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Scouting and Guiding in New South Wales facts for kids

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Scouting started in New South Wales, a State of Australia, in 1908. In the early years, local Boy Scout patrols and troops formed independently and several separate associations began operating including the Chums Scout Patrols, League of Boy Scouts, Girl Peace Scouts, Boys Brigade Scouts and Church Lads Brigade Scouts. These were later joined by The Boy Scouts Association, The Girl Guides Association and Life-Saving Scouts and Life Saving Guards of the Salvation Army. Some local Scout groups moved affiliation between the different associations.

Scouts and Scouting groups in New South Wales are now mostly registered with Scouts Australia NSW Branch and Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT, a member organisation of Girl Guides Australia. There is also representation by the Baden-Powell Scouts' Association. There are ethnic Scouting organisations including the Australian Association of Scouts in Exile (AASE), Polish Scouting Association, ZHP, Russian Scouts, Hungarian Scouts, Plast Ukrainian Scouts, Lithuanian Scouts, Latvian Scouts, Estonian Scouts and Guides and Homenetmen Armenian Scouts and Assyrian Eagle Scouts. There were formerly Maltese, Hellenic (Greek) and Vietnamese Scout associations.

Scouts Australia

Quick facts for kids
Scouts Australia NSW Branch
New South Wales (Scouts Australia).png
Headquarters 102 Bennelong Parkway, Homebush Bay
Country Australia
Founded 1914
Founder The Boy Scouts Association of the United Kingdom
  • 13,942 youth members
  • 3,114 adult members (2022)
Chief Scout General The Hon. David Hurley AC, DSC (Retd)
Governor of New South Wales
Chief Commissioner Lloyd Nurthen
Affiliation Branch of Scouts Australia

Scouts Australia NSW Branch, formally The Scout Association of Australia New South Wales Branch, is a branch of Scouts Australia. In 1914, The Boy Scouts Association of the United Kingdom formed The Boy Scouts Association New South Wales Section which was incorporated in 1928 and, upon the formation of Scouts Australia in 1958, became its NSW branch.

The 2021-22 Scouts Australia NSW Branch Annual Report indicated that there were 13,942 youth members of Scouts Australia in NSW and 3,114 adult members. Scouts Australia NSW branch has 366 registered Scout Groups administered through 54 Districts in 10 Regions and operates programs for all of Scouts Australia youth sections of Joeys, Cubs, Scouts, Venturers and Rovers.

The Regions are North West, Golden West, Greater Western Sydney, Hume, Riverina, South Coast and Tablelands, North Coast, Sydney North, South Metropolitan and Hunter and Coastal. The "country" Regions have a larger area in general.

In 2004, the then Chief Commissioner of Scouts Australia NSW Branch, Graeme Fordham, discussed the future for Australian Scouting on radio.

Activity Centres

Scouts Australia NSW Branch operates six activity centres:

Air Activity Centre – Opened in 1971, the Air Activity Centre is located at Camden Airport, Camden, 65 kilometres (40 mi) south-west of Sydney and has 4 Cessna 172's. The centre provides flying experiences, gliding and a flying school for pilot training.

Alpine Activity Centre – The Alpine Activity Centre is located at Jindabyne, 457 kilometres (284 mi) km south-west of Sydney, close to the Snowy Mountains and snow in winter. It consists of the Tony Balthasar Lodge and the Kanangra & Bluegum cottages.

Baden-Powell Activity Centre – The Baden-Powell Scout Centre was officially opened in February 1929 and was visited by Lord and Lady Baden-Powell in 1931. It is a 36-hectare (89-acre) site located at Pennant Hills adjoining Lane Cove National Park. Much of the early development work was done by the unemployed, who camped there during the Depression. There are accommodation and training facilities.

Cataract Activity Centre – This 160-hectare (400-acre) park is located near Appin 71 kilometres (44 mi) south-west of Sydney and was given to the Scout Association by the Government of New South Wales in 1978. It has hosted three Australian Jamborees and the 16th World Scout Jamboree in 1987–1988. From 2010, the Australian Jamborees were held at Cataract Scout Park every six years. It can provide camping, bunk accommodation, and activities such as water slides, ropes courses, hiking, orienteering and an obstacle course.

Water Activities Centre – The Water Activities Centre at Woolwich opened in 1973. It provides general experiences in canoeing, sailing and power boating and qualification courses including NSW Boat Licenses.

Several other centres are run by the Regions, such as Camp Ku-Ring-Gai Activity Centre, Ingleside Scout Camp, Camp Kurrajong, Camps Coutts, J. Harold Kaye Training Centre and Bundilla Scout Training Centre.

Girl Guides

Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT
Girl Guides NSW & ACT.png
Headquarters Locked Bag 950, Strawberry Hills, NSW, 2012
Country Australia
Founded 1920
Affiliation Girl Guides Australia


Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT, a member organisation of Girl Guides Australia, operates 12 Regions, each managed by a volunteer Region Manager.

  • ACT & South East NSW;
  • Central West;
  • Coastal Valleys;
  • Cumberland Plains;
  • Greater Rivers;
  • North Pacific Coast;
  • Northern Sydney;
  • Northern Territory;
  • North West Inland;
  • South Coast & Highlands;
  • Southern Sydney Rivers; and,
  • Twin Rivers.


In 1920 Dame Margaret Davidson, wife of the Governor of NSW, called a special meeting of prominent women in Sydney, to try to interest them in starting Guiding in the State. They decided that Girl Guides was not for them as girls already had sufficient opportunities to be outdoors. Nella Levy read about this meeting in a newspaper and wrote to the newspaper contradicting this feeling. Subsequently, Levy was invited to Government House by Davidson. Davidson reportedly told her "Queen Mary would like to see Girl Guides in New South Wales, and I want you to start it." Levy took the challenge and travelled widely, recruiting volunteers, forming Companies and enrolling Guides.

In 1926, the Australian state Girl Guide branches formed a national federation called Girl Guides Australia. Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT remains a member of Guides Australia and adheres to the Australian Guide Program (AGP).

In January 2020, Girl Guides NT merged with Girl Guides NSW and ACT to become Girl Guides NSW, ACT & NT. This brought members numbers to 7,800, allowed girls in the Northern Territory to access opportunities run in NSW and the ACT and sought to use administrative resources more efficiently.


Araluen, near Jindabyne, is popular for snow and summer activities.

RTS Tingira, in Cabarita, New South Wales, is a watersports centre offering canoeing, kayaking, rafting, rowing and sailing.


Since 2000, Girl Guides NSW has sold most of its major properties to maintain its operations.

Glengarry, sold in 2021 was in Turramurra in northern Sydney on the edge of the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and comprised 34 hectares of bushland with cleared camping areas and purpose-built training and accommodation facilities. The site was donated in the 1930s.

Tara, sold 2009 was in Silverdale, just southwest of Sydney and was over 101 acres (0.41 km2). Girl Guides NSW & ACT had owned the property since 1971. Its Olave Centre accommodated 27 in dormitories, had a large commercial kitchen, common dining and lounge area and a large bathroom, including disabled use. Brownie Cottage accommodated 25 with a bathroom, fully equipped kitchen and a large dining/lounge area and the adjoining Northern Room was a fully self-contained studio which slept 4. Tolhurst Cottage was a quaint terracotta roofed cottage. Nella Levy Chapel was built in 1972 to commemorate the first Guider in NSW. Tara had sports fields, a carpark, equipment shed and campsites with piped water and enclosed fireplaces.

Gang Shows and other theatrical experiences

A number of Scout and Guide Gang Shows (variety shows) are put on in NSW.

  • Kirrawee Gang Show – started in 1959, located in Southern Sydney.
  • Albury Gang Show – Started in 1965, in Albury, New South Wales.
  • Cumberland Gang Show – started in 1970, located in the Greater Western Sydney Region.
  • Hornsby Gang Show – started in 1974, based in the Hornsby district, but open to members from across the Sydney North Region.
  • Korimul Gang Show – started in 1975, located in Wollongong.
  • Central Coast Gang Show – Started in 1986. Located at North Gosford about 1 hour north of Sydney.

See also

  • The Barn Scout Hall, Mosman
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