Hawequas Scout Adventure Centre

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A History of the Hawequas Scout Adventure Centre[edit]

An early picture before development

In the Beginning

Hawequas was acquired by the Scout movement in the Spring of 1986. It is situated just outside Wellington, nestled at the foot of the Hawequas Mountains and is in an area renowned for its scenic beauty. The farm has vast areas of fynbos, perennial streams, waterfalls, and is ideal for Scouting activities.

In front of the house, where the level playing field is today, there was a large herb garden. This was cleared, partially levelled and grass planted by Scout work parties.

Clearing the herb garden to create the playing field

One of the first big events held at Hawequas, was the Summer Camp of 1988 and this put Hawequas firmly 'on the map' for many Scouters once they had seen the campsite. The Handyman and Pioneer Badge courses were also put to good use in making basic on-site improvements.

The farm has over the years been fully utilised, and is the home for many Adult and Scout courses, PLTU, Competitions and Camping by all branches of the movement and before girls joined Scouting, Guide and Scout camps.

The changing face of Hawequas

There are far too many names to mention of those who have contributed to the farm's development. The following is a summary of people under whose stewardship the progress took place. In the early days due to the lack of funding it was limited to what the numerous volunteers could achieve.

Richard Goldschmidt was the first Chairman and piloted the initial development plan that consisted of major earthworks for the creation of level camping sites (today known as the terraces) and the main playing field. Eskom electricity was laid on and this allowed for the electrification of the buildings. Water was piped to the camp sites in the forest.

Dudley Allen was responsible for most of the initial building alterations that were carried out and this included the house that was upgraded, the flooring being replaced, rooms re-divided and bunk-beds built-in. Dudley also converted the old barn to include a bunk-house, showers, toilets and store rooms.

Cubs having fun at the Dam

Charles van der Spuy took over the reins of Chairman from Richard in September 1989, who together with the labourer Adam Lewis continued to make considerable improvements whilst maintaining the rustic and natural appeal.

Stuart Ravenscroft was the Chairman during most the nineties and early two thousand and with sponsorship from Mobil was able to expand on many of the 'nice to haves' like the dam, floodlights and tables & chairs.

Tess Pettiquin moved onto the farm on 1 October 1999 and was the on-site Warden for 14 years.

Andrew Purnell was the next Chairman and in addition to the Scouting needs, created a focus on Environmental Education programmes and ran a series of Junior Land Care youth camps for historically disadvantaged youth. The Strawbale house was one of his projects as a working example of the sustainable use of natural resources for Hawequas.

Andre Foot then took up the reins in 2010 and was able to secure substantial funding (Gordon Carr of South London Scout Centre, the Robert Hall Foundation, the Lombardi Trust Fund and the Abe Bailey Trust) and for the first time there were adequate funds for major improvements. This resulted in considerable infrastructure improvements and new developments.

Kuba Miszewski became the on-site Manger in December 2013 when Tess relocated to Paarl.

With a strong Scouting background, business acumen and with funds available for labour and enhancements, the transformation was remarkable.

In a bold move, the old pine forest, denuded by fires and regular use was converted into levelled campsites.

Today the Western Cape Scouting community can be rightly proud of their Hawequas.

Source: Various documents from the Western Cape Scout Heritage