Scouting and Guiding in Victoria

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Scouting started in Victoria, a State of Australia, as early as 1907.

In the early years of Scouting in Victoria, local boy scout patrols and troops formed independently and there were several separate central organisations including Boys Brigade Scouts, Church Lads Brigade Scouts, Chums Scouts, Imperial Boy Scouts, Girl Peace Scouts, Imperial Boy Scouts Victoria Section, Imperial Boy Scouts Victorian Section, Gippsland Boy Scouts Association, Australian Boy Scouts, Australian Imperial Boy Scouts, The Boy Scouts Association, Life-Saving Scouts of the Salvation Army and Methodist Boy Scouts.[1][2]

Scouting and Guiding in Victoria is now predominantly represented by:

  • Scouts Australia's Victorian Branch
  • Girl Guides Victoria, a member of Girl Guides Australia
  • ethnic scout associations including:
    • Ethnic Scouts & Guides Association of Victoria (ESGAV)
    • Estonian Scouts
    • Hungarian Scouts
    • Latvian Scouts
    • Lithuanian Scouts
    • Plast Ukrainian Scouts
    • Polish Scouts
    • Russian Scouts
    • The Secular Jewish Hashomer Hatzair[3]
  • Royal Rangers Australia, affiliated to Royal Rangers International [4] refers to its activities as "scouting"
  • Salvation Army Guards and Legion Activities (SAGALA), are programmes for young people between 5 and 18[5][6] and includes "scouting" programmes.


"The cradle of Scouting in Victoria was the Tooronga Rd. State School, Caulfield; where in late 1907 one of the pupils, Roy McIndoe, received from a friend in England, who had been a member of the experimental camp at Brownsea Island, some pamphlets which had been issued by the Chief. These he showed to his mates who immediately got red shirts, their father's old felt hats, formed 'patrols' and 'whooped round the place like Red Indians'. Later in 1908 when they received the first copies of Scouting for Boys, they settled down to genuine Scouting."[7]

It is unclear which was the first Scout Troop in Victoria, but by the end of 1908, there were 11 Scout Troops in Victoria.[7][8]

In the early years, a number of Scout organisations existed in Victoria (see Scouting and Guiding in Australia).

Scouts Australia - Victorian Branch[edit]

Scouts Australia - Victorian Branch
Victoria (Scouts Australia).png
Headquarters 152 Forster Rd, Glen Waverley
Country Australia
Founded 1923
Founder The Boy Scouts Association of the United Kingdom
Membership 19,840
(30 June 2012)
Chief Scout Shane Jacobson
Chief Commissioner Brendan Watson OAM
 Scouting portal

Scouts Australia Victorian Branch (formally The Scout Association of Australia Victorian Branch) is a branch of Scouts Australia that delivers Scouts Australia's programs in Victoria for children and youths from the ages of 6 to 26.

In 1923, The Boy Scouts Association of the United Kingdom formed a branch in Victoria which was incorporated in 1932[9] and, upon the formation of The Scout Association of Australia in 1958, became its Victorian branch.

In November 2014, the Victoria branch state council appointed Shane Jacobson as the association's Chief Scout of Victoria, the first time the association's Chief Scout of Victoria or anywhere in Australia was not a Governor.

Scouts Australia Victorian branch is volunteer-based Non-profit organization providing educational and fun activities. Scouts Victoria also offer support to local communities, from festivals to helping in the aftermarth of the 2009 Black saturday bushfires and 2011 Victorian floods.[citation needed]

Victoria hosted the first official worldwide Scouting event to celebrate the 100 years of Scouting, the Australian Scout Jamboree (AJ2007) from 2–13 January 2007 in Elmore.

The Branch is divided into 11 Regions: Bays, Eastern, Geelong, Gippsland, Lerderderg, Loddon Mallee, Melbourne, Mt Dandenong, Northern, West Coast, Western. In early 2010, the Branch reorganised the Regions in and around the Melbourne Metropolitan Area, to align them with the State Government's main growth corridors. The new regions came into effect in April 2010, with the Rover Section now operating within the new region structure as of their July AGM's.[citation needed]

Shane Jacobson was invested as the association's Chief Scout of Victoria on 15 February 2015 in Melbourne at the Myer Music Bowl in front of 15,000 Scouts and their families following a city wide social media scavenger hunt for Scouting street art through the Melbourne laneways.

Since 2007, Scouting in Victoria has experienced a resurgence that continues today.[citation needed] With a growing number of boys and girls, men and women looking to join the movement[citation needed], the organisation has continued to modernise so as to meet the needs of young people in local communities.[citation needed] Under the leadership of the Chief Commissioner Scouts Victoria, Brendan J Watson OAM, Scouting in Victoria is now positioning itself in the education sector. In 2014, Prepare for Adventure, Prepare for Life was launched as the new Scouts Victoria slogan. At the same time the new Chief Commissioner Scouts Victoria, also Principal of Catholic Regional College Sydenham in the West of Melbourne and a respected educator[citation needed], initiated an education strategy that would provide benefits for members of the organisation. The first of these was to have the Venturer Award in the Venturer section accredited within the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) and the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL). Mapping (meaning?) the two VET qualifications earned when completing the Venturer Award, Scouting was able to ensure that the Venturer Award scheme contributed significantly towards the senior secondary certificates. The value of the Queen's Scout Award was also formally established[citation needed] with 4 Universities initially recognising the work undertaken by Venturers in completing the award as substantially significant[citation needed] so as to provide for applications for acceptance through early entry and special entry programs.[citation needed] Australian Catholic University, La Trobe, Victoria University and Federation University each had their own special entry schemes that recognised the Queen's Scout Award and work undertaken as a part of the Venturer Award Scheme for consideration.[citation needed] ACU as an example meant that the Queen's Scout Award, through the Early Achievers Program, could result in Venturers receiving up to 20 ATAR point reduction in the ATAR entry requirements for specific courses, even greater reductions for others thus providing a pathway that may have been closed off previously.[citation needed]

The Chief Commissioner of Scouts Victoria, Mr Brendan J Watson OAM, as an educator and Principal, understood the value of the Scout Leader Training program[citation needed] and the experience that being a volunteer leader in the movement could provide for students studying teaching degrees at tertiary level.[citation needed] In 2015, Monash University partnered with Scouts Victoria to implement the trial Quality Teacher Program which would see undergraduate 2nd year (of 4-year course) teaching students sign up in pairs as leaders within Scout Groups. The experience of planning, delivering, assessing and providing feedback on the content delivered and undertaken in the course of a usual Scout Meeting each week provided these preservice teachers with additional experiences as well as the opportunity to work with young people, manage behaviours, provide support and engage with families.[citation needed] The experience and training provided by Scouting to these preservice teachers also covered Duty of Care, Risk Assessment and Management, practical experience in planning, organising, running and evaluating camps, excursions, events, carnivals, and other out of school activities that most student teachers never have the opportunity to learn on teaching rounds.[citation needed] The Quality Teacher Program designed by Chief Commissioner Scouts Victoria, Brendan J Watson OAM, saw 25 Groups have leaders placed in their ranks in the first round of placements with subsequent placements to follow. Brendan Watson OAM had stated that the experience over three years would see these undergraduate teachers go into schools as graduate teachers with the skills and experience of a teacher that had been working ins schools for 3–5 years.[citation needed] The quality of teacher preparation is often scrutinised but in 2015, Scouts Victoria established the program that could improve the quality of teacher preparation[citation needed] with the goal being to improve student outcomes and engagement across the State in all school sectors.[citation needed] Scouts Australia have committed to implementing the Scouts Victoria programs throughout the other Branches seeing the initiatives as innovative, ground breaking and creative.[citation needed] Serving both Scouting and the entire education sector, the Quality Teacher Program struggled to gain traction initially and sadly did not receive any response from the government.[citation needed] Regardless, Scouts Victoria forged ahead with positive results being seen almost immediately.[citation needed]

Scout Sections and events[edit]

Joey Scouts (aged 6–7) - participate in a statewide event known as a Kangaree. A trained Joey Scout Leader guides a Joey Scout Mob of up to 20 boys and girls as they learn to share and care for each other in a social environment. Scouting extends each child's understanding of the world around them, by actively encouraging the Joey Scouts' involvement with that world. Joey Scouts experience the world around themselves, by doing, rather than just being taught. They develop an understanding of the impact of our modern world, and themselves, on the environment.

Cub Scouts (aged 8–10) - The Victorian Cuboree is held every three years at Gilwell Park. Prior to 2010, the camp was help during the Easter school holidays. From 2010 onwards it has been held in the September School holidays.[10]

Scouts (aged 11–14) - The aim of the Scout section is to provide a safe and fun environment where young adolescents can experience a range of adventurous activities learning about themselves, building their leadership and teamwork skills while they are at it. For some the adventure may be in the outdoors for others it may be through the shows such as Melbourne Gang Show. Stradbroke Cup is a camp event for the Scout section, also held on the Easter long weekend, though it is held in various locations around the state, to allow the maximum number of participants to take part. The cup is named after George Rous, 3rd Earl of Stradbroke, Governor of Victoria 1920 - 1926.[11] Scouthike takes place on the second weekend in November, and is a hike event for the Scout section. This event changes location each year, with the most recent event taking place at Tallarook State Forest, north of Melbourne. This event regularly has more than 300 participants, and almost 100 leaders, Rovers and Venturer Scouts helping out with check points and activities, scoring and communications, as well as running the sleep points.[citation needed]

Venturers (aged 15–17) - is dedicated to fun and adventure, whilst serving the community in the Scouting way. Through a wide variety of opportunities Venturers will experience fun, fellowship and personal growth. The Venturer Award scheme allows young people to achieve Certificate II and III in Outdoor Recreation, Business and other areas. Hoadley Hide is one of the main events on the Venturer Scouts calendar in Victoria. It is also a hike camp that is run annually on the Easter long weekend. Victorian Gathering is the main way for Venturers to end the year, held on the first weekend in December, its location rotates every two years.[citation needed]

Rovers (young adults aged 18–25)- Surfmoot takes place on the Australia Day long weekend, and is the beginning to the Rover Year, a sun, sea and beach event held in Anglesea. It is the largest annual Rover event in Australia. Mudbash is the premier event of Rover Motorsport, taking place on the Queen's Birthday long weekend at Mafeking Rover Park. Non-rover visitors are welcome on the Sunday. Mudbash also has its own on-site Radio Station, Mud FM 94.9 Which Broadcasts all weekend, providing commentary on the racing[12]

Chief Commissioners of Scouts Victoria[edit]

Note: This list needs revision and includes leaders of several separate organisations.

  • 1909 - 1911 Eyrl Lister DSO, VD (actually "Chief Scoutmaster" of the IBS)
  • 1911 - 1917 W.E. Wears CE (actually "Chief Scoutmaster" of the IBS, Victorian Section)
  • 1917 J.E. Jenkins
  • 1917 - 1918 L.H. Fairnie
  • 1918 - 1919 Donald McDonald
  • 1919 - 1921 Harold Cohen CMG, DSO
  • 1921 - 1923 V.J. Whitehead
  • 1923 - 1928 C.P. Middleton
  • 1928 - 1937 Charles Hoadley CBE, Polar Medal
  • 1937 - 1951 G.W.S. Anderson MBE
  • 1952 - 1958 Roy Nichols CMG, OBE
  • 1958 - 1962 Robert Risson KB, CBE, DSO, OSt J, ED
  • 1963 - 1968 Rolf McKellar OBE
  • 1968 - 1976 Jim Butchart OBE
  • 1976 - 1979 Norm Johnson OBE
  • 1979 - 1986 Neil Westaway AM
  • 1986 - 1992 William Wells AM
  • 1992 - 2001 John Ravenhall AM
  • 2001 - 2008 Alston Park AM
  • 2008 - 2014 Bob Taylor AM
  • 2014 - Brendan Watson OAM

Gilwell Park[edit]

Gilwell Park
Owner Scouts Australia — Victoria Branch
Location Gembrook, Victoria
Country Australia
Founded 1926
Founder Russell & Hoadley
 Scouting portal

Gilwell Park is a campsite and activity centre for Scouting groups in Victoria, Australia. It is also a training and conference centre for Scout Leaders. The 250 acres (1.01 km2) property is located on both sides of the Launching Place Road, Gembrook. One of the founders and the Warden from 1924 until his death in 1947 was Charles "Arch" Hoadley, whom the former Hoadley Region was named after.

Gilwell Park was named after the original Gilwell Park in London. In 1920, the first leader training course was held at what would become Gilwell Park, after it was donated to The Scout Association.

Robert Baden-Powell, founder of the Scouting Movement, approved the naming of the new Training Centre[citation needed] and visited it twice, in 1931 and again in 1935. One of the features of the park is the Chief's Gate, built specially for Baden-Powell, which guards the entrance to The Chief's Approach. Other locations include The Gauntlet Commando course — built for the World Rover Moot and the Lochan, a lake that is famously freezing all year round — even in the depths of summer. The EM Derrick Pack Holiday Centre, a bunkhouse and hall/kitchen that is primarily used by Cub Packs for their Pack Holidays, as well as for training courses, and the Hoadley and deMolnar Training Areas are dedicated to Wood Badge Training, though like most buildings they are open for hiring.

Gilwell Park is home to the tri-annual Victorian Cuboree, a five-day camp that hosts thousands of Cub Scouts. Hundreds of Leaders, Venturers, Rovers also attend and provide much worthwhile service. In September 2010 Cuboree 6 was held in the grounds with 2500 Cubs and 300 Venturers attending.

The Warden of Gilwell Park has the rank of a full Branch Commissioner and is assisted by a staff of two paid Rangers. No staff live on site.

Gilwell Park is currently subject to a revival campaign, attempting to make it financially viable into the future, by attempting to make it more attractive to school groups for use during the week. In 2012 a high ropes challenge course funded by the Victorian State Government was opened.

Two films have been made at Gillwell Park Including the 2008 Australian film Dying Breed and the 2009 Film Where The Wild Things Are


In 2012 the Victorian Branch introduced MyScout, a web-based communication system to enable Scout groups to communicate internally and across Scouting. MyScout combines aspects of social media, the web, and electronic document management systems to give volunteers a tool to more easily communicate and coordinate their activities.[citation needed]

Adventurous Activities[edit]

A number of adventurous activities teams operate in Victoria, each specialising in an different activity. These teams are composed of dedicated Activity Leaders supported by youth-section Leaders with an interest in that particular activity. All Activity Leaders are qualified in their respective pursuits, or are working towards that recognition. Members of Scouts Victoria can now gain Outdoor Recreation Certificate II and III qualifications[citation needed] The teams are:

  • Abseiling
  • Air Activities (flying)
  • Amateur (Ham) Radio[13]
  • Bushwalking
  • Canoeing & Kayaking
  • Caving
  • Four Wheel Driving
  • Rafting
  • Rock-climbing
  • Ropes - including High Ropes, Rope Bridges, Aerial Runways
  • Sailing and Power-Boating
  • Scuba diving
  • Ski touring
  • Water skiing

Scout Heritage Victoria[edit]

Scout Heritage Victoria,[14] is located in a small cottage known as Sithen Brownsea, in Como Avenue, South Yarra, to preserve the history of the Scout Movement. It was started in the early 1970s when Ian Croll was appointed as archivist. Aline Thompson is the current Branch Commissioner for Heritage. The Heritage Centre has recently (when?) moved to Bentleigh. Items in the Heritage Centre's collection of approximately 20,000 include a copy of the 1912 Royal Charter incorporating The Scout Association in the UK and Dominions, every book published by Baden Powell including Sketches in Mafeking and East Africa, of which only two other copies are known to exist, memorabilia from every Australian Jamboree, an exhibition of past uniforms including a total of 700 scarves, and artifacts from the Changi Rover Crew, which, due to their value, are not on general display but can be viewed by appointment.

Ethnic Scouts[edit]

Badge of Scouts-in-Exile camp held by ESGAV-the Ethnic Scout and Guide Association of Victoria. The flags represent (from left to right) Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Ukraine

Victoria has several scout groups that cater mostly to specific ethnic groups, such as 6th Box Hill (Greek) and The 5th Melbourne Scout Group, also known as the 1st Latvian Scout Group which is a member of both Scouts Australia and the Latvian Scout Association. ESGAV - the Ethnic Scout and Guide Association of Victoria was formed in the late 1940s and includes the Latvian Scouts[15] as well as Russian Scouts, Polish Scouts, Plast Ukrainian Scouts, Hungarian Scouts, Lithuanian Scouts and Estonian Scouts.

Girl Guides Victoria[edit]

Girl Guides Victoria is a member organisation of Girl Guides Australia. Guides follow the programme approved at national level. Girl Guides Victoria is divided into twenty-six regions. Lone Guiding also operates in Victoria.

The Florence Nightingale Girl Aids were established in 1909, by Wynifred Gipps, and were recognised as Baden-Powell Girl Guides in 1911.[16] Originally refused a warrant as a Guide Leader as being too young, when Gipps reached the age of 21, in April 1912, she became the first warranted Guide Leader in Australia.[17] On 6 February 1911, the 1st Hawthorn Company was formed, led by Louie Kerr. This Company claims to the first in Australia with the full name "Baden-Powell Girl Guides". A Guiding organisation for Victoria was formalised in 1921 and the first State Commissioner was Lady Stradbroke.

Girl Guides in Victoria are taking the pledge to Stand Against Poverty, and meet and exceed the Millennium Development Goals.[18]

State Commissioners[edit]

  • 1922 - 1926 Helena, Lady Stradbroke
  • 1926 - 1931 Finola, Lady Somers
  • 1931 - 1948 Lady Chauvel
  • 1948 - 1953 Beverley Orr
  • 1953 - 1958 Margaret Curtis-Otter
  • 1958 - 1963 Irene Fairbairn
  • 1963 - 1968 Lady Joyce Price
  • 1968 - 1973 Charlotte Renshaw Jones
  • 1973 - 1978 Joan Grimwade
  • 1978 - 1983 Marjorie West
  • 1983 - 1988 Maren Chandler
  • 1988 - 1993 Dorothy Woolley
  • 1993 - 1998 Heather Barton
  • 1998 - 2003 Jane Scarlett
  • 2003 - 2008 Ellen Boyd
  • 2008 - 2011 Noella Kershaw
  • 2011 - Margaret Devlin (only served one year due to the restructuring of Girl Guides Victoria)
  • 2012 - 2013 Robinette Emonson

State Badge[edit]

By 1926, the State Badge was a sprig of wattle in enamel. An appeal was made for alternative designs and in 1927, a new design was chosen. Margaret Moore, a Guider and Commissioner suggested the design and it was drawn by Dorothea Holtz.[19] The design was the Southern Cross on a blue lozenge surmounted by a crown. The same badge is currently still in use.


Several of Girl Guides Victoria's properties are owned and/or managed in conjunction with Scouts Australia. These include Lockington, Bungle Boori and the Guide-Scout Water Activities Centre. The headquarters was named the Joyce Price Centre in honour of the only Australian to be chairman of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.

Britannia Park[edit]

Britannia Park is a campsite belonging to Girl Guides Victoria. It is located near Yarra Junction in Victoria, Australia. It is 72 km east of Melbourne. The site covers 42 acres (170,000 m2), although the original purchase was smaller.

Burnet Park[edit]

Burnet Park is a campsite located between Traralgon and Morwell. There are three campsites and Illangi - the house on the hill, with accommodation for 29. There is also a tree house platform.

The site was part of Burnet's farm and was donated to the Guiding movement by the Burnet family for camping and outdoor recreation.

The Guide-Scout Water Activities Centre[edit]

The Guide-Scout Water Activities Centre is located on Port Philip Bay. Activities include sailing, canoeing and paddle-boarding.

Lady Stradbroke Cup[edit]

The Lady Stadbroke Cup is an annual competition and the winners are presented with the Lady Stradbroke Cup. The cup was presented to the then Girl Guides Association of Victoria by Lady Stradbroke in 1926.[20]

Women of Note and the Blue and Gold Society[edit]

The purpose of the Blue and Gold Society is to promote Guiding in the community. This is achieved by events such as cocktail parties with guest speakers. Membership of the society is open to both men and women.

Women of Note is a group of exceptional women, often professional women or business women, who support Girl Guides Victoria. They share their skills through the Girl Guides Victoria Mentor Program. Women of Note also hold Mentor Breakfasts across regional and metropolitan Melbourne. At these breakfasts, Year 11 students meet with the group to develop career networks.

Gang Shows and other theatrical experiences[edit]

  • Melbourne Gang Show,[21] - started in 1953. "Wonderful Life", by Ralph Reader, is used as its signature tune. From its 25th season through to its 49th, cast and crew would also sing "Touch of Silver" after the curtain came down on the final performance, but in 2002, for the 50th Melbourne Gang Show, this was replaced by "Golden Days" with lyrics by John Jenkins and music by Alexandra Boemo and this new song continues to be used in this way.
  • Camberwell Showtime,[22] started in 1965, is written, directed and performed by the Scouts and Guides of Boroondara.
  • Whitehorse Showtime,[23] started in 1965, is presented by the Scouts and Guides of the Mount Dandenong Region.
  • Strzelecki Showtime,[24] - started in 1969, is written and presented by Strzelecki District Scouts with local Guides (Latrobe Valley).
  • Sunraysia Gang Show,[25] - started in 1976, held in the state's North West.
  • South Metro Showtime,[26] - started in 1982 in Melbourne.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Robert Campbell (1997). "Australian Scout History". Dorset, England, UK: The British Boy Scouts and British Girl Scouts Association. Retrieved 7 October 2008. 
  2. ^ Robert Campbell (1993) Origins of the Scouts, Sydney, Australia
  3. ^ "Hashomer Hatzair Australia". Hashomer Hatzair Australia. Retrieved 13 September 2008. 
  4. ^ "Rangers Australia". Retrieved 13 September 2008. 
  5. ^ "Children's Activities". The Salvation Army. Retrieved 13 September 2008. 
  6. ^ "SAGALA — Youth and Children's Ministries". The Salvation Army. Archived from the original on 31 July 2008. Retrieved 13 September 2008. 
  7. ^ a b Victoria Scout Heritage Centre - How Scouting began
  8. ^ Those Boy Scouts: A Story of Scouting in Victoria, A.R. Milne and C. B. Heward (1987)
  9. ^ SCOUT ASSOCIATION ACT 1932 - SECT 3 Accessed 14 December 2006
  10. ^ "Cuboree 2014 - - Scouts Victoria". 
  11. ^ "Victorian State Commissioners" (PDF). Retrieved 4 May 2009. 
  12. ^ "Mudbash 2014". 
  13. ^ "Scout Radio & Electronics Service Unit". 
  14. ^ Tester Guy. "Welcome to Scouts Victoria". 
  15. ^ Riga (102) Scout Group
  16. ^ "Girl Guides Australia (1926 -)". National Foundation for Australian Women. 24 April 2009. Retrieved 1 May 2009. 
  17. ^ Bartlett, Linda (1992). Australian Guide Handbook. p. 11. 
  18. ^ "WAGGGS - Girl Guides in Australia Stand Against Poverty". YouTube. 
  19. ^ Mills, Jenny (July 2008). "From the Archive" (PDF). Guiding Matters: 6. Retrieved 4 May 2009. 
  20. ^ "Basin guides show the way". Star. 23 May 2006. Retrieved 4 May 2009. 
  21. ^ "Home - Melbourne Gang Show". Melbourne Gang Show. 
  22. ^ "Camberwell Showtime". 
  23. ^ "Whitehorse Showtime". 
  24. ^ "Strzelecki Showtime". 
  25. ^ Jason Govan. "Sunraysia Gang Show". 
  26. ^

External links[edit]