Melbournians and tourists recently witnessed a sight not seen for decades, as a large group of Rover Scouts in uniform complete with the traditional “lemon-Squeezer” hats and hike packs travelled by public transport to and from a hike.
A traditional hike based around the 1935 Jamboree hikes and Metropolitan Area Rover hikes formed one expedition for the Australian Rover Moot. Although primarily for those interested in bushwalking, the historical themes were picked up through stays at Gilwell Park and Britannia Creek (Girl Guide) campsites, campfire cooking and travel by Puffing Billy.
Scout Heritage Victoria kindly provided the hats to participants who came from around Australia, the UK and Canada, and have now taken the hats home as treasured souvenirs. The hats proved practical in both sunny and wet conditions while hiking, and when the expedition travelled in public, all were in uniform (often the cleanest clothes left) with the hats providing an added identifier.
How long since a dozen Rovers all in uniform including hat last travelled by steam train, or hiked from Flinders Street to catch a Bourke Street tram – and did so among a new-year’s eve crowd?
Text and photos by Owen Ryan