Stringmania acknowledges the traditional custodianship of Country across Australia and the Torres Strait Islands. We acknowledge in particular the Wurundjeri people as traditional custodians of the land upon which Stringmania Camp takes place. We honour and respect their ongoing cultural and spiritual connection to Country. We pay our respects to the Elders both past, present and future for they hold the memories, the traditions, the culture and hopes of Indigenous Australians.

Stringmania thanks  Bill and Dianne Sides


Stringmania 2020

September 28 - October 4

Arrabri Lodge, Woods Point Rd, East Warburton

Welcome to Country

Stringmania participants are officially welcomed at the beginning of each camp by Wurundjeri Elder Murrindindi. We are proud to have the opportunity to be greeted by Murrindindi and learn a little bit more about the strength, resilience and capacity of Indigenous Australians whose connection to land and water in this area has been continuous for at least 30,000 years. If you’re in the area on a Sunday, you can also catch Murrindindi at the Healesville Sanctuary between 10.30am-3.00pm.


Local Area and Connections

© Luke Chapman  

Nestled at the foot of Mt Donna Buang, is the welcoming community of Warburton that Stringmania is lucky to have made its home. Whether you want to spend some time in Warburton either side of camp or are looking to get out into nature on the free afternoon mid-week, there are options aplenty including hiking, forest walks, horse riding, the famous rail trail, Indigenous experiences, river walks and a bustling main street. Look out for busking opportunities during the week to support fundraising for our Yarra Ranges Scholarship, reserved for 1-2 Yarra Ranges locals of any age each year. Yarra Ranges Council initiated this scholarship by awarding us a small grant to cover its costs in 2018. We are lucky enough to have received another small grant in 2019 – this time to offset costs around our world-class tutors to support increased local access to them. Watch this space!

© Evan Hardege 

© Evan Hardege 

Over the past four years, we have built valuable community connections in Warburton and surrounds. The Warburton Fire Brigade (WFB) has been a fabulous community partner for our finale concerts since 2016 and we have really appreciated the support and hard work of their volunteers. Also volunteer run, the River Folk Festival put us on their program to offer a traditional music workshop this year facilitated by campers and members of The Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club. The River Folk Festival takes place in the town of Warburton during March. It was also a pleasure to work with Yarra Valley Ecoss, a not-for-profit community organisation based on a 7.4 hectare, former poultry farm in Wesburn which was our 2018 concert venue. Read all about it and our WFB collaboration here.


Visit Warburton – Things to do and Local History

Indigenous Experiences

Yarra Ranges Council – Local History

Healesville Sanctuary

Rail Trail – Bike Riding

Venue and Transport

We are grateful to, once again, be holding Stringmania at Arrabri Lodge. Arrabri Lodge is set on a picturesque 12 acre property with 5 acres of natural bushland.

You’ll live in a comfortable school camp, with dormitory style accommodation, and eat meals communally. All rooms are heated and contain between 6-8 bunks. It can get quite cold at night so extra warmth is recommended! Contact us to discuss any special needs/concerns you may have. Bathroom facilities are shared and linen packages can be arranged for a small fee. Arrabri Lodge is a ‘nut-free’ camp and caters for all dietary requirements.


© Evan Hardege 

The entire complex is centrally heated and every bed is complete with a comfy innerspring mattress, blanket and pillow. The modern amenities are professionally cleaned daily, rehearsal areas are all carpeted, insulated and heated, the trampoline and pool (with solar heating!) are available (with appropriate adult supervision) most days along with a beautiful grassy expanse perfect for an outdoor class on a nice day.

© Luke Chapman  

Located just past Warburton township in the heart of the scenic Yarra Valley, it is easily accessible from Lilydale in the outer east of Melbourne. After Lilydale, turn right onto the Warburton Highway and continue until you reach the beautiful township of Warburton on the Yarra River. Arrabri Lodge is just a few more kilometres through the township.


  • Map Reference: 291 C8.

Local Bus Timetable

Public Transport Journey Planner


To ensure that we are genuinely catering for all levels, in the fastest class, there will not be time for extended individual assistance or attention. If you would like to be able to ask the teacher to slow down for you, or if you like to ask lots of detailed questions, we suggest trying out a slower class. This means that the fastest class can stay fast, the slowest class can stay slow and everyone can get what they need! Please be aware that the quality of the teaching in all classes will be the same, and all classes will be covering similar material. Choosing a slower class reflects how you like to learn by ear rather than your ability or potential as a musician. As a rough guide, we expect less than a quarter of the camp to attend the fastest class, and less than a quarter to attend the slowest class. Most people should end up in one of the medium paced classes.


© Fidel Monk Photography 

© Fidel Monk Photography 


Central to camp is ‘The Whiteboard’, where informal skill swaps, pop-up concerts, chiropractic workshops, secret sessions, creative writing workshops, excursions, hikes and so on can be organised by tutors and campers alike. If you have something to share, or you're keen for extracurricular activities, the whiteboard is your friend. While the scheduled classes, talks and other events provide the skeleton of the camp, fleshing it out is up to you!


Evening Activities

Nightly jams and/or dances, tutor demonstrations, ceilidh night (a party where we share songs, stories, and tunes along with other special talents!) and impromptu sessions throughout the week will enliven the evenings.

Expect the unexpected after dark, when the main room is transformed into an all-night multi-session venue, with plenty of space for jamming, the opening tutor concert, chats, games, cheese-eating, and so much more. 

© Evan Hardege 

© Luke Chapman  



There will be opportunities to discuss key ideas around traditional music making in Australia throughout the week. These panels, involving the camp's tutors and audience input, have been highlights of previous camps where we covered ideas such as what it means to be a "trad musician" in Australia today, what makes a tradition live, performance tips and tricks, music learning approaches and the place of multiculturalism in Australian music.


2018 Program

The program each year is designed by Artistic Directors Alasdair Fraser and Chris Stone and is subject to change between years. Here is last year’s program to give you a bit of an idea of how the schedule might look. We hope this helps!


What to Bring

In addition to clothing, personal articles and musical instruments, you’ll need:        


  • Your own linen (blanket and pillow supplied). It is a Department of Health regulation that this include a bottom sheet and a pillow case for the bed even if you are using a sleeping bag. You may book a linen package (pillow case, towel and 2 sheets) upon registration for a small fee.

  • Towel

  • Toiletries

  • Jacket and/or jumper

  • Rain protection

  • Mug and/or cup for beverages (optional)

  • Plate if you'd like one for lunches (optional)

  • Coffee if you’re not fond of instant! (optional)

  • Swim wear - the pool will be available most afternoons

  • Comfortable shoes for dancing/walking. There are tracks on the property and walks to the river.

  • Extra strings and a recording device.

  • Cash for merchandise and the bar. Limited access to card facilities will be available.

  • Something to contribute to our annual silent auction. All funds raised support the Stringmania Scholarship Fund (optional).

  • A plain t-shirt if you would like it screen-printed on site for a small donation.

  • Something fun for our annual dress up party! We will let you know what the theme is in advance. Go all out or keep it simple - up to you.

Please name all your belongings. At the end of camp, we’ll need help making sure everyone leaves on time with all their belongings and things in order. 



Can I get the sheet music and/or recordings of what will be taught before camp?

During camp, tunes and accompaniment will be taught by ear in keeping with the aural folk tradition. You are welcome to make recordings to assist with your learning. Sheet music and recordings will be collated and made available as soon as possible following camp. Learning by ear is different for everyone and can be challenging, especially if you are new to it, so some tricks and techniques that others have found useful will be shared with you.

Can I find out the names of tunes to be taught before camp?

As tunes will be selected by tutors based on the needs and desires of learners, it is not possible to provide a list of tunes in advance. Once registered, you will be provided with the password to access tunes taught at previous camps, some of which are likely to be played during nightly sessions.

Can camp participants use the venue's kitchen to prepare own meals?

Stringmania is fully catered and the kitchen is for the use of venue staff only. 


Can I get assistance travelling to and from camp?

We will do our very best to assist you in getting to camp within the limitations of volunteer and vehicle availability. If you need help with transportation from the airport, city or a suburban train station then please let us know. Car-pooling amongst fellow campers is encouraged where possible and we are happy to help you co-ordinate this. 

I don't play fiddle or cello - can I still attend?

Many of our tutors play fiddle or cello but all stringed instruments are welcome. The focus is largely on bowed stringed instruments but their "cousins" (i.e. harp, guitar, mandolin, piano) will be well supported at camp. Really, the only requirements are an ability/willingness to learn by ear (different levels catered for) and an interest in traditional music in all its guises. There will be four bowed string-based classes of differing speeds that all instruments are welcome to attend,  and classes in song, accompaniment, rhythm and dance. There are many opportunities to take part in or to offer electives. Being an immersive camp,  you won’t only learn from those who play the same instruments as yourself; tunes, ideas and musicianship transcend instrument choice.