In the Southern Highlands of NSW, The King’s School, Tudor House has a vast property and an outdoor program that’s been running for 120 years. 

Story Ken Eastwood 

It’s the sort of outdoor school program that many of us could only dream about. Every week, infants and primary students at The King’s School, Tudor House get out among the forests and creeks on the 68ha property in the NSW Southern Highlands, lighting camp fires, building shelters and practising first aid. They go canoeing and do archery. They’re designing and building their own, new multi-level mountain bike course. And on Friday and Saturday evenings, groups of year 6 students head out alone on the property – away from teachers – to go camping.

New head of school Adam Larby says that the outdoor Kahiba program started in 1902, with a belief that being in nature helps build character. Originally part of the Scouts system, the Kahiba program now has its own system of badges that the children work through over their years at the school. “There are 12–14 badges that they are working towards,” Adam says. “When you get them all you get a gold Kahiba badge. They’re really hard to get.”

In order to attain the camping badge, year 6 students must camp out on the property with their friends at least 4 times. “They head out at 5.30pm with a picnic hamper that we provide,” Adam says. “They have to radio in at particular times. They make a camp fire, cook their dinner and sleep in swags or a wooden hut. In the morning they make their own breakfast and then head back." 

This story excerpt is from Issue #143

Outback Magazine: June/July 2022