1st Caringbah Scout Group is steeped in history

Our Scout Troop was first registered as a Troop on 2nd May 1933 making us 82 years old in 2015!

In 1933 our scout nights were held in a private house in Port Hacking Road. Little is known about the group in these very early years.At the start of the 2nd World War we went into recess before restarting again in 1947. In 1947 we used to meet at the home of the Scout Leader Mr. R Lamont in Port Hacking Road, Caringbah and then we managed to secure a room in the RSL Hall in Cawarra Road for our meetings. When the weather was good, we used to play our wide games in a field which is now the car park at Woolworths! How times have changed.

In 1947 our troop moved into the RSL building that had been an army hut at Wollongong Army camp and had been moved to Caringbah in 1947.The cubs played games on the grass paddock opposite – now the Council car park. 2nd Caringbah also used this hall.

The Wollongong ex Army Hall used by 1st Caringbah Group (1947- 1953)

On 1st November 1951, our Cub Pack was registered and lead by Mrs. Lamont and then their daughter Miriam joined as an assistant Cub Leader.

In the late 40’s and 50’s our group flourished with our scout and cub numbers above 20 and in the low 30’s. In 1951, our cub pack got so large; we had to set up a second pack which was called 2nd Caringbah.2nd Caringbah meetings started in June (the application for registration is dated 27th June 1951) and the association formally recognised the registration in November. The foundation leaders were Kevin William Graham and Edna Grace Mondel.

Most of the meetings were held in the open near the RSL until 1953 when it was decided a hall was needed and land was purchased in Pacific Street and fund raising commenced.At this time the Group committee members met in a house at the Western end of Endeavour Arcade (now the Meriton apartments on the Kingsway) with Mr. T Howe being our Group President and Mr. W Graham and Mrs. B Smith taking up service as the Scout and Cub leaders respectively.

In true scouting tradition, the fundraising was a community effort and demonstrated versatility and improvisation. A concert was organised by Mrs. Ivy Ross (of Mansfield Ave) and held at the old Miranda school of arts after 1956. We also made the most of the times by staging a “TV Preview Night” using a black and white 7 inch screen TV generously loaned by the local Reid’s Drug store. The viewing was held in the main hall of the Methodist Church in Dudley Avenue to packed audience of very excited onlookers. It was one of the very first Australian TV transmissions and talked about for many months afterwards.

The building of the 1st and 2nd Caringbah Group hall (1953-1959) located at rear of 16 Pacific St.

The 1st and 2nd Caringbah Group hall (1953-1959) as it is today (rear of 16 Pacific St).

Both 1st and 2nd Caringbah groups met in this small hall facing Bulwarra Street (at the rear of what is now number 16 Pacific St). Being among houses it was a bit of an annoyance to neighbours. There were reports in the Sutherland Council minutes about noise complaints, about the toilets being visible from the street, about problems with rubbish and with bottle drives. That hall was about 35 feet wide by 20 feet deep and weatherboard and with some minor alterations is still standing!

The first hall was finally completed in 1954 with a lot of help from the Scouts of the time who carted bricks and building materials back and forth plus helped with the carpentry. The work was organised by Messrs Sid Spinks and Jack Armour and volunteers who worked on the project include Messrs. Gumbleton, Simpson, Harrison, Thompson, Garner, Howes, Smith, Archer, O’Brien, Knuckey and Hooley.

Shortly after this time, the Senior Scouts (Venturers) were commenced and it was not to long before our first Queens Scout award was made to Peter Rawlings in 1956 and he then went on to become the Assistant Scout Master in 1960 (pictured below).


In 1956, Mr. Alan Meares came onto the scene as Scout Leader. Mr. Meares was still in uniform in 1984 with Endeavour District (as it was called then).Due to restrictions imposed by the location of this hall it was decided in 1959 to move to a new location adjacent to the present swimming pool in Jacaranda road.Subsequently a new hall was built and opened by Councillor John Dwyer on 30th April 1960.

As result of space and neighbour problems the two groups together decided to build a larger hall (approximately 36 feet by 43 feet) near where the YMCA is now in Jacaranda Road – at the rear of the vacant land to the south of where the pre-school is now.

1st and 2nd Caringbah Scout Hall – Jacaranda Road (1959 – 1978)

This area was known as the Caringbah Community Centre and it was intended by the Council to have all the Community groups / facilities (pool, library, CWA+ pensioner halls etc) together – although in the original schemes there had been no provision for either Scouts or Guides.It was on a 50 feet by 50 feet block the lease of which commenced in July 1958 and to which was added a 40 feet by 20 feet block in 1963. The lease was for 25 years and for the princely sum of 1 pound ($2) a year.

Construction was commenced in January 1959 and the hall was officially opened on 30th April 1960 by Councillor John Dwyer but was apparently already in use in 1959 as the Group ceased to use the Pacific St hall in March/ April 1959. The hall near the YMCA was used by 1st Caringbah Scout Group until 1978.

In 1960, our second set of Queens Scout Awards were earned by 1st Caringbah Senior Scouts (now called Venturer Scouts) Bruce Dean, Rodney Ivison & Bruce McKinney. A picture of the 3 (plus Peter Stenson) is in the photo at Government House below.

The hall near the YMCA was weatherboard (painted olive green with white trim) with a skillion roof. It had double doors and a ramp on the western side and two doors (to the kitchen and the hall) at the top of steps on the northern side. It included a rover den and a senior’s den as well as a kitchen and storeroom and had cupboards along the southern wall for patrols and the cubs to store their things in. 1st Caringbah had a cupboard for each of our patrols/sections but 2nd Caringbah’s Scouts only had 1 cupboard for the whole Group. In the 1968 Annual Report there is a lament about the Group’s total worldly possession’s being in a 6 foot by 6 foot by 18 inch cupboard (although I suspect some of the bigger items (tents etc) actually lived in leader’s garages). Vehicular access was a dirt track from Port Hacking Road and there was a large tree in the turning area in front of the hall. To raise money to finish the hall the two Groups sold the “ownership” of the wood panels that lined the inside of the hall – they were 6 foot high panels.

Even before the hall was officially opened the neighbours were complaining to the Council – in late 1959 they claimed that noise from the hall and light from the high windows was causing fowls in the poultry yards at the back of two adjoining houses to drop eggs from their perches at night and had even caused the death of several birds.

1st and 2nd Caringbah Senior Scouts (now known as Venturers) shared the hall together till 2nd Caringbah Senior Troop was formed in 1968-1969.

A decision was made in 1960 that 2nd Caringbah would obtain land and build its own hall – but such things do not happen overnight!!

They were not the only Group searching for a hall- in a report to Sutherland Council the Scout Association said that of the 47 groups in the Shire in 1963 only 25 had halls and the other 22 were sharing with other groups, meeting in houses or garages or using other places. In those days Scouting was much bigger than it is now. In 1958 there were 23 groups, 95 leaders and 953 youth in Scouting in the Shire. By 1962 there were 40 groups, 200 leaders and 1750 youth. By 1966 there were 52 Groups and 2563 youth members. Just in the Caringbah area there were 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Caringbah, 1st and 2nd North Caringbah (2nd North Caringbah was later known as Cawarra), Lilli Pilli, Dolans Bay and Taren Point (Port hacking and Shiprock started later). Cronulla had 3 groups plus a Wanda Group and there were 2 groups in Woolooware and 5 in Miranda (plus 2 at Yowie Bay). Even as recently as 1976 there were 47 Scout Groups in the shire. Now there are only 22 groups in the whole Shire and some of those only have one active section. In 1937 there had been only 5 groups in the shire but some of these could have been very large as there could be several cub packs or scout troops in the one Group and there wasn’t a strict rules on numbers – like 1st Caringbah now (2013) Scout Troops of 40 plus boys was quite common and in the early 1960’s Lilli Pilli had 47 scouts in one troop!

1st Caringbah looked at extending the area of the lease at the Community centre site so as to enlarge that hall and looked at adding a second floor to that hall – but the Council was not keen on that option.

2nd Caringbah Group was finally able to acquire land from the Australian Gas Light Company – the purchase was completed in September 1968. The site cost $2000. $18,000 was fundraised and the NSW Chief Commissioner Mr WK Pilz officially opened the 2nd Caringbah hall on the 4th July 1970. Don Dobie the local Member of Parliament was present. This marked the formal split of 2nd Caringbah from 1st Caringbah and a healthy rivalry has continued ever since.

The Rover crew was founded in 1962 and a notable achievement of the group took place in 1968 when, for what was probably the first time in the history of scouting, the highest scouting awards were presented to boys in each of these sections, plus gold and silver Duke of Edinburgh Awards.These were made to:

Rover – Maurice Bloom

Senior Scout – Steven Oliver

Scout – Kevin Alexander

Cub – John Smith

Rover – Robert Fisher

Senior Scout – Graham Pope

The group remained very active and growing in numbers and undertook a number of ventures including a 3000 mile rock hunting expedition through NSW and QLD.It was well represented at all Jamboree’s and other area and district gatherings.

In 1976, 1st and 3rd Caringbah were amalgamated at 1st Caringbah headquarters at the request of Sutherlandshire Council, the group commenced arrangements in 1977 to move to its present Castlenau Street location and the hall was completed and opened by Councilor Jean Manuel on the 23rd Sep 1978. The acquisition of the land and organisation of the hall construction was coordinated by Mr. Frank Mitchell, our president and secretary.Mr. Ron Burgess and Mr. Peter Ellis were President and Group Leader respectively.

Owing to a general reduction in Scout numbers and the conflicting demands of education, sports etc, the Venturers ceased as an active section in 1980 and was resurrected in the 90’s

Grand Opening of the 1st Caringbah Scout Hall by Councillor Jean Manuel, 23Sep 1978

1st Caringbah Cubs, scouts and Venturers March past – 23rd Sep 1978

1st Caringbah Cub Pack – 1983

1st Caringbah Scout Troop – 1983

On 27th May 1983 1st Caringbah Scouts celebrated their 50th Anniversary Year by placing a time capsule and formal opening of the Castlenau Street Park by Councillor Ian Swords. The capsule is set to be opened on Sunday 29th May 2033.

1st Caringbah Cubs and Scouts help Councillor Ian Swords bury a time capsule – 27th May 1983 (due for opening in 2033)

1st Caringbah Cub Pack – 1983

Cubs and Scouts enjoy a flying fox where the current playground is in front of Hall – 1983

1st Caringbah Scouts with Bob “Badger” Head in the background.

1993 was the 60th Anniversary of the Group and a public display of scouting were made in the park behind our hall, plus a badge was designed by Dale Parsons to mark the occasion.

On 11th August 1997, 1st Caringbah’s first Rover Crew was registered.

1st Caringbah Rovers, Scouts and Cubs – 1999

1st Caringbah Scouts – 1999

1st Caringbah Cub Scouts – 1999

1st Caringbah Rovers and Leaders going down the Appin Coal mine – 1999

In November 2004, 1st Caringbah Cubs opened up its doors to girls for the first time with Erin R, Jessica Juretic, Leonie H and Zoe J becoming our first registered female Cubs.

It was at this time that Scouts Australia changed the uniform from the traditional khaki to the more modern navy blue with coloured shoulders identifying each section.1st Caringbah was one of the first groups in the area to commence phasing this in.

Zoe J, Jessica Juretic, Leonie H and Erin R (L to R), first female cubs to be invested into 1st Caringbah Scout Group at Warrabunda – Nov ‘04

1st Caringbah Cubs – Camp Coutts – Oct 2004

Jessica Juretic went on to become the first registered female 1st Caringbah Scout in May 2006.

A 1st Caringbah Joey Mob was first formed in 2007 and became the largest mob in the South Metropolitan area in 2009.In the late 00’s, with Bob Head as our Group Leader, our Group hit a purple patch with Joey’s, Cub’s and Scouts all running at capacity and even with waiting lists.At one stage the Scout troop had over 40 scouts registered.

2007 marked the centenary year for Scouts worldwide and a large contingent of Scouts from 1st Caringbah attended and held key roles at the televised Sunrise event held at the Opera House on 1st August 2007.Vivien N represented all Scouts from Australia as the standard bearer – a great honour.

Vivien N (left) representing all Australian Scouts at the World Scouting centenary – 1st Aug 2007

Scouts on the 100th Anniversary of World Scouting – Sydney Opera House – 1st Aug 2007

The faces of one of our very own scouts, Kara S and Leonie H were used in the Australian Scout promotion in 2007.

In December 2007 1st Caringbah Scout Group were given the honour of representing all Australian Scouts in a televised ceremony handing over from the Year of the Scout to the Year of the Surfer Lifesaver at Bondi Beach, Sydney.

1st Caringbah representing all Australian Scouts as The Year of the Scout (2008) was handover over from the Year of the Surf Lifesaver (2007)

2008 proved to be a very successful year for 1st Caringbah Scouts as we won the NSW State Rally for the first time in the 22 years the competition has been running and with the highest score since records began.

2008 State Rally Champions – Jake C, Cameron B (APL), Jordan B, Jessica Juretic (PL) and Kathryn S, pictured with Phil Crutchley (NSW State Commissioner)

In 2009, Nathan Leivesley won the “Best PL Award” and his team came 2nd overall from over 800 other scouts competing. Again the Speedy Turtles (Jessica Juretic (PL), Kai W, Oscar P, TBC won NSW State Rally a second time in a row.

In 2010, the team of Vivien Nguyen (PL), Darcie MacPherson (APL), Beth K and Emerson F took great joy in winning the “Scout Hike” leadership and navigation competion away from the over 700 other Sydney North scouts.

In 2010, history was again made with an amazing trifecta when 1st Caringbah patrols won 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the NSW State Rally! 1st Place – “Speedy Turtles” (Jessica Juretic PL), 2nd Place – “Kanga Nangas” (Vivien Nguyen PL) and 3rd Place – Team Tomato (Duncan Clark PL). It is believed to be the first time in the history of NSW State Rally that a PL (Jessica Juretic) has led a team to 3 consecutive wins as a 12, 13 and a 14 year old.

That same year, Jessica Juretic also took out “Best PL at State Rally” to create a fairy tale ending to her 4 years competing in this competition.

In 2012, Venturer Scouts Jessica Juretic (team leader), Vivien Nguyen, Darcie MacPherson and Megan Compton made history by being the first all girl team to win the annual Dragon Skin leadership camp in the 24 years the competition has run. It was also the first time a 1st Caringbah team had ever won the competition and this year was contested against 800 venturers from all over NSW.

In July 2012, Sutherland Shire Council commenced work on the redevelopment of Castelnau Street Reserve outside 1st Caringbah Scout Hall adding a playground and bicycle track. The work required the relocation of the time capsule (buried in May 1983). To commemorate the occasion, Deputy Mayor of Sutherland Shire Cllr George Capsis was joined by Former Cronulla MP Malcolm Kerr and Linda Swords, the wife of late Cllr Ian Swords (who buried the first capsule in 1983). Cllr Malcolm Kerr lowered the original capsule together with a second new capsule (aided by District Scout Leader – David “Dingo” Hughes and Venturer Scout Chris Beauchamp) into it’s new location next to the hall front gate and marked with mounted brass plates.

2013 proved to be another very successful year, with the Venturer Unit backing up from their 2012 success at Dragonskin with another win in 2013, this time under the leadership of Hamish Moses together with his team of Megan Compton, Jake Juretic, Hayden Ward and Charlee Michel. Megan Compton made history by being the first individual Venturer Scout to be a member of 2 winning teams. Again this competition was contested by over 800 Venturer Scouts.

In 2013, Ronan H led the team of Jonny C, Andre and Cody to another first place for 1st Caringbah at the NSW State Rally winning against over 800 other scouts.

Again in 2013, ten 1st Caringbah Venturer Scouts made history as the highest number to receive the Queens Scout Award from a single unit at a ceremony since records began.

The young men and women who became known as the “tenacious ten” were Caitlin C, Cameron M, Chris M, Duncan C, Jake Juretic, Jess J, Jessica Juretic, Laura W, Lloyd N and Megan S.

In 2014, Marley Peterson led a team to take out 1st place in the Scout Hike competition against over 700 scouts from around NSW.

In 2014, Venturer Scout Cameron Brown won Dragonskin with team members Jamie Kirk, Charlee Michel, Hayden Ward and Jake Juretic to become only the second single unit to take out this prestigious leadership competition over 3 successive years (note a combined team took it out 5 years in succession!) Charlee, Jake and Hayden made history by being members of 2 successive teams. This has only ever achieved by one other Venturer scout in the history of the competition.

In 2014, Amy H led a Scout team to our 5th first place for 1st Caringbah at the NSW State Rally winning against over 650 other scouts. This reflected a significant “trifecta” for 1st Caringbah in that we won 1st place at Scout Rally, Scout Hike fake rolex for sale and Dragonskin all in the same year. Â No other Scout Group has ever achieved this.

In 2015, Venturer Scout Jake Juretic led his team of Jacob Vartanian, Matt Rafferty and Oscar Peterson to win Dragonskin 2015 at Penrose State Forest and marked the 4th successive win for 1st Caringbah Venturer Scouts. Plus Jake made history by being one of only 2 Venturer scouts to be in 3 winning teams in the 31 years the competition has been run.

NB. Some of the dates mentioned have been difficult to confirm owing to a lack of official records and errors could therefore exist. If you are able to correct or supplement any of this information, please let us know.We are especially keen to receive any photographs through the ages – please send to bmhead@bigpond.net.au


Sincere thanks go to the following people who provided their valuable time, memories and photos:

Christine Edney – Current 2nd Caringbah Cub Scout Leader

Ted Angel – 1st Caringbah Group Leader 1984

Bob Murray – 1st Caringbah Group Publicity Officer 1984

Linda Lunney – 1st Caringbah Cub Scout Leader

Lindsay Young – 1st Caringbah Venturer Unit and Scout Leader (1998 – 2010)

Bob Head – 1st Caringbah Group Leader and Scout Leader (1991-present day)

Peter Hulskamp – 1st Caringbah Scout Leader 1986 – 1994

John Murray – 1st Caringbah Scout Leader

Frank Mitchell – 1st Caringbah Parents Committee Member and Venturer Leader

Peter Ellis – 1st Caringbah Group Scout Leader (2005 – 2015)

Jason Juretic – 1st Caringbah Venturer Leader