Rovering in Victoria

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Victorian Branch Rover Section
Age range 17 — 26
Headquarters Victorian Rover Centre
Location Melbourne
Country Australia
Chief Scout of Victoria Professor David de Kretser
Chief Commissioner of Victoria Bob Taylor
Branch Commissioner for Rovers Craig Whan
Affiliation Scouts Australia - Victoria Branch

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The Rover Section in Victoria is run as a democracy by the Victorian Branch Rover Council (VicBRC). Victorian Rovers run the largest annual Rover events in Australia, and administrate assets totalling 2.5 million AUD on behalf of the Victorian Branch. In the year 2007/8 the eight operating entities making up the VicBRC had a combined turnover of 330,000 AUD[1].

At the 2008 Census, there were 950 registered Rovers in Victoria, in roughly 100 Rover Crews.

Rovers, is the fifth and final section of Scouts Australia, and began in 1918. Rovers are aged between 17 (usually 18) and 26 years of age and are organised into local Crews, which can be associated with a Scout Group or operate as a stand-alone Crew. Crews accept anyone interested in taking up Rovering, whether or not they have been in Scouts before. The section is based on Baden-Powell's book Rovering to Success and the theme of knighthood. Rovers are actively encouraged to become better citizens through taking part in Scouts Australia's nationally accredited training programs, developing leadership skills, participating in outdoor activities, attending, both as participants and staff, at national and international events, providing service to the community and generally building their life skills.

Rovers are distinguished from other scouts and leaders by a red panel on the blue uniform shirt across the arms and shoulders, with green "epaulette" badges on each shoulder, and the 'shoulder knot' of five ribbons (tan for Joeys, yellow for Cubs, green for Scouts, maroon for Venturers and red for Rovers) on the left shoulder, symbolising the role of the Rover Section in helping and protecting their younger brothers and sisters.

Branch Organisation

There are seven Region Rover Councils operating in Victoria. South Metro[1], RYVER[2] (eastern Yarra Valley), Manibobar[3] (western Yarra Valley), Hoadley[4], Murray Midlands(Northern, North West and Western), Eastern and Geelong (Geelong and West Coast). The ten Regions used by the rest of Victorian Scouting are in parentheses for comparison. These Councils are used to run events, help with marketing, and otherwise support local Rover Crews.

Annual Events


Surfmoot is the longest operating and largest annual Rover Moot in Australia, with approximately 1,000 participants each year from all states and even as far as Canada and the United Kingdom. It is held each year at Eumerella campsite, Anglesea over the Australia Day long weekend.


Mudbash is the largest event of Rover Scout Motorsport in Australia, held over the Queen's Birthday long weekend at the Mafeking Rover Park, attracting Rovers and entries from all over Australia, and visitors from New Zealand, Canada and the UK.

Rover Dinner

Rover Dinner is a formal dinner run in October (formerly August) each year. It is the awards night for Victorian Rovers and usually has around 100 attendees. The W.F Waters Award and now the BRC Chairman's Award and BC - Rovers Award are presented here.

W.F Waters Award

In the early 1980s it was decided that a National Rover Service Award would be awarded by each state. It was quickly decided that the only person it could be named for in Victoria was W.F "Bill" Waters, a man who dedicated his life to Rovers, serving 35 years as Headquarters Commissioner. Under his guidance, Victorian Rovers built two Chalets, ran the 7th World Moot and became the leaders of Rovering in Australia.

To be awarded the W.F Waters award, a Rover must have served five years as an Office Bearer at Branch or Region Level or a similar position in a major branch event or a combination of the two. In either case, the Rover in question must also continue to be an active member of their own Crew.

Rover Advisors are also eligable for the Award, and time as a Rover can be counted towards a RA's nomination. In the case of a Rover Advisor, service must be given over at least ten years.

BRC Chair & BC - Rovers' Awards

For Rovers and Rover Advisors respectively, these awards are for those who do not meet the stringent requirements of the W.F Waters award, but still deserve recognition for their work over a short period of time or only at Crew or District level.


MARB (Metropolitan Area Rover Ball) grew out of the Rover Ball which began in the 1920's as a formal dance. Over time it has become a theme party, though it still has a formal dinner before the band kicks off. Each year a commemerative glass is included in the ticket price.

BRC Subcommittees

  • Rover Scout Motorsport (RSM) - Oversees all Rover Motorsport events in Victoria, ensuring that they follow the strict speed, safety, alcohol and racing policies of the Confederation of Australian Motorsport. Rover Motorsport was briefly stopped for three years in the early 2000's when insurance was lost. It is the continued affiliation with CAMS that allows Rovers to continue racing.
  • Rover Risk Management - Created to help Motorsport events with their Risk Management, Rover Risk Management also consult for non-motorsport events such as Surfmoot.
  • Rover Training Team - A team of Rovers and Rover Advisors who run the Intro to Rovers, Rover Basic and Rover Advanced training courses. Currently they are working on transfering the Intro course to an online medium.
  • Surfmoot - The team that runs Surfmoot
  • Mudbash - The team that runs Mudbash
  • MARB and Rover Dinner - The organising committees for these two annual events are manned by the four metropolitan Regions in turn.
  • Mafeking Rover Park Management Group - The team who run and develop the Mafeking Rover Park - Home of Rovering in Victoria
  • Bogong Rover Chalet Management Group - The team who run and develop the Bogong Rover Chalet
  • Baw Baw Rover Chalet Management Group - The team who run and develop the W.F Waters Ski Lodge at Mt Baw Baw

Rover Assets

Mafeking Rover Park

Mafeking Rover Park
Mafeking Rover Park
Owner Victorian Branch Rover Council
Location Caveat,
Country Australia
Founded 1991
Founder Victorian Branch Rover Council

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Mafeking Rover Park is a campground which is fully owned and operated by the Victorian Branch Rover Council and was originally anticipated as a home for Victorian Rover Scout Motorsport. Located 32 km from Yea, it is a 130 Hectares mix of open land and scrub.[2]

Although it is called a Rover Park, its use is open to all sections of the Scouting Movement, and any others who wish to hire it.

Mafeking was named after the South African town of Mafeking, which was besiged for 219 days during the Second Boer War. The Garrison was commanded by Scouting Founder Lt General Lord Sir Robert Baden-Powell of Gilwell, who with 2,000 British soldiers held off 8,000 Boer Soldiers until relieved, catapulting Baden-Powell to the status of a national hero.

Mafeking's facilities include a 4-cargo-container-tall abseiling tower, commando, orienteering and 9-hole golf courses. Lake Surfmoot provides an area for canoeing, and there are numerous walking tracks. Accommodation is offered in the Troop Hall, Bunkhouses and on standard campsites. Mafeking also has numerous motorsport related facilities with well maintained tracks that are set up in compliance with the requirements of the Confederation of Australian Motorsport.

Mafeking is home to a large variety of Australian fauna and flora, such as Kangaroos, Koalas, Swap Wallabys, Possums, Bats, as well as a multitude of lizards, Frogs, Birds and Fish. Local indigenous plants are used at Mafeking, both from propagated species collected from the local area, and through revegetation efforts.

Rover Skiing

Alpine Rovering in Victoria takes place mainly in the W.F. Waters or Baw Baw Rover Chalet or the Bogong Rover Chalet, home to the Alpine Rover Crew and now also the Alpine Venturer Unit

Bogong Rover Chalet
Bogong Rover Chalet
Owner Bogong Rover Crew
Victorian Branch Rover Council
Location Alpine National Park,
Country Australia
Founded 1934
Founder W.F Waters

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The Alpine Rover Crew was formed in 1940 by W.F. "Bill" Waters, Branch Commissioner - Rovers during 1930 - 1965, to promote the Bogong Rover Chalet. All invested Rover or Leaders, who have completed a Bogong Winter Party, become a member during their first winter party. The Alpine Venturer Unit was formed in 2000, mostly by the hard work of Matt & Ian Franzke. It is used as many Venturers visit the chalet but cannot be invested into a Rover Crew.

Before 1940 and the birth of the Alpine Rover Crew, the Bogong Rover Crew carried out the same purpose. However since then, membership has become an award for services to Alpine Rovering. Members have displayed the of Rovering and are dedicated in their service to others. Roughly 200 members have since been invested, in a ceremony on skis that traditionally takes place at "Investiture Point" the closest place to the Chalet you can see Mount Bogong, where the ashes of W.F. Waters were scattered. Membership requirements are as follow:

  1. Be a member of the Alpine Rover Crew.
  2. Have attended at least 3 Bogong Chalet Winter Parties.
  3. Have contributed by the way of work or organisation to the Bogong Rover Chalet and Rover Skiing.
  4. Be nominated and seconded by current members of the Bogong Rover Crew.

See Also

External Links

  1. 2008 Victorian Rovers Yearbook
  2. Mafeking Rover Park