From an Iron Mine, the story begins…..


Iron mining activities had been recorded in Maonshan since 1906, and had employed more than 3,000 miners during its peak in 1950s and 1960s. Miners and their families built homes around the mine, a mining village was gradually formed which boasted as many as 10,000 residents living on the remote hills of Ma On Shan  during the booming periods of the industry. The Lutheran Yan Kwong Church, built in the village by ELCHK from 1950-1952, was the first cathedral as a place of worship there, providing education, relief, medical service, daily assistance and community service to the villagers. After the closure of the mine in 1976, villagers moved out and the school ceased to operate, our church sought collaboration with ShaTin Youth Centre at that time and renovated the school and part of the building complex into Grace Youth Camp, which was abandoned until the end of the 1990s. Meanwhile, Shatin District Council and Shatin District Office, together with various interest groups, strived to preserve the history of the iron mine. They promote cultural preservation, aiming to inherit the unique mining industry of Ma On Shan.


Supporting organizations participated in the project include Ma On Shan Promotion of Livelihood and Recreation Association, Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong, Centre for Environmental Policy and Research Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, among others.



Revitalization of Grace Youth Camp


The mining village is a reminiscence of the unique mining industry of Hong Kong in the 1950s. ELCHK, being one of the first church organizations serving the mining community, is an inseparable part of the history. In 2012, a revitalizing Grace Youth Camp project was officially launched by our Social Service Unit in order to bring the complex of more than 60 years of history back to life as well as preserving this important milestone of our Church’s service in Hong Kong and in this unique community. After two years of research and planning, the first phase of the revitalization project was commenced in the third quarter of 2014 and completed in early 2015. Three old buildings within Grace Youth Camp were refurbished and started operation in early March, 2015 under the name of ELCHK, Grace Youth Camp, allowing public visitors to explore the industrial, mining village and religious heritage as well as the natural values of Ma On Shan.


Meanwhile, ELCHK, Grace Youth Camp, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and the mine-related architectural site has completed its historical building grading. The ELCHK, Grace Youth Camp complex, which comprises the former ELCHK primary school, Lutheran Yan Kwong Church, Kindergarten, relief articles storage and teachers’ quarters, was classified as Grade III historical buildings. Our Church is now actively seeking donors for funding the second phase of the revitalizing project. Two remaining buildings within the Camp will be refurbished to provide more activity space as well as forging a permanent exhibition site to showcase the rich past of Ma On Shan mining history - plus the many interesting personal and cultural folklore behind it.


Evangelical Lutheran Church Social Service – Hong Kong (ELCSS-HK), one of the largest NGOs in Hong Kong, was established in 1976. With an innovative, caring and people-oriented approach, we provide integrated services to the grassroots and the disadvantaged. Currently we have more than 50 service units across the territory. We serve over 2 million head counts per year via services ranging from small children, elders, families, schools to the employment sector.