Scouting comes to Australia

The game of Scouting was played by boys in the Commonwealth of Australia as early as 1908, the year the first Boy Scout Training handbook Scouting for Boys was published in England. The visits made to Australia by Baden-Powell in 1912 and in later years (1931-34) encouraged the extension of the Movement in Australia.

Although each State Branch in Australia was directly and individually responsible to Imperial Headquarters in London, there grew a desire to achieve co-operation at a higher level so a Federal Council of nominees from each State Council was formed in 1922. This body later appointed an Australian Commissioner. For more than 30 years, Scouting was co-ordinated by the Australian Federal Scout Council which functioned as a Branch of the British Boys Scout Association.

In 1958 the adjuration of the Australian Boys Scout Association took place and in 1967 the National Organisation was incorporated by Royal Charter. The name of the Association was changed to the Scout Association of Australia in 1971.

Australia was made a member of the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) in 1953 and is a Founder Member of the Asia-Pacific Region. In the field of support and co-operation with other member countries of the Asia Pacific Region, the organisation has contributed to a number of international friendship and community development projects. Over the years, Australian Scouts have supported emerging Scout Associations in the South Pacific and around the world. A twinning project with the Bangladesh Scouts, known as the "Bangladesh-Australia Child Health" (BACH) project, made a dramatic impact on child health in project villages during its operation from 1986–1992.

The Scout Association of Australia has a twinning project with the Nepalese Scouts known as NATURE Project, which involves the reforestation of the Kristi Landslide. Australia's support for the Kiribati Scout Association led to them becoming a full member of WOSM and receives ongoing support. Other countries whose Scouting Australia actively supports include the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea among many others. Australia hosted the successful 16th World Scout Jamboree and the 31st World Scout Conference in 1988. Some 15,000 Scouts from 94 countries attended the Jamboree at Cataract Scout Park near Sydney. The conference held in Melbourne dealt with the theme of Scouting as an education for life.

Adapting to the general changes in Australian society, Scouting admitted girls and young women to its Venturer Scout and Rover Scout Sections in 1973 and its Cub Scout and Scout Sections in 1988. The Joey Scout Section commenced on 1 July 1990 and is open to boys and girls aged between six and seven-and-a-half years of age.

Back to Scouting: A History


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