A excerpt from the Grenfell Record October 1947 – A visit by Lady Baden-Powell

A Visit from Lady Baden-Powell

From the Grenfell Record, October 1947:

In extending a civic welcome to Lady Baden-Powell on Saturday last the Mayor said “It is with extreme pleasure that we, citizens of Grenfell and surrounding districts, are assembled here today to extend to your Ladyship, as Chief World Guide, a civic welcome to the town of Grenfell, and we trust that your stay, although of very short duration, will be one of utmost pleasure to you,

“We feel that we are very highly honored by your presence among us, because we realise somewhat the distances to be travelled to accomplish such visitations as this. Some of the older members of this gathering no doubt remember the time, almost half a century ago, when the late Sir Robert Baden-Powell was acclaimed Britain's Hero. The event that I refer to was the siege of Mafeking from October, 1899, to May, 1900, the late Sir Robert Baden-Powell being in command of the defending forces, and for which he was promoted to, the rank of Lieut. General for the amazing part that he played in that defence. In the year 1908 he founded the Boy Scout Movement, his chief objective to help boys of what ever class to become good all round men, to give them character, and to make them capable of looking after themselves in whatever circumstances they are placed. Later, in order that girls might also participate in the movement, the Girl Guides were formed. Here before us we have in the Scouts and Guides a living memorial built with the foundation stone so firmly laid on that occasion by your late illustrious husband. We are grateful that you have been spared and granted the inclination to carry on his great work,

“Personally, I feel that the teachings of the Scout and Guide Movement is more needed than ever in this world of suspicion, class hatred, and strife, and we sincerely hope that your present visit to this fair Commonwealth of ours will result in the expansion of the movement throughout the country. We, in Grenfell, have been especially favoured in having Mr Gordon Procter, now District Commissioner for Scouting, and his good wife, Mrs Olive Procter, District Commissioner for the Guide Movement. Were it not for the enthusiasm shown by these two persons in particular over a long period of years, I feel that the Scout and Guide Movement would not be what it is in Grenfell today,

“I have great pleasure in extending to your Ladyship a most cordial welcome, being particularly pleased that your visit has coincided with the glorious season we are enjoying and the prospects of a bountiful harvest that may, in some small measure, help to relieve the food shortage in our Mother Country, and would ask that you convey to them on your return home our sincere wishes that long peace will reign through out the world once more,

“To our distinguished visitor, Lady Baden-Powell, we feel greatly honored at having the Chief of the Guide Movement with us today, and I would like to say to you, Lady Baden-Powell, that it is very good of you while doing a tour of different countries of the world, to give time to Grenfell to see how the Guide movement is doing in this area. I look on the Scout and Guide Movement as a great asset to any town because it is where we expect to find men and women who will handle the affairs of this country in their day and generation,

“And Lady Baden-Powell, I would like to assure you that as leader of the Guide Movement, in Grenfell you have a very fine leader in Mrs Procter, a woman that can mix with the girls as a Guide, and still be a commander, a woman that gives of her best at all times to the training of young people. And I guess that it must hearten you greatly after coming to us from the other side of the world to find this outpost so well led by the leader of your Guides in this part,

“The Scouts and Guides have done a great job in this part by collecting money for a new hall, but progress is slowed down by the shortage of material, in extending this welcome to you today I would like to say that the Scouts and Guides of this district were a wonderful asset to this community during the war period, if the call was made, reading matter for the troops or clothes for those in need, and people were prepared to give, the Scouts and Guides under the leadership of Mr and Mrs Procter collected untold numbers of books and parcels of clothing which, were packed and sent to those needing them. That was a work worthwhile, and the citizens of Grenfell are proud to have you with us today as Chief of the Guide Movement, and it will strengthen the work here, and we hope that your stay with us will be chappy, and we assure you that the people of this town and district are in full sympathy with the Guide Movement, of which you are the chief.”

Lady Baden-Powell, who was received by a great round of applause, said:

“I have come miles to see you, and it is lovely to meet you all, and to have seen the beauty of this part of your Australia and I am very thankful for your kindly and friendly welcome, it is very good of you all to come out from your homes in the town, the surrounding country, and from other towns to give me this very warm welcome, I do so much appreciate that, and also to see so many Scouts, Guides, Brownies and Cubs present looking so smart. I am overjoyed to hear those words of commendation from the Mayor and Shire President regarding the work of Mr and Mrs Procter for the Guide Movement, and regarding also the work of the Guides during war time and in times of peace. I will be speaking to you all later and will now just briefly again express my warm appreciation of all that has been done towards making my visit here such a happy one.”

The luncheon: Well over two hundred sat down to a beautiful luncheon at the Parish Hall provided by the Hospital Women's Auxiliary, at which Mrs G Procter (District Commissioner) presided. Grace was said by Padre MacLachlan of Canowindra. The toast of 'The King' having been honored, Mrs Procter tendered, on behalf of all the Commissioners, a welcome to Lady Baden-Powell, stating how thrilled and delighted they were to at last meet the World Chief Guide and how grateful they were to their distinguished visitor for including Grenfell in her tour of NSW, they were happy to have her and hoped she was happy with them and that she would take away happy memories of her stay among them.

Setting of Foundation Stone of Scout Hall: Waiting patiently at the Scouts Hall site, like members of a good Scout family, were a large number of young people being entertained by the Salvation Army Band, and the welcome they gave the World Chief Guide was indeed a warm one.

Followed by a prayer of dedication by Padre MacLachlan, Lady Baden-Powell carefully set the stone and declared it well and truly laid. Presentations were made of a silver trowel, suitably inscribed by Pam Thomas, of a book of Lawson's poems by Pam O'Loughlin.  Greetings were offered by representatives of the Brownies, Scouts and Guides and from 1st class Scout Quentin Graham.

In acknowledging the gifts, Lady Baden-Powell said she was delighted to be with them in that beautiful part of their lovely State, she had come a long way to see them and was pleased she had at last been able to come to them, and regretted very much that she could not stay longer, but she would have time to say thank you and well done for all you have already achieved, she was delighted to see them turn out so smartly with quite a number of badges, which showed they were climbing up the pathway of Scouting and Guiding.

Lady Baden-Powell said she brought them all a special message from countless thousands of numbers of Scouts and Guides she had seen in other parts of the world, they were just part of the great empire of Scouts and Guides whom she had visited in Africa, Europe, America, the Islands, Malta, Ceylon, and elsewhere all over the world, who were all playing the game with them, sharing with them, and giving of their best like they were. She thanked them for all they had done in Grenfell and for the people of the little Island at Home. All over the world the great work was going on, and she would leave them with a message to carry on, getting stronger, and playing their beautiful part for the youth and well-being of their country. She was delighted to lay the foundation stone of their hall and hoped their children and their children's children would use it. Specially would she thank Mr and Mrs Procter for the grand work they had done, and their members and the Scouts and Guides Committees, and the public. The trowel would always remind her of that wonderful day, and the book of poems, by their own poet, would also be cherished. They had a great tradition in Grenfell, which had been set out by Henry Lawson, who had honored the pioneers as they should always strive to do, and whose lives should also be an inspiration to them. The National Anthem was rendered by the Salvation Army Band and as Lady Baden-Powell left for Canberra 'The Maori's Farewell' was sung. Mr Procter thanked the Salvation Army Band for attending the ceremony and all who had assisted to make the day such a happy one. The visiting Scouts then went to Lawson Park where games were played.