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