reassure the child that they are in good hands and that the school and Bickley staff will take good care of them. Remember to also discuss what they are looking forward to or are most excited about attending camp. Talking with your child on a number of occasions prior to them attending camp will help prepare them for the camp experience.

Children who have had a sleep over at family member’s or friend’s house prior to camp are generally less likely to be homesick while on camp.  

Participants – what to bring

Personal gear list

When staying at Bickley, the following items are required by each guest:

  • sleeping bag or blankets and sheets.
  • pillow slip
  • shorts and t-shirts
  • jeans
  • warm clothing (jumpers, track pants)
  • raincoat
  • underwear
  • swimming attire
  • two towels (shower and swimming)
  • two pairs of enclosed and secure footwear (one for water activities)
  • thongs (shower, inside buildings)
  • hat, sunscreen and sunglasses
  • torch
  • toiletries
  • water bottle
  • personal medications e.g. diabetes, ventolin, epipen
  • eye mask.

What to leave at home

  • chewing gum
  • spray aerosol cans (use roll-on deodorant and insect repellents)
  • expensive jewellery, electronic devices and cameras
  • mobile phones (parents can contact the camp or the adult group leader in an emergency)
  • high heeled shoes.

Medical conditions and medications

It is important that the adult group leaders and Bickley staff have ready access to relevant medical information to be able to respond appropriately to an emergency situation and prevent further injury. Medications should be stored appropriately and located within close proximity to the person to whom the medication belongs. 


Bickley provides traditional camp-style accommodation. The Kookaburra dormitories do not have heating and cooling and we request that you do not bring heating or cooling items on camp. The camp has a limited power capacity and can be overloaded by additional high power consumption items. Please ensure you bring plenty of warm clothing and bedding during the cooler months and loose and light clothing and bedding in the summer months. 

Page reviewed 19 October 2021