Built at the back of the Russell Town Hall in 1932 for the Russell Guides and Brownies Association, the Russell Scout Hall, as it was known in our community, served as the Sea Scout, Scout, Brownies and Cub Den, for many years. Interest waned, the hall fell into disrepair and the Russell Community Board eventually pulled it down in 1984. During its “active years” the Scout Hall was regularly filled with Russell youngsters keen to learn valuable practical and social skills from early community leaders such as Marie King, Captain Blomfield and Miss Holt, to name a few. Under supervision our youngsters learned skills such as team work and self reliance, boat building, sailing theory and knots, dancing, singing and public speaking. Some lessons, however, were learned in the school of life, according to Scout Ron Brooker.
“I remember once we had a Scout camp ‘cause it was a combined camp over at Waitangi and one dreadful incident that frightened a lot of people. It happened in one of the Kawakawa tents. We had candles, everybody had candles and we also had sheath knives and one of the boys, the Kawakawa boys did a silly thing, it was time to have lights out and instead of getting up and blowing the candle out he got his sheath knife and threw the knife at the candle. It missed the candle and stabbed one of his mates in the forehead. There was a knife sticking in his head. Right up in the forehead there. I can’t remember what happened after that. It was pretty scary. Blood all over the place and a bit of a panic and just about finished the camp for the rest of the week.”