Tales From Our Heritage:

Scouts at the Brisbane R.N.A. Showgrounds Over The Years

As well as winning places in the fruit and vegetable display, Scouts Queensland is proudly represented at the 2022 R.N.A. Show as the flag bearers for the opening of the EkkaNITES program each evening. Scouting has been part of the R.N.A. Showgrounds and the Ekka for many occasions over the years including:

During the 1915 R.N.A. Exhibition, the 1st Wilston Troop staged a fully staffed field hospital, including Scouts demonstrating bandage-making equipment in relays. The Governor and State Chief Scout, Sir Hamilton-Goold-Adams and Lady-Goold-Adams were so impressed with this work, that Lady-Goold Adams presented a silk Union Jack to the Troop. This flag became the Lady-Goold Adams Colours (now on display in the Scouts Queensland Heritage Centre).

In 1931 a Monster Rally was held in the Showgrounds for the visit by our Founder and World Chief Scout Lord Robert Baden-Powell and Chief Guide Lady Baden-Powell, with more than 3,000 Scouts, Guides, Wolf Cubs and Brownies. The program included displays, a traditional rush-in of the Scouts and Guides, Roman chariot races, a Corroboree, and a night time living tableau of the history of Scouting and Guiding.

During the 1950s Scouting was represented at Marches in the Showgrounds as part of Youth Week.

In 1940, in place of the usual camping display at the Exhibition, a Scout workshop was staged where Scouts made crutches, walking sticks, bed rests, deck chairs, and hospital trays for wounded soldiers and sailors overseas. His Excellency the Governor and State Chief Scout, Sir Leslie Wilson, visited the workshop on the first day of the Show and autographed many trays and bed rests.

In 1947 as part of Scout Week, a Scouting Speedway show was staged at the Exhibition Ground. Scouting activities included cycle races and a march past followed by the Speedway program . A display of pioneering activities with various types of bridges, aerial towers,
breeches buoys and shelters around the main oval was enjoyed by the large audience at the Speedway.

Then again in 1952, Scouting returned to the Speedway held at the Exhibition Grounds with the crowd applauding the various Scout items with 700 Cubs, Scouts, Senior Scouts and Scouters marshalled on No. 2 oval and marched to their allotted position onto the Grandstand in readiness for the final march past and flag-raising ceremony. The various events held during the night were tent pitching, slow bike race, bicycle relay, chariot race, and torch relay.

In 1966, a Farewell Rally for Governor and State Chief Scout, Sir Henry Abel Smith and his wife, Lady May Abel Smith President of the Girl Guide Association, was held at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground with 8,000 members of both Associations in attendance. A message stick
was conveyed around the arena by a relay of Cub drawn chariots, invited Sir Henry and Lady May to inspect the activities by the Rangers, Guides, Brownies, Scouts and Cubs on the oval.

The Gang Show then sang “Will ye no come back again”. Sir Henry and Lady May then completed two circuits of the oval in their Land Rover receiving cheers then departed from this memorable farewell.


Again in 1985, a Farewell Rally was held for Governor and State Chief Scout, Sir James Ramsay, and Girl Guides State President Lady Ramsay at the R.N.A. Showgrounds. There are many more occasions where Scouting attends the R.N.A. Showgrounds and the Ekka, and many other Showgrounds around Queensland, and the public display of our program.


“The Adventure in Scouting continues”
Scouts Queensland Heritage Team