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Introduction

The Baden Powell Reserve, is a small 4,797 square metre neighbourhood park created in 1926 during the development of Ardross.

In 1953, The Scout Association signed a 20 year lease for the purpose of Scouting and has had continuous use of the site for the last 68 years.

Future of Baden Powell Reserve

The Baden Powell Reserve is owned freehold by the City of Melville. While they have always supported Scouting, there is now a situation where the commercial Riseley activity precinct and adjacent housing developments are putting pressure on the reserve for vehicle access.

The City of Melville, at a recent meeting on 16 March 2021, resolved to rezone Baden Powell Reserve back to Public Open Space, along with a number of other reserves within the City of Melville.

There will still be ongoing discussions between developers and the City of Melville.

Early history of the Scout Group

Summary of significant events

1926 - Original survey
The local area was surveyed in 1926. As can be seen from the surveyors field notes extract (above), the land was earmarked for a children's playground.

1951 - Scout Group formation
The Scout Group was formed by Major Allan Taylor (OAM) (1) and Bernie Barnard in 1951 with the first meeting held in February 1952. The Scout hall was to be located in Mt Pleasant, hence the proposed plans being titled `Proposed scheme for Boy Scouts Hall, Mt Pleasant`. As no suitable land was available in Mt Pleasant, the Group initially used the RSL Hall in Applecross and the Applecross Primary School outdoor shelter.

1953 - Baden Powell Reserve
As the Group grew, there was pressure to have their own premises and they relocated to the current Baden Powell Reserve site (Swan location 61, Lot 323 on plan 5059). The Melville Shire were very cooperative and a 20 year lease at a peppercorn rate was signed on 11 July 1953.

1953 - New Scout hall

Architectural plans
The proposed Scout Hall Plans were drawn by Milton James Boyce (2), City of Perth architect and Scout Association Western Australian Branch, Honorary Architect. He designed many Scout halls in his long career.

Hall construction
Funds were raised and a prefabricated farm building purchased from Bouchers Industries for £1,250. This did not include the timber flooring so a levy of threepence a week was made on the weekly subscriptions. `Bert Negus at Bunnings managed to get us flooring at a reduced rate provided we took delivery straight away`. There is anecdotal evidence that the hall was constructed using recycled steel from the Fremantle anti-submarine and Cockburn Sound anti-boat hurdle scaffolding, however to date, there is no hard evidence.

Other construction materials
Bricks for the floor piers and toilet block were the result of a `Brick drive´. Surplus bricks were donated from local housing sites. Allan Eddy (OAM)(3), owner of Eddy`s Hardware at Canning Bridge and a Melville Councillor (1954-1958), helped to locate building materials and other fathers contributed time and money.

Parent and community involvement
`There was a good roll up at the commencement of construction, however by the time we were ready to lay the flooring the initial enthusiasm had waned. Bob Spargo came up with a bright idea to bring our labour force back to the job. He put on a 5 gallon keg of beer! Nevertheless flooring laying flagged although at times it took off without our knowledge, then we discovered that the men of the Congregational Church were coming to the hall at night and laying some of the timbers`

Last sentence from Alan Taylor `May this Group which has touched on so may young lives continue to serve the youth of the future

1970 - Tubular steel support artwork `Totem poles`
The hall 4.5 inch diameter tubular steel supports steel were painted as totem poles during Friday night Scout meetings in 1970 or 1971. The project was instigated by the Scout Leader, Bill Hunter (4). Other notable people were Scouts during this period(5).

1965 - Senior Scout hall (Venturer Den)
The Group resolved to build a Venturer Den (then Senior Scout Hall) at a special committee meeting on Monday 24 May 1965. Three quotes were received between £1,150-1,530. The committee decided to sub-contract the build themselves with an expected cost of £900.

1992 - Hall refurbishment
The Group resolved to refurbish the Scout hall and Venturer Den at a special committee meeting on 18 May 1992. With the assistance of a Lotteries Commission Grant, original asbestos cladding was replaced with Colourbond steel sheeting and both buildings generally refurbished (6). The refurbished hall was opened on Saturday, 8 May 1993 by Alan Taylor (OAM).

2021 - Current condition
The Scout hall and Venturer den are in very good condition. Recent additions and refurbishments include the installation of solar panels and battery, reverse cycle air-conditioning, NBN connection, new storage cupboards, enclosure of the loft and kitchen renovation.

Notes:

  1. Major Alan Delpah Taylor was awarded an OAM in 1981 for service to Scouting
  2. Milton Boyce and his wife Marjorie came to Western Australia in January 1937. He was the City of Perth Architect for the Perth Aquatic Centre for the British Empire and Commonwealth Games in 1962.
  3. Allan Millsteed Eddy was the owner of the Eddy`s hardware chain and an active community volunteer. He was a Melville Councillor at the time of the hall construction.
  4. Sergeant William John Leslie Hunter. Bill started with the Group early 1970 after recent Vietnam war service with 3rd Special Air Service Squadron. 
  5. Tim and Andrew Farriss who later formed the music group INXS were members of the Group. Tim, as a Scout, would have participated in the totem pole artwork. Their father, Dennis Farriss was an active committee member from 1966 to March 1971 when he was transferred to Sydney. Dennis also served as President and Treasurer during that period.
  6. Ronnie Branch-Smith and Mike Branch-Smith were instrumental to the 1992 refurbishment.

State Heritage nomination (2013)

The local community formed the Friends of Baden Powell Reserve to protect the site from development. In 2013, they made a submission to the State Heritage Council to have the reserve State Heritage listed.

Scout hall plans

The Scout hall was erected by Bouchers Industries at a cost of £1,250. The jarrah timber flooring was supplied by Bunning Bros, while other materials were donated. Parents and community members completed the building.

Venturer Den plans

At a special committee meeting on Monday 24 May 1965, it was decided to build a Senior Scout hall (Venturer Den) with a budget of £900.

Other buildings

Other buildings include a Guide hall (c1960), Rover Den and sheds.

 

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