1935 Australian Jamboree
Tour of the Jamboree Site
With the passage of time, the Jamboree site has become part of suburban Melbourne. However, some evidence of this historic event remains. For those visiting the area, Melways directory references are included in parenthesis.
1. Corner of Overport Road and Yuille Street (102D6) is the location of the main Jamboree gateway. The large eucalypts sited in the gardens of 2, 6 and 12A Overport Road are believed to have been planted alongside the main entrance prior to the commencement of the Jamboree.
2. The park – South corner of Yuille Street and Pratt Avenue (102C7). This was the site of the Playing Field.
3. Frankston Jamboree Park is located at the end of The Heights, off The Spur (102C6). This amphitheatre, was the site of the main campfire hollow. The area is surrounded on three sides by steep rises – six to eight metres in height.
The hollow was set up with a platform and flood-lights. Public admission was available on numerous occasions during the Jamboree. One such occasion was the evening of Thursday, 3rd January, 1935. The following extract, taken from The Herald, 4th January, 1935, describes the atmosphere at one of these gatherings.
“FRANKSTON. Friday -Ten thousand Scouts and hundreds of public visitors were virtually carried across the seas to many countries last night. They spent a few moments on the peaceful little island of Nauru, they were lulled by the twanging guitars of sunny Fiji, and their pulses throbbed to the bizarre chants of white-robed Indian natives.
New Zealand had them for a moment for a flesh-creeping haka, by which Te Rasparaha, the famous old chief, led his Ngatiawa tribe to war, and then they travelled over the green seas to the rhythm of the sailors’ hornpipe.
All this happened in the Jamboree camp’s great amphitheatre, where the ceiling was the stars on a dewy night and where a glowing camp fire sent up spirals of dazzling sparks.
The hearth extended for a quarter of a mile around. It was covered by a sea of young faces that showed, even in the pallid glare of the floodlights, the joy that the night was bringing them. And at this hearth sat Lord Baden-Powell. He sat there singing and clapping and cheering and laughing, a campfire blanket slung loosely about his shoulders.
Lady Baden-Powell joined in, and so did the Honorable Betty and the Honorable Heather Baden-Powell. They were nestled in blue blankets near their parents.
Torches held by thousands of hands showed the size of the multitude. The torches linked all around and up to the hillsides, where moving, cloaked figures were silhouetted against the skyline!”
4. A plaque commemorating this Jamboree was unveiled at Frankston Jamboree Park on March 14, 2004.
5. The house on the northern corner of the Range and Kars Street (102B6). During the Jamboree, this property was The Chief Scout’s residence. Located near the top of the Kars Street hill, it commands magnificent views over the bay.
Victorian Chief Commissioner, Mr C. A. Hoadley, and Lord Baden-Powell, at the Kars Street residence.
6. The low lying ground between The Spur & Jasper Terrace (102C6) was the Display Arena.
There were two large grandstands erected by the arena and, in addition, open-air seats for 7,000. The grandstand near Jasper Terrace was 190 feet long, and had seven tiers of seats. It held at least 1000 persons. The larger, erected at the other side of the oval, along the side of what is now the Spur, seated 1400.
An aerial view of the Display Arena – the Opening Ceremony
7. Frankston Police and Citizens Youth Centre – Towerhill Road (102D7). A reunion was held at this venue on 17th November, 1984. The occasion marked the fifty-year anniversary of the 1934-35 Jamboree. In recognition of this event, a commemorative badge was produced and two bronze plaques struck. One of the plaques may be viewed at the Scout Heritage Centre, Como, and the other at the Police, Citizens and Youth Centre, Frankston.
8. A water-supply easement or pipetrack is accessible between Yuille Street and Japonica Grove (102C7-D8). At the Jamboree, this track, which traversed the site, was known as Sweetwater Road and Kiwi Street.
In order to increase pressure, water was pumped from the main into tanks with a capacity of 54,000 gallons and subsequently reticulated in two and a half miles of 4 inch and 6 inch mains, and one mile of two inch piping. These supplied 250 showers, 300 taps for washing purposes and 192 taps for cooking purposes.
9. Beauty Park (102C3). A civic reception was held in the park on the afternoon of Friday, 8th January. This function was held in honour of Lord Baden-Powell, Scout leaders and other distinguished guests. The World Chief Scout was accompanied by his daughters. The acting President of the Shire of Frankston and Hastings (Councillor Phillip Montague) received Lord Baden-Powell. A souvenir booklet of Frankston, bound in morocco leather, was presented to him. It contained a leaflet with a message which acknowledged Lord Baden-Powell’s Scouting achievements and his contribution to world peace.
10. The grandstand at Frankston Park – corner Kars & High Streets (102C3), was moved to this site after the Jamboree. Enter the football ground from High Street, opposite the Uniting Church. This weatherboard stand is immediately on your right.
A number of the local street names remind us of the Jamboree. Apart from the obvious, Baden Powell Drive (102A9) and Jamboree Avenue (102C6), we have:
11.. Hoadley Avenue (102A6), named after the State Chief Commissioner, Mr. C.A. Hoadley.
12. Harcourt Avenue (102A7), named after the Jamboree organising Secretary, Major H.G. Harcourt.
13. Pratt Avenue, (102C7), named after Frankston Shire Councillor on the Jamboree Council, and honorary Scout Commissioner, Councillor J.L. Pratt.