Thriving Springwood Scouts 100 years strong

It’s an age where electronics rule, but some longtime movements continue to stand the test of time.

As the oldest scouting group in the Blue Mountains, 1st Springwood Scouts celebrates their centenary this month, and with almost 40 kids on the books, scout leaders say they are as popular as ever.

Centenary celebrations: Scout leaders Jen Hutchnance, 'Warigal' John Clapham and Jane Grundy, with chairperson Fiona MacLeod.

Centenary celebrations: Scout leaders Jen Hutchnance, 'Warigal' John Clapham and Jane Grundy, with chairperson Fiona MacLeod.

Setting sail: A 1966 rafting trip on the Nepean River.

Setting sail: A 1966 rafting trip on the Nepean River.

Scouting is about learning lifeskills, independence, leadership and teamwork, while having fun at the same time, they say.

Part of the pack: Inducting a new scout in 1989 at the site of the old scout hall in Springwood.

Part of the pack: Inducting a new scout in 1989 at the site of the old scout hall in Springwood.

Kids are encouraged to get active outdoors and more recently aspects of science and literature have been introduced to the program, to appeal to kids who aren’t so “outdoorsy”.

“We have zero bullying [policy] within scouting. We welcome all kids,” said scout leader Jane Grundy.

“The jamboree [large gathering of scouts] for kids is a life-changing experience. When they come back they have grown up. They meet up with thousands of other kids. 

“We take them out of their comfort zone and extend them. They experience things that they didn’t think they could do. They conquer their fears.”

Just some of the many activities include learning to abseil, canoe, or even just getting wet and muddy is a big deal for some kids.

The scouting movement started in Australia in 1908. A few years later Sydney groups camped at Lomatia Park in Springwood and that got people thinking about establishing a group locally.

With 14 boys registered, Springwood Scouts kicked off in 1917. Members included 11-year-old Archibald Ferguson and brothers James and Frederick Wiggins. Their names remain a visible part of Springwood today, in the naming of Ferguson Rd and Wiggins Track in Sassafras Gully.

Springwood Scouts has had many homes over the years including church halls, a classroom at Blue Mountains Grammar School and the RSL club room.

It wasn’t until 1960 that they gained their own home. The council gave them the deeds to the former Springwood Public School building on Macquarie Rd near the post office.

But in 1994 some scouts were playing with matches which accidentally started a fire in a pile of ropes, causing significant damage. Hall-hopping for many years, the group eventually moved into their purpose-built hall in Faulconbridge in 2006. 

In the early 1980s girls were controversially accepted into Springwood Scouts, adapting to changes in Australian society.

The 1st Springwood Scouts celebrate their centenary on October 21 at their hall on Sir Henry’s Parade in Faulconbridge from 11am to 5pm. There will be activities, science experiments and challenges, and people are encouraged to bring scouting memorabilia. All welcome.