Our History


From Foundation.....1915 to 1930’s

The 1st Concord Scout Group was formed towards the latter part of 1915 and consisted of two Scout patrols under the leadership of Assistant Scout Master Dean Symons. World Scouting originated with an experimental camp of 20 boys conducted by Lord Robert Baden-Powell in August 1907, just 8 years earlier at Brownsea Island, England.

Alderman Charles Savage, then Mayor of Concord, was interested in the movement, seeing in it possibilities for the youth of the Municipality and as a mark of his confidence in the program of training permitted his two sons to join.

The first meeting place was the School Hall at the rear of St. Lukes Parish Hall (now a house, No. 26 Burwood Road) but this proved unsuitable and the Council allowed the growing Scout Troop and Cub Pack to use the Committee Rooms at the St. Lukes Oval Pavilion (now demolished). It was realised that this was only a temporary expedient and in 1917 a series of functions were held at the home of the Mayor and a large fete was held at the Council Chambers (then on the north western corner of Burwood Rd and Burton St) with the result that over 100 pounds ($200) was raised towards the building of a hall.


On the 8th April 1918, a ‘Licence to erect‘ was granted to The Boy Scouts of Concord to build a Clubroom and Drill Hall in Yaralla (now Goddard Park). Subject to conditions regarding maintenance of the building the trustees were to have full and undisturbed possession of the building. In the event of the Licence being terminated, the building was to become the absolute property of the Council.


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On August 17th 1918, the new hall was opened by Sir William Cullen, then N.S.W. Chief Justice and it was the first brick Scout Clubroom to be erected in the State. There was an overdraft of 150 pounds ($300) owing and this was guaranteed by Aldermen Gissing and Savage and Mr. Turnbull.

During 1919 the group suffered a severe loss with the death of Alderman Savage. In recognition of his services to Scouting a tablet was erected in the Chapel of the Association’s Memorial Training Camp at Pennant Hills.

Concord Soldiers Aid and Voluntary Workers lent the Scouts 125 pounds ($250) on agreement that the soldiers could use the hall. This was eventually repaid and in 1922, Mrs. Savage, in order to complete the work originated by her late husband, organised a large fete in Goddard Park resulting in the overdraft being eliminated. For her services Mrs. Savage was awarded the “THANKS BADGE’. The group was now free of debt and grew in strength and efficiency although suffering the usual deficiency of necessary leaders.

About this time the Scout Association of Australia, N.S.W. Branch was Incorporated and by a further agreement dated 11th January, 1924, the licence referred to above was renewed between Concord Council and the new Scout Association of N.S.W. with which the Boy Scouts of Concord had become affiliated. The conditions remained similar to the previous licence.


Former Scouts, including Perc Anderson and the Savage brothers were to take appointments as leaders in the Cub and Scout Sections. On July 21st 1921 an application for registration of a Sea Scout Section was made by J.F.Docking and on 17th December, 1921 a Rover Crew was registered with Mr. Sydney Gissing, a former alderman of the Municipality, as leader.




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During the early 1930’s the hall was reconstructed on the Park Avenue side. The kitchen on the western end became a Leaders room, and a new Kitchen was built on the eastern end with a Cub Room between them.

In 1933 the group had a strength of 89 members including 7 Leaders. Because of the large membership the troop consisted of two parts - the Left Wing (lads over 14 years) and the Right Wing (those under 14). This was 1st Concord’s way of catering for the older age group as Venturers were not part of the Scout Movement at that time.

We were attached to Burwood District until April 1938 saw the inauguration of Concord District consisting of 1st Concord, 1st North Strathfield (now closed) and 1st Concord West (also closed).



The 1940’s to the 1960’s

During the 1940’s the group started rolling the flags for the Municipal Anzac Services at the Memorial Enclosure in Queen Elizabeth Park. We continued this duty until the service was combined with the R.S.L. Dawn Service at their Club.

On October 31st 1940 disaster struck the group, A ‘Willy Willy’ wind scorched through Concord and amongst other damage, unroofed the Scout Hall.


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Again St. Lukes church were good enough to allow the Group to use the Church Hall while the roof was being replaced. Card nights were good fun and the group set about raising funds from these evenings. On the 7th March 1941 a combined night was held by the Cubs and Scouts to celebrate moving back to Goddard Park.

The roof had been replaced and the Council repaid the cash advanced to us for the job. Membership was now 42, 14 Cubs, 24 Scouts and 4 Leaders.


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The group was again out of debt and looking to the future when the Second World War was declared. Many of the leaders enlisted in the Services and the older lads took the responsibility of acting leaders under the guidance of Group Leader Clarrie Roffe. The 17th April 1942 was again a last meeting night in the hall as it was used as a Military Signalling Depot until August 23rd 1943. Reverend Fleck of St. Lukes Church once again made the Parish Hall available as a meeting place during this period.

Membership at this time had risen to a total of 73 being 43 Cubs, 23 Scouts, and 7 Leaders and there were many outings and activities. The Troop formed three new patrols and was again divided into Left and Right Wings for the older and younger lads. By 1945/46 total membership was 100, 44 Cubs, 56 Scouts and ‘many good leaders’.

In 1945 Concord District was affiliated with the newly formed Hume Area (now Hume Region). 

The War had ended and in February 1946 a Special Night was held to welcome home our men who had returned from service. An Honour Roll of their names was compiled and the board now in the entrance to the hall was presented by the Ladies Committee led by Mrs. Loone and unveiled on Anzac Day 1947.

A decline in membership in October 1949 to 27 Cubs and 29 Scouts saw the merging of the Left and Right Wings of the Scout Troop. Another Rover Crew as formed with 4 members making a group strength of 60, but the Crew was to close just twelve months later when the remaining 2 Rovers transferred to another Crew.

With many active years of Scouting in the hall the floor was starting to show signs of its age and was replaced in late 1949.

During the early 1950’s the hall was used by Concord Council for the Municipal Band to practice, as an Immunisation Centre and for the Health Department’s mobile T.B. X-ray Centre.

There was a considerable need for larger facilities at the hall and a proposal for a stage and workshop with a Rover Den underneath at the western end and toilets on the eastern end was considered. This, for reasons unknown, did not become a reality.

Senior Scouts (now Venturers), for those over 15 years of age, had been part of Scouting since 1946 and 1st Concord on August 5th 1955 formed 7 older Scouts into a section with Mr. Keith Blackwell as leader. With various leaders since, this section over the past years, proudly boasts a list of many Queen Scout Awards. Prior to 1949 these awards were issued from Imperial Headquarters in London and no complete record of names are available, however, those listed on the board in the hall entrance are the only names available to our group. This is truly a commendable record given the passage of time.

Picture Nights were popular and the group raised funds showing movies from organisations such as the Health Department, the Gas Company and Telecom. Later 16mm versions of full length feature films were shown. In late 1958 the group commenced Bottle Collecting with a depot in the rear of a Tannery in Crane Street. This is now the entrance to Concord High School.

With the number of Senior Scouts increasing, accommodation was again a problem and more rooms were required. In 1961/62 many workers under the guidance of a Structural Engineer father, built a den in the roof for the Senior Scout Section. This was to become home for the Seniors for some 20 years. 

In 1963/64 to provide much needed room for the Scout Troop and its camping gear a proposal for 7 feet to be added to both the east and west ends of the hall to include Patrol Dens and Toilets was considered. Plans were prepared, approval to use the land was obtained after much negotiating with Council and the Lands Department and quotes received. These quotes were much above what the group could afford and the scheme was abandoned in favour of moving the Cubs to the existing Leaders Room and dividing the existing Cub Room into four Scout Dens. The present dens were completed in 1966 and dedicated to the memory of the Group Leader, Bert King, who had passed away a year earlier.

In 1966 membership stood at 40, being 22 Cubs, 14 Scouts, 1 Senior, 3 Leaders and the group was progressing steadily.





The 1970’s to TODAY

Early in 1970 the Scout Association thoroughly reviewed every aspect of the movement. Concord District and thus 1st Concord was to trial the new proposals which resulted in the introduction of a totally new badge scheme and a host of new badges. As another part of this review, on January 1st 1973, Senior Scouts changed from being ‘just the older Scouts’ to become Venturers with their own section and a separate award program. 

During 1971 another Rover Crew had been formed and the upstairs den was shared with the Venturers. By 1977 the Venturers numbered 21 and the Rovers 10 making the den quite inadequate and most undesirable for safety. The State Government had abandoned their longstanding proposal for the Western Freeway through Goddard Park, a fact which had caused the group some concern for many years. The need for some permanent, not temporary, extension to the hall was now necessary and proposals were discussed. It was decided to add an upper storey to the building as parkland could no longer be alienated for specific purposes. Plans for the replacement of the existing upstairs den, an additional Group Room and storage areas were prepared and approvals obtained.

The Venturer Unit closed in 1979 being without a Leader and the group being unable to recruit one.


On January 24th 1981, some 25 supporters removed the roof from the hall and our builder commenced soon after. 

To save costs, plumbing, electrical, painting and many other small jobs were done by volunteers and the group moved back into the renovated building in late May 1981 to complete the finishing touches.



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At the reopening ceremony on September 25th 1982 we welcomed our N.S.W. Branch (Bert Gardiner), Hume Area (Guy Kemp) and Concord District (Ian Nicholls) Commissioners and a number of new members were invested.




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At a meeting on April 15th 1985 the Venturer Unit was reformed with 3 of the older Scouts and Phillip Bradwell (a former Venturer) as Leader, but on 24th March 1987 the Rover Crew was closed due to lack of members and the inability to recruit new ones (the current Venturers were too young and too few).

1990 saw the group celebrating its 75th anniversary. At the Annual Meeting we welcomed Mrs. Loone, a supporter of 1st Concord during the 1940’s and Mr. Perc. Anderson who, as a lad was an original member of the group and as an adult, many years as Group President. The District Annual General Meeting was also held at our hall and a display of photos and historical memorabilia marked the 75 years.

On September 16th 1990 the celebrations continued with some 80 members and families enjoying a Family Barbecue at Cataract Scout Park where a commemorative plaque was laid and some silky oak trees were planted.
Guests were Diana Mitchell, daughter of Alderman Charles Savage, the group’s founding family; Neville Menzies, Hume Area Commissioner, who presented us with an Area Plaque for ‘75 Years of successful Scouting’; District Treasurer and former parent/supporter, Frank Davidson; Dick Dunbar, a former Group President and Norma Dunbar, a former Cub Leader.




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Over the ensuing years more plantings were made to replace the trees that did not survive. However the plaque was removed from Cataract Park in October 1996 due to lack of interest from the Park Management needed for the tree’s survival.

Joey Scout Mobs, for members 6 and 7 years of age were introduced to Scouting in 1991. In typical tradition the 1st Concord Mob with Judy Bregolin as Leader and Elizabeth Sayers as Helper commenced on Saturday February 16th. Joshua Fisher, Tim Robinson and Donald Hagan were the initial members.

During 1986 in the Ukraine the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station had a melt-down and this caused radio active contamination to be spread over many parts of Europe. The Scout Association on a world level took children from the effected areas into Scouting homes for one month to boost their health and help their immune systems recover.

In keeping with past traditions and the Scouting principle of helping other people (particularly those in need), six families from 1st Concord with the assistance of one family from 1st Cabarita-Mortlake, were hosts to seven visitors from Kiev in the Ukraine from June 20th to July 18th 1992. Our visitors were Albert Sidor, Evgeni Belov, Artyom Britan, Victor Bugayov, Rostislav Tsurckan, Igor Kazartsev, and their interpreter Alexey Kredisov.


Prior to the visit we held various fundraisers and gained some company donations to finance their stay. They were provided with extra clothing and shoes and took an assorted array of souvenirs back home with them. These included an album of photos of the visit to always remind them of their trip to Concord and Sydney.


Activities organised for the visitors included Section Meetings, a District Barbecue, Bicentennial Park, Newport Beach, Taronga Park Zoo, the Emmanuel School at Randwick, Streets Ice Cream Factory, Harbour Cruises with the Royal Motor Yacht Club, Captain Cook Cruises and the Water Police, Gledswood Farm at Camden and a private farm in the Kangaroo Valley, a motor cruiser trip on Pittwater, a week long camp at Cataract, a Council Civic Reception, Wonderland, Centre Point Tower, Darling Harbour, Cumberland Gang Show and the Blue Mountains. On their return visit to a local doctor some had gained 4, 5, and even 7kg in weight and we knew that we had succeeded in our effort to improve their health. Despite being sad to have them return home we were all pleased to have had the opportunity to meet them and the group was totally enriched by the experience.


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August 28th 1993 ended the group’s association with Bottle Collecting. Council had introduced household collections with the weekly garbage and our return from this form of Fundraising was no longer viable. We had attained the management of a Cash for Cans Centre in July 1991 and this was to continue as our major fundraiser. 

The Venturer Unit numbers had been small for some time and they were meeting with 1st Yaralla. Our leader had moved overseas for business and with more Scouts about to be advanced the remaining Venturers reformed in our hall on September 6th 1993 with Assistant Scout Leader Michael Thomson transferring to the Unit as Venturer Leader.

The 1994 census showed our group had a membership of 48, 10 Joeys, 10 Cubs, 12 Scouts, 7 Venturers, 1 Cub Instructor and 8 Leaders. 

In recent years membership in Concord District had been declining and groups were closed. N.S.W. Branch required a District to support at least 10 groups but Concord District having three strong groups and two others with problems could not support the required number. Our neighbouring District, Matong, was having similar problems and after numerous meetings it was decided to combine both Districts. On April 1st 1994, after 56 years in Concord District, 1st Concord became part of Powell’s Creek District. This was the first time our Scouting boundaries did not coincide with the Council boundaries. 

In 1995 we celebrated 80 years of continuous Scouting for the Concord Community with our Family Camp at Cataract Scout Park and our membership still stood at 48.

A reorganisation of the Scout structure by Branch Headquarters was completed during 1996. Powell’s Creek District was closed in October of that year and replaced as a Scout Zone and Hume Area restructured as Hume Region. 
This did not affect the day to day operation of our group, only that we were administrated direct from Region through our Regional Commissioner Operations, the new title for the District Commissioner.

The Venturer Unit was again struggling for numbers and again combined with the 1st Yaralla Unit to make viable numbers for activities. With members working towards their various awards 1997 saw Cassie Allsop become the first female member of our group to be awarded the Queen Scout Badge.

Region (Area) Badges were worn on the right breast pocket of the uniform until early 1992 when they were replaced by a local District Badge and Regions (Areas) were recognised by a nametape worn below the group tape on the right sleeve. In early 1997 the District Badges were replaced with a N.S.W. State Badge and Groups were able to design their own Badges to be worn at the peak of their scarves. Region names were still recognised by the nametape worn below the group tape. In 2002 the N.S.W. State Badge was replaced by a redesigned Region Badge.

In 2000 the State Government combined Concord Council with Drummoyne and we became part of The City of Canada Bay Council.                        

By 2003 the Zones were re-registered as Districts and the Regional Commissioner Operations again became known as District Commissioner.

Our Joey Leader was wishing to undertake other challenges and being unable to recruit a replacement we advanced the last members to Cubs in February 2005. This left our 2005 Census membership at 31, 9 Cubs, 10 Scouts, 4 Venturers and 8 Leaders.

At the 2007 Census we lost our Cub Leader due to ill health and no Venturers re-registered. The Unit was put into recess until more are obtained with the Leaders assisting with the other sections. Membership numbered 23, Cubs 9, Scouts 9, and Leaders 5. 

There is always room for more youth members and particularly more adult leaders and supporters so we can continue with the principles and traditions of the Scout Movement for many years to come.

Scouting has had a firm hold in Concord and it is more than a coincidence that the Scouts and the Council have always worked in close harmony for so many years. This report shows that it was the Aldermen of Concord who founded Scouting in the Municipality in 1915 and without their aid (some even held active office in the Association) the hall in Goddard Park would never have been built. It was their foresight, even when world Scouting was in it infancy, that they saw its possibilities and realised that 


Peter Vahrenkamp        
Group Leader

This Edition
March 2007

The Savage family. Our Group’s founders
Concord Jubilee, 1883-1933
CONCORD, A Centenary History,  Sheena Coupe
1st Concord Scout Group Records
Some photos from Mrs. Loone