Narooma Historical Society members were fascinated recently to hear how the Long Long Walk by hundreds of Scouts from Lakes Entrance to Sydney in 1997 came about.
The walk, an initiative by Narooma Scout leaders, commemorated the 200th anniversary of the epic walk from Lakes Entrance in Victoria to Sydney by survivors of the wreck of the ship Sydney Cove.
“The Scouts’ walk was not meant as a literal re-enactment,” former Narooma Scouts Leader Alan Barkley told the packed meeting. “It was more a tribute to their bravery and a reminder of this extraordinary event. It was also a great opportunity to promote Scouting.”
Fellow Narooma Scouts leader Col Cooper was inspired by a poem written by Narooma local Dorothy Philip called The Long Long Walk.
After reading William Clark’s account of their trek in 1797, Col put the idea of a bicentenary commemoration walk to Alan Barkley who enthusiastically embraced the idea.
Colin, Alan and Cub Leader Alison Philip then spent hours each week scrutinising Clark’s rough diary and trying to marry his descriptions of various landmarks with modern topographic maps.
“After 12 months we were fairly confident of their approximate route,” Alan Barkley said
They put a submission to Scouts NSW proposing that Scouts retrace the 1797 trek as closely as possible, with each section being covered on approximately the same day.
“The idea was enthusiastically taken up by the Scouts Association of Victoria as well as NSW,” he said.
Scouts groups along the route were excited to be involved. Using their own local knowledge, each planned their own logistics of where to camp, how to cross natural barriers like waterways without modern aids, and the best place to hand over the small relic of the shipwreck to neighbouring Scouts groups.
The next meeting of Narooma Historical Society is Sunday 17 February in the School of Arts’ Studios at 2pm.
Above: Former Narooma Scouts leaders Col Cooper, left, Allan Barkley and Alison Philip told the story of NSW and Victorian Scouts’ commemoration the 200th anniversary of the Long Walk at the January 2019 meeting of Narooma Historical Society. It was their initiative.