Our History

Scouting was founded by Lord Robert Baden-Powell on 1 August 1907. Scouting soon spread throughout the world, with Scout Groups starting in Australia in 1908.


Who was Lord Robert Baden-Powell?

The founder of Scouting, Lord Robert Baden-Powell (BP) was born in 1857 in England. He lived a busy and adventurous life, and as a boy spent much of his spare time in open-air pursuits, hunting in the woods, and joining his brothers in expeditions by land and in their boats.

He won a scholarship which gave him entry into the British Army, where he tried out his ideas of training soldiers in “Scouting”, teaching them how to develop experience in stalking and fending for themselves and to be observant of all signs that would give them an advantage as soldiers. He set down his ideas in the book Aids to Scouting, which was used as a textbook for many years.

His leadership of the defending force in the siege of the South African town of Mafeking made Baden-Powell a national hero in 1899.


Early Beginnings

Sir William Smith, leader of the Boys Brigade, encouraged BP to set down his views on how he would apply “scouting” to the training of boys.

First, Baden-Powell conducted an experimental camp in 1907 on Brownsea Island off the Dorset coast with 20 boys and suitable adult leaders. The camp was a great success!

Baden-Powell wrote of his experiences in a book he called Scouting for Boys, which was an immediate hit and has since sold more than 100 million copies.

Young boys in the community formed themselves into patrols of six to eight, and then looked around for adult leaders who could help them. Soon there were thousands of Scouts all over the country. The new Movement had begun.


Expansion of the Scout Movement

Within two years of the start of the Scouting Movement, more than 11,000 Scouts attended a rally at the Crystal Palace in London.

In 1910, under the leadership of his sister Agnes, Girl Guides Association was formed. In quick succession came the Sea Scout Branch in the same year, Wolf Cubs in 1916, Rover Scouts in 1918, Air Scouts in 1941 and Senior Scouts in 1946 (now known as Venturer Scouts).

Meanwhile Scouting spread to Australia in 1908 and other countries followed shortly after.

Wood Badge Training for leaders commenced in 1919 at Gilwell Park, England.

Baden-Powell was proclaimed World Chief Scout at the first World Jamboree at Olympia in 1920.  He visited Australia three times: in 1912, 1931, and to the first Australian Jamboree in 1934-35.

He retired to Kenya, where he spent several happy years with his family until his death on 8 January 1941.

He was described as “The Piper of Pax” (Peace), because of his tremendous contribution to youth and world peace. For each generation of Scouts, the challenge has remained the same: to make a better world and have some fun along the way.


The Evolution of Scouting

Over the decades Scouts continued to flourish. From its English origins Scouting struck an enthusiastic chord among young people in so many countries that it is now coordinated globally by the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM). From its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, the WOSM provides unity amongst the 172 national Scouting organisations (representing more than 57 million members and volunteers).

On 1 August 2007, the Scout Movement celebrated its 100th anniversary by returning to its roots in the United Kingdom for the 21st World Scout Jamboree.



Further Information




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