When Military Camps were first established, they consisted of tents to house the many soldiers who arrived with British settlements – their main purpose was to guard convicts.
In later years, training activities took place at camps, and a campsite at Mona Vale, Ross, was established in 1908 by its owners, the Cameron family. After Mr. Eustace Cameron acquired Mona Vale, his brother Col. Cyril St. Clair Cameron, saw in the open plains and low hills of the property as an ideal training ground for cavalry. The first annual camp was established beside a willow-lined irrigation drain in a sheltered spot to the east of the homestead and for some years the Australian Light Horse held an annual camp in this location.
“Matters in connection with the training of the Australian Light Horse at Mona Vale are proceeding satisfactorily. Outpost drill was indulged into-day, and. to-night a big camp fire social is being held, at which all hands are present.” – Daily Telegraph (Launceston, Tas.: 1883 – 1928) Thursday 23 April 1908 Page 3.
After the 1814-18 war, a more exposed position to the south-east was chosen and an artillery range was established, which became the centre for reserve troops defending Tasmania.
“On Wednesday the 16th Battery A.T.A held a preliminary shoot of 24 rounds at a range of 4600 yards at the Mona Vale Camp. Yesterday 40 rounds were fired at different targets, and the signalling staff used 2600 yards of line in addition to the Lucas daylight signalling lamps. The shooting was accurate and the battery moved into action in good time.” – Examiner (Launceston, Tas.: 1900 – 1954) Fri 16 Mar 1934 Page 10.
In 1943, the Ross Railway Station had a small upgrade to include a canteen which supplied food and beverages for travelling servicemen.
“The A.C.F. canteen at Ross Railway Station was officially opened yesterday afternoon. Erected by the Australian Comforts Fund, it supplies, without charge, to travelling servicemen hot coffee, hot pies, and cakes, as well as cigarettes and chewing gum. It is serviced by women members of the Ross branch of the A.C.F., of which Mrs. G. Keach is president. The official opening was performed by the Warden of Ross (Mr. F. Dowling).” -Saturday Evening Express (Launceston, Tas. :1924 – 1954) Sat 18th September 1943.
For more on the history of Ross, visit our Museum – open 7 days.