Parenting and Education | People and Places
29/04/2021
Long live the Scouts at Red Hill
by Mornington Peninsula Magazine

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The 1st Red Hill Scout Group Cub hall in 2021.

What do Scouts do? They have big adventures, learn new skills and make lots of friends along the way. A Scout ventures out to get the lay of the land and lend a hand. A Scout gives it a crack and doesn’t look back, no matter where they come from.

The 1st Red Hill Scout Group has been ‘officially’ part of the Mornington Peninsula landscape since 1935 when the group was registered by the Boy Scouts Association, but the first Scout meeting actually occurred, as recorded by the Peninsula Post Newspaper, in May 1931. Records also reveal that there was one lone Scout at Main Ridge in 1929. Either way, with decades of commitment from Scout leaders, volunteers and young Peninsula people who are keen to get outside and stand on their own two feet, the 1st Red Hill Scout Group continues well past COVID-19’s use-by date.

1st Red Hill Scout leader Shane Dowsett explains: “The first Boy Scout troop on the Mornington Peninsula was formed in Tyabb in July 1914. Here in Red Hill, Cubs and Scouts were invested in 1941. The land was donated to 1st Red Hill Scout Group by Fred Nash in memory of his late father, and the first building, which was the Cub den built by a working bee under the guidance of Herb Littlejohn, still stands today. It’s now known as the Venturers Hut and was fully restored in 2019. A big rock which was used as the Council Rock of Wolf-Cub lore back then is still used today too.”

Throughout the 1940s, the Holmes family’s commitment to Scouting was determined. Sylvia Holmes became Cub leader in 1941, and Ray Holmes became the 1st Red Hill’s first King’s Scout, which is the highest award a Scout can achieve, in 1943. The oak tree planted by Ted Littlejohn in 1951 still stands at the top of White Hill Rd and the remainder of the decade witnessed the opening of the brick ceremonial hall and a second games hall. A large shed was built in 1970 and the group’s scones, jam and cream with billy tea stall began in 1975 at the Red Hill Market. More building continued throughout the ‘80s, and Katherine Morrissey became the 1st Red Hill’s first female Queen’s Scout in 1999. The 1st Red Hill Scout Group turned 80 in 2015.

With plans to renovate the old kitchen and a year of Scouting from home for most of 2020 under its belt, 1st Red Hill Scout Group has continued to evolve and grow due to the unwavering commitment of locals who understand the value of hands-on learning. Let’s see where the group goes next.

LIZ ROGERS

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