The Baden Powell Hotel isn’t just accommodation near the MCG or a beer garden and pub in Collingwood that serves all of your favourite drinks and a ripper parma, it’s also named after the esteemed Lord Robert Baden-Powell.
Born in England in 1857, Powell was an adventurous young lad, and spent most of his childhood undertaking open-air pursuits, hunting in the woods and accompanying his brothers on their land and sea expeditions.
The skills he gained from spending a prosperous childhood outdoors, along with his sharp mind, scored him a scholarship in the British Army.
It was during this time that he started to test his theories on scouting by teaching his fellow soldiers how to develop experience in stalking and fending for themselves in the great outdoors. These teachings allowed the other soldiers to become more observant and resourceful, which proved advantageous to active soldiers.
His knowledge in these areas was so advanced; he published a book on them, Aids to Scouting, which would become a textbook of choice for years to come.
However, it wasn’t until the Boer War that he rose to prominence. He was commended for the leadership skills he exhibited when he led the defending force in the siege of the South African town, Mafeking. In 1899, he returned home victorious and was hailed a hero for his commendable service to the British Army.
The Beginning of the Scout’s Movement
After receiving much encouragement from his peers, Powell, now a decorated war hero and general, set about applying his scouting knowledge to the teaching of young boys.
The first scout camp was held on Brownsea Island off the Dorset Coast in the UK in 1907, and was considered a huge success. This camp, which involved 20 young boys, is now widely recognised as the beginning of the scout’s worldwide movement.
This led to the publication of his second book, Scouting for Boys, which was released in fortnightly instalments, the first of which came out on January 15, 1908. Each issue sold out as soon as it hit the newsstand, with the series cementing itself as the fourth best-selling book of the 20th century, beaten only by the Bible, the Koran and Mao’s Little Red Book.
Two years after the final instalment of his book was released, Powell retired form the army and dedicated himself to the new scout’s movement.
This scouting movement is now coordinated by the World Organisation of the Scout Movement (WOSM) from its headquarters in Geneva Switzerland, and boasts a membership of over 28 million.
Lord Robert Baden-Powell died at 83 years of age on January 8 1941.
It’s with great pride that our popular pub in the heart of Collingwood is named after such an esteemed individual.