Adekate Lodge was originally known as Adekate Fellowship Centre. Built in the 1960’s, the story behind how it came to be is fascinating and a tribute to one person, Miss Florence Emily Grylls.

Florence Emily Grylls was born in Buninyong on 20 June 1888, daughter of John Grylls and Elizabeth Patience Wearne and was affectionately known as ‘Florrie’. She had seven brothers and sisters and lived a simple life on the family property at Tang-Tang, Dingee. Her parents were among the early settlers. At the present time, the farm is still carried on today by her descendants. 

Later, she trained at Bendigo Base Hospital and was a member of the Australian Army Nursing Service (AANS). In 1917, she enlisted as a nurse in the Australian Imperial Forces for service abroad. She was immediately posted to Deccan War Hospital in India, where the patients were casualties from the fighting between the British and Turks in Misopotamia (Iran). They were brought by convoy to India. 

This was the height of the Spanish Flu and it’s estimated 17 – 18 million people died, more than any other country. Although Sister Florence caught the flu from a patient, but with good nursing and care, she recovered.

On 19 March 1919, she arrived back in Australia and was discharged from service.

Sister Florence contribution during the war has been mentioned in a number of books including ‘Heroic Australian Women in War’ by Susanna de Vries.


On her return to Australia she worked at the Caulfield Repatriation Unit. In 1922, she travelled to England to study infant welfare. After conducting a private health centre of her own in London, she was appointed to the charge of the Pioneer Health Centre in Peckham, London in 1926. Consequently, this is now a world-famous facility.

Once back in Australia, Sister Grylls was the sister-in-charge of the children’s welfare centre at Anzac House. She was also one of the members of the Returned Nurses’ Club which founded the city branch of the Mental Hospitals Auxillary. Later Sister Grylls launched the Save the Children Fund in Australia which at the time of her death she was Federal President. For the most part, these two organisations were her main interests. In effect, she also pioneered a number of notable social welfare movements, and was tireless in her work for children and local aborigines.


Save the Children was revived during the war and became a major organisation in dispersing funds to local children after the war. This signified a major shift in the role of the Fund in Australia, with localised branches working for the first time within Australia and in the Asian region. These activities directly impacted on Indigenous and migrant children, framed around the assimilation policies. The White Australia policy bound these endeavours. Florence Grylls was an advocate and was considered a humanitarianism in action through these times.


Sooner or late, Sister Florence Grylls purchased the bushland property now known as Adekate Lodge. The objective was to build a camp where children from the far north of the state. They could come and spend a holiday in completely different surroundings from their home environment. The property comprised 140 acres (57 hectares) of natural bushland abounding in native flora and fauna. The Adekate Creek flowed through the property – hence the name “Adekate Fellowship Centre”.

Unfortunately, none of the local bodies she approached were able to develop her plans for accommodation. Eventually she was content to place a small two roomed cottage near the entrance of the property. Miss Grylls enjoyed spending short holidays in the bushland which she loved so much.

In 1960, she contacted a Melbourne Solicitor who assisted her in placing her proposal before the Methodist leaders in Ballarat. After many discussions and inspections, ministers and laymen from the churches in Ballarat and Creswick undertook to see the land developed. In short, they agreed that it should be as a Camping Centre of the Church. Eventually Miss Grylls made a gift of the land to them.

She passed away in April 1962.


On a final note, Sister Florence Grylls is related to the well known ‘Bear’ Grylls. They are 23rd cousins!

This is a shortened version of the History of Adekate Lodge and of Miss Florence Emily Grylls, clearly an amazing women of her time.

You can see Miss Grylls Embarkation Roll – click here.

In conclusion, you can find more information on Norval Lodge – click here.