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The History of Gordon Park, Matopos (Zimbabwe)

The Boy Scouts Association of Zimbabwe

fleur-de-lis

Province of Matabeleland

Being a Scout in Matabeleland is fantastic

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From the book:- "GORDON PARK"

GP Book Cover The area now called "Gordon Park" was discovered by a party of 1st Bulawayo Rovers in 1929 during their hikes in the incomparable Matopos hills some 35 kms south of Bualwayo. Cyril Shaw recorded in his log how they all scrambled across the waterfall into a natural camping ground which became the Headquarters site.

The surrounding country is varied and splendid. To the south a few kilometres as the crow flies lies the famous "view of the world". In the Matopo hills, the air is so clear that colour that stands out vividly in the near scenery. The greys, bronzes and blues of the rocks contrast with the green foilage and wonder that a mysticism surrounds the country which has influenced the folklore regarding the burial place of African chiefs. Beyond the eastern valley boundary of the Park lies Shumbashava or The Red Lion, which is a vast granite massive; substantial and impressive, but fierce, and hard, as the name suggests. Legend has it that to point a finger towards Shumbashava heralds bad luck. On the north border of the Park lies the steeply undulating country of the Mtshelele valley. The most outstanding feature within the Park is of course the Gordon Park Rock which stands impressively alone and sheer above the kopje. It faces the Training Ground and acts as a sounding board, so that a speaker, addressing listeners below, can be very distinctly heard. Only exalted speakers have addressed or would presume to address listeners from such a "platform".

The achievement in establishing this Park revealed in Leaders and Scouts like outstanding qualities of vision and the vigour of strenuous pioneering.

As diverse and unique challenges are offered in these Matopo hills opportunities are present for adventurous and challenging activities enabling scouts to develop physical, moral, and spiritual qualities. Here are favourable chances for courageous Scouting activities where many boys develop their skills, courage, tenacity and ingenuity. Not surprisingly these kopjes of wild natural beauty are a source of inspiration for in such surrounding are the finest attributes in Leaders and scouts alike can be developed and promoted. This is what this magnificent country in the heart of the matopos offers

For years after its discovery Scouts and Rovers of the Pioneer group, led by J. knapman (Skipper) Skipper knapman enjoyed many happy camps at Gordon Park. In those early days there was no entrance road and kit had to be carried from the main road, over the head of the waterfall. water had to be carried in used paraffin tins from the little stream.

"In 1953" so wrote Skipper Knapman, "the character and conception of the camping ground changed" because the South African Jamboree was to place early in 1936 at East London and the Founder, Lord Baden-Poweel himself, who was to be present, would also visit the then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe).

Skipper Knapman suggested to Colonel Gordon D.S.O O.B.E (Headquarters Commissioner for Matabeleland) Mj Gordon that a Camping Ground and Training Centre should be established here as a Memorial to Baden-Powell, a suggestion that was enthusiastically received. Several sites were considered by Colonel Gordon, Skipper and G. E. Stephens (jerry) (later Provincial Scout Commissioner for Matabeleland).

The camping site chosen was in the Rhodes Matopos Estate, none other than the site which the 1st Bulawayo Troop had been using for the previous six years. On 16th February 1936 the camp was formally declared open by Colonel Granville Walton, Imperial Headquarters Commissioner For Overseas Scouts who accompanied the Chief Scout to South Africa.

Lord Rowallan (former Chief Scout of the British Commonwealth) once said "50 years! Its a long time - a time to look back with gratitute to those who laid the Foundations". He was speaking of scouting generally, but they are very apt words, at this year of our 50th celebrations.

The Camp was named after Colonel Gordon. The handsome wrought iron gates made by F. Issels and Sons, were erected in his memory and opened by the then His Excellency, the Governor, Sir John Kennedy. The first Warden (later a Warden became known as Camp Commissioner) was Mr. C.M. K. Robertson B. SC., professional a Civil Engineer and Skipper Knapman acted as his assistant.

Parties of Rovers continued visiting the Park until the outbreak of the Second World War. Skipper Knapman became Warden (Camp Commissioner) when Mr. C. M. K. Robertson left for active service. Soon after the Park, which by then boasted two small wooden buildings, was closed down for the duration of the Second World War.

Developing GP The original Park was 75 acres but need soon arose for Scout Camping and Leader Training areas to be established. In 1947 the adjoining area, now known as "The Bowl" was acquired increasing the total acreage to 285.

 

BADEN-POWELL

Baden-Powell was a great man! The Matebele called him "Impisi", meaning "The Wolf that never sleeps", a nickname that B-P considered as one of the highest compliments ever paid to him.

On both sides in this conflict in the Matopos, the combatants (the Matabele and the British) showed ingenuity, courage and endurance. Baden-Powell described those Matopos Hills as "awful country weird, jumbled mass of bush boulders".

Expertness and Qualities were practised such alertness, aucidity, deduction ability, endurance. Attributes that were displayed on both sides. Baden-Powell himself developed such skills as field sketching, mapping which dexteries and abilities later formed the basis of Scout Training. Indeed Lord Baden-Powell, writing from Scout Headquarters in London recalled how ideas for the World Boy Scout Movement were conceived in the Matopos.

Though a soldier, B-P was essentially a man of peace. As "creator" of Scouting he became a power and a force for reconciliation and unification of the "Youth of the World", a movement unequalled in any part of the world.

As arranged, Baden-Powell visited Gordon Park in 1936, after his attendance at the Jamboree in South Africa. We capture something of his overwhelming surprise and joy in his own comments about the Park:
"In the midst of this wild country, with its baboons and leopards and its vision of past battles, fought amid these kopjies, I was suddenly faced with a signboard "Gordon Park. Training Ground of the Boy Scouts Association". Here! The wildest among many jungles I have seen in different parts of the world was a truly lovely Backwoods Camping Ground."

Baden-Powell saw it in its thoroughly undeveloped state.

But what of the men of vision who pioneed the establishment of the Park?

 

JACK KNAPMAN

"Skipper" to all, Jack Knapman had the inspiration, the vision and direction in the development of Gordon Park. What was his background resulted in him being recognised as an authority on all Scouting principles and techniques. Well, he began Scouting with the 1st Bognor regis Troop, Sussex, in June 1913, he transferred later to London, St Marylebone where he became a Second, then Patrol Leader, Assistant Scout Master and later Scout Master of 13th, a Troop which he founded. He completed his Scout Wood Badge Course a year later. Then, fortunately for Zimbabwean scouting, in August 1932 he came to the then "Rhodesia" as Secretary to the General Manager of Rhodesia Railways who was very keen on Scouting. Skipper was immediately warranted as a Scout Master (now known as Scout Leader) and became attached to Colonel Birney, the first Colony Commissioner.

In 1924 Skipper was 2nd in command of the first Rhodesian contingent to go overseas to the Empire Jamboree at Wembley. Ossie Connolly later to become an outstanding benefactor of Gordon Park, was Troop Leader of this first contingent. Later in 1924 Skipper took over the 1st Matabeleland troop and much is owed to him by this Troop for his knowledge and dedication.

As the holder of a Double Wood Badge he was to become the first Scouter in charge of Leader Training in the country. He started the Bulawayo Scout Shop in 1934 and built part of their present building in 1939. The 1st Wood Badge Course was organised by Skipper in Ruzawi in 1931 and led the Coronation Contingent to London in 1937.

The Chief Scout recognised his service to the Movement, in 1924 he was awarded the Medal of Merit and in 1936 the Silver wolf, the highest Commonwealth award. The latter was made by B-P himself in Bulawayo.

 

DEVELOPMENTS AT GORDON PARK

For some years after the war the only transport to Gordon Park was strictly by Skipper`s car. This strictly limited the numbers of helpers and amount of material which could be carried. In 1950 a Bedford truck was acquired which greatly facilitated work at the Park, which was aimed towards portable water supply, access roads, durable buildings and lighting. The same truck is still in use today. Until such a time as power lines are available, a small generating plant was unobtrusively installed behind some sound deadening boulders.

The idea of a Service Crew to be attached to the Park was proposed, enthusiastically recieved, and so the Gordon Rover Crew came into being. The Heany Rover (RAF) Crew helped tremendously till 1953 when the RAF closed down. The 2nd, 3rd and 8th Rover Crew also helped at various times. All these people strove to carry out their tasks with determination, zeal and resourcefulness.

 

WATER DEVELOPMENT

Shumbashaba

The search for a reliable source of water began ably supported by Rotary`s finacial assistance. This was a long strenuous, sometimes disappointingundertaking.

A well was sunk in the area which is now the rubbish pit, with water being first drawn up by means of a winch and bucket. Skipper reports "Eventually we were able to install a Goulds Hand Pump and two 44 gallon oil drums for use as storage tanks". In 1983 a Fairbanks Morse engine was installed and equiped the pump for power drive. Unfortunately, this well had to be abondoned at 97 feet due to lack of water. Eventually a well was sunk on the river bank and is still in use today. waterlogged sand to belined with a steel cylinder, a task ably handled by five Scouts.

Then a pipeline was laid to the storage tanks in the kopje, as purification of water was important it was pumped into a large precipitation tank for treatment. Bob Talbot sunk a well, drilling through solid granite but it was not sucessful - hardwork and disappointing.

In the 60`s pipes were extended towards The Bowl. A booster tank was placed near the entrance to the Chapel. Then Skipper stated sinking another well on the banks of the Mtshelele which was completed many years later. Bob Talbot took a month`s leave, camped just below 8th Bulawayo Campsite and dug a well helped by Rovers over weekends, which supplies The Bowl Campsites today.

There was long lapse in time, when for security reasons, camping could not be allowed. However, repair work was started in 1978 on the tanks, which by now had deteriorated. First the precipitation tank was re-plastered. Then iron water storage tanks which had rusted were replaced by brick reservior tanks. Simultaneously of course work was being carried on at The Lodge.

The water supply was restored in The Bowl, by the installation of two large galvanised iron tanks thus enabling scouts to camp.

As the security position became easier, Norman Scott and Jack Carlisle now felt that there was need to overhaul and develop the entire water system of Gordon Park. Together they drew up estimates of cost. Peter Coley, as Chairman of Provincial Scout Council, made an appeal to the Beit Trustees for financial help and a grant of $ 10, 000 was made available. Peter Coley, an exceptionally dedicated Chairman was a person of strong, quiet, influence. "Chuck" Wilcox, Provincial Commisssioner, said of him that he was always working behind the scenes and everybody within the Movement felt the sadness of his passing.

Water development then began in earnest; first a well sunk by Skipper Knapman was completed and fitted with a new pump and a motor. Four storage tanks each of 56, 000 litres were constructed out of brick, and piping was procured. The rising main, i. e. from the well to the tanks was 500 metres and the vertical height 20 metres. Water was now piped across the divide between Headquarters and the Bowl so connecting three separate wells and storage facilities. The total storage capacity rose to 300,000 litres. This insured adequate water supply, even when drought occurred.

 

DEVELOPMENTS OF THE ROADS

Training

George Gibson reports that he started when he was a scout, going to Gordon Park over weekends in 1950, that the road had been established from the main Road to Headquarters - a major achievement. a small stream on the main entrance road was a major obstruction when water was rising so a cement structure was built in about 1954 to bridge this stream and the road literally pushed up the "mountainous" climb to Headquarters.

Later Mike George laid concrete blocks on the surface of this part of the road so that this steep climb could be negotiated in wet weather. This was followed by a road or rather 'track' to The Bowl, facilitated by the Rovers who borrowed road making vehicles. Beyond the 'Duty Hut' Bob Talbot blasted part of the kopje thus opening up the rocky part of the road in The Bowl, altogether a major achievement.

Special mention should be made of some members of the Rover Crew.

First a Scout, then as a member of the Crew, Mike George gave 28 years service at the Park and later became Camp Commissioner. George Gibson also worked for a considerable period at the Park, first as Scout, later as a Rover, finally as Deputy Camp Commissioner. He relinquished this work and appointment with reluctance on his transfer to Harare by the Ministry of Education. Bob Talbot and John Ogden also did sterling work as members of Gordon Park Staff.

 

THE PARK`S GROWING ASSETS

The improvements included buildings, a Chapel and development of the training ground, much of which was carried on concurrently. There was the timbered "Long Store" and "Rough Store", next a shelter was erected near to the old Dutch oven. Tarpaulins were borrowed and hung around the shelter during Wood Badge Courses or over weekends. Later another shelter was built, near the site where "The Barn" was later located. Another building constructed early in the development plan was "The Leask". This was so called because the bricks were obtained from the former Leask homestead. Ossie Connolly dismantled the home and Mike George loaded bricks on the truck, took them to Gordon Park and there unloaded them. Skipper and Rovers partly built "The Leask" but a bricklayer was engaged on Sundays to make the finishing touches. this proved to be a most useful building, housing as it did all the training equipment and camping necessities.

 

THE CHAPEL was created very early in the history of the Park. Mike recalls that this was started when he went out as a scout over weekends and during school holidays. The altar, the large granite block in the Chapel, was transported from the vicinity of Rhodes` Graves at "World`s View". Ossie obtained permission from the National Parks' authorities to transport it to Gordon Park. Grass was planted in the Chapel but as wild animals grazed in the Chapel the floor was later cemented and benches installed by 8th Bulawayo Troop during Jack Carlisle`s time of leadership. A copper plaque bearing the words "Be still; and know that I am God" was placed in a prominent position, at the top of the steep path, leading to the Chapel. Later copper plaques were installed in memory of Arnold Carnergie, a man of exceptional dedication and formerly Chairman of Matabeleland Provincial Scout Council. There is also a plaque for Skipper Knapman, both close to the altar. When Norman Scott became Camp Commissioner and Jack Carlisle his Deputy, monthly services were organised and held in the Chapel. These services were still are well attended by Scouters, Scouts, Guiders, Guides, Parents and friends. The service is usually follwed by a braai lunch, all sharing the joy of Gordon Park and its surrounding country.

It should be mentioned that George and Carol Gibson were married in the Gordon Park Chapel. Bob and Ruth Talbot`s baby son Robert was christened there and more recently Andrew and Delia Baker`s son was christened.

Below the Chapel and at the foot of the kopje with the impressive Gordon Park Rock poised above, is the War Memorial on which names of Scouts and scouters who sacrificed their lives in the 1939-45 war are recorded on a copper plaque.

To write about scouts who fell in the recent hostilities as combatants or in the crossfire would be an impossible task. Nevertheless their names live on in the hearts of those who were their relatives and friends. each made the supreme sacrifice and a simple plaque on the rock in this place of memorial is a reminder of our duty to maintain peace and goodwill to all people.

 

THE KNAPMAN HUT was built as a surprise to Skipper whilst he was in the United Kingdom. Ossie provided material and labour and many of the granite blocks. Other blocks were cut by Rovers from the area of ''The Bowl". For this project it was a special labour of love.

A kitchen, office, First Aid room were added to the "Leask" and the "Duty Hut" in the Bowl was built up on the training Ground and The Barn, which had been built for the comfort of Lady Cub/ Scout Leaders when they attend courses, was unfortunately destroyed during a veld fire. The Ablution were solidly built of face brick, each block containing showers, handbasins and toilets. These amenities were considerably appreciated by participants on strenuous Wood Badge or Skills Courses. Next, store rooms were built at "The Bowl", near the "Duty Hut" for security so that Troops could store their heavy equipment and thus avoid the heavy transport to and fro from Bulawayo.

A block called "The stables", was built after Skipper retired and was then living at the Park. A bricklayer was employed whose work, needless to say, was closely supervised by Skipper. This building consisted of 5 bedrooms, a Common Room, bathroom and an interleading cloakroom which contained two large handbasins. Thus the Training Teams were accompanied in considerable comfort. The bricks for this building were transported in the truck by Mike George, George Gibson and other Rovers from the Commonage Ranger`s place. Loads were sometimes prepared in the morning before work and taken to the Park after work where skipper prepared a meal for the Rovers. Sometimes unloading was done after sunset with the aid of a pressure lamp. The new large rough store was built at much the same time as "The Stables".

Mike became Camp Commissioner after failing health of Skipper. Mike`s first task was to add to the Training Ground. Three lecture circles were constructed, one in sunlight, one in medium shade and one in deep shade, all in solid cement. A very thoughtful provision were tables constructed at allof the lecture circles.

Conolly Lodge
It had been planned that a Lodge should be built. All looked forward to the carrying out of this project which was to serve the needs of leader Trainers and Participants on weekend or Advanced Courses. Mike and Scouts made the cement blocks in preparation for this building, then cement tables were made for the Bowl and placed in "strategic" positions.

Mike who resigned as Camp Commissioner of Gordon Park in 1977, and a period of service second only to Skipper. The service by these dedicated Scouters was of the highest endeavour and selfness because working through many years in a solitary way was necessary when camping could not be encouraged on account of the war situation. George Gibson, closely associated with Mike, in the early days of the Park development speaks with pride and admiration of these achievments.

Norman Scott was then appointed as Camp Commissioner with Jack Carlisle as his deputy. Chuck Wilcox, as Provincial Commissioner expressed his gratitude and admiration for the work undertaken by Norman and Jack because under their spirited leadership and an enthusiastic Rover Crew, they pressed on strenuously with development. For three years with matchless energy, determination and cheerfulness they started on a very special project called "The Lodge". How this achievement would have pleased Skipper Knapman had he lived to witness it. Its design and soundness of construction is evidence of the influence of a professional Civil Engineer (a post Jack filled on Zimbabwe Railways). A parquet floor put the finishing touches to this most attractive building. Some of the funds for this ambitious project were raised by the Gordon Park staff and Crew.

The overall size is eighteen by eight metres and consists of a large hall on one side of which is a store room for every form of equipment and smaller room to serve as a study for Leader Trainers. On the other side is a spacious , very well equiped kitchen and further room for the use of Cub Scout Leaders, because the Lodge was to serve a dual purpose. Not only has it been used to give shelter to Cub Scouts for camping weekends or holidays, it is the radio "shack" for the annual Jamboree on the Air event and for an annual Commissioners` Conference. Any master builder would be proud of this fine structure. It was opened on 24th April 1982 and was named "Naomi Connolly Lodge" (or "The Lodge" for short) in recognition of Naomi Contribution to Scouting for many years, first as a Cub leader, later as Assistant Provincial Cub Scout Commissioner, then, until her recent retirement, as a Leader of Matabeleland Training Team.

Extensive development continued under the able guidance of Norman Scott and Jack Carlisle and later Hylton Garriock who became Deputy after Jack`s retirement to South Africa.

An example of this dedication to voluntary duty is exemplified in:

 

THE BUILDING OF THE DAM

In 1983 there was enthusiasm about the new venture. A first attempt was made to build an earthen dam in the gorge below Headquarters. Hylton Garriock discussed with the choice of the site with George Gibson when they met at the Commissioner`s Conference late in 1983. George advised that a site should be chosen further down stream, in this tributory of the Mtshelele. The Gordon Park Crew worked with determination. at this new site a wall which was to be an extra 4 metres in length and 1,3 m in depth would give considerably enlarged dam.

We had forseen that Jack Carlisle would be a loss not only to Matabeleland but to the whole country. It was opportune that he visited the Park at this time.

He discussed with the team thoroughly the advisibilty of building a brick or concrete wall. His advice was followed and Provincial Council most generously supported the scheme financially. Norman set to work producing drawing and some writing up. Reports were submitted by Surveyor and an Engineer. National Parks authority had to approve, also Rhodes Matopos Board and the Provincial Water Authority.

Building Dam Wall
Work began on the trench and clay was struck at 3 metres. Norman`s Landrover tracks were converted into a road which took several weeks. month after month work continued on the trench.

The construction of this 3 metre trench was masterly. The work at this depth, within the narrow confines of the wall called for dogged endurance, tenacity and skill. Shutters were propped up. They had to be kept absolutely parallel, lying both vertically and horizontally. Gradually the concrete wall rose to the ground level, then began to rise above ground. Hylton should be specially mentioned as he showed sheer grit and slogging determination in this building of the wall. Working alone sometimes for extended periods, on one occassion for a month at a time. Then he took up work in South Africa, but returned again from time to time to work on the project. Crew members Norman Scott, Graham Williams, Graham Ross, and Barry Knight continued to work energetically, helped by enthusiastic Scouts from the 8th Bulawayo Troop.

As the present time work still continues to raise the height of the wall. With the welcome rains the dam should soon fill to attract game. Possibly it will be stocked with fish and as the area of the surface expands, water sports may be practised. It will certainly enhance the beauty of this gorge.

The completion of this dam is a great achievement. Well may Norman as Camp Commissioner and until lately, Hylton Garriock as Deputy Camp Commissioner feel great satisfaction at this accomplishment. Lake Hylton will be an appropriate name! The name of the Gordon Park Crew should be recorded here. Every project which they have undertaken has been thouroughly and finally achieved. Much credit is due to them. The Crew restarted late in 1978 after Norman Scott became Camp Commissioner.

Below are the names of all those, past and present from 1978 on, who have become members:

M. Brown, R. Hofmeyer, I. Stone, M. Fulton, B. Fulton, H. Garriock, N. Palmer Jones, K.Savin, V. Brown, A. Savin, R. Forbes, P. hartley, S. Wilson, S. Miller Cranko, C. Yeatman, A. Blundell, G. Crisp, V. Davies, H. Mcneilage, G. Williams, G. Ross, B. Knight.

St Georges Chapel Our two faithful employees at the Park have given exceptional service. They carried on through difficult and dangerous years. unfortunately William Ndhlovu was killed in a road accident. He had given 28 years of service. Adam Moyo has completed 27 years. On one ocassion Adam fought, single handedly, a veld fire, and saved from extiction the buildings at H. Q.. He continues to make a valuable contribution working in the Park.

Parents and friends of Gordon Park continue to give generously and have lent most useful equipment without which projects could not have been undertaken and completed.

The Satff at Gordon Park have always been grateful to Provincial Commissioners and Provincial Scout Councils for their keen interest and financial help. The Fund Raising Committee, under the Chairmanship of Guy Miller Cranko has done good work. Guy is now Chairman of the Provincial Council. Andrew Lawson, a very competent Provincial Treasurer, also runs a Troop.

It is expected that approximately 400 Scouts will be in Camp at the time of the Annivessary Celebrations. This evidence of the support for f unctions at Gordon Park of all Uniform Members of the Province. David Phiri has done much to gain this much among African scouts.

It proves that too that Chuck Wilcox, who leads Scouting in the province has the enthusiasm and the will to promote camping in this splendid Park in the Matopos. Chuck and Aurielle are increasingly offering hospitality in their home to Overseas Visitors to the Park, thus smoothing for them their problems of arrival and departutre.

 

CONCLUSION

Courses

The Development of the Park is story of magnificent endeavour. Ever since Gordon Park was opened in February 1936 many people have striven to develop this "Our Park Heritage". Where some have left off, others have carried on. The work has been tackled zealously, strenuously and with dedication over the last 50 years.

There are many who have contributed but who have not been mentioned by name in this record. They "have given and have not counted the cost". They have "laboured and not asked for any reward". To all of them, those known whose work is recorded and those unknown to us we owe our consummate gratitude.

Towards the end of his life Baden-Powell wrote this inspiring message: "To bring about the rule of God on earth, a fundamental change of spirit, in the conduct of our lives is essential. The interests of self have to give way to the exercise of Love and consideration for others. This means, putting into practice, in our daily doings the simple creed given to us by Christ. Love God and love thy neighbour as thyself - "a creed which can be accepted by all Sons of the Creator".

How Baden-Powell would have appreciated the fervour in the "Advancement of the Cause" at Gordon Park. It has been in the giving of Self, unreservedly and relentlessly, that the finest characteristics have been developed. Such training starts with Cub Scout thinking of others before himself - and is progressively developed in Scouts and Crew. Their mottoes "Do your Best", "Be Prapared", "Service" are indeed stirring exhortations.
These have been the splendid aims of Scouting.

 

DISTINGUISHED VISITORS TO GORDON PARK

Cubs

Mention has already been made of visits of Colonel Grenville Walton - Imperial Headquarters' Commissioner for Overseas Scouts on 16th February 1936.

Lord Baden-Powell, after his visit to the South African Jamboree at East London.

In 1950 Lord Rowallan, Chief Scout of the Commonwealth. He was attended by John Rapley, Imperial Headquarters' Commissioner. April 959. Lord Rowallan, after his attendance at the Central African Jamborally at Ruwa on the occassion of Rhodesian Scoutings' 50th Anniversary.

On 20th May 1962 - Sir Charles Mclean, Chief Scout of the Commonwealth.

4th March 1963 - Lady Baden-Powell and her daughter, Betty Clay.

April 1964 - Training of the Team Course. John Thurman - Director of Leader Training, Gilwell.

August 1984 - The Hon. Betty Clay, younger daughter of B-P and also William (Green Bar Bill) Hillcourt, co-author with Lady Baden-Powell of "Two Lives of a Hero" and author of the official U. S. A. Scout handbooks. On the ocassional guests of honour at Zimfari when Scouting celebrated its 75th Annivessary.

Important guests were accompanied by Norman Shillingford (Colony Commissioner) and Arnold Carnegie (Provincial Scout Council Chairman) during their periods of office.

All visitors were soundly impressed and expressed great pleasure at having the opportunity of visiting the Park. Lady Baden-Powell recorded that Gordon Park radiated the Spirit of Scouting.

 

TRAINING COURSES AT GORDON PARK

The first practical Scout Leaders Wood Badge Course was run at gordon Park in June 1946. This course was led by Skipper Knapman; Major H. B. Blowers, the present Sergeant-at-arms in Parliament, and G. E. Stephens assisted.

A Scout Wood badge Practical Course 13th-21st May 1960.

1st cub Scout Leaders` Practical Course 22nd-27 April 1957.

2nd Cub scout Leaders` course may 1960.

Preliminary and Basic courses for both Scout Leaders and Cub Scout Leaders in preparation for Advanced Practical Courses were organised rather frequently.

Stables
Advanced Practical Courses were run wherever numbers of applicants were sufficient to warrant Courses. This occurred roughly every 4 or 5 years. Courses were run at this frequency for each of the sections and were well supported. Jack Carlisle is a member of the Matabeleland Training Team organised with efficiency and expertise Skills Courses for Scout Leaders, Boy Courses included Training for Pioneering, Camp Badge, Mountain Rescue, Bushman`s Thong, Backwoods Badge, 1st and 2nd Class forestry, Camp Cooking and First Aid Training was done for the then King`s and Queen Scout Badges and the present Sable Award. The Assegai Competition is organised annually and enthusiasm continues, primarily because of the contribution it requires from Training of the Boy.




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Acknowledgements:-Author : Naomi Connolly
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