Group Working Bee at Elliott Lodge

Friday Night

1st Hawthorn Scout Group organised a working bee on the 13-14th April, which was organised by our Group Leader, David. About half of the crew went up on the Friday night to warm up the Lodge and get a good nights sleep. We woke up bright and early on Saturday morning, ready to get started on our huge weekend of work. Some other members of the Crew joined us on Saturday morning, as well as our Scout Leader, Andrew.

The working bee made a sneaky start on Friday night as we cleaned out the Lodge’s pantry of a few more containers of sugar that some ants were really enjoying. We’ve made a note to purchase air-tight Tupperware containers for sugar storage!

Saturday Morning

We woke up to the sun rising gently over the new Mess Hall, with dew glistening in the morning light. After breakfast, we prepared ourselves for the day ahead, putting on our dirty clothing and chatted in the Lodge as we waited for the rest of our helpers to arrive.

We begun by cleaning off some tarpaulins that has gone to the Scout Jamboree at Tailem Bend, a camp that demonstrated the true meaning of “dusty”. The helpers who had gone were still suffering from PTSD like symptoms and mostly refused to help out with this task, but luckily there was plenty else to do!

The main reason for the working bee was to clear out two containers worth of gear and relocate it to the “new Q-Store. This meant that the shelving it was on had to be disassembled and whilst they were bring cleaned the deteriorating plastic shelving edges was disposed of by drilling out the rivets holding it on. The shelves were left out in the sun to dry and then assembled once more in the “new” Q-store under Elliott Lodge.

Measuring the height for the shelves

I say “new” because the original Scout Q-Store room under Elliott Lodge was later repurposed into a shower room and workshop, however the showers were no longer required after the construction of the new Toilet and Shower Block and the workshop was relocated into the maintenance shipping container. The room has not returned to its original function, however a washing and small storage area remains accessible to all users of the Lodge, so a secure cage has been installed to protect the Scout Group’s gear.

Small communal storage and washing area outside the cage

Initially, the wheelbarrows and trolleys were repaired, with all of them either getting their tyres pumped up, or fancy new airless tyres. This helped us with all our other jobs throughout the weekend and so was given a high priority.

Whilst this was going on, the patrol boxes and other scouting gear stored in the containers was moved to Elliott Lodge for closer inspection. We sorted the gear into piles of specific objects to create an up-to-date list of what gear we have. This has already assisted our Scout Leaders as they prepare for main camp, as they already know what gear needs replacing before the camp. We pulled aside any of the gear that was dirty and cleaned it, making sure to put a protective coating of oil on all the cast iron cooking pans before storing them once more on the shelving. Some of the gear had been left wet and had gone mouldy, or was otherwise damaged and this was all put into a pile for disposal.

Walking a camping battery down to the new Q-Store whilst the shelving units dry in the background

When we weren’t needed at the other tasks, we took to other smaller tasks, such as cleaning up the wood pile, by raking up a multitude of leaves that had blown into and around the pile. These were relocated into the mulch pile nearby. Additionally, we split some more wood and stacked it in the wood shed to dry.

We raked around the wood-pile to remove the build up of dead leaves

Just to prove just how productive we could be, we took a break mid afternoon to Squire Louise into our crew. We held the ceremony down on the parade ground and enjoyed taking a break from the work for a few minutes!

Louise, our new squire, posing with the crew’s sword

We took breaks for Lunch, Morning Tea, Afternoon Tea and Dinner, where we rehydrated and had some well earned breaks! The food was lovingly prepared by Erin and Bea, who had volunteered their time to help prepare meals over the weekend. I’m pleased to report that the food was delicious and everyone went to bed on a full stomach. The crew would like to personally thank them for their assistance and smiling faces over the course of the weekend.

Sunday Morning

After Breakfast, we got around to finishing up the tasks we had started but not yet finished the day before. This also involved shuffling equipment, such as all the cooking drums, between the containers, as one of the containers needed to be completely emptied so it could be relocated. Another small task was sweeping the gravel off of the hill down to Hyde Park and back into the gravel area around the Lodge.

Sweeping the road down to Hyde Park free of gravel

A handy reference-chart for the oven temperatures was created for the oven, as the gas oven in Elliott Lodge only has numbers denoting the temperature, which can then be converted into degrees celsius using our handy new chart, which utilised the values given in its manual. As this is taped to the door of the pantry, it’s unlikely to be lost and there’s no pages to search through, before finding the one you’re after!

Once we’d finished up relocating, sorting and cleaning all the scout gear, we then went looking for some good new campsite locations. The issue with the old campsites as there’s now too many large old trees around them for them to be safe for use. As such, we were looking at a safer area of the site, which currently has younger and smaller trees. We found several potential sites, which we will recommend to the property manager for his assessment. The sites which are approved will then be cleared and prepared as campsites.

A small drone being used to take photos of the new proposed campsite locations.

With all our tasks finally done, we packed up all our personal gear back into our cars and cleaned up Elliott Lodge itself. We gave the floor a vacuum, emptied all the bins, restocked the woodbox, closed the fire shutters and wiped down all surfaces in the kitchen and bathrooms. With that done we stopped for a quick group photo and said our farewells, before embarking on the trip back home.

Crew Photo at the Group Working Bee after squiring Louise