In September 1955 the Halswell Improvement Society was instrumental in setting up the first Scout Group in Halswell. Canterbury Area and Manuka District members of the Scout Association were invited to attend the September meeting of the Society to discuss arrangements for the new Scout Group. At this time Miss Valerie Hardy later to be Mrs White was appointed Cub Leader ( resigned 15th April 1958.)
The First Halswell Scout Group Committee meeting was held 4th October 1955, with F Knipe chairman, J Pethig, R Longbottom, A Blanch. L Pike, J Molloy were absent and I Copper also attended the meeting. Other committee members were I Pike, B Mulholland, R.H. Hamilton, Dimmock
At a November 7th 1955 committee meeting, an application was submitted to Scout HQ for the registration of a Scarf in the local colours of Red Diamond on a black body with gold binding. Three months later, at a committee meeting on the 20th February 1956 the Scarf colours of Black with red and gold boarders were adopted as proposed by Scout HQ.
With a donation from the Improvement Society of £10.00, Miss Hardy was able to plan for the first Cub Pack meeting to take place on the 19th November 1955. Cub meetings were to be held Saturday Mornings at 10am. Six Cubs started the Pack they were; David Pike, Michael Dimmock, Russell Noble, Gavin Pike, David Longbottom And Jonny Dale.
A Memory from Mrs V White (nee: Hardy) 1st Cub Leader;
” I remember taking the boys frogging, We had to go a cross private land to a pond at the base of the Hills.“
In the early days the Halswell Domain Pavilion (now where the Halswell Rugby League Club Rooms are built) was used as a Scout Den, but when Winter came (no power) the venue was changed to the Halswell Hall. This was only a temporary home as by October 1956 plans were underway to enlarge the Pavilion and make it a permanent home for Cubs, Scouts, Brownies and Guides, who also shared it with the local Play Centre. In late 1957 the Pavilion was enlarged, and at the October Scout Group meeting a discussion was held to decide on how many lights and where, it was decided 2 lights and heater in main hall 1 light and heater in kitchen, 1 or 2 flood lights on outside of building.
From the Halswell Courier, a local Newspaper July 1956: Wolf Cubs. On 25th June six boys were invested into Wolf Cubs and since this date we were pleased to welcome Miss Doreen Hughes as an assistant to Akela, and also six new boys. Meetings were held at the Hall on Tuesday nights from 6pm to 7pm.
On June 8th an investiture was held at which ten boys were invested into the movement.
The enthusiasm for Scouting grew quickly, a driving force in starting the Troop was Ken Stillwel who co-owned the local General Store and Lew Hoyle who was the Halswell Quarry Manager for 33 years, was also on the Halswell School Committee for 28 years, and in April 1956 the first Scout Troop Meeting was held.
The Troop met on Friday nights. This Troop was formed from a group of boys who were being transported each week by Frank Knipe snr (who shortly became one of Halswell Group’s Scout Leaders ) and Bert Blanch to the Spreydon Scout Troop. The first Scout Master was Ronald Oliver Fraser, the first Scouts at Halswell were Frank Knipe jnr, Neil Pethig, (assistant Cub Master April 1960-) Evan Blanch, Kevin Brown, Noel & Phillip Hann, Terry Brosnahan and Reford Hoyle, later a Leader 1968-1969.
From the early beginnings to the present day, the Halswell scouting movement is still providing our youth with confidence, experiences, friendships, self-esteem and perhaps most importantly, a place for them to belong.