A young man's journal of mid-century adventure

Thur. Dec. 29, 1955 Jamboree

Published by under 1955,Dec. 29

Miles Today – 0. Miles to Date – 1182

Woke up to what sounded like bells but were birds. Crazy morse code birds.

It finally stopped raining but got very hot. The muck was everywhere. As luck would have it, this is the most rain Australia has had in 83 years. Mud everywhere. My new patent leather shoes are ruined.

On the first day of the jamboree we got our gate up and our campsite fairly decent.
Everybody wants to trade with us – badges, woggles etc., so our supply is running low.

Man, are there ever a lot of guys here – 17,000 and most of them Australian. The accent is terrific.

We are in the 5th Sandringham Troop as a part of the Victora contingent.
They are a real terrific bunch. We traded a lot.

Tomorrow, the Jamboree officially opens and we hope the mud dries up by then.

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Fri. Dec. 30, 1955. Jamboree

Published by under 1955,Dec. 30

Miles Today – 0. Miles to Date – 11828

Rain again! Pretty well all day. Still, our tent and all equipment is dry.

We were supposed to have our official opening marchpast today in front of Governor General Slim but it rained, so we didn’t or couldn’t.

By now, pretty well all our badges have been traded away. People flock to see us and get our autographs, pictures, etc.

Wrote some letters and sang some songs but otherwise very little going on. Still wearing running shoes. Patent leather shoes, all dry and clean.

Mrs. Ritchie, whose husband is head of Massey Harris of Australia, dropped by to see us and gave us a box of candy and said we’d see her again. She came in a limousine.

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Sat. Dec. 31, 1955 Jamboree

Published by under 1955,Dec. 31

Miles Today – 0. Miles to Date – 11828

Got rubber boots today. Hallelujah. Got Coleman lantern for our tent. Sun shone and things started to dry out.In the afternoon, we had our opening marchpast parade. The Governor of Victoria, Sir Dallas Brooks, took the salute. 17,000 guys stood around to hear the opening address. There are 20 or so nations here.

When we got back, we spent about half an hour getting our pictures taken. The meals were lousy and uncooked

After supper, we did some more swapping, then we went down to the great campfire for a New Year’s campfire. We had to sing three Canuck songs – pretty good. At 12:00 midnight, I felt very much like wanting to be at home.

After, we came back to the tent and had a party of Mrs. Ritchie’s candies. Still raining and six inches of mud.

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Jan. 1, 1956 Jamboree

Published by under 1956,Jan. 1

Miles Today – 0. Miles to Date – 11828

Still mud. What a mess outside. We cooked for the 5th Sandringham today, our hosts. We cooked chops for breakfast [and introduced those Aussies to warm toast!] and steak for supper.

[When I was getting wood from the woodpile, a blue-tongued lizard streaked off in the other direction. I let out a whoop that wakened the entire Jamboree, I’m sure. It was only three or four feet long, mostly tail but hey, I’d never seen a lizard up close and personal before!]

This morning we didn’t do much as we had the cooking to do. This afternoon the sun shone and everything dried up. The heat was so terrific.

Dave Sadleir and I went around the campsite taking pictures. We found Mr. Nichols – Commissioner for Victoria, the friend of Mr. Hansen – and gave him Mr. Hansen’s book.

[Mr. Hansen was a prominent member of St. Timothy’s church in Toronto, a big supporter of the 125th cubs and scouts and a good friend of my Dad.]

Today was visitors’ day and there were millions of people here. We signed countless autographs and had our pictures taken, too.

Tonight, we had a party and open house for our hosts. We served pop, etc.

Clifford Park                Flags of nations       The Gateway            Ampitheatre

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Mon. Jan. 2, 1956 Jamboree

Published by under 1956,Jan. 2

Miles Today -0. Miles to Date – 11828

Heard today that Mr. Nichols in on the New Year’s Roster of the Queen and had received the Order British Empire from the Queen. He’s a very nice man and well deserves that great honour.

Had an invite to tea at the camp of the 1st Toronto New South Wales troop, at 3:00PM. I went to the Toronto’s and had supper. [Turned out to be high tea which is equivalent to our supper.] It was terrific and it was a real terrific bunch. At 1st Toronto’s tea (supper) were two chaps from Geelong Nahru. Nice guys, very shy, coloured. Doggie and Salum.

I have an offer to supper at New Zealand. A chap from New Zealand taught me the Maori stick game tonight.

Today, they started to make the movie the Australians are making of us for the Canadian government. [No idea what happened to it]

I got a letter from Mom and Dad.

Tonight we went to a campfire at Headquarters. It was really the most terrific I’ve ever been at.

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Tuesday, Jan. 3 Jamboree

Published by under 1956,Jan. 3

Miles today – 0.  Miles to date – 11828.

Got invite to N.Z. for supper tomorrow night.

In the morning, we heard the famous Australian naturalist Crosby Morrison speak on Australian animals.

Went to Rover moot in Rover camp today. At lunch there, met Peter Graves who had rovered in U.K., Hamilton Canada, N.Z. & will for a year in Australia then Africa then back to Canada.

In afternoon, R.G. Casey Minister of External Affairs spoke.

Then went to int’n’l tea party at Troop 60, S. Australia. Every foreign country was represented. Got pix of a lot of them & met Col. Oldham, the camp chief. Talked to Lim from Singapore,

then met Ron Healey who was only Australian at CJ ’53. Terrific guy. He took me to dinner at his Troop. What a terrific bunch of friendly guys. Bought me some treats & treated me elegantly.

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Wed., Jan. 4, 1956 Jamboree

Published by under 1956,Jan. 4

Miles Today – 0. Miles to Date – 11828

Had a good sleep. Woke up late to rain. It rained all day again. It’s rained every day since we’ve been here. The place is an absolute mudhole. I must get pictures of it.

We built a bridge for our front this afternoon.

Tonight, we (Eric and I) went to New Zealand for supper. A good bunch of guys.

After, we brought some of them down here for a chinwag.Then we (Rod and I) [Rod Neil of 5th Sandy’s] went down to the movie to see The Lavender Hill Mob. Not much excitement today.

Tomorrow I must get some pictures of the mud and go to see the Indians. Lord Rowallan, Sir Edmund Herring & Colonel Oldham, the camp chief, are coming to visit us.

 built bridge                  On the bridge

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Thur. Jan. 5, 1956 Jamboree

Published by under 1956,Jan. 5

Miles Today – 0. Miles to Date – 11828

This morning was spent fixing up our gateway and front and making racks for our packs and display as Lord Rowallan, Colonel Oldham, the camp chief, and “Boss” James, our sub-camp chief visited us. They talked to each of us and we gave them a few moments of Canada.

After lunch went down to shopping centre and scout shop, then wandered about the camp to see different gateways. Met a couple of dames and Evert and I sort of talked to them and wandered about

It rained all morning still but, wonder of wonders, it stoppped and was beautifully sunny in the afternoon and nice in the evening.

The first day of sun for the whole Jamboree.


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Fri. Jan. 6, 1956. Jamboree/Melbourne

Published by under 1956,Jan. 6

Miles Today – 80. Miles to Date – 11908

Woke up very early to get to the bus at 8:15. These buses are about 2/3 the size of ours and can’t move over 30mph.

We got into Melbourne about 10:00AM. We saw the Olympic track and swimming pool still under construction. We saw the Victoria State war memorial and the everlasting flame.

The war memorial is situated so that it can be seen from any point in the city.

We saw the zoo and all the native Australian animals such as kangaroo, koala bear, emu, lizards and snakes.

We then had lunch at Myers (Australia’s Eaton’s) and then spent the whole afternoon at the Town Hall rehearsing for the show at night.

We were taken by John [John Nankervis, 5th Sandy’s scoutmaster] to see all the beaches along Melbourne Bay [actually, Port Phillip Bay]. Had supper there and were almost late for the show.

Hall was packed and terrific show. After the show, we went to a restaurant. Pulled in real late. After midnight. Beautiful all day long.

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Sat., Jan. 7, 1956 Jamboree.

Published by under 1956,Jan. 7

Miles Today – 0. Miles to Date – 11908

Woke up to a beaudiful sunny day. Everything is sunny and very, very hot and all dried up.

This morning we spent sleeping it off and generally cleaning ourselves up and hanging things to dry.

Went to lunch at West Australia, then spent the afternoon lolling about. The two girls of January 5 came over again so Evert and I had a bit of a ball.

I cooked the custard and burned it. We had to cook supper as we were giving a supper for the 5th Sandy’s and various bigwigs with their wives. “Boss” James was there. We gave all the Sandy boys a Maple Leaf and the leaders all scarves. They were very pleased.

After cleanup, we went to huge closing campfire. All 17,000 were there. Really terrific.

Tomorrow big trip at 6:00AM so to bed.

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