There are lodges, buildings and other places across the South Island which have played an important role in the history of the unit. Here we share the history of these places and the experiences they have made possible over the years.

Kidson Lodge / House

Kidson House in the mid 2000s.

Lodge or House? – ‘Kidson Lodge’ according to Land Information New Zealand’s topographic maps, and ‘Kidson House’ according to its sign and owner.

Kidson House is a outdoor education center owned by Christchurch Boys’ High School (CBHS), adjacent to the Hawdon Valley Arthur’s Pass National Park. The facility was planned and ultimately named after Mr J. Kidson, former Head of Science at CBHS.

“For many years Mr. Kidson, despite his many duties, nursed the idea that the School needed an educational and recreational hut in the mountains. This came to fruition in 1962 when the house, aptly named “Kidson House” was finally built in the Hawdon area. Many people, boys, masters, parents and Old Boys were involved in its construction but to Mr Kidson must go the credit for initiating enthusiasm and for doing many hours or organisation as well as physical labour on this scheme. A tribute to his power of persuasion is that over £800 worth of materials were literally scrounged by him from Old Boys and from firms with no School connections whatsoever. This project also expanded, with the addition of another hut to the mountain house and the development of gardens in the School grounds to display plants found in the Hawdon area.” – CBHS Magazine Vol. 133.1965.

J. Kidson and Kidson House following its completion in 1962.

17 Squadron at Kidson House

The unit has had a standing booking over Labour Weekend for Exercise Taiaha, our annual bushcraft camp. From 2018, Kidson House has also hosted the Southern Area bushcraft activity Exercise Takahe.

Kidson House, Exercise Taiaha 2019.

Payton Lodge

Payton Lodge is a Scout Lodge managed by the St Joseph’s Scout Group and located in Oxford, adjacent to the Mount Oxford walking tracks.

17 Squadron at Payton Lodge

The unit had a standing booking over Queen’s Birthday Weekend for many years, hosting Exercise Frostybird a winter campcraft camp. In 2021, Frostybird was relocated to Cass Bay due to extreme weather warnings. Following a series of major weather events and early retreats, it was ultimately decided that Frostybird would not continue from 2022 onwards.

In 2021 the Tramping Group used Payton Lodge as a base for a weekend trip up Mount Oxford, continuing our connection with the lodge.

Serving up the frankfurters, Frostybird 2006. The Payton Lodge kitchen and 11×11 canvas tents can be seen in the background.
Payton Lodge, pictured during the snow storm of Frostybird 2019. The Kathmandu Retreat 280 tents can be seen straining under the snow.