A look back at the history of the Stan Bales Rover Service Award

Perhaps the least known Adult Recognition Award is the National Rover Service Award, known in N.S.W. as the Stan Bales Rover Service Award. This award recognises Rovers and non-Rovers alike who have made a major contribution to the Rover section and who have given at least five years of outstanding and consistent service.

The award was established by the National Rover Council in 1981 and the State’s first recipients were honoured in 1985. 16 years later in 2001, the Rover Service Award in NSW was renamed the "Stan Bales Rover Service Award”. The Rover Service Award is the only Adult Recognition Award that is named after a person, so who was Stan Bales?

Stan Bales first became a leader at 1st Newtown (St Stephen’s) in 1928 and then moved to 1st Petersham, where he was involved with the Scout Troop and then the Rover Crew. In 1954 Stan became Area Commissioner for Rovers in what was then Central West Metropolitan Area. In 1955 Stan moved to Branch and was NSW Branch Commissioner for Rovers until 1978 - a period of 23 years.

Stan saw many changes during his term of office including the introduction of women in Rovers and increasing self-government for the section. As well as assisting in various roles at a large number of national Scouting events, Stan was Deputy Moot Chief at the 7th World Rover Moot held in Melbourne in 1961/62 and Moot Chief for the 6th Australian National Rover Moot held in Sydney in 1974/75.

Always willing to share his knowledge, any Rover could approach Stan and he would willingly assist or advise when he could. For those who were Rovers during Stan's era, his red nightshirt and cap, and 6.00am wake-up calls with his hand bell at the annual NSW Rover Moot will always be fondly remembered.

In April 2003  at the age of 92, Stan passed away, but his memory lives on through the award which continues to recognise those Rovers, Advisers, Commissioners and supporters who give outstanding and sustained service to the Rover section in N.S.W.

In 2011 N.S.W. put forward to the National Rover Council, the introduction of the distinctive red and white medal worn by recipients today. An honour board listing recipients, donated by the Lodge Baden-Powell, hangs in the John Hill building at the Baden-Powell Scout Centre, Pennant Hills.

An honour roll can be found online by clicking here. 

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