Scouting in Queensland - A Journey
On 15th January 1908
the first of a six-part publication, issued fortnightly, was published in England.
This now famous publication was Scouting for Boys and was written by
Robert Stephenson Smythe Baden-Powell. This book was written by Baden-Powell to
his theories for training the boys of Britain. He had tried out on a
group of twenty boys at an experimental camp on Brownsea
Island, Poole Harbour, Dorset, from
25th July to 9th
and met with great success.
boys throughout England
began to form Patrols, and very soon after the publication of the booklets,
Scouting began in Australia.
Scouting came to Queensland in August 1908, when four young men started
Patrols of Scouts. They were Charles Smethurst Snow (Kangaroo
Point), Lesleigh John Williams (Bowen Hills, later New Farm) (Photograph 6),
Leonard Lovejoy (Ashgrove)Photographs 5, 7, 8), and Septimus Davies (Toowong).
All men were involved in boy’s clubs or Sunday Schools at their local church,
and the members of the first Patrols came from these groups. In the beginning,
these four men operated their Patrols in isolation, but in 1909 came together
to establish a State organisation.
Scouting spread rapidly
throughout Brisbane and the provincial towns and
rural areas of Queensland. Some of the early Patrols were formed at Ithaca, Windsor,
Nundah, Townsville, Boonah, Gympie and Nambour.
During this time, Chief Scoutmaster Snow
formed the “Chief Scoutmaster’s Own Patrol (C.S.O) (Photograph 1) which met at
the home of the Charles S Snow, Shafston Avenue, Kangaroo Point.
On 20th July, 1910, a letter was sent by the Australian League of
Boy Scouts, Queensland Section, to Boy Scout Headquarters, London, stating that
“they are desirous of affiliating with the Home Headquarters”
The letter goes on to say that “the Council was formed in October 1909……so far
as can be ascertained the Council have 45 Troops and 950 Scouts”.
On 2nd July, 1910
a letter was sent from Boy Scout
to Septimus Davies stating “the Headquarters Council have great pleasure in
affiliating your Council with the Home Headquarters. The names of the Council
will be duly gazetted”.
The name of the movement in Queensland
was changed to “League of Baden-Powell Scouts, Queensland Section”.
On 13th September 1910, a
formal constitution was adopted and printed. This provided regulations for the
conduct of Scout Troops, uniform to be worn, qualifications of the Scoutmasters
and such like matters. Charles S Snow was the first Chief Scoutmaster (now
Commissioner). King George V arranged a prize of a silk Union Jack on which was
the Royal Crown and the Scout Badge for the Scout Troop with no less than 24
members, who had the greatest number of King Scouts by 30th September 1911. This
honour went to the 1st Gympie Troop, who had the most King Scouts of
any Troop in Australia.
(Photographs 8, 10).
“Districts” made their appearance as early as 1910, but these were not
formalized until the mid 1920s. Queensland
adopted the “Group” system on 15th
October, 1928 – sections and Leaders of a particular locale became
a Group, however it took to the 1930s for this system to be implemented.
By 1960 there were 330 Groups in Queensland
and by 1985 this had increased to 409.
In 1964, the number designation of a Group was dropped e.g.: 1st Wavell Heights
became simply Wavell
Heights. If there was
more than one Group in the locality, then a local historical or Aboriginal name
was used, although some Groups retained their number.
The original Group nametapes were red lettering on white tape. This changed in
1968 to gold lettering on bottle green tape
and in 2004 they again changed to be gold lettering on maroon tape. By the
1960, District nametapes worn on the shoulder had changed to District Badges
worn above the right pocket.
Major changes happened
in 1972 in response to the recommendations of the Design for Tomorrow
Committee. Among the changes, the Australian Boy Scouts Association became the
Scout Association of Australia. Uniforms changed – no sock tops, garter tabs or
metal buttons. Cubs now wore a Green hat with yellow band, and khaki uniforms
replaced the gray and navy blue. The Promise and Law also changed, and the World
Badge became the Membership Badge, replacing the Tenderfoot Badge for Scouts,
Venturers and Rovers and the Tenderpad Badge for Cubs.
Wolf Cubs became Cubs, but the ages stayed basically the same. Boomerang tests
at 3 levels replaced the “Eyes”. Link Badges were introduced to facilitate the
transition from one section to the next.
A new Award Scheme for Scouts was introduced in 1973, with Pioneer, Explorer
and Adventurer Target Badges replacing the Second Class and First Class badges.
The Scoutcraft Badge was introduced in 1979 to teach basic Scouting skills that
had become lost and was a precursor to doing the Target badges.
The Venturer Award Scheme now consisted of two badges, Venturer Award and
Queen’s Scout Award, with a third badge – Major Interest – for those with a specialised interest.
In 1977 a new Award Scheme was introduced for Rovers with the Baden-Powell
Award becoming the pinnacle of the section.
The next major change
was the introduction of the Joey Scout section in 1990. It is believed that he
first Joey Scout Mob for boys and girls aged six and seven started operation on
1st October, 1990 at Wavell Heights. Along with the introduction of
Joey Scouts, girls could be admitted to all Sections without the need for the
approval of the Group and Branch Headquarters. Although the Joey Scout Section
was deemed by some of the diehard Scout Leaders as a kindergarten or
baby-sitting service, the Section soon flourished with Mobs being formed
Some of those original Joey Scouts have progressed through the movement and are
This is a journey that has taken nearly 100 years, and
is still on its way. There have been many changes along the way, the
introduction of new sections, changes in uniforms and Award Schemes. But for
all those changes, this journey still carries on the aims of the Scout
movement, that we encourage the physical, mental, social and spiritual
development of young people, so that they may take a constructive place in
Society as responsible citizens, and the principles as identified by our
Founder, Lord Baden-Powell, that man should serve God, act in consideration of
the needs of others and use his abilities to the betterment of himself, his
family and the community in which he lives.