Scouts Australia

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Scouts Australia
Scouts Australia
Headquarters Chatswood, NSW
Country Australia
Founded 1908
Founder Lord Baden-Powell
Membership 73,523[1]
* Scouts Australia

Scouting portal

Scouts Australia is an organisation for children and young adults from 6 to 26 years of age. Scouts Australia is part of the global Scouting movement and has been a national member of the World Organization of the Scout Movement since 1953. Scouting in Australia has been open to girls since 1971.


Boy Scouts reviewed by Lord Baden Powell in Canberra in 1927

Scouting came to Australia in 1908, [2] the year the first Boy Scout training handbook "Scouting for Boys" was published in England. Baden-Powell visited Australia in 1912 and in later years (1927, 1931 and 1934) to encourage the extension of the movement in Australia.[3]

Initially each Australian state branch was directly and individually responsible to scout headquarters in London. A federal council of state branch nominees was formed in 1922 to achieve co-operation and coordinated at a national level. The national body later appointed an Australian Commissioner. The Federal Scout Council functioned as a branch of the British Boys Scout Association. Australia became a member of the World Scout Organisation of Scout Movements (WOSM) in 1953 in its own right, and not as a branch of the British Scout Association. In 1958, the adjuration of the Australian Boys Scout Association took place. In 1967, the national organisation was incorporated by Royal Charter.[4] In 1971, the association changed its name to the Scout Association of Australia, although the official name was not changed until 2001, when the Royal Charter was amended through an Act of Parliament. The organisation is unofficially known as Scouts Australia.

The Association is a Founder Member of the Asia-Pacific Region. In the field of support and co-operation with other member countries of the Asia Pacific Region, the organisation has contributed to a number of international friendship and community development oriented projects. Over the years, Australian Scouts have supported emerging Scout Associations in the South Pacific. A twinning project with the Bangladesh Scouts, known as the "Bangladesh-Australia Child Health" (BACH) project made a dramatic impact on child health in project villages during its operation from 1986 to 1992.[5][6] The Scout Association has a twinning project with the Nepal Scouts known as NATURE Project and involves the reforestation of the Kristi Landslide.[7]

Australia hosted the successful 16th World Scout Jamboree and the 31st World Scout Conference in 1988. Some 15,000 Scouts from 94 countries attended the Jamboree at Cataract Scout Park near Sydney. An Australian Scout Jamboree has been held every three years since 1934 except for the years of the Second World War. The scout jamboree is the largest national scout event but there is also an Australian Rover Moot and an Australian Venture are also held every three years.

In response to World and Regional Scout Conferences held prior to 2000, Scouts Australia established a National Youth Council to engage youth members in national operations and to provide opportunities for these representatives:

  • to advise on the relevance of Youth Program to young people;
  • to advise Scouts Australia and external agencies of internal and external issues it should address;
  • to provide further youth input into all strategies including membership and marketing;
  • to be a sounding board for new initiatives;
  • to make recommendations to national committees; and
  • to continue to develop members' own skills, experience and knowledge in line with the movement's Aims.

Positions were first advertised at the 19th Australian Jamboree held at Cataract Scout Park in Sydney in January 2001 and by April of that same year, the first 30 Scouts, Venturers, Rovers and Young Leaders had been chosen to represent the youth population of Scouts Australia. The Council held its first meeting on 4-6 May 2001.[8]

Today, there are 25 members on the Council from all branches of Scouts Australia. The only non-youth member of the Council is the Adviser who does not have any voting rights. The Council meets face to face twice a year and works in patrols and meets using online collaborative tools throughout the rest of the year. The Chair of the National Youth Council is a full member of the Scouts Australia National Council and therefore has voting rights on the National Operations Committee and National Executive Committee. [9]

In 2003 Scouts Australia became a Registered Training Provider under the banner of the Federal Dept. of Science, Technology and Training. Scouts Australia's Adult Leader Training now leads Adults to a Diploma of Leadership under the Australian Qualifications Framework.[10]

According to its own Annual Reports [11] membership has decreased in all sections from a total of 84,502 in 2126 Groups in 2001 to a total of 63,200 in 1836 Groups in 2005. In 2010, an increase in overall membership to 65,810 in 1,504 groups was reported.[12]


Scouts Australia is a federation of State and territory branches. Each branch has been incorporated by State Acts of Parliament.[13] Each branch maintains its own structure and operational methodologies and rules. However, all branches operate under a common uniform and common award scheme structure.

A Federal Scout Council seeks to achieve co-operation and coordination of the branches.

The Chief Scout of Australia is the Australian Governor-General,[14] who is the representative in Australia of the Monarch (currently Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II). The Chief Scout in each state is normally the State Governor, who is also the Monarch's representative in each State.

Sections in Scouting

Youth in Scouting are divided into several age related groupings. They are designed to overlap and encourage movement through the sections as the youth member matures.

The youngest section is Joey Scouts (6 - 8 Years). Joey Scouts is about activities to help develop a child's sense of personal identity and sharing. This is demonstrated by the Joey Scout Law A Joey cares, a Joey shares. This section is followed by Cub Scouts (7.5 - 11) which aims to develop a sense of adventure and achievement and a chance to grow their character. The Scouts Section (10.5 - 15) promotes understanding of campcraft and the environment, whilst developing team skills and organisational abilities. Venturer Scouts (14.5 - 18) use the skills learnt in the later years of scouting through a system of self-governance. Rovers (17.5 - 26) is all about developing the social connections gained in earlier years in scouting and serving the community and the organisation.[15]


Throughout its history the Scouting Movement has been clearly identified by its uniform. Over the years much goodwill has been received by the Scout Movement and the uniform serves as a focus for the support of the community.

Within the Movement the adult uniform enables the leaders to be closely identified with those they lead. The uniform also expresses the basic values that are involved in being an Adult Leader. For an Adult Leader, the uniform expresses the fact that all are equal before the task in hand. Common ideals are shared by recognising the roles of other leaders by the insignia on their uniforms.

The core uniform is a dark blue shirt with the relevant youth Section colour across the sleeves, yoke and collar; a blue or moss-green belt (white for sea scouts); scarf and woggle.

These colours are the official ones for the youth sections. The colour for the leaders' shirt is dark blue.

Lone Scouts

The Lone Scout Group is for the youth unable to attend or find a local Scout group. Lones include people with disabilities and are therefore unable to attend regular group meetings, people who are constant travellers or go to places at which they are unable to attend a group i.e. boarding school or isolated communities.[16]

Religion in Scouts Australia

To become a member of the Scout movement you are required to make the Scout Promise. (Policy P7.3 - Membership) [17] The unique wording in the Australian Scout Promise of “do my best to do my duty to my God" allows some flexibility and the movement is open to people of all religious faiths that can make this promise. Those who can not make this promise are unable to become members.

Historically, Scouting in Australia was rooted in Christianity as that was the world view of Scouts founder, Lord Baden-Powell.[18]and although Britain is now a majority non-religious nation [19] Christianity was the dominant faith in both Britain and Australia in Scouting's early days.

More recently, members have come from many faiths and although the majority of Scout Groups promote an interfaith approach to religion (Open Groups) many Scout Groups have been formed within existing communities and specific religions (Sponsored Groups), [20] such as Coptic Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Islamic, Judean, etc.

Scouts Australia elsewhere

Non-sovereign territories with Scouting run by Scouts Australia include

Award Scheme

The Award Scheme in Australian Scouting consists of Awards for Proficiency in an Adventurous Activity, participation in Major Events, recognition of service, Gallantry and Meritorious Service, and for the practice of scouting[21] (Queen's Scout, Baden-Powell Award, etc.).

Adult Recognition Awards

Adult Recognition Awards (formerly Good Service Awards) are presented each year by the Chief Scout of each Branch and are presented for service to Scouting over and above what is expected for someone who is simply carrying out the duties of their position. These awards can be nominated by anyone affiliated with Scouts Australia.

Adult Recognition Awards for Adult Members
Award Minimum Time in Service Description
Certificate of Merit 3 years Certificate
Badge: White and Green knot on blue background
National Rover Service Award 5 years in Executive position on Region or Branch
Rover Council or Subcomittee.
Badge: Red and White knot on blue background
Silver Arrowhead 7 – 8 years Silver Medallion depicting the logo of Scouts Australia on a yellow ribbon
Badge: Yellow knot on blue background
Silver Wattle 12 years Silver medallion depicting a wattle on a green ribbon
Badge: Green knot on blue background
Silver Koala 16 years Silver medallion depicting a koala on an orange ribbon
Badge: orange knot on blue background
Silver Emu 20 years Silver Medallion depicting an Emu on a purple ribbon
Badge: Purple knot on blue background
Silver Kangaroo 20 years
Also presented to members of other WOSM organisations
Silver medallion depicting a wattle on a gold ribbon
Badge: Gold knot on blue background
Adult Recognition Awards for Supporters and Lay Members
Award Minimum Time in Service Description
Certificate of Merit 3 years Certificate
Silver Arrowhead 7 – 8 years Silver Medallion depicting the logo of Scouts Australia on a yellow ribbon
Outstanding Service Award 12 years Silver medallion on a green ribbon
Distinguished Service Award 16 years Silver medallion on an orange ribbon
National President's Award 20 years
Also presented to members of other WOSM organisations
Silver medallion on a red ribbon

Awards for Gallantry

Awards for Gallantry are made by the Chief Scout of Australia for actions involving risk, for example for saving someone from a burning building, to individual members or groups.

Awards for Gallantry of Scouts Australia
Award For Description
Certificate of Gallantry Actions involving limited risk Certificate
Badge: Blue and White knot on blue background
Gilt Cross Gallantry involving limited risk A Gilt Cross on a Red and Blue ribbon
Badge: Blue and Red knot on blue background
Silver Cross Gallantry involving considerable risk A Silver Cross on a Blue ribbon
Badge: Blue knot on blue background
Bronze Cross Special heroism or extreme risk A Bronze Cross on Red ribbon
Badge: Red knot on blue background

Awards for Meritorious Service

Awards for meritorious conduct are awarded for actions that may not have involved risking of life but still display courage, endurance, initiative or devotion to duty, often under suffering. As with Awards for Gallantry, these awards are made by the Chief Scout of Australia to individuals or groups depending on the circumstances.

Awards for Meritorious Service of Scouts Australia
Award For Description
Certificate of Meritourious Conduct Actions involving limited risk Certificate
Badge: Green and Blue knot on blue background
Medal for Meritorious Conduct Gallantry involving limited risk A medallion on green ribbon with a vertical red stripe
Badge: Green and Reb knot on blue background

See also


  1. "Triennal review: Census as at 1 December 2010". World Organization of the Scout Movement. Retrieved 2011-01-13. 
  2. History of Scouting Scouts Australia. Accessed 9 August 2008
  3. Scouting comes to Australia Accessed 14 December 2006
  4. Scout Association Act - amendments to 2003 Accessed 14 December 2006
  5. Bangladesh Scouts Home page Accessed 14 December 2006
  6. Paper on Project Accessed 14 December 2006
  7. Submission to inquiry into Charitable and Related Organisations by Scouts Australia, 2003.
  8. National Youth Council Operations Manual, Scouts Australia, May 2010
  9. Annual Report To The Nation 2010, Scouts Australia, June 2010, p14
  10. Scouts Australia Institute of Training Accessed 14 December 2006
  11. Scouts Australia Annual Reports
  12. "Annual Report To The National 2010". Scouts Australia. 
  13. Eg. New South Wales: Scout Association of Australia (New South Wales Branch) Incorporation Act 1928; Victoria: Scout Association Act 1932
  14. Chief Scout Accessed, 14 December 2006
  15. Report to the Nation 2006 Scouts Australia, Accessed 24/6/7
  16. Lone Scouts South Australia Accessed 7 February 2007
  17. Policy and Rules of the Scout Association of Australia 2008)
  18. Leader Support Guide Number 35]
  19. The Guardian - Religion. Respecting the minority
  20. Joining Scouts
  21. Policy and Rules of the Scout Association of Australia 2008. (Rule 13)]

External links