Belgian Gardens - History

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A BRIEF HISTORY OF OUR GROUP

Scouting began in Australia in 1908 and the 2nd Townsville Boy Scout Troop, as it was then known, began in 1925 at the Cook St home of its first Leader, Mr Dixon Ryder. After approximately 18 months in Cook St, a Scout Hall was built in Warburton St (purportedly the current Meals on Wheels Centre). When the Hall became monopolized by fundraising and social functions, the Scouts built a new Den using flattened out kerosene tins and corrugated iron, and the back fence behind the Hall.

In 1931-32 the Presbyterian Church bought the hall after using it for Sunday School classes from 1929. The Church paid £1,400. The Scouts still used the ‘Back Fence Den’ and the Cubs built their own Den alongside.

The next den was established in 1945 using a huge ex-American Army building bought for £200 and transported to the old Quarry site on Bundock St. It had 200 stumps requiring 200 post holes, each of which took one whole day to dig and cost £1 each.

In 1961 the Troop cut the Den in two and relocated it to the current Evans St site. The annual lease for the block was then £1. In 1963 the Troop became known as the Belgian Gardens Boy Scout Group and subsequently the Belgian Gardens Sea Scouts. It is currently not registered as a Sea Scout Group which requires specialist training, equipment and programs. There are plans however, to once again become the only sea scout troop in the Region.

Cyclone Althea in 1971 thoroughly demolished the Evans St Den. For the next 18 months the Cubs met at the home on their Leader in Ryan St, and the Scouts met in the open at Evans St. The current building was officially opened on 30 July 1977 by Dr Norm Scott-Young (MP) and Mr Perc Tucker (the then Mayor of Townsville). The murals on the front wall were painted by the Venturers in 1979. The Flagpole was commissioned in 1979 as a gift from the Townsville Cemetery Trust and the American Embassy. In June 1980 staff at the Embassy took up a collection and presented the Troop with the Eagle and Globe which sits atop the pole. The Group also possesses an American Flag should the need
arise for one.

Beginning in 1925 makes Belgian Gardens 83 years old in 2008 and possibly the longest continuously operating troop in Townsville.

©Margaret Drane 15.5.1995

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