|A Visit from the Royal Gurkha Rifles|
There was a pack meeting to remember at 1st Hunter’s Hill Cub Scouts on Tuesday 19 May. 1st Boronia pack were there too for a night of knots and ropes, but what really made the evening different were the special guests, three Gurkha soldiers from Nepal.
This year has been a significant time for Hunter’s Hill Scout Group, as we celebrated our centenary. This year also marks the 200th year of service to the British Crown by the Gurkhas, so it was a perfect opportunity for our groups to come together to share resources and stories. Riflemen Ritesh, Surya and Rohit brought a feeling of warmth to the pack meeting, and the Cubs reciprocated with enthusiasm. Gurkhas are elite soldiers who have some similar values to Scouting: a physical and mental commitment to excellence, and though they tend to get the 'difficult' jobs they always remain warm and hospitable.
Gurkhas are part of the British Army and are recruited from the hill people of Nepal. They first encountered the British in the Gurkha War of 1814-1816, which ended not just in a stalemate, but with an abiding sense of mutual respect and admiration between the two sides. Thus began the 200-year relationship. Gurkhas have also served alongside Australian troops in every battlefield from Gallipoli to Afghanistan.
For the job at hand, though, it was important to keep the meeting moving. After opening parade it was brought to my attention that we have never had so many Cubs in the Hunter’s Hill hall at the same time. With wooden walls and ceiling, the excitement was deafening.
After a quick game of North, South, East, West, we started the challenges of the night, refreshing our memories of the reef knot, clove hitch and the bowline, the king of the knots. The Gurkhas rose to the challenge, as they are well acquainted with knots. I threw in an extra - the Kalmyk loop. This is popular around the Eurasian Steppes. It is tied with a bight at the end and unties with a simple tug at the free end.
After the knots refresher, our visitors and Cubs got down to business, constructing chariots with poles and ropes using the clove hitch. All were proud to show their results by walking around the hall with a Cub in the riding position.
An important segment of the night was to promote three Hunter’s Hill Cubs to Sixer and hand them their Cub Scout Leadership Course badge; ‘one, two, three Wolf’ was called by our Cubs, and rightly so. Moocooboolah District Cub Scouts attended the district leadership course on 16-17 May at Camp Windeyer, organised annually by Alison Small, Akela from 1st Putney. Again, ‘one, two, three Wolf’ was called.
Ritesh talked about the Kukri and how important it is to the Gurkha. The Kukri is a Nepalese knife with an inwardly curved blade. It is the basic utility knife of the Gurkhas.
The final activity of the evening was indoor ice hockey. The Gurkhas had never seen the game before, but they enjoyed it immensely.
As a final note, many thanks to Wawbeck, (Chris Hartley) without whom the entire activity would not have eventuated. Also thanks to 1st Boronia Pack and Leaders and two youth helpers who are participating in the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme, for sharing Scouting with us.
Steven Buchert, C.S.L. 1st Hunter’s Hill.