Gilwell Heritage - Gilwell Park The Beginning

Gilwell Park The Beginning


Edmund Henry Cecil Russell, known as Tom, was born in New Zealand of English migrants. On moving to Australia six years later Tom and his family eventually settled at the farming property “Swallowfield” in Gembrook.

Tom Russell

  Tom became a keen Scouter who was particularly interested in training. He travelled to England in 1924 as the Australian Contingent Leader for the Wembley Jamboree and while there completed his Woodbadge training at Gilwell. On arriving home he quickly realised the need for a permanent training site in Victoria and that the Gembrook area was ideal. So at his own expense and labour he started to develop a site adjacent to his home.

 In the Easter of 1925 the first short training course for Scouters was held at the campsite. It was during this year Tom started work on the Troop Hall as well as building four log cabin patrol sleeping huts. In 1926 the 2nd Australian Woodbadge course was held at Gilwell and was catered for by Tom's mother at Swallowfield.

 Later that year the land now known as the Training Ground was offered as a gift to the Boy Scout Association by the Russell family and was named Gilwell Park.

 Tom Russell was appointed “Estate Manager” in 1926.

Russell Troop Room 1936