By Bryan Power with the assistance of Bob Barclay and Jon King
Bob Barclay was one of the original 1st Norlane Scouts. He recalls a meeting his parents attended when the formation of a scout group was considered. Bob thinks that there was some dispute whether the group should be 1st North Shore or 1st Norlane but the latter prevailed. The Norlane Post Office opened on 17 December 1945 so the name was becoming accepted by the time the scout group was established which would, I think, have been in about 1947.
Bob also attended a fund-raising fete for the scout group at the North Shore Football Club shed over in the empty paddocks towards Thompson Road.
Bob thinks Mr Dunstan started the group. He lived in Plume Street opposite where the Scout Hut was located against the fence with the Baptist Church. It certainly was a hut – not a hall – because it was made of two large wooden crates put together. It was long and narrow. We were told that the crates had held an aircraft fuselage imported during the war. The crates had been obtained by Mr Ernie Harris who was in charge of transport at Ford and who later became one of the scout leaders.
The first two patrols were Kookaburras with Bob Barclay as Patrol Leader and Lions with Harold Cahir as PL. Later, as the group grew in numbers, the Cobra Patrol with Arthur (“Ben”) Foot as PL was added.
Mr Riddle took over as scout master and his son John was the troop leader.
The other early scouts were Bevan Green, Peter Tudor, Bryan Power, Arnold (“Arnie”) Foot, Jonathon King, Noel Newman, Don Bennett, Don Grant and Andy Harris.
Jon King and I were the only members of the troop who lived to the east of the railway line. I rode my bike to scout meetings, heading up North Shore Road and then crossing the paddocks west of the railway line. Each week there were more and more houses appearing in the previously empty paddocks.
After the opening parade our favourite activity, as I remember it, was to follow a trail of papers left by a couple of scouts. We did this in the dark in the open paddocks west of Melbourne Road and it would take up the whole time of the weekly meeting. Jon King recalls working towards his second class certificate and struggling with morse code but I have only a vague recollection of those activities.
The troop’s first camp was held at Anakie Gorge over a weekend where Don (“Grandpa”) Grant kept us all awake for most of the night with his noisy antics and we all slept soundly on the way home as a result. I remember taking a white sleeping bag my mother had made for me. It was warm but the colour was not suited to a dusty scout tent.
Outside Bob Barclay’s home before leaving for the Anakie Gorge camp.
Seated from left: Peter Tudor, Bryan Power, Bob Barclay, Bevan Green (without hat), Harold Cahir and Arnie Foot.
We were part of the Geelong contingent that attended the Pan-Pacific Jamboree at Yarra Brae, Wonga Park from 29 December 1948 to 9 January 1949. My memories are of catching a rabbit on the first day and swapping it with a Queensland scout for a scout belt. Towards the end of the jamboree I was told to wash my socks by dropping them in a dixie of boiling water sitting on a camp fire. It was an early lesson that woollen articles don’t take kindly to boiling water. The socks came out much reduced in size. Jon King recalls being told by Queensland scouts that they have special machines in Queensland for bending bananas. He also remembered that one of the things we all did was have our belts impressed with a stamp of the jamboree logo.
The entrance to the Geelong contingent’s Jon King and Ernie Harris with the Geelong totem.
We also went up to Wonga Park a couple of times prior to the jamboree for weekend working bees. We travelled in a truck organised by Ernie Harris.
Later we had several camps at the Eumerella Scout camp at Point Addis near Anglesea. Bob recalls that Guy Russell, who was the owner of the Four Kings roadhouse at Anglesea, drove us down and back in his truck.
At Eumerella. Ben Foot is standing.
I remember going into Anglesea one Sunday morning with the troop. It must have been at Easter because the 1949 football season had commenced the previous day. I bought the Sporting Globe and was pleased to read that a new recruit named Bill McMaster had kicked six goals for Geelong. Another first gamer had bettered that: an Essendon recruit named John Coleman had kicked 12 goals!
The District Commission Lance Humble (I think) owned an A Model Ford that he drove the scouts around the camp in.
Bob and I could not recall finishing up with scouts. Both of us became very involved with sport as we moved further into our teens so we probably just drifted away. Jon joined the Air Force at the age of 15 so that took him away from the district.
I have added three newspaper articles that I found through the Trove website. They add a little to the early history of 1st Norlane.
CLERGYMAN'S BID FOR NEW CHURCH
The Age Thursday 23 March 1950, page 9
Until he can raise sufficient money to permit of him building a church at Norlane (North Shore), Geelong, Rev. W. Holt, vicar of St. Silas's Church of England, conducts services each Sunday in a boy scout hut made of two aeroplane packing cases. The building has little to blend with church services. It is littered with a variety of scout equipment. He has been granted the use of 100 acres of land by the Shell Oil Co. until such time as the company requires it. Mr. Holt, on a share basis with Mr. J. Nash (Corlo), has a full crop of barley growing on the land. Large industrial firms in the area are co-operating in assisting Mr. Holt, but he is making appeals for help from individuals.
SCOUT GROUPS CAMPED ALONG
THE RIVER Horsham Times 31 December 1954, page 3
Among visitors to Horsham this week have been two troops of Boy Scouts and several going through
to Adelaide or Sydney.
On Monday 12 senior Scouts from Hawthorn arrived by train and pitched their hike tents on Mr.Harrison's property by the Wimmera bridge. They were on their way to Adelaide for the New Year’s celebrations. For the last four days they enjoyed swimming in the Wimmera River with a day tour of the Grampians on Wednesday. This troop left for Adelaide on the 12.48 Adelaide express this morning.
Another troop camped at Horsham is the First Norlane Troop from Geelong. There are about 15 boys, mostly on their first or second camp, in patrol tents adjacent to the caravan park. They arrived Tuesday afternoon and soon settled in after having some difficulty finding a suitable camp site.
Scoutmaster Mr. W. Hutchison said most of his Scouts were New Australians and he is a Scotsman. He had planned on camping his boys at Horsham Scout Hall, but the boys wanted to sleep on the ground in true scouting fashion. The troops will be here until the middle of next week.
Six of the boys will hike to Green Lake tomorrow to pass their first class badge.
Other scattered groups of scouts and rover scouts have arrived in Horsham. Two came from Sydney on Sunday, spent Wednesday night with the Hawthorn Scouts and left early Thursday morning for Adelaide. They plan to return by the coastal highway to New South Wales in about a week's time.
One thing the scouts noticed while at Horsham was the service they received in shops.
CCooking a Good Brew
(Caption for photograph with the above article on page 3)
GGeelong scouts looked happy as they prepared a meal at their annual camp on the Wimmera banks at
HHorsham yesterday. They are, left to right, Peter Cole (English), John Detlefson. Jerry Bussams (Dutch) and Dennis Cotter, from First Norlane Troop, Geelong. Most of the troop are New Australians. Scotchman Scoutmaster, W. Hutchison, came to Australia in 1948.
TThe Argus 29 March 1956
MMr W. Hutchison, Group Scoutmaster, 24 Bellbird ave., Norlane, Geelong,writes:
OOn behalf of the boys of the 1st Norlane Scout Group, I would like to appeal to the public for
aan Australian flag to fly above our new Scout hall, which we hope to open early in May.
AlAll our funds have gone into the building of the hall.