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  • Writer's pictureLen Beadell Publications

Scouting - IT'S A GREAT LIFE!

Updated: Jun 29, 2019

Len Beadell's life changed forever when he joined the 1st Burwood Scout Group, NSW as a Cub in 1930. It gave him experience in surveying while on many weekend survey trips with his Scout Leader, Mr John "Skip" Richmond.

Len became a Scout on reaching the age of 11 years in 1934-5 and remained with the Troop until joining the Army Survey Corps in 1941. He was a patrol leader and later a Troop Leader.

Scouting brought out the best in his pioneering spirit, spending many weekends in the bush with his Scout group. Len regarded "Skip", his Scout Leader, as his mentor.

Len stated: "He showed me it was possible to enjoy all the pleasures of the bush (particularly camping) while at the same time still doing something useful and constructive (that is, surveying)."

In the mid 1930s Skip took his Scout Group to the Belair National Park, near Adelaide, for a national Scout Jamboree.


Len and the boys with John Richmond's Chevrolet. Packed up with trig poles ready to head off on a 'survey trip'. 1940

Skip took the boys in the troop on many weekend survey trips that were conducted within a 150 kilometre radius of Sydney, mainly around Kiama and in the Blue Mountains. Skip would pick up the willing helpers on a Saturday morning in his bull-nosed Morris and return them home late on Sunday night. The children brought only a small back pack and a frypan.

They loved camping in the bush, cooking (and burning) porridge, trudging up and down hills carrying theodolites and other equipment, and searching for old survey markers, as if on a treasure hunt. The purpose behind each excursion was to establish a trigonometric network for the Water Board and planning the location and pipeline connection between major dams supplying water to Sydney.


One of Len's Scout sleeves - with 1st Class Patch & King's Scout Award

Whilst in the Scouts, Len earned many proficiency badges including:

- Gold Cord, an all round award requiring 1st Class Scout and 24 Proficiency badges

- The Bushman’s Thong which focussed on outdoor skills. To gain the thong a Scout first needed to be a 1st Class Scout

- Kings Scout Award which was more service based and to retain the title badges should be retaken every 12 months. It became a requirement that a King’s Scout hold a Bushman’s thong.


Len heading off to Scouts 1936

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