Heritage - Interesting Scouting History

Interesting Scouting History

Did you know that Geoffrey Fethers was the first Boy Scout in Victoria - arguably in the world. The story goes that Mr Fethers, senior, who was the agent for Otis Elevators in Victoria, went to England on a business trip in 1906 and met the then General Robert Baden-Powell through their mutual interest in art. It is said that B-P gave Mr Fethers a copy of a memorandum outlining his thoughts on the future Boy Scouts. A uniform was purchased and taken back to Australia and the young Geoffrey, who with his brothers in that Southern Hemisphere Summer, ran wild being Boy Scouts.
Let it be noted that the Southern Hemisphere Summer runs from January to March of 1907, while B-P had to wait for the Northern Hemisphere Summer, ie the July-August of 1907 for the experimental Camp at Brownsea Island, to take place.
It is fascinating to speculate on this situation - who knows? Australia had the first Boy Scouts and they were right here in Melbourne.

Shirley Dixon was Victoria's first woman District Commissioner. Affectionately known to one and all as 'Mum', Shirley was a real friend and counsellor to a wide circle of Scouters in Victoria and beyond. The August 1980 Victorian Scout Magazine reported that "her appointment to DC broke new ground in the Scouting hierarchy and set a promising precedent".

The Thumbstick is a forgotten piece of equipment but every adult leader and Rover Scout carried them until the early 70’s… It was a parade item and was used as an aid to walking a stiff incline; it doubled as a tentpole for the hike tent at night and it was held by the Scout leader at investitures. The owner’s career was outlined in the small plaques he attached to his stick.

Scouting has made such a difference in the lives of the boys and girls, parents and supporters, leaders and helpers etc that have been involved in the Movement. Some of the more famous members are .. Harold Holt (Former Prime Minister of Australia), Dick Smith (Adventurer and Businessman), Peter Garrett (Singer and Social Activitist), Phillip Adams (Writer and Film-maker), Bert Newton (Television comedian and compere), Tim Macartney-Snape (Mount Everest Climber).

The ninth scout law "to be thrifty" saw the creation of Sock tops. These were knitted by hand using the colours of the Troop Scarf and were placed over the top of school socks. In 1920, the uniform was pretty much in the pattern we see today but was made in a much heavier woollen fabric.