Australian Boy Scout Uniforms: Chronological Trends

Figure 6.--This Scout ijn the 1990s is being presented with some badges. The badge above the left shirt pocket is the Australian flag with the words "Australian Scouts" underneath.

Austrlalian Scouts have worn both traditional as well as some destinctly Australian Scout uniform items. Like most countries in the early stages of the development of Scouting, initially wore a uniform quite similar to the British Scout uniform. Currently they wear a uniform consisting of a khaki shirt and shorts. The Australian Scout unifor has since undergone many changes before arriving at the modern style. Another change was introduced in 2003.

The 1900s-50s

We do not currently have information on early Australian school uniforms, but would be interested in any details Australian visitors to this website could provide. Presumably Australian uniforms were similar, if not identical, to the early British uniforms.

The 1960s

Australian cubs wore a rather varied uniform of green jerseys (sweaters) or green shirts with blue, grey, or other color shorts. The Australian Scout uniform consisted of a "sage green" short-sleeved shirt with a collar, worn with "moss green" trousers or shorts. Sea scouts wear the same style, but all in navy blue. According to the "Policy and Rules" book, Air Scouts wear a grey shirt with navy blue pants; the only Air Scout group I have encountered, however, wears the same uniform as land scouts with the addition of an Air Scouts badge on the flap of the left pocket.

New 1977 uniform

Cub Scouts wore either: a teal jersey (sweater) or shirt, beige shorts, beige walk socks, Group scarf, and black or brown shoes. The official uniform for Scouts was either a teal jersey (sweater) or shirt, beige shorts, beige walk socks, Group scarf, and black or brown shoes. Scouts over the age of 13 1/2, and in special circumstances with the approval of the Group Leader, any other Scout, may wear long beige trousers, with official belt, and oatmeal ankle socks, as an alternative to beige shorts and walk socks.

The 1990s

The uniforms for various sections of the Australian Scout organisation have been under occasional review for many years. The most recognisable change is the replacement of the traditional indented scout hat, affectionately called the "lemon squeezer" in Australia, with a more Aussie looking style of hat. Older sections wear berets, and Joey Scouts have a peaked hat with back flap. Other uniform modifications are not so easy to spot. Joey Scouts wear a simple uniform of a hat, a scarf and a tee shirt. The hat is a brown legionnaire's hat, common among Australian primary schools (children up to 12). Cub Scouts wear the Australian style hat rather than the traditional cub peaked cap. Like all the members of the group, they wear the group scarf and the same colored shirt won by the Scouts. The same hat is worn by Cubs as well as all older sections and leaders. The Australian Scouts have decided against distinctive Cub uniforms in contrast to the practice in most other countries. Thus the basic uniform does not set the Cubs apart. The badges do of course identify the different levels of Scouting. Scouts wear a badge above the left shirt pocket with the Australian flag and the words "Australian Scouts" underneath.

New 2003 uniform

Australian Scouts in 2003 decided on major changes to the uniform. According to an Australian newspaper account, "Scouts are ditching their time-honoured khaki uniforms because young members fear that they are not quite keeping up with cool street fashions. So it is out with the old and in with plain or two-tone tan, yellow, green, red, anf navy button up or polo shirts. Scouts will retain their traditional scarf and woggle but be able to use such accessories as attractive wenning belt." Scouts Australia Chief Commissioner Reg Williams was quoted as saying that the old unifoirm did not fill wearers with confidence. "We're listening to our young people whomare telling us that the existing uniform is daggy and they do not feel comfortable wearing it." Apparent some parents also objected to the military look of the khaki uniform. Williams says, "We want members to feel comfortable and have their uniforms reflect the way they think and dress." The new Scout uniform has a bright color to clearly identify the different klevels of Scouting. Jooey Scouts (6-8) will wear tan shirts , Cubs (8-11) will wear yellow, Scouts (10-15) green, Ventures (14-18) maroon, and Rovers ( -26) red. Adult leaders will wear navy blue. Scouts in 2003 are conducting "usability" trials. Goups leaders report a generalluy positive reaction, but some Scouters who grew up with the old uniforms are a bit sad to see them go. There no longer will be uniform headwear and pants, an effoirt to keep costs down. The National Executive Council plans to make a final decission by Juky 2003 and phase the new uniform in over a 5 year period.


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Created: April 7, 2004
Last updated: 5:18 AM 11/4/2004