Lockdown Siege

A Scouting@Home activity for all Sections and ages - getting creative and designing a stamp for the Great Australian Lockdown.

Most people know that Robert Baden-Powell, or B-P, was the founder of Scouts. Most people also know he was the Hero of Mafeking (now Mahikeng) during the Second Boer War that took place between 1899 and 1902 when he was a serving British Army officer. But what do you know about the Siege of Mafeking itself.

The Boers, farmers descended from the original European (mainly Dutch) settlers in southern Africa, were at war with the British. Colonel Baden-Powell and a handful of officers had been sent to the Cape Colony (now part of the Republic of South Africa) to secretly enlist two regiments of local soldiers. They had no artillery and were outnumbered when the Boers laid siege. Mafeking was strategically located, but miles from anywhere, and B-P had to rely on cunning and clever ruses to hold out for 217 days while surrounded before British troops arrived to relieve the town.

One area where B-P needed to improvise was in supplying postage stamps. Stamps ran out in 1900, so Mafeking made its own. There were two denominations – one penny (1c) and threepenny (3c). The penny stamp featured Cadet Sergeant-Major Goodyear of the Cyclist Cadet Corps riding his bicycle, and the threepenny stamp featured B-P himself. Today these stamps are extremely valuable, with the threepenny alongside selling for $16,000.

Stamps were not strictly necessary, but B-P’s Bicycle Corps of boys aged 12-15 kept them active, and aided communication among his troops scattered around the town boundaries. 217 days is a long time!


Your creative weekly challenge

Your task is to design a $1.10 stamp for the Great Australian Lockdown. You can use whatever materials you like, and if you submit your artwork for judging by the Gamarada Scout Fellowship it will go on display at Granville HQ – the base for our state’s 25 Scout Fellowships. The winning designs in each section (Joeys/Cubs/Scouts/Venturers/Rovers/Leaders) will feature in an upcoming NSW Fellowship Focus newsletter. Make sure your artwork is at least A4 in size, with your name and Scout Unit on the front and your telephone number on the back. Don’t delay – the competition closes when Scouts advises that you can restart normal face-to-face meetings back in the hall!


If you choose to enter the Gamarada Scouting@Home Competition, post your entry to Denise Davies at PO Box 179 Thornleigh NSW 2120.

Judging will take place in the month following the end of Lockdown.


Any questions? Ring 0414 810 708

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