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Sea Scouts

Sea Scouts at Chermside East

Scouts Sea Training Ship Voyager
Training Ship Voyager was the approved name for the building from 1959. After the Voyager disaster the building was dedicated as a memorial to those who lost their lives in 1964.

From Scouts Australia, Qld Branch Inc. 32 Dixon Street Auchenflower Qld 4066 (3870 7000) came the following information:
In 1959 the 3rd Chermside Scout Group was converted to a Sea Scout Group, East Chermside. The first Scoutmaster of the new group was Ted Ebb who served in this position till 1964. The group closed in 1983.

In 1959, East Chermside, received permission to name their landship 'Voyager' after one or both of the two destroyers named Voyager both of which served in the RAN. This implies that the centre could have been built by that time.

There were two HMAS Voyagers in the RAN the first on was transferred from the Royal Navy to the Australian Navy in 1933. She saw extensive service in the early stages of WWII and finally ran aground on Timor while trying to deliver troops in September 1942. The ship was attacked by Japanese bombers and badly damaged; the crew then scuttled the ship.

The second HMAS Voyager was built in Australia and launched in 1957. After the disaster on 10th February 1964, when the aircraft carrier Melbourne cut the destroyer Voyager in two with the loss of 82 lives, East Chermside dedicated their landship to those who lost their lives thus making the landship a living memorial.

During its years of operation the landship 'Voyager' had the distinction of being located several miles from a navigable waterway.

The Voyager Centre


While it is not clear when the Voyager Centre was built but from the following document it is clear that it was at least there by 1969 when the Brisbane City Council approved the connection of water to the Voyager Centre to provide a Sink, a Shower and two W.C. internal - All at floor level.
Document Headed: Brisbane City Council Lessee Chermside Sea Scout Group Banfield Street Chermside. Document dated 12-3-1969 Number 237767 Refer 10/64A Detail Plan No. 2071

The Voyager Centre is a Besser brick structure now in the Chermside Historical Precinct, 61 Kittyhawk Drive, Chermside. 4032. It was built on the western end of what is now 7th Brigade Park, possibly by the Brisbane City Council long before the Chermside Historical Precinct was dedicated.

The map below shows the three buildings in the CHP, the Voyager Centre is the one on the left or western end with a red roof and beside the car park.

The first part to be built seems to have been the now central part with the western room, which is now a store room, being added on in 1969 while the double floor eastern end was added on at some later time.

Memories of a Sea Scout


The following was recounted by an ex Sea Scout:

They observed many naval traditions such as when they first boarded Landship Voyager on meeting nights they would salute the Quarter Deck, " which was designated by the picture of the Queen and the Australian flag hanging on the back wall."

"During the 1960s and early 1970s, at East Chermside Sea Scout Group, a Canoeist badge had to be gained before going on canoe 'hikes'. First Class journeys were conducted as allowed on water, along streams such as North and South Pine Rivers, Elimbah Creek and Caboolture River."

"During the 1960s and early 1970s, the craft used by the East Chermside Sea Scout Troop included single man bond wood kayaks, several wooden framed canvas canoes each capable of carrying eight men, and two small punts powered by Seagull and Evinrude motors."

In 1973, Scout Leader Graham Dixon, obtained the plans of an English Sea Scout Dory designed by Percy Balndford for the Movement in the UK and with the troop proceeded to build 'Voyager 2' in the Scout Den over one long hot summer school vacation. This craft, designed 'to row with four scouts and a coxswain on the helm, was later converted to sail with a two masted ketch rig'.

The East Chermside Sea Scouts closed in 1983 (Graham Dixon 1993) But the North West News 3/10/1984 reported that the East Chermside Sea Scouts took part in the Wonargo Review at Northgate/Virginia Scout Den. The Review is an annual theatrical event which is organised by Scouts Australia, Queensland Branch to give a training opportunity to Youth Members. The latest Review took place in 2015


Sea Scouts wore all blue shirts and shorts, no collars no scarf, lanyard into pocket but no whistle on the lanyard. (A lanyard is a strong chord which goes around the neck, over the shoulder and into the pocket to hold something such as a whistle or watch.)

They used the ponds to the east (west) of present school site. They may have used the swimming holes in Somerset Creek which is now piped underground until it enters 7th Brigade Park; there were 3 or 4 holes that had more water than today. Orienteering was practiced and lots of rope work done, making display knots and lacquering them. There was also woodwork on some boats but can't remember them being put in the water!

Another Sea Scout


The following report was given by Andrew Merritt who joined the Sea Scouts in about 1964 when Graham Dixon, a pharmacist in Hamilton Road, was the Leader.

There were Cubs and Scouts only, no Seniors or Rovers, there seemed to be a lot of young ones (Cubs) but thinned out when they became scouts.

Cubs were in Sixers (6 in a group) with between 24-30 members while Scouts had similar numbers so the total was probably about 50

We went to the Jindalee Jamboree but did not camp there and went out on two days only. This was the 8th Australian Scout Jamboree with international scouts present. It lasted for 10 days from 28-12-1967 to 6-1-1968. Lady instructor at one stage

Uniform:
Cubs wore a Grey serge shirt, no collar, with Dark Blue shorts, normal scout belt, normal green scarf and woggle with green caps similar to the scouts, long socks with garters and leather shoes. -

Sea Scouts wore all blue shirts and shorts, no collars no scarf, lanyard into pocket but no whistle on the lanyard. (A lanyard is a strong chord which goes around the neck, over the shoulder and into the pocket to hold something such as a whistle or watch.)

They used the ponds to the east (west) of present school site. They may have used the swimming holes in Somerset Creek which is now piped underground until it enters 7th Brigade Park; there were 3 or 4 holes that had more water than today. Orienteering was practiced and lots of rope work done, making display knots and lacquering them. There was also woodwork on some boats but can't remember them being put in the water!

The Voyager Building:

The eastern end was the main entrance with large double doors, the high eastern end of the Voyager Centre was added on later and closed the double doors. There was a stage at the other end and the boats were stored under the stage.
Left or southern side had four rooms curtained off for cub dens while the Right or north side rooms were for the Scouts but they were mainly storage of gear. When the Scouts were there they used the whole building
Cubs met on Saturday afternoons from 1-4 pm, Scouts met Friday night and they had had lots more activities outside the voyager centre.

There were also camps on Moreton Island