Gilwell Heritage - By Train & Trek Cart
By Train & Trek Cart
Next time you hop into your car and travel to Gilwell, spare a thought for the difficulties your predecessors faced. The journey became part of the adventure, which was camping at Gilwell.
In the 1920's the area around Gembrook was primarily used for logging and then farming. Gilwell Park campsite was the brainchild of Tom Russell whose family owned, logged and farmed the land. Its future was uncertain as at first the Scout Association was concerned that the only way into the campsite was an old logging track from Gembrook. But fortunately the adventurous character of those early Scouts prevailed.
Few people owned a car but by this time the narrow gauge Puffing Billy line from Ferntree Gully to Gembrook had been built to convey logs, produce and people back to the Melbourne markets. Eager Scouts would climb aboard with all their gear in a trek cart which was placed in the guards van. On arrival at Gembrook they would have to pull or push their trek cart the 6 kms downhill to Gilwell, no doubt singing all the way. All repeated at the end of the camp of course, but this time uphill!
"It all fitted in there yesterday" Gembrook Station
As time went by the track into Gilwell improved enough to allow better motorised access but still transport by car was not always possible. Some of you might remember piling the troop into the back of a local furniture van. Patrol boxes were used for seats but there were no safety belts! Now for large events Scouts arrive by the coachload, - what a difference.
Petersens's removal van
Travelling to Gilwell Park was once a considerable challenge with many of us breathing a sigh of relief when the last rut and pothole was safely negotiated. The journey might be easy now, but spare a thought for the good old days!