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Scouts NT

1st Darwin Sea Scout History

Captain Leonard Robert Samut established 1st Darwin Scout Group in 1928 with assistant scout leaders F.R Morris and S.Maslin and cubmaster J. Bleakly. They had a large group of fine patrols of cubs and scouts.

Lord Baden Powell’s family visited Port Darwin in 1934 and an honour guard was supervised by Len Samut. Lord Baden Powell & family were entertained by a corroboree of boys after a civic reception which was well received by the Chief Scout. He and his family then sailed on to Thursday Island on the Burn Phillip ship "SS Marella" to be greeted by 300 boys and after inspecting the guard, he addressed a large audience. Later he addressed the scouts at the sports oval and was presented with an ornate staff which was greatly admired.

“Scouts was orginally started to keep we boys of naval seaman of Port Darwin interested in activities good for our behavior, we could be really wild. Life of naval wives and children was hard, conditions of service involved coal loading, repairs, survey and sea time that was long, extremely hard, dangerous for dads of both white and mixed race. We boys could get into all sorts of activities, scouts was great for us as we could use navy 24ft whalers and 32ft cutters which were not in use and paint any damage done. This was paint that stuck and mum would go right off if I came home in a mess. It was out into sleeping in hammock naval style in shed with chooks until I or my mates cleaned up and learnt to paint with care, many lessons were learned, boxing, knots, personnel hygene, hammock roll naval fashion, getting on with other boys of all colour, class or creed, honour code {court of honor}, learning survival skills, carrying fire, hunting with spear and arrows in native ways, fishing, tracking, signaling, seamanship many of us, my mates served and what we learned helped us to survive. Some of my watch crew did not return, but this does happen, but life goes on and we are still great mates with great memories of old Port Darwin. Sea scouting of old, look to the future the wheel comes around in sea scouting and old Port Darwin is going to be a major development "be prepared to look wide for service" to future youth of Australia by ‘being prepared’”.  

From an old naval sign board at Port Darwin and still at naval base HMAS Cerebus.

"We had boys who's dads were in the navy on surveys and movements. Sports and sea scouts were encouraged.  It was a very depressed time so a couple of 32ft cutters or 24ft whalers were used to keep us boys out of mischief, great little trips were done chasing pearl luggers like D-73 and our friend D-80 out to sea and fishing. Catches of barra were made which made many mums happy, as dad was on duty to some god forsaken run or survey. Our catches would save a few bob, the only catch was the boats had to be cleaned and bailed out and secured properly. Bailing out a 32ft cutter was a big effort on a tropical wet day in humid conditions - sails had to be dryed, canvas and cotton  no fancy type sails. Painting grey paint "pusser's crab fat" was also a task to keep sweet with the navy. Many small boys went home gray, white and or red leaded when this task was on. My mum went right off if I came home this way. I was out with the dog "yellow" and my pet croc "Andrew" he liked cats to eat (no cat dug holes around our house), and sis thought it was a great joke when mum sent me into the shed, "dog house”. We all managed to be ship shape on parade night or else bosun would have piece of us, waste was not tolerated. We did it navy way or look out, our sea scout troop was the best and I had some great mates. Later during the war our training helped a lot of us survive. But some did not return. But a lot had some good yarns to tell, many have gone home. Darwin was hard place on women and a sailor with family pre-war it was not easy. But us kids had great times and we loved mucking around in boats and collecting strange animals as pets, we were a fine bunch of pirate patrols. Into bush tucker with our tribal mates who loved to go visiting by boat and we learnt how to make spears, axes and wire cages to catch snake, pig, goannas, file snakes and crocs for tucker or pets, also bows, knives and arrows, Robin Hood was not dead, we had great times and learnt a lot about cooking and food types which were around." 

(taken from website www.webspawner.com/users/zdar)