Discovering Scouting’s past – bravo and thank you to State Library

Guest blogger: David Teufel, Branch Commissioner – Heritage, The Scout Association of Australia, Queensland Branch Inc.

With the first Scout troops starting in Queensland in 1908, Scouting has been part of many communities across the State for over a century.  Many thousands of young people and adults have enjoyed and benefited from their Scouting experience. The Scouts Queensland Heritage Program records the colourful and exciting history of Scouting in Queensland with its collections of books, photos, past uniforms, badges, trophies, and other treasures from the past 100 years.

The Scouts Queensland Heritage Centre is located at Baden-Powell Park, Samford, with its museum in the original “Wheelhouse” building and has thousands of items of memorabilia on display.  The Centre is open Saturday afternoons between 1.30pm and 4.00pm from February to November except when major Scouting events are held.  All visitors are welcome and special openings for interested groups can also be arranged.

The Scouts Queensland Heritage Centre at Samford. Photo courtesy of David Teufel.

The Scouts Queensland Heritage Centre at Samford. Photo courtesy of David Teufel.

As well as this museum, the Scouts Queensland Heritage Program also includes a library with thousands of Scouting publications, and an Archive with records of past Leaders, Groups and major events such as Jamborees.  The Program also provides services such as answering enquiries from members of Scouting and the public, displays and activities for museum visitors and at major events.

Cover of the first edition of Totem magazine for March 1937. Now available to view online.

Cover of the first edition of “The Totem” magazine for March 1937. Now available to view online.

A recent major achievement has been the digitisation of past monthly Scout magazines by State Library of Queensland under the Community Heritage Digitisation Offer.  From the very first magazine called The Totem published in March 1937, through to the Queensland Scouter published in December 1966, over 250 magazines from the 30-year period have been digitised and now available online through State Library’s One Search catalogue.

Cover of Queensland Scouter magazine, January 1965

Cover of “Queensland Scouter” magazine, January 1965

In addition to the magazines, the book In the light of all the years : a history of scouting in Queensland by Ralph Fones in 1992 was also digitised by State Library.

Cover of "In the light of all the years : a history of scouting in Queensland" by Ralph Fones

Cover of “In the light of all the years : a history of scouting in Queensland” by Ralph Fones. Digitised by State Library of Queensland

The content of these magazines was very informative and included appointment of Leaders, articles by the Chief Commissioners and other Commissioners, reports of major events and of general interest, including some very interesting advertisements.

Advertisement for the Commonwealth Saving Bank of Australia - published in The Totum, March 1937 edition

Advertisement for the Commonwealth Saving Bank of Australia – published in “The Totum”, March 1937 edition

This professional, high quality digitisation into PDF format will enable word searching for enquiries and researching, as well as reproduction of text and photo panels for our historical displays of past Leaders, Groups, and major events.   One example of an interesting article is in the July 1937 edition of Totem on centre pages 10 about the Palm Island Adventure, and there are many more exciting stories to be found.

Palm Island Adventure - July 1937 edition of “Totem”

Palm Island Adventure – July 1937 edition of “Totem”

Digitised copies of The Totem (1937 to 1961) and Queensland Scouter (1962-1966) are available to browse online.

Magazines from the years which follow the digitised issues are Scouting in Queensland (1967 to 1979), Scout (1980 to 1986), and Australian Scout (1987 to 2002). These issues are available in a hard-copy format at State Library.

David Teufel, Branch Commissioner – Heritage, The Scout Association of Australia, Queensland Branch Inc

For further information, contact:
Scouts Queensland Heritage Program
email:  heritage@scoutsqld.com.au