Four Wheel Driving - History
Victoria is the only State in Australia to have a four-wheel drive service unit servicing a wide variety of Scouting activities. New South Wales and Queensland have certainly looked at and considered copying our format.
The service unit has been involved with Rover Moots, Scouthikes, Armstrong 500, Mudbash, Hoadley Hides, Venturer Gathering, static displays and 4x4 driver training.
The idea begins
It all began in 1983 when three Rover friends (John, Mark and Ian) organised a four-wheel-drive trip to meet up with other Rovers doing an expedition hike from Walhalla along the Alpine Way to Mount Koscuisko. The three 4x4 drivers planned to rendezvous with the hikers at a food pick-up point some three weeks into their venture. On this particular weekend the three 4x4 drivers discussed the possibility of starting up a four-wheel drive social club for Rovers and Scouting leaders.
Some months later, on another four-wheel drive trip, the discussion came up again. Unfortunately that same weekend, Mark and his girlfriend Robyn were killed when their four-wheel drive rolled several times. Some months later, now early 1984, a group of Rovering friends went to the scene of the accident to place a plaque in the memory of their death. Again the subject of a four-wheel drive social club was discussed and it was suggested that this proposed club would run training courses in 4x4 techniques in the hope that other lives would not be tragically lost like Mark and Robyn's.
A few meetings were organised at the 1984 Mudbash, by a group of seven interested Rovers with the aim of advertising for members from other Rovers who had four-wheel-drive vehicles .
Hoadley Hide 1984 - 4x4 to the rescue
At Easter of 1984 some of the group of seven were involved in running a checkpoint at the Hoadley Hide, where it rained from Thursday night through to Saturday morning, making some of the tracks impassable to most vehicles. The group of seven were called upon by Hoadley Hide Management to use their four-wheel driving experience and equipment to gain access to a Venturer Overnight Camp (VOC), to remove the injured Venturers and allow the Hoadley management team to appraise the situation at the VOC as to whether it would be closed and evacuated.
After this task was successfully achieved the Hoadley team were asked if they felt there would be a role for a group of trained Scouting personnel working with their four-wheel drive vehicles as a co-ordinated service group for the betterment of this type of activity. Their answer was an overwhelming 'yes'. The group of seven included the idea of operating as a service unit to the Scout Association in their Charter of Aims.
At the end of June 1984 we held our first meeting of interested Rovers wanting to be members of the Victorian Scout 4x4 Service Unit. That was now 30 years ago and although some faces have changed the service unit still operates with the same aims, just higher standards.