He was very worried about Hitler taking over

Chapter 9

Published Dec, 2023

Chester, pictured 4th from left, with First Chief Scout, Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell, pictured 5th from right. "Baden-Powell came to our camp the morning after we arrived. He paid us a second visit later. The Camp Chief (International Commissioner and Programming Secretary) was Dr. de Molnar. He was very worried about Hitler taking over Europe and he later migrated to Australia to escape". Photo credit James Chester Draper

I used to take the Scouts camping at Harris’s Bend on the Murray. It was quite a wide sand bank about a mile in from the road. We were swimming in the nude and did not count on visitors. It was Sunday and half a dozen cars stopped at our tents where our clothes were. We swam to the New South Wales side and went into the bush and swam back upstream from the tents. The visitors were still looking downstream for us and we got to the tents at their back.

The Scouts developed well and were well regarded. All could swim and each had use of a bike. I went to Gilwell and got my Wood Badge, and while there had an unusual experience. Each camp, the training team would put on a stunt. This was kept secret from all new-comers. The previous stunt was about a couple being pushed into the lake. They swam under some logs and hid while the panic stricken trainees were trying to rescue them by diving. On our occasion two drunks appeared at the Council Rock and were drinking from bottles. Arch Hoadley told Eddie Wells to send the drunks away. I was watching him when one drunk shot Eddie and gave him a second shot. I ran to the rock and picked up a bottle and found a man with a gun. I hit him on the front of the head with the bottle and then grabbed his gun and hit the back of his head leaving him quite unconscious. He was Mr. Kennedy in disguise. Some of the trainees brought a stretcher and others an old Ford car. They carted Kennedy to hospital at Beaconsfield. He recovered. The training course did not put on any more stunts. I was Patrol Leader of my patrol on that course.

I finally left Numurkah to go to the World Scout Jamboree in Hungary in 1933[1]. I had seven months leave without pay[2]. There were 86 in the Australian Contingent. Charlie Snow, Queensland Chief Commissioner was in charge.  We went by SS Otranto to Naples, which took a month. We went ashore at Fremantle and visited Perth, then Colombo as well as Aden and Cairo. We visited the usual tourist places including the Pyramids, Sphinx and Egyptian Museum. After Naples we did Rome, Venice, Pompeii and Florence then to Trieste, Yugoslavia, Tyrol to Switzerland where we spent some time including Lucerne and a fortnight at Kandersteg where there is a Scout Chalet. A party of us went to the Kanderfirn Glacier, about a 15 hour journey. We camped in the Mutthorn Hut and next morning went on to Kanderfirn Glacier (Petersgrat), 12,000 feet, and then down a valley to Goppenstein village where we caught a train through the tunnel back to Kandersteg. We saw a lot of Vienna and Budapest. The Jamboree was in the Royal Forest about 12 miles from Buda. About 30,000 attended. British from 30 countries and about 30 other countries were represented. We had New Zealand and Palestine in our camp.  Baden-Powell came to our camp the morning after we arrived. He paid us a second visit later. The Camp Chief (International Commissioner and Programming Secretary) was Dr. de Molnar[3]. He was very worried about Hitler taking over Europe and he later migrated to Australia to escape.

We visited Lake Balaton and swam in the Danube, visited the Prater and Schonbrunn Castle near Vienna. We then went by train to France. It was a change from the mountain climate of the other countries. We visited France in three buses and saw battle fields and cemeteries including Amiens, where at Villers-Bretonneux many Australians are buried. I brought poppy seed from there. A friend grew it at Scotch College[4] and some of the poppies were formed into a wreath the following Anzac Day at the Shrine of Remembrance. We saw Paris, Versailles the Folies, Louvre, etc., then on to England, Scotland and Wales. We swam in Loch Lomond at Luss where we were guests of Sir Ian Colquhoun, who was the Scout Commissioner. In Wales we were guests of Lord Swansea, also a Scout Commissioner. He mentioned being with the Australian Light Horse in Palestine. He mentioned they were healthy because they boiled the water and made a cup of tea when they stopped for a spell.

I visited my Aunt Fanny Smith at King’s Heath, Birmingham. She was my father’s youngest sister. At the time there was plenty of unemployment[5] and the unemployed each had a plot in the park to grow their vegetables. They would eat well with up to five kinds of vegetables at a meal. She had two daughters Kathleen and Frances whom we also saw. We came home on the Orsova, quite broke. We were told to take ten pounds spending money. I spent fifty pounds. The trip cost us 200 pounds each. My wages were then four pounds a week.

Beat and I were married on 16 December 1933 at St Mary’s, Caulfield. Beat’s family lived at Merriwoola Street, East St Kilda. We went by train to Manly, New South Wales and of course visited the Blue Mountains and Sydney. After another turn of Mounted duty at the depot I put in for Woomelang where we spent the next five and a half years. The Mallee was drought stricken – fourteen years in all up to when we left in 1939. Because I was well known in the Scout Movement I was given the Scouts to run. Also I taught the Sunday School. (I was on the Church vestry at Numurkah.) We were in St Arnaud Diocese, which was later joined to Bendigo. The country was pretty well, all moving sands. I enjoyed the distant places such as Gama and Wathe as long as I had plenty of time, because I never took the horse Robin out of a walk. I collected the statistics and would start very early and be perhaps twelve miles out by daylight. Horse back gives a person lots of time to look about. One day I looked over a paling fence and caught a man with sixteen ring-neck and smoker parrots which he had caught in Wyperfield National Park.

One day at 3 pm I got a phone call from Gama Railway station. Five bags of wheat were stolen the night before. He didn’t want me to come. It was fifteen miles, no hope of getting there on the horse before dark. I had a BSA 1927 motor cycle and set out. I had a puncture but managed to mend it. At Gama were car tracks. One wheel had a boomerang tyre. These boomerangs were about eight inches long and left a good trail. I followed the trail through Turriff to a farm where I found tyres, tins of oil and labels off clothing, but no wheat. I went in to Turriff, and found the people I was after were fruit hawkers and usually returned about 10 pm. I waited. They arrived. I asked about the wheat. They said, “No”. With a torch I found a grain of wheat between a front mudguard and the body. I said, “You may as well tell me where the rest is”. It was in petrol drums. I had not looked there. I walked my three prisoners into Turriff and rang the O/C at Speed, Bert Ross. He had a single seater four cylinder Dodge car. He took two in front and I sat with the other in the dicky seat at the back. Next day I went back and found the oil was from Vacuum Oil depot. They had taken 4-gallon tins from cases and re nailed them up. The tyres were from two robberies at Britt’s Garage, Ouyen and the labels were from a big robbery at Donald – 16 charges in all. The prisoners were still wearing polo shirts, football sox and watches from the Donald robbery. I located more proceeds from that robbery at Mildura.

I was acting Clerk of Courts at Woomelang[6] for three pounds a year. I got another three pounds for cleaning the Court House, three pounds for stock inspector and I was also a County Court Bailiff with fees. The Licensing Act was always a problem in the Mallee especially. Hotels were required to close at 6 pm and people would want to drink in the evening. As well, hotels were scarce and sly grog sellers operated in each area such as Tempy, Patchewollock, etc. Patchewollock was a big centre and there were several sly grog sellers there. When the Police put in a man to catch them they would know, probably through their suppliers, that the Police Agent was coming. Also if we took out a warrant to raid a place they would get word, and this came from a Clerk of Courts. On one occasion we tried waiting until the phone closed at midday Saturday to get the warrant. The railway phone was used to warn the suspect. Wheat stealing was mixed up with drinking. One man was on the grog and others stole his bagged wheat from the paddock.

Every day we had a dust storm[7]. We put wet bags under the doors but the dust always got in through the cracks, and the pattern on the lino would be invisible. You would sweep it up and take it out, but if you touched the curtains you released a shower of dust. There was usually a milk bucket of dust on the floor. The railway men had to work hard to get the Mildura train through. At some of the worst places they erected railway sleepers on end and when the wind came against the chute, it would blow the sand across the line. Sometimes the train was held up by caterpillars on the line. There (were) also a few mouse plagues.

I was lucky to have the horse to get about. At Speed, Bert Ross only had his car. One time he reported a cattle maiming at Yarto. The Superintendent instructed him to get statements. Ross had trouble getting there. He was sent back for further inquiries and after three trips he wasn’t in a good mood. It seems a man had a small patch of wheat on a bit of good soil. A neighbour’s cattle found it and ate it. The owners of the wheat shot the cattle. After a time Ross told me the case was moving. Other neighbours did not approve of the shooting and were starting to take action. Ross said, “They will burn him out when summer comes”. After summer I inquired again. Ross said, “It’s all cleared up”. I said, “Was he burnt?” He said “No”, he had a clearing sale and went”.

 

[1] The 4th World Scout Jamboree was hosted by Hungary in August 1933 in the Palace Parks surrounding the Gödöllő Royal Palace. There were 25–30 thousand participants from 52 countries. The motto of the event was “Go, Miracle stag!,” from Hungarian mythology. After WW1, it would have been economically unviable to organise such an event, unless the main goal was to promote the country and show the best side of Hungary. The ministries and counties involved managed to get the funds for the event and some new and excellent roads were built around Gödöllő, along with a camping site in the park of an outstanding quality.

[2] In the late 1920s the Australian economy suffered from falling wheat and wool prices, and competition from other commodity-producing countries. Australia was borrowing vast sums of money, which dried up as the economy slowed. The Wall Street crash of 1929 led to a worldwide economic depression. The Australian economy collapsed and unemployment reached a peak of 32 per cent in 1932. It took Australia until 1939 to recover from the Great Depression.

[3] James Chester Draper maintained correspondence by letter with friends he made in 1933 throughout the Second World War (when possible), and long after the war. Many of these men did not survive the war, and many were saddened by the events that forced them to take different sides after the close friendships that had been made through the worldwide Scouting movement.

[4] Scotch College is the oldest continuing secondary school in Victoria. The school was founded by the Presbyterian Church of Victoria on the initiative of the first settled minister of the Presbyterian Church in the State, the Reverend James Forbes, in 1851. Generations of Draper family members continue to attend the school to this day, always through the female line, and never using the surname of Draper. Poppies continue to flower every year at the Scotch College campus in Hawthorn.

[5] The Great Depression in the United Kingdom was also known as the Great Slump, a period of national economic downturn in the 1930s, which had its origins in the global Great Depression. It was Britain’s largest and most profound economic depression of the 20th century.

[6] Woomelang Magistrates’ Court closed on 1 May 1981, having not been visited by a Magistrate since 1971. Woomelang’s farms are supplied with water for livestock by channels from the Grampians storages and from the Waranga Western Channel. Channels were substantially completed by the early 1920s, by when the town had a comprehensive range of amenities. A private generating plant supplied electricity until the State grid was connected in 1958 and a bush nursing centre was opened in 1934.

[7] In the 1890s agricultural settlers moved into the Victorian Mallee, an area characterised by low rainfall and a deep-rooted eucalyptus mallee scrub. By rolling, cutting, and burning this scrub, large areas could be rapidly brought under cereal crops. The key to success on this agricultural frontier was cheap land and the cropping of broad acres using labor-saving cultivation and harvesting machinery. From the 1890s to the early 1920s, settlers successfully farmed the southern regions of the Mallee. In the 1920s settlement pushed north into drier regions, but settlers were allocated blocks too small to be viable, and in the 1930s world commodity prices collapsed. From 1938 to 1944 settlers across the Mallee experienced a run of very dry years, and dust storms became a feature of Mallee life. Government intervention resulted in the consolidation of blocks, which enabled settlers to less intensively cultivate their land and to combine cropping with sheep farming. Government research encouraged new methods of cultivation in the 1940s to arrest sand drift. Source: Agricultural History, Volume 91, Issue 2, Spring 2017.

A highlight of James Chester Draper's early involvement in Scouting was a five-month trip to Europe as a member of the Australian Contingent to the 4th World Scout Jamboree held at Godollo, Hungary in 1933. The trip included an overland tour of the Continent and a Motor Coach Tour of England, Scotland and Wales. He was invited to lecture at Gillwell Park, Gembrook. Photo credit Draper family
An interest in scouting was fostered in James while stationed in Numurkah, north of Shepparton, where there was a lack of a local scout leader. A photo taken by Chester on a European trip with The Scout Association of Australia in 1933. Photo credit James Chester Draper
"We visited Lake Balaton and swam in the Danube, visited the Prater and Schonbrunn Castle near Vienna. We then went by train to France. It was a change from the mountain climate of the other countries. We visited France in three buses". Chester is pictured standing second from left. Photo credit James Chester Draper
James Chester Draper (1905-1998) in England visiting relatives as part of a five-month trip to Europe as a member of the Australian Contingent to the 4th World Scout Jamboree held at Godollo, Hungary in 1933. Photo credit Draper family
Miss Beatrice Violet Jullyan (born in 1906) married Mr James Chester Draper on December 16th 1933 at St Mary’s in Caulfield. Photo credit Draper family
Jim attended the World Scout Jamboree in Hungary in 1933. This was during the Great Depression years of the 1930s and he had seven months leave without pay. There were 86 in the Australian Contingent. He travelled by SS Otranto to Naples, which took a month. Photo credit James Chester Draper
"Beat and I were married on 16 December 1933 at St Mary’s, Caulfield. Beat’s family lived at Merriwoola Street, East St Kilda. We went by train to Manly, New South Wales and of course visited the Blue Mountains and Sydney". Here, Beatrice Violet Draper (nee Jullyan, 1906 – 1992), is pictured around the time of her engagement to Chester. Photo credit Draper family
Beatrice pictured in 1935, having recently given birth to her first child in "Woomelang where we spent the next five and a half years. The Mallee was drought stricken – fourteen years in all up to when we left in 1939". Photo credit Draper family
"Elaine and Robert were born while we were at Woomelang, also Alan. Bruce was born at Heyfield". Chester pictured with his first child, Elaine, in 1935. Photo credit James Chester Draper
"We visited France in 1933 in three buses and saw battle fields and cemeteries including Amiens, where at Villers-Bretonneux many Australians are buried. I brought poppy seed from there. A friend grew it at Scotch College and some of the poppies were formed into a wreath the following Anzac Day at the Shrine of Remembrance". Photo credit James Chester Draper (standing far right side)
Beatrice Draper, 1935. A doting new mother with her first child in the drought-stricken Mallee during the Great Depression. Photo credit Draper family
Chester attended the 9th Wood Badge training course for Scout Masters, held at Gilwell Park, Gembrook in September 1931. In 1952, whilst at Heyfield, he was awarded the Medal of Merit and later, in 1985, the Thanks Badge for long and outstanding service to the Scout Movement. In September 1997 the Stonnington Scout District presented him with a special award ‘In recognition and appreciation of his valued service to Scouting’. This photo was taken by Chester, and represents some of the many friends he made though scouting. Photo credit James Chester Draper
"I visited my Aunt Fanny Smith at King’s Heath, Birmingham. She was my father’s youngest sister. She had two daughters Kathleen and Frances whom we also saw". Photo credit James Chester Draper
Beatrice Violet Jullyan at Merriwoola Street (before marriage). Photo credit Draper family
Beatrice Violet Jullyan pictured as a bridesmaid, sometime before her own wedding. Photo credit Draper family
Miss Beatrice Violet Jullyan married Mr James Chester Draper on December 16th 1933 at St Mary’s in Caulfield. St Mary’s Caulfield was founded in the 1860s and the existing bluestone church was dedicated in 1871. Photo credit Draper family
Royal Palace Parks of Gödöllő, 1933. “The Scout Movement is a voluntary non-political educational movement for young people based on religious elements,”—this was the first sentence of the founding document of the scouting movement, which started out at the turn of the 20th century with outdoor activities such as camping, hiking, and sports events. From the 1920s on, large-scale international events also took place in order to educate the younger generation. The founder of the movement, Robert Baden-Powell found these world jamborees important because they provided opportunities to meet and make friendships for young people from all over the world, and thus, he hoped, these meetings could have served as an antidote for the upcoming war… Photo and information credit Weekly Fortepan https://hetifortepan.capacenter.hu/en/scout-jamborees/
"The Licensing Act was always a problem in the Mallee especially. Hotels were required to close at 6 pm and people would want to drink in the evening. As well, hotels were scarce and sly grog sellers operated in each area such as Tempy, Patchewollock, etc. Patchewollock was a big centre and there were several sly grog sellers there". Image credit Woomelang & District Historical Society

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