History of 1st Subiaco Scouts

The 1st Subiaco Scout Group is one of the oldest in the world and has a long and proud tradition being more than a hundred years old. We aim to celebrate these traditions whilst also keeping our programs innovative and fresh. We have a great team of leaders who plan and deliver exceptional experiences. This section provides some history on 1st Subiaco and the scouting movement in general.

1st Subiaco Early Years

The 1st Subiaco Scout Group was founded in 1908 and was known initially as Troop 7.  The troop was formed by a group of boys of similar ages and interests. They were Harry Wilson (later Colonel Wilson OBE), Mattie Price, Jim Ryan, Adrian Convey, Athol Stirling, Al Jorgonson, Clive Ross, Oliver Cadwallader and with some other boys who formed the Kangaroo and Wolf Patrols. The boys had read articles by Baden-Powell and formed the Troop before he wrote “Scouting for Boys”.

Shortly after  the two Patrols of boys commenced at Subiaco, a lad named Roche organised a patrol in Fremantle, and the McKenzie brothers in Cottesloe organised a Patrol as well.  Later such men as Carpenter, Wood, Blue and Everett came in and firmly established the movement.

It wasn’t until 1910 that 1st Subiaco had a name and an identity which was provided by BP House in London England.

As scouting commenced officially in 1907 this means that 1st Subiaco Scout Group is one of the oldest in the world.  According to the archives section at Baden Powell House in London, 1st Subiaco is amongst the oldest twenty Groups in the world that have been continuous in service since 1908.

The Story of the Trek Cart

A Trek Cart is a small, light hand cart, demountable for storage, with a single central shaft and large wheels.  This useful vehicle was long desired, and had to be worked for and saved up for.

Early in 1917 the Scoutmaster, Mr. A.E. Bennett, convinced the Troop Committee that a Trek‑Cart was an essential item of troop equipment, and ways and means were discussed to raise the funding required. By September of the same year it was decided to accept the offer of a committee member, Mr. G. Gow, to make the Trek Cart.  It was completed and in use by the end of the month.

The Congregational Church in Bagot Road, in whose hall the Scouts met, was asked for permission to alter the Church shed to accommodate this valued acquisition.

Today the Trek Cart still survives and occasionally sees the light of day.  Its significance and connection to the Scouts of the past is respected and honoured. It has however  been replaced by modern trailers as 1st Subiaco grows and more complex and sophisticated transport is needed.

Early Camping in the 1920s

Camping for the troop in the 1920’s consisted of weekend camps in the bush at Dalkeith, Nedlands and Crawley Bay, with the odd expedition to Canning Bridge. In the late 1920’s The Troop had two consecutive summer camps on Rottnest Island.  The gear was hauled from Subiaco in the Trek Cart to the Rottnest Ferry landing at Fremantle.  There the Trek Cart was dismantled for the ocean leg of the trip, and reassembled and reloaded on the jetty at Rottnest, to be hauled to the camping area where the Troop set up its annual summer camp.

Meeting Places

The 1st Subiaco Scouts held their meetings in the Subiaco State School.  Later Scout meetings were held in a hall at the rear of the Presbyterian (or Congregational) Church on the corner of Bagot Rd and Axon St, although it is clear from some recollections that sometimes scouts would meet in a room at the back of Mr. Bennett’s shop.

Mr. Bennett had a shop in Rokeby Road, where he sold leather goods, such as suitcases and bags.  The shop isn’t there any more –  the Subiaco Post Office stands in its place – nor is the Presbyterian Church, whose site is now occupied by church owned flats for elderly people.

It wasn’t until September 1930 that the Troop had a permanent home and Scout Hall in Rokeby Road, the same location it is today.  The hall was opened by the then Governor – Sir Win Campion.

In 1969 it was decided to build a new Cub Lair, Leader room and toilet block attached to the Scout hall.  The old Lair was a small wood and weatherboard building in the same location as the Cub Lair is today, except the old Lair boasted a fantastic mural of the Jungle Book story. The mural started at the door, went around the room and back to the door again.  All the Cub tests were on the wall and were incorporated within the mural.  As you passed each test you moved around the room making your way back to the door and on to Scouts.  Unfortunately the old lair was demolished to make way for the new lair which was opened on 31st May 1970 by the then Governor – Major General Sir Douglas Kendrew.

1st Subiaco has a strong connection to the community and a sense of place in Subiaco. We are continually working to preserve our heritage building.

Strong and Committed Leadership

Leaders have been the backbone of 1st Subiaco since its inception.

The leaders of the past 100 years have been able to develop generations of capable young people who have made a positive and significant contribution to the world in which they live. Young people need the guidance of informed and caring adults to develop self-reliance, initiative and responsibility. For the last 100 years this Group has been fortunate in attracting leaders with these qualities.

1st Subiaco acknowledge and honour these individuals who have played a significant role within the Group’s 100 year history.

Norman “Stalky” Hancock

Although many people have made this commitment and sacrificed time and effort in being a leader at 1st Subiaco, there have only been a handful whose contribution to the Group, Scouts Australia and the community has been exemplary.

The best-known Scoutmaster in the early history of the Subiaco Group was Norman Hancock, known as “Stalky”.

While many records of the early days of the group are gone now, the book of notes he made while on a Scout Training Camp in 1932 has been preserved, giving us a glimpse of scouting as it was more than seventy five years ago, and helping us to know something of this man who was so dedicated to teaching boys.

Stalky’s records include a brief history of the Subiaco Troop, although it is mainly based on his own memory of events and on what he had heard, because, as he said, the records from 1908 to 1929 had been “lost by someone”.

Mrs Joyce Page

In 1936 a young woman by the name of Mrs Joyce Page started as an assistant Cub leader with the Pack.  At the conclusion of 1975 she retired having served the Group as a Cub Leader for some 39 years of continuous service.

During this time more than 500 boys had the benefit of Mrs Page’s tutelage and supervision.  It was an achievement made through dedication and commitment to enriching the education and experiences of young boys and represents an extraordinarily generous contribution of time and effort.

A brief summary highlights that Mrs Page was:

  • The longest serving Leader, and Cub Leader in the Group’s History to date.
  • An award winner of a British Empire Medal for her services to Scouting and the Community.
  • The Group’s first Life Member.
  • Awarded several Honours and Awards from Scouts Australia for her Service and Diligence to Scouting.
  • In all of these awards and recognitions, Mrs Page was truly deserving.

Her influence within the Group and within the Scouting District as a whole was legendary to say the least.  Mrs Page was very attune to sizing up young boys who were potential trouble makers, or mischievous young souls, and she would commence an appropriate program of rehabilitation for these young individuals which would last the next three years or until you went to Scouts.

Mrs Page passed away on the 15th July 2010 and will be sorely missed, but her legacy lives on at 1st Subiaco through the people she influenced, some of whom are leaders in the group today.

Scouting in the Modern Era

Scouting in Subiaco hasn’t changed much since that early beginning in 1908.  The troop still meets on a Friday night to continue the spirit and principles imparted by Baden Powell, which can be summarised in the Scout Law and the Promise.  These represent the values of the Scouting movement worldwide, and bind all Scouting associations together.

History of the Association

The Scout Association is the world’s largest voluntary organisation with 25 million members globally. It is larger than all the other youth movements of the world put together.  Its aim is to help young people achieve their full physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual potential.

Training in self-reliance and a code of moral conduct remains the hallmark of the movement.  The movement was begun in Britain in 1907 by Robert Baden-Powell, who based his program on teaching boys the skills he had gained in guerrilla warfare in Afghanistan and during the siege of Mafeking, where survival depended on the ability of scouts to gain information about hostile territory.

The movement’s motto, “Be Prepared”, reflects the initials of the founder’s name; the uniform worn by early scouts had been adapted from that of the South African constabulary.  The word “Boy” was dropped from the association’s title in 1967 and girls were admitted in 1991. The program also stresses the development of skill in survival techniques, outdoor life, swimming and life saving, first aid, and teamwork.

Scouting exists in more than 150 countries.  Banned in the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and its satellite states during communist rule and replaced there by the politically indoctrinated “Young Pioneers”, the Scouting movement was swiftly re-established in these countries after the 1991 collapse of communism.  World Scouting is administered by the World Scout Bureau, which is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

The Founder Baden-Powell

Robert Stephenson Smyth, 1st Baron Baden-Powell of Gilwell (1857-1941), A British soldier and founder of the Boy Scouts, was born in London, and educated at Charterhouse School.  He joined the Regiment of the 13th Hussars in India in 1876. From 1888 to 1895 he was stationed, successively, in India, Afghanistan, Zululand, and Ashanti.

Before and during the Boer War, he served as chief staff officer during the British campaign in Matabeleland, Colonel of Irregular Horse, South Africa, and Lieutenant-Colonel of the 5th Dragoon Guards.  He organised the South African Constabulary towards the end of the war and became inspector general of cavalry in 1903.

Knighted in 1909, he retired from military service the following year.

In 1910 he helped his sister Agnes to found the Girl Guides, a similar organisation for girls.  During World War I he served in the British Intelligence Department.  His many books on the Boy Scout movement include What Scouts Can Do (1921) and Scouting and Youth Movement (1929).

The success of “Scouting for Boys” produced a Movement that quickly, automatically it seemed, adopted the name of The Boy Scouts and necessitated the establishment of an office to administer it, based in London.

By 1909 the Movement had taken a firm hold.  “Scouting for Boys” had been translated into five languages.  A Scout rally in London attracted more than 11,000 Scouts.

The coming of the war in 1914 could have brought about the collapse of the Movement, but the training provided through the patrol system proved its worth. Scouts contributed to the war effort in many ways; Patrol leaders took over when adult leaders volunteered for active service.

The emphasis on ‘learning by doing’ provides experiences and hands-on orientation as a practical method of learning and building self-confidence.  Small groups build unity, camaraderie, and a close-knit sense of belonging.  These experiences, along with an emphasis on trustworthiness and personal honour, help to develop responsibility, character, self-reliance, self-confidence, reliability, and readiness; which eventually show the way to leadership.

As the educational cycle becomes complete, the Scout is ready to take his or her place within society, and work to making the world a better place.

Today there are more than 28 million Scouts, young people and adults, male and female, in 216 countries and territories.  Some 300 million people have been Scouts, including prominent people in every field.  This is impressive considering that Scouting began with 20 boys and an experimental camp in 1907.

Baden Powell some time ago said

“Once a Scout – Always a Scout – just do your best.”

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