Guiding/Scouting in my family – dad

Some of dad’s memories in the scouting movement:

I joined the 4th Hobart Cub Pack at Holy Trinity Hall in Church St. I don’t know how I got over to Church St. from West Hobart so I may have had a friend that took me but in those days everyone walked a lot more than today.

I went to 10th Hobart Scouts at Goulburn St. Sunday School Hall just down from my home at 160 Goulburn Street.

My first camp was to Gardeners Bay fruitpicking and I was very homesick. I had never been away from home alone at all before and my scoutmaster knew that I was homesick and I got an extra helping of sweets at night on a couple of occasions. I did not do very well at fruit picking as I only earned five shillings. I gave this to Mum(Mrs Avery) and she kept it in her purse until she died, as it was the first money that I ever earned.

I think Sam Seymour was our scoutmaster and he had a little Austin car that we loaded up with our gear and headed for a camp at Proctors Road. It could not make it up this steep hill and we all had to push while he held the accelerator down and steered from the side. I remember that it was at this camp that I hiked by the stars over the hills to a radio mast on top of Mt Nelson.

Another exercise that I remember is a search and rescue exercise along the Pipe Line Track, I think I was a second at the time and we had to search down the steep Syphon Track down to the North West bay river. We found the victim almost at the bottom of the track and after attending to his wounds we had to make a stretcher and carry him back up to the Pipe Line Track. We cut some branches and used our shirts to make the stretcher. My shirt with all my badges on the sleeves was filthy when we finished the exercise. Mum was most upset with me.

I remember the hardest thing that I had to do to obtain my first class badge was to swim fifty yards, which was the distance between the two jetties on the Domain. I just made it as I was not a good swimmer.

My first real bushwalk as a Senior Scout was over the Wellington Range to Lachlan. We camped in hike tents under Trestle Mountain and although it was hard work I enjoyed the trip and it was probably why I enjoyed the outdoors.

Dad remembers a lot about his journey for his First Class badge and his later association with Mr Williams

My companion was David Goldsmith who lived opposite me at 160 Goulburn St. We had to go from Granton to Cobbs Hill to Mt Dromedary and return. I have one or two photos of this trip. From the top of Cobbs Hill we could see an orange coloured patch on the slopes of Mt Dromedary and I remarked to David that I would like to camp around about that spot. We made our way across towards the mountain and went in to a small farm belonging to Mr. George Williams and asked if he would mind if we camped on his property. He had just the spot for us he said and he took us along a track over a ridge from his home to an open area with a good place to pitch a tent and with a small creek flowing off the mountain nearby. Just above this spot was a large heap of sawdust which was the orange patch that we had seen from Cobbs Hill.

We pitched the tent and spent a good night there and next morning there was cloud over the mountain but we decided to have a go at getting to the top. We struggled through the scrub straight up from our campsite towards the gap between the main block of the mountain and the two humps. The cloud was quite thick and we decided to retreat, as we could not see where to go to get to the summit. We got back to Granton and turned to look at Mt Dromedary to see it clear and free from cloud. In later years I climbed to the top several times from various approaches. This journey had to be written up and handed in to obtain my First Class badge.

I became Patrol Leader of the Mallory Patrol in the 10th Hobart Senior Scouts with Fred Jacobs as Scoutmaster. We eventually built a log cabin on the spot where we camped on my First Class journey with permission from George Williams. Tom Howard (later Inspector Howard of the Police Search and Rescue Squad) fell all the trees for us and we dragged them into place and notched them together for the walls. The roof was made from bark stripped from the trees and a fireplace was erected using local stone and a mixture of clay to hold it together. We had bunks made by putting saplings through holes in the bottom of the cocoa bean bags that Harry got for me from Cadburys and suspending them along the back wall.

I spent many nights up there and I would often go up to by train to Dromedary railway station at night and walk up to the cabin in the dark and spend the weekend there exploring the area. I occasionally had a meal with George Williams at his home and one of my favourite memories of him is eating lunch with him and with the door of the house closed to keep the wind out. The door did not fit very well and through the gap at the bottom came a Blue Wren and his mate. George said to just carry on eating quietly and to push a little bit of potato across to the edge of my plate and see what happens. The birds were so friendly and not afraid they flew up on to the table beside us and perched on the edge of our plates and had their fill of potato as well. George often had his grandson Graeme with him and I have photos of them both.

I did not have a photo of our log cabin and I went to the Scout archives at the Lee and found this photo. Unfortunately, it was burnt down with the bush fire in 1967.

Readers: Were you a member of Scouts or Guides or perhaps another group like YMCA as my brother was?

Guiding/Scouting in my family – Mum

There have been a few members of my family who have joined either the scouting or guiding movements over the years. I will be writing three posts to cover this – mum, dad and myself.

My mum Phyllis England, pictured here with her cousin Maureen Chandler, was enrolled as a Brownie in 1941 by Mrs. I. Foot into 3rd Hobart Brownies with Miss D (Dottie) Rafferty as her leader. Some of mum’s memories written in 2008:

We spent a lot of time in St. David’s Park as our meeting hall was in Harrington St.

I remember eating an orange at Dotty’s house and then growing water cress in the skin.

Catching a tram to either the junction of Creek and Augusta Rds and walking up to the picnic ground at Lenah Valley and doing tracking or else to the Cascade Gardens and behind the Brewery and doing semaphore and tracking were exciting activities and good exercise.

My most vivid memory was going to the hut on the mountain for a pack holiday and being made eat fried tomatoes with scrambled eggs for breakfast. I greatly disliked cooked tomato (and still do). We were made to sit at the long table till we ate at least two tablespoon of tomato which by this time had congealed with fat. I missed out that morning on going to the wishing well.

But when it came to Guides:

As a Guide I went to the Memorial Church Hall in Brisbane Street.  My cousins and I caught a tram to town from Sandy Bay and then walked to guides early after tea. (This wouldn’t happen now) Guides couldn’t have been as interesting as Brownies because I don’t remember much of what we did.

Mum’s next foray into guiding was when I became a Brownie in Glenorchy and as was often the case as a Mum she was soon in uniform.

Many happy days were spent both as a Brown Owl and then a Guide captain, with many camps at Oyster Cove. This was really a chore as you had to get the boiler going to have hot water for the camp. This was both at Glenorchy then Lindisfarne.

Another day to remember was Thinking Day when the whole Division tried to make a coin circle around the Cadbury oval.

Another thing we did was plant a lemon tree at Queen Victoria home for Ribbon of Gold.  We had been asked Australian wide to plant yellow trees. I was very pleased to see that it was still growing when I recently visited the home although it does need a little bit of loving care.

Blue serge suits and icing sugar certainly don’t mix.   Many visits to Triabunna would see me being offered cream puffs as the Commissioner knew how much I liked them and the girls would make sure I had one or two when perhaps a sandwich would have been nice if offered first.

Mum’s most memorable experience was when Lady Baden Powell came to visit Hobart. A big rally was held up on the Domain on the T.C.A. ground and at night leaders met at Hathaway House in North Hobart. Naturally we were all on our best behaviour sitting like real ladies waiting to hear Lady Baden Powell speak. Her first words were “Why don’t some of you sit on the floor and make yourself comfortable.” Many of us did just this and I’ll never forget the aura of sitting at the feet of our world leader.

Mum had a great memory when taking her camp licence:

I continued on as a leader when we moved to Lindisfarne and the funniest thing to happen was when I was going for my camp licence at Betty Beament’s property at Molesworth.  I had set up camp a couple of days before with the tents and screening.  Imagine my horror when I arrived after tea on the Friday night to discover Betty’s pet cow had taken a liking to the ridge pole tents and had made an exit where there should not have been one through two tents.  Betty came to the rescue with some tents belonging to New Norfolk Guides.  To top it all off as I was being tested the cow decided to pay another visit and went straight through the lats. (I did get my licence because after all we are prepared for all events, aren’t we.)

Once leaving formal guiding as a leader, mum had a lot to do with Orana the Guide camp at Roches Beach.

My guiding continued through many positions but being Orana booking officer for 25 years and meeting so many people will take a lot of beating, whether it was Australian, State or overseas visitors and many local teachers etc.  One state camp Sibyle Young and myself spent many long nights chasing boys off the campsite.

When planning Malunna camphouse it was amazing that Sibyle and I would both come up with the same idea without any discussion taking place over a particular matter.

My days in guiding still continue with Trefoil Guild.  Guiding has sure changed over the 67 years but hasn’t everything.

Trefoil Guild members at July birthday morning tea 2015

Back: Eileen Harrison, Brit Howard, Nancy Woodward

Front: Phyllis Wyatt, Sibyle Young, Mary Coatman

Readers: Were you a member of Scouts or Guides or perhaps another group like YMCA as my brother was?