Records show that our Scouts started meeting in 1925, however, there is some evidence that they were meeting in 1922 or possibly earlier. A Cub section started meeting in July 1926. The group started meeting at the Presbyterian church which was located in Stephen Street, Yarraville. The group was known as 3rd Yarraville until 1929 when they joined forces with 1st Seddon (Congregational church), 2nd Yarraville (St. Lukes church) and 4th Yarraville to become what we now know as 5th Footscray Scout Group.
The building of our current Scout hall located in Bellairs Avenue, Seddon was made possible largely by the efforts of a long standing member of the Yarraville community, Mrs C. Ebeling. She encouraged the parents to start a building fund and a special committee was formed called the Yarraville Citizens Scouts Carnival Committee.
On March 1st 1930 a Garden Fete and Carnival organised by the committee was held to raise funds for the new hall which was attended by about 3000 visitors. Lord Somers who was then the Governor of Victoria opened the event. Over 600 Boy Scouts and Girl Guides from Footscray, Yarraville, Sunshine and Williamstown formed a guard of honour.
The new Scout Hall was built and ready for use by June 1930 with the official opening on Thursday 6th November, 1930.
Mrs Ebeling became the group treasurer for many years and remained actively interested in the group until December 1949. It is in recognition of this wonderful lady that 5th Footscray is still known as ‘Mrs Ebeling’s Own.’
Senior Scouts (later to be known as Venturers) started in 1946. There was a Rover crew in the early period of the group and then again in 1959 and 1969 before a district Rover crew was formed in 1971.
While many people have been associated with the group, two names synonymous with 5th Footscray are the late Jim and Beryl Whittle. They were at the forefront of the group since the beginning and saw many changes – from the uniforms to the way that Cubs and Scouts are run. Both were awarded highly for their commitment to Scouting including both receiving OAMs, Jim in 1989 and Beryl in 2005. Both have left a lasting impression on the people they have met.
When the hall was first opened it was unlined and has seen many changes to get to how it is now.
1939 – The chimney was altered
1950 – Gates were added to the verandah, a Scouters’ office and storeroom built at front of hall
1955 – A new floor was put in (thanks to about 30 parents over one weekend)
1960 – Kitchen wall removed to make one long room
1962 – Brick toilets built at rear of hall
1969 – New Q-store built at rear of hall
1970 – Start of brick veneering of hall
1975 – Boomerangs added to front of hall, ceiling installed on verandah
2013 – Thanks mainly to grants from the Victorian government and Scouts Victoria plus our own fundraising over a number of years, we have fully renovated the kitchen, added a wheelchair ramp at the entrance, built new toilets in the old Q-store area, raised the floor levels in the old toilets and converted them into a new Q-store and general storeroom thus transforming the hall into a modern, functional facility for scouts and the wider community
5th Footscray Scout Group has been growing steadily over the last few years and currently comprises a Scout Troop, a Cub Scout Pack, a Joey Scout Mob and Venturers who are part of a district Venturer unit. This growth could be seen as a renewed interest in the Scouting movement as offering a healthy and fun way to get young people off the couch and enjoying life.