World Jamborees: 1987 Report

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1987/8 - 16th World Jamboree, Cataract Scout Park, Sydney, Australia

30 Dec 1987 to 7 Jan 1988 / Participants 14 434 / Countries 84 / South Africans 176

Australian Adventure (The pre Jamboree tour)

Report by Scout Russell McBurnie of 1st Camps Bay

Jamboree Badge
SA Jamboree Badge

On Monday, 30th November 1987, the great day dawned - forty six Scouts from Cape Western Area left to attend the 16th World Jamboree. On our arrival in Johannesburg we were taken to Gilwell Training Grounds in Florida for the shakedown camp, where we were joined by the rest of the South African Contingent numbering 176 Scouts and Scouters in total. We were split up into four Troops and after a boring few days at the shakedown camp, two Troops left on Wednesday for Harare where we stayed overnight at the Holiday Inn. The other two Troops flew up the following day and after meeting up with them at Harare Airport, we all left for the long flight over the great seas to Perth where we refuelled, and left once again for the short flight over the island of Australia.

At 20h00 on Friday, 4th December (11h00 there) we touched down in Sydney and after proceeding through customs, were driven by coach to Pennant Hills Scout Camp. The coach drivers took us for a tour of Sydney on the way there, which we didn't enjoy too much, as we were tired of sitting and were exhausted.

The next morning (the first of 42) we woke up at 06h00 and by 08h00 we were on our way to Sydney for a day's sightseeing. We spent two hours on a harbour cruise which we enjoyed. We saw the Harbour Bridge, scores of yachts, super tankers, navy craft and lots of little boats that zoomed all over the harbour area. After lunch we visited the famous Sydney Opera House which was spectacular, and other parts of Sydney.

The following day we embarked on the first leg of our tour when we drove to Canberra, Australia's national capital.

We were entertained at a Garden Party given by the South African Ambassador. His house is built in the Cape Dutch style and we discovered that all the Embassies in Canberra are constructed in a style that depicts that country.

From Canberra we drove to the Snowy Mountains and over the Great Dividing Range which has many winter skiing resorts, lakes and beautiful scenery.

SA Contingent attending the Garden Party given by the South African Ambassador

We then made our way back up the coast to Sydney where we spent a couple of days. We were able to explore the city on foot and visited some of their lovely beaches. Once again the South African Contingent was split into two and we left on our "long" tour, one group travelling inland and one group along the coastal route.

We drove up the Pacific Highway to Port MacQuarie, a major resort, and then to Coffs Harbour where we visited the "big banana". After going over the State Line into Queensland, we spent a day at Dreamworld, which is Australia's version of Disneyland. This visit was slotted in to replace the whitewater rafting, cancelled because the river dried up!

The next day we went to Bundaberg, where we had an interesting tour of the rum factory. From there we went to Yeppon and after overnighting at Emu Park, a beautiful beachside camp, we boarded the G.K. Flagship which took us to Great Keppel Island and for a tour of the neighbouring islands. We had a chance to try boom-net riding, which was exciting and which cooled us down. After spending another night at Emu Park our coaches left early for Long Island, 500 km away. The following day we went by boat to South Molle Island Resort for the day, and on our return to Long Island, met up with the other two South African Troops. We journeyed to Rockhampton, where we had our first taste of home hosting, i.e. staying with an Australian Family. Near Rockhampton is the Tropic of Capricorn which we visited. We were interested to see Johannesburg on its toposcope.

We returned to Emu Park, from where we boarded a luxury catamaran called the "Capricorn Reefseeker" which took us to the outer Barrier Reef. Although the sea behind the reef was calm, it was choppy when we reached the open sea and some of us got sea-sick. We moored next to a platform which was anchored on the reef. A platform was lowered from the back of the catamaran, and we were able to snorkel and swim from here. The crew launched a submersible glass bottomed boat, from which we saw the world's most fantastic coral formations. It was a fantastic experience seeing the shoals of brightly-coloured fish swimming in and out of the coral, of which there are more than 300 varieties.

We sadly returned to the mainland where we drove along the inland route to Brisbane for Christmas and Boxing Day, when we once again enjoyed home hosting.

From Brisbane we went to Toowoomba and on to the Warrumbungles National Park. This was a beautiful park with forested mountain peaks and deep valleys inhabited by Kangaroos, Koalas, Wombats and all the other kinds of Australian fauna. We were able to go for a hike here, which everyone enjoyed.

The following day we went to Bathurst and then drove via the Blue Mountains to Sydney, and then on to Cataract Scout Park for the long awaited Jamboree. Although we enjoyed our tour, after 20 days in the coach, it was great to be in the open for the whole day.

Exciting Jamboree Days (The Jamboree)

Jamboree site

Report by Scout Sean Ventris of 1st Camps Bay

On Wednesday, 30th December 1987, the whole South African Contingent arrived at the Jamboree site, Cataract Scout Park.

When we reached the Park it was still relatively empty as most contingents only arrived the following day. This gave us plenty of time to settle in, pitch our tents, erect the kitchen and dining shelters and work on our gateways. My Troop, "Letaba" was situated in Sub-camp 5 - which was called "Emu". By the next morning we had American, Canadian and German Scouts camping all around us.

Pongola Troop Gateway

On the evening of the 31st December the contingents from all the countries represented at the Jamboree, gathered in the arena for the Opening Ceremony. Rolf Harris was there to entertain us and the variety show that was staged was very good. Each country present paraded their flags on the stage and the Chief Scout of Australia gave an opening speech. To enable everyone to see what was happening, the events on the stage were filmed and simultaneously shown on two huge screens. At one minute to twelve the countdown to 1988 began - 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1- midnight and the Jamboree was officially opened. A wonderful firework display followed, and we all sang the Jamboree song "Bringing the World Together". Very little sleep was had that night as hours later Scouts of different nations were still shaking hands and saying "Happy New Year".

For the next nine days our time was taken up with badge swopping, Jamboree activities and meeting people from different countries. Badge swopping took up a large part of the time and we found that our hats and woggles, being made of Springbok skin, as well as our badges and shirts were in great demand. As the Jamboree progressed the scarcity value of these grew and after several days we were able to swop a piece of Springbok skin for an American Scout shirt complete with badges and their prestigious Order of the Arrow.

During each day we were free to participate in the many activity bases available. These included abseiling, archery, Bike Bungle, Challenge Valley, Guinness Book of Records, leatherwork, caving, water activities, orienteering, a water slide and computermatics. One of the most exciting bases was Bike Bungle. Here teams made up of Scouts from different countries, were given bicycle parts and a diagram of how to assemble it. When the timer sounded the team had to put the bicycle together and then ride it over a track, parts of which were up to half a metre deep in mud. Another exciting base was Challenge Valley.

SA Scouts at the Jamboree

This was basically a commando course where we had to catch a rope, swing over a water and mud hazard, scramble up a net, crawl through mud, squirm through a string of motor car tyres, cross a monkey bridge, do dead-man's crawl along a chain, and finally when we were covered in mud, drop down a tube of motor car tyres into a pool of water.

The Guinness Book of Records base was interesting. On the first day they set goals for doing different things, such as 'how many Scouts could squeeze into a car', 'how many Scouts could fit onto a particular rock' and then each day they tried to break the record set the previous day.

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and the nine days passed very quickly. The Jamboree ended with a show like we had at the opening and finally it closed when the flame, which was brought from Canada (the last Jamboree), was extinguished. The following morning the various contingents started leaving the Park, where representatives from most countries of the world had lived happily together for nine days. I am quite sure that all the Scouts who attended the Jamboree will never forget their experiences and that the memory of the happy time spent there will remain with them forever. I know I won't forget.

See Also