Monday, 24 July 2017

III Australian Pan Pacific Scout Jamboree 1948/49

On a rainy day on December 28th, 1948, the Pan Pacific Jamboree began, 30 km from Melbourne at Wonga Park.
11,000 scouts gathered for the twelve-day camp, representing over 20 countries.  Amongst them were a contingent of 30 Lithuanian scouts who hadn’t been in Australia for more than a year. 
Borisas Dainutis leader of Lithuanian scouts in Australia, had kept in touch with scouts and guides by correspondence since arriving in Australia.   It was the first time many of them had seen each other since they left Europe.    Special permission was granted to the Lithuanian contingent to participate as a separate unit.  Vytas Neverauskas who later settled in Adelaide, acted as contingent leader.

The Lithuanian camp at the Jamboree was described as ‘one of the finest’.  The gateway, decorated with gum tree sprays held a carved name plate with the word ‘Lietuva’ and a sun symbol.  Inside the camp two flag poles were erected, flying the Lithuanian and Australian flags.  A wooden cross housing a carved ‘Rupintojėlis’ (Pensive Christ) was carved by Jonas Urbonas, who was working in South Australia.  Close to the flag poles, red bricks pieces, small stones and sea shells were styled into a Vytis. 
In the scout tradition, each scout made their own bed from wood and rope.  An altar was constructed as were benches, crockery stand, shoe rack and towel rail.  A scout table was dug around which all meals were taken. 

One tent was set aside to display traditional Lithuanian folk craft, symbols, dolls in traditional dresses and amber.  Also included was literature about Lithuania, scout literature, Lithuanian money and postage stamps.  This was organised by Vytas Neverauskas, and received between 2-3000 visitors per day.
Dainutis presented a doll dressed in Lithuanian national costume to Australia’s governor General, His Excellency Mr W.J McKell at the official opening of the Jamboree.

In the evenings the Lithuanian camp came alive with singing, dancing and skits performed around a camp fire.  Jonas Mockunas and Algis Grigonis played the accordion. 
The camp ended on January 9th, 1949.