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Governor Resigns as Chief Scout

The Governor of Queensland, Sir Leslie Orne Wilson resigned as Chief Scout of The Boy Scouts Association, Queensland Branch in 1942. Sir Leslie, an enthusiastic supporter of the Scouts, had been Chief Scout since 1932 but by the early 1940s his relations with The Boy Scouts Association was severely strained by its attempts to control the Scout Movement.

In their visits The Boy Scouts Association Imperial H.Q. Commissioners Sir Alfred Pickford and Lt. Col. Granville Walton and Baden-Powell, in visits in 1931 and 1934, had encouraged the branches of The Boy ScoUts Association to seek complete control of the Scout Movement including by obtaining statutory monopolies from the governments. In 1934 Scout Groups registered with The Boy Scouts Association were incensed by changes to its constitution which removed elected local representatives from its State Council. In 1934 The Boy Scouts Association attempted to gain control of Scout Groups' properties by insisting that the properties be registered in The Boy Scouts Association's name. Many Scout Groups resisted these efforts but The Boy Scouts Association used the circumstance of the war from 1939 to further cenralize its control.

Sir Leslie knew Benjamin Gilmore Patterson of the Mount Morgan Scouts. Patterson had been in the militia unit - the Sydney University Scouts (now Sydney University Regiment) Between 1900 and 1904. The first Boy Scouts in Mount Morgan formed on 23 November, 1908 with Patterson as the leader. In 1910 Patterson's Scouts registered as the 1st Mount Morgan Company with the Boys' Brigade which had run Scouts since 1906. Later the Mount Morgan Scouts also affiliated with the League of Boy Scouts, Queensland which became the League of Baden-Powell Boy Scouts when it affiliated with Baden-Powell Boy Scouts (as The Boy Scouts Association was then known). The League merged with The Boy Scouts Association in 1926. The Mount Morgan Scouts' dual affiliation continued until 1927 when the Boys' Brigade discontinued its Scout Scheme. Patterson had become a District Commissioner of The Boy Scouts Association and, in 1921, had been the second Queensland recipient of its highest award - the Silver Wolf. In 1924 his efforts with the Mount MOrgan Scouts were praised in the Commonwealth Parliament. Despite the long association, in 1939 Patterson disaffiliated from The Boy Scouts Association over the increasing centralization of tis control.

The Governor was aware of these problems and the Mount Morgan Scouts' disaffiliation. Despite his calls for reform and threats to resign as Chief Scout, The Boy Scouts Association did not back off from its centralization.

The Mount Morgan Scouts continued independently until 1957 - two years after Patterson's death. They maintained their B.B. (Boys' Brigade) heritage as the "Blue" Boy Scouts, wearing blue uniforms.

In 1975 The Scout Association suceeded in its desire for complete control over Scout groups with The Scout Association of Australia Queensland Branch Act (Qld)(No. 24 of 1975) which forcibly vested Scout group's property in the Scout Association's Queensland branch

© 1996 Research by Keith Young, Archivist, Boys' Brigade Queensland & Robert Campbell, Scouts of Australia