Western Cape Scout Groups - Cape Town City Bowl
Please see Scout Groups in South Africa for a list of all the current Groups in the country
A History of Scout Groups in the Cape Town City Bowl
In the early days of Scouting there were a number of active Scout Groups in the Cape Town City Bowl precincts. Many of the groups moved several times, from one venue to the next as their premises became unavailable or they merged with other groups.
Some of them were linked to churches and although the demographics of the area did change, sadly it seems that in many cases the groups folded due to the lack of Adult Scouters.
In Scouting terms, the Cape Town District was known as Cape Western 3 or simply CW3, latter it merged with Sea Point and become part of CW1&2 and is currently (2019) known as the Atlantic District.
Within the Scouting hierarchy the leaders of the various Scout Groups report to a District Commissioner, and although there are a number of names missing, the writer has only been able to identify the following names; A Adamo (1946), Harry Hepworth (1948), Felix Pina (1956/7), Ed Rose (1957), Adolf Schmidt (1963), Norman Osburne (1975), Peter James-Smith (1975/6), Louis Fourie (1977), Donald Alexander (1982), C Felix (1986), Nick "Nasief"van der Poll (1986), he was also Scoutmaster at Wynstead for a long time, Liz Broadley and Peter Niddrie
The Scout Groups
The following list of the Groups, where they met and a short history of the Group is based on very limited documentation from the Scout Archives and contributions from Scouters. In general numbers were allocated in sequence to the groups as and when they were first formed. However, if a Group closed down, its number could at a later stage be re-issued, hence the same number can appear more than once.
1st Cape Town (St John's Hostel)
St John's Hostel was founded in 1918 as a refuge for Cape Town's homeless boys. It was situated in Oranjezicht and the boys did their own cooking, washing up and work around the hostel, they were all Scouts. A photo from as early as 1920 shows the scouts being 'usefully employed' making cane baskets. Not much on record, but there was also a Cub Pack in 1947. The Scouters were:- Group Scoutmaster Father A W McCay (1948), Scoutmaster 'Eagle' Fourie and Cubmaster Margaret Carvell
2nd Cape Town (St Barnabas) -
Records show that 2nd Cape Town was registered on 22 March 1915 and by 1936 they had 25 Wolf Cubs, 27 Scouts and 2 Rovers. Presumably they held their meetings at the St Barnabas church on the corner of Kloof Nek Road and Camp Street. A number of the boys came from the All Saints Home that seems to have been under the care of St Paul's church in Bree St. The Scouters were:- Group Scoutmaster EO W Berry (1936), Cubmasters JF Smith (1936) and Miss T Kettley (1950).
2nd Cape Town (YMCA) - There is also mention of there being a 2nd Cape Town Troop at the YMCA in Long Street, but little else is on record.
2nd Cape Town (Bo-Kaap) - St Paul's, Buitengracht Street, Schotschekloof. Pack Scouter, Mr Ebrahiem Isaacs.
3rd Cape Town - In 1933 the 3rd Cape Town was a Pack attached to the Jewish Orphanage. In 1955 a Brian Scott is mentioned as the 3rd's Scoutmaster , but this is most likely a reuse of the name.
4th Cape Town (Castle Garrison Troop) - These Scouts were the children of Army officers stationed at the Castle.
4th Cape Town (Metropolitan) - This Troop was active in the 1920's and 1930's and Harry Hepworth, who later became District Commissioner for the area was their Scoutmaster.
5th Cape Town (Nazareth House) - In 1916 this was an orphanage and in the true Scouting spirit, the troop was regularly helped, visited and invited to be included in other troops camps and activities.
5th Cape Town Sea Scouts (YMCA) - The designation 5th was used again and in 1936 records reveal that one of the boys was awarded his King Scout badge.
6th Cape Town (Trinity) - There is mention of there being a 6th Cape Town Troop at the Trinity Church.
7th Cape Town (1913 to 1978) - The 7th Cape Town (Gardens) Troop was started in August 1913 by Scoutmaster J L W Leish and they held their first meeting in a disused lumber room at the back of a house in Roodehek Street, Gardens. By the beginning of 1914 the troop numbered about 40 Scouts. They moved premises a number of times and in 1957 moved to the Homestead barn in Upper Orange. The group closed down in 1978.
8th Cape Town (Rosedale) - This was the first troop to be started at the SACS school when they were situated in the Gardens. It was founded on the 17th May 1915 with Mr J Hutcheon as their Scoutmaster. It was a large troop with many of the boys coming from the hostel. By October of that year, they had held their first camp at Lakeside. At some point it closed and was restarted 1946 as the 19th Cape Town (Rosedale) and in 1957 when the school moved to Claremont, they became 3rd Claremont.
8th Cape Town - Records show that in 1932 the Grimley Institute for the Deaf in Cape Town was running a Scout group. There is no documentation to indicate when the group started or closed down but at some time their Scoutmaster was Anthony Feintuch and Cubmaster Hazel Ras.
9th Cape Town Sea Scouts (1932 to 1979) - The 9th Cape Town Scouts were started at the Union Congregational Church hall in Kloof Street by H M Tucker in 1932, and the Cub pack in 1938 under Rene Hawes. A 9th CT Rover crew was started by Charles Boxall in 1946. Due to lack of adult scouters to run the Troop they merged with the 16th Cape Town in 1979.
10th Cape Town (St Georg's Grammar School) - They met in the St Georges Cathedral Hall where the Grammar School was on the same premises, before moving to Mowbray. Seems to have been active in 1958/60 and attached to the school. In 1947 the school had a Sea Scout troop, see 14th Cape Town below. Their Group Scoutmaster was the Rev Hubert Peacock and the Scoutmasters Michael Chappell (1958/9) and Rev John Charles Venus (1960)
11th Cape Town (Jewish) - Founded in April 1918 with 24 boys they initially met in the Hope Mill Hebrew Public School. (Hope Mill was at the top end of Government Avenue, one of five water mills in the area) and later in Roodehek Street in the Gardens. Their first camp was held in August 1918 the 'quarries' that later became St John's Hostel with the 2nd Cape Town (YMCA) troop.
The Cub pack was started in March 1922 with 24 boys and met at the Normal Collage School Hall (Teacher training). The Scoutmaster was F Levenberg and the Cubmaster M Cohen. Their first camp was in September 1922 at the Homestead and in later years became their meeting place. In 1962 it was recorded that the group had closed.
12th Cape Town (1932 to 1975) – Also known as the Devil's Peak Estate Troop, it was formed in 1932 by Bishop S W Lavis but seems to have closed around 1958. The group then restarted and met regularly at the Church of the Ascension Hall in Devils Peak. Unfortunately, the church placed unworkable restrictions on the group and they moved to merge with 20th Cape Town to become known as the 12/20th Cape Town.
13th Cape Town (St Michaels Hostel) - The only information to hand is from a 1946 logbook recording a December visit to the Pack. In 1952 the Cubmaster was Dona Slier.
14th Cape Town (Countess of Clarendon's own) Sea Scout Group - Started in August 1935, St George's Grammar School was home to the 14th Cape Town and it is recorded that on Sunday 16 February 1947 they 'camped' onboard the Commodore 11 in Cape Town harbour with Stork Twinie. The Pack Scouter in 1947 was Miss Kirkman.
16th Cape Town (St Mary's) (1936 to 1979) - The Scout troop was started in 1936 by an Austrian Scout in Chancery house Hatfield Street. The Cub Pack which was registered in 1945 held their meetings at the Catholic Institute in Hope St. In 1979 they merged with 9th Cape Town to become the 9/16th Cape Town and they moved to the Homestead Barn.
9/16th Cape Town (1979 to current) - The 9th/16th Cape Town Scout group was created in 1999 with the merger of the 9th Cape Town (which started in 1932) and 16th Cape Town (which started in 1936). They currently have grounds in Homestead Park, Upper Orange Street. Group Scoutmasters have been John Lowrie (1987) and Peter Foley; Scoutmasters Andre Hermans (1988) and Ryan Hultzer; Pack Scouters Jane Fawcett (1985) and Joy Merryweather
19th Cape Town (Rosedale) - Founded in 1946 the 19th Cape Town Troop was started by SACS teacher Mr Hepworth as Scoutmaster and assisted by Mr Trackman, who later became the Scoutmaster. The inaugural meeting had 32 Scouts and were very active taking part in the Rosebank Scout Rally and winning the Beginners Trophy at the annual Scout championships. The School was originally in the City before moving to Newlands. The SACS Group restarted in 1957 as 3rd Claremont.
20th Cape Town (1948 to 1975) – The group held their first meeting on the 27th January 1948 and the founding figures were Rev Douglas L Crawford (Scoutmaster) and Dr John B Hawkridge (Assistant Cub Master). As the demographics of the area changed in the early 1970's, so too did the number of boys of Scout going age start shrinking and on the 11 September 1975, they merged with 12th Cape Town and became known as the 12/20th Cape Town
12/20th Cape Town (1975 to 1977) - The 12th and the 20th Cape Town had a revival on the 11 September 1975 when they held their first merged meeting at the Gardens Presbyterian Church. Terry Coetzee and about 22 Scouts from the 12th Cape Town joined the 20th and they then became known as the 12/20th Cape Town. Unfortunately, within 6 months he was left with only 10 Scouts, leaving as they reached 18 and new recruits were far and few between. 7th and 16th were already covering the area. Parents felt that it was not safe to let the boys walk down from Vredehoek to the 20th hall. These were the days when the boys actually walked to Scouts. The number of boys of Scout going age was also shrinking in the Gardens.
By the middle of 1977 there were only had about 4 Scouts left and the decision was taken by Loius Fourie, DC for CW3 and also Headmaster at Vredehoek Primary, to close 12/20th and move the remaining Scouts to 7th or 16th Troops. Scouters during this period were:- Group Scoutmaster - J D Thompson (1975 1976), Scoutmaster - T Coetzee (1975 1977) and Pack Scouter Sylvia Simpson (1976).
1st Balfour - The only information to hand is that they were active in 1986, the Group Scoutmaster was Kevin Abrahams and Scoutmaster Stephen Pontes.
1st Robben Island - From the book 'The Island' it is written that " The Boy Scouts had the use of a disused building in 1947". They were still active in 1957 when Raymond Bower, a W.O. in the navy and part of the Marine Detachment on the Island, was the Scoutmaster and Abram Snoek the Cubmaster.
Prior to 1977 there were four separate divisions for Coloureds, Africans, Indians and Europeans. District Six fell under the Coloured Division but unfortunately the records for the Coloured division were lost in a fire and from the current archives only the following groups have been identified as active in the City bowl.
In the late 1930's various Coloured Scout Groups were established in Cape Town and the Southern Suburbs. They were well supported prior to the Apartheid Group Areas Act which forced them to relocate, causing many troops to disband.
Considerable difficulty was experienced in re-establishing them in new areas, and many Scouts were lost to the movement.
With the forced removals of people from District Six all the Scout groups in the area eventually closed down.
1st Cape Town Pathfinders (Silver Tree) - The first Coloured Troop was formed at the Silvertree Club for boys. They called themselves the 1st Cape Town Pathfinder Troop (Silver Tree) and were invested on the 16th September 1933 in the grounds of Hope Lodge School in Roeland Street.
The Pathfinders were under the instruction of Tyler and White. In 1936, John Brett, a teacher at Bishops High School, made his services available to the club. Under his guidance a Sea Scout troop started, which remained the only Coloured Sea Scout troop in the country for many years.
Interest in the club may have waned and by 1937 the Silvertree Club had ceased to exist, but by 1951 it had started up again. In 1956, Tommy Paries, a Sea Scout master became club leader
With the forced removals of people from District Six, attendance at the Silvertree Club declined and so too did Scouting.
2nd Cape Town Pathfinders (Marion Institute) - In 1937 Johannes Losper formed the Marion Institute Pathfinder troop in District 6. He was followed by Mr. Hugo and then James Gallant. Jack Allies was also involved in running both the 2nd and 3rd Cape Town (Marion Institute) Pathfinder groups.
In the late 1950's the 2nd Cape Town relocated to the Bloemhof Community Centre where Clement Felix was the troop scouter from 1960 to 1970.
Top Scout Awards
3rd Cape Town Pathfinders (Marion Institute) – This group, started on 5th July 1937, also ran from the Marion Institute in District Six. It provided the community with an important cultural centre that included a nursery school, sporting facilities and Scouts & Cubs.
Scouting at the Marion was started by Johannes Losper and followed by Mr. Hugo, James Gallant and Jack Allies.
As the people left District Six, attendance at the Marion declined and this led to the closing of the Group.
Top Scout Awards
|Van De Sandt||Vernon||1950||King|
4th Cape Town - The writer was unable to establish where this Group met nor any additional information other that with the Scouters, they had they produced four Springbok Scouts.
Top Scout Awards
Ismail Jacobs (1983), Mogamat Matthews (1986)
Faghrie Hendricks (1988)
Jasmin Kafforor (1984),
5th Cape Town Pathfinders (Lieberman Institute) - The Hyman Liberman Institute, commonly known as the Liberman, was situated in Muir Street which was in the heart of District Six. Built in 1934 it provided the community with an important cultural centre that included a nursery school, sporting facilities and Scouts & Clubs.
In 1940 Mr. Gallant established 5th Cape Town Pathfinder Troop (Liberman Institute) and Mr. Garoute the Cub section.
Well known Scouter Mr Winston Adams was a member of the 5th Cape Town Cub Pack having joined in 1949 as a 9 years old Cub.
With the forced removals the Institute was bulldozed in 1979 and ceased to exist in District 6.
6th Cape Town - They met at St John's Church on the corner of Long and Waterkant Street Cape Town. John Williams, later Group Scouter of Don Bosco for a long time, was a Cub, Scout and Scouter.
1st Walmer Estate - Sadly, once again no archive material but, the ex-Scouter Nasief van der Poel recalls: - We were sort of stuck on the hill quite close to the Holiday Inn. That was a magic group even had a very active rover crew. My main support there was the West family.
Nasief van der Poel and Bowers
Additional information from the Scout archives on the 7th, 9th, 16th and 20th groups provides an insight into Scouting in the area.
7th Cape Town (1913 to 1978)
The 7th Cape Town (Gardens) Troop was brought into existence by Scoutmaster J L W Leish on the 23 August 1913. The assistant Scoutmaster was W J Riches. It held its first meeting in a disused lumber room at the back of a house in Roodehek Street, Gardens and most of the members were from the defunct 1st Cape Town Troop.
The Troop registered the neckerchief as brown and the uniform consisted of a green shirt, blue shorts, black boots with regulation belt, hat and staff.
At the beginning of 1914 the troop numbered about 40 Scouts and a large loft was acquired above a motor garage in Orange Street. R Coker joined the Troop as Assistant scoutmaster. On the 30th April Capt. P F F White became Scoutmaster and Leish became Secretary of the Cape Town Local Association.
In September the troop had to leave the clubroom in Orange Street and were for a short while in Dorman street then on to a hall owned by Isaac & co.
Around 1957/8 they moved to the Homestead barn (corner Upper Orange and Sidmouth). They had their 50th anniversary in 1963 and a picture of BP hangs on the wall in Barn to commemorate the occasion. They closed down in about the middle of 1978.
Mrs M. L. E. White was the First Lady Cub Master in South Africa and established the first Wolf Cub Pack, 7th Cape Town (Gardens) in 1915. Cubing officially started World wide in 1916, thus this makes 7th Cape Town Cub Pack the oldest in the World. The Pack showed its all-round efficiency by winning the Edwards Shield in 1919, being the first year of Cub Competition.
In 1920 she took three Cubs to visit the 1920 Jamboree to represent Cubing in South Africa
Top Scout Award
Frank Botha (1953), M Cornofsky (1957), Henry Durrheim (1957), P van Hinsbergen (1975,1976) and L Fourie (1976)
J L W Leish (1914), P F F White (1915), F Levenberg (1930), Eric de Kock (1947), D Goslett (1950), G van Ketel (1962), Arthur Meridith (1972), Andrew Dotchin (1977) and Alan Thomas (1977)
Mrs M. L. E. White (1915), Mrs Ruth Reynart (1948), S Durrheim (1957), M Radclyffe (Mrs P van Hinsbergen (1976), Martin Studwell (1976) and S Yeowart (1977)
9th Cape Town Sea Scouts (1932 to 1979)
The 9th Cape Town Scouts registered to operate in the Union Congregational Church hall in Kloof Street under H M Tucker in 1932, and the Cub pack in 1938 under Rene de Villiers Hawes. A 9th CT Rover crew was started by Charles Boxall in 1946.
They moved premises twice then due to lack of adult scouters to run the Troop they merged with the 16th Cape Town in 1979.
Ex Scout Kassien Claasen Dekenah recalls: -
"I belonged to the 9th Scout and Sea Scout Group for a number of years and we also had a small room in a little disused radar tower at HMSAS UNITY adjacent to the Yacht Basin off the Duncan Dock. If memory serves me correctly, it was quite a large base and had a history of WW2 activity".
Ex Scout and Scouter Alan Cooke recalls: -
"I started my scouting life in 7th Cape Town and then joined 9th Cape Town. I eventually became assistant scoutmaster of 9th and also was one of the crew that took part in the first Cape to Rio yacht race. My scoutmaster in 9th was Skipper Robinson and Assistant before me was David Privett a wonderful man".
Top Scout Awards
|Rossouw||Eugene||1968||Chief Scout's Award|
M Brown (1941), C Robinson (1975/76), James Strathie (1984) and C Oliver (1994),
H M Tucker (1932), C Robinson, D Privett (ASM), A Cooke (ASM), F Brandon (1970), Carl Malherbe (1978), Neville Bennington (1978/79), M Bergman (1988) and Bevan Collins (1994)
Miss Rene de Villiers Hawes (1938), M Robinson (1955) and Mrs S Robinson (1976)
16th Cape Town (St Mary's) (1936 to 1979)
The 16th Cape Town was started in 1936 by an Austrian scout in Chancery house Hatfield Street. The Scout Hall was behind Cathedral Place which is next to St Marys Cathedral in the city exactly opposite the Houses of Parliament. The Hall was about 100 metres from the steps of the Houses of Parliament.
In the mid-1970s Dave Hitchman was the Scoutmaster and Andre Hermans his assist. Mrs Bernardi was the Akela and Ray Raad the assistant Pack scouter.
The 16th Cape Town (St.Mary's) Cub Pack was registered in 1945 run by M.E.Mansfield at the Catholic Institute 11 Hope St.
In the true spirt of Scouting and ignoring apartheid restrictions, the 16th Cape Town Troop had in the 1970's a number of boys from District 6 join up and eventually they had around 14 in the troop. But as the Government's forced removals proceeded, they slowly lost all the boys from District 6.
In 1979 they merged with 9th Cape Town to become the 9/16th Cape Town and they moved to the Homestead Barn.
Well-known names associated with 7th Cape Town and 16th Cape Town in the early years were Norman Osburn and Ed Rose. The current (2019) Group Scouter, Peter Foley, has been with 16th Cape Town, and now 9th/16th Cape Town for many years.
Ed Rose (1956), M Ward (1957), Rev Ernest Manasse (1960) and Peter Foley (1972 – 1979)
Gilbert Stanford (1957), Hennie Johannes Cloete, (1972) and Dave Hitchman (1977)
M.E.Mansfield (1945), Mrs H Rose (1952), Anita Wallendorf(1970) and Edith House (1974)
Top Scout Awards
|Nefdt||Leon||1977||Chief Scout's Award|
20th Cape Town (1948 to 1975)
According their Logbook the first meeting of the group took place in the hall of the Gardens Presbyterian Church on the 27th January 1948. The founding figures were Rev Douglas L Crawford (Scoutmaster) and Dr John B Hawkridge (Assistant Cub Master). There were eleven boys of whom four were of Scout age, but the numbers soon grew.
As a church-based Group they took part in a number of church parades, but within a year outdoor Scouting came to the fore with both the Cubs and Scouts improving their skills with camps, hikes and entering competitions. The Cubs entered the Edwards Shield competition and held a Camp in Llandudno. The Scouts held their first, of many, annual camps in January 1949 at Wit Els near Ceres. This campsite was at the time very popular with Scouts and they interacted with 1st Rosebank, 1st Epping and 1st Goodwood & Vasco learning many camping skills.
In the nineteen fifties and sixties 20th Cape Town had a very active Scout troop and to quote from their 1948 to 1961 detailed logbook for the year 1957, it is recorded that: -
We started off with our successful Summer Camp, took part in the Chief Scouts visit, Scout's own, Mossel Bay Jamborally, Jamboree farewell party, Searchlight Pageant, and a district camp on Robbin Island. Won the Roy Trophy (1957), took part in the Rayner Trophy and Gordons Shield (won it in 1960).
Being so close to Table Mountain, many an evening or Saturday afternoon was spent in Platteklip ravine playing wide games, cooking, test passing and camping. The Glen in Camps Bay was also very popular for Scouting activities. The logbook records that the 1961 annual camp at Wit Els was attended by 36 Scouts and 4 Scouters. At that time there were 43 boys in the troop.
As the demographics of the area changed in the early 1970's, so too did the number of boys of Scout going age start shrinking. In the Gardens area people no longer raised their families in flats and parents felt that it was not safe to let the kids walk down from Vredehoek to the 20th hall. These were the days when children actually walked to Scouts. Numbers slowly dwindled plus two other groups the 7th and 16th were already covering the area.
The 20th did however have a short revival on the 11 September 1975 when they held their first merged meeting at the Gardens Presbyterian Church. Terry Coetzee and about 22 Scouts from the 12th Cape Town joined them and they became known as the 12/20th Cape Town
Top Scout Awards
|Coomer||George A. R.||1960||Queen|
|Henry||Peter||1969||Chief Scout's Award|
Ernest Elmes (1952), Alan Schmidt (1957) and Snowden (Snowy) Beyers (1972)
Douglas L Crawford (1948), Louis Fourie (1953), Clive Millar (1957), Chris Berhardi (1965) and Aussie Raad (1973)
Mr S G Du Toit (1959), Mrs D Paton (1959), Iris Bernhardi (1963), Alan Schmidt (1971) and Miss C van der Westhuizen (1974)
Rover Scout Leader
Henry Dickson (1965)