Tuesday, 3 July 2012

First Lithuanian scout camp in SA

From 27 December 1954 through to the new year, Lithuanian scouts and guides gathered for their first camp in the State. On the morning of December 27th about 25 scouts and 23 guides boarded a specially hired bus from St Joseph’s church in the city to make their journey to the camp site at Lobethal in the Adelaide hills.  Thirteen tents were erected, with a wooden cross in between.  A kitchen, a dug in table that was decorated with a tower and cross with “rupintojelis’ in the middle.  Across the small creek the scouts build some steps to a site where the fire was built. 

Early the next morning the scouts arose for exercise which was followed by a quick tidy of their uniforms and tents before inspection.  Following this all marched to the cross for the flag raising where the scout prayer was said and the Lithuanian and Australian anthem sung.   After a hearty breakfast the days activities began. Sport, scout games, and camp improvements . After lunch followed some free time, then more activities.  As evening settled in the flag was lowered, a prayer said and the hymn ‘Marija Marija’ sung.  Once dark a fire was lit where campers would sing, perform skits or other performances.  The evening ended at 10:00pm and, only those on night duty were allowed to wander. 

Special guest, Mr E.W Dearman, the Country Fire Service area commander came to speak to the scouts.  He spoke of bush fires, how they occur, and how to avoid them. He lent the camp several fire extinguishers which was kept  outside the kitchen or by the campfire, or sometime used by the scouts for water fights.   Other speakers included P. Jasevičius spoke of the phenomena of folk meteorology.  Mrs Pacevičius spoke to the girls on hygiene and Stasiškienė taught the girls weaving, while some of the boys tried their hand at shooting a small calibre gun.

The camp was visited by distinguished ‘aunts and uncles”.  One evening Pulgis Andriušis visited and demonstrated how he could light a fire with one match.  He then spoke of his childhood.  Pakalnis sang  a moving ballad about the devil who tried unsuccessfully to build a bridge across the river Nemunas. Australian scouts leaders also paid visits, Mrs Trimble, Miss M Sullivan (SA District Commissioner) and Miss May Douglas (State Commissioner) and Mr W.R Thompson (Adelaide Commissioner).
Miss Douglas wrote a message to the scouts;

It is a great pleasure to see a such a good camp, particularly in conditions which are new to you all.  Congratulations on it all, good layout and most of all the evidence of real Scouting and Guiding spirit.

On another day the campers marched into Lobethal where they viewed the country town, then set about tidying up the war memorial and even sang a few songs to the hospital patients.

No comments: