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Pan Australia Camp History

Notes by Warren Finnan
(Executive Chairman, BBA Management Committee)
These notes are designed to assist Boys attempting the Pan Australian Camp History component for the BB Knowledge Award. They are a summary of Dates, Activities and Events occurring at P.A. Camps.
The background and events leading to the first P.A. Camp can be discovered in the book, “Boys, Urchins and Men” by the late Dr M.E. Hoare, available from your State Headquarters or ask your Captain.


Pan Australian Camps are held every three years at various locations around Australia, even in Papua-New Guinea in the early seventies. The Camps have always had an international emphasis with Boys and Officers travelling from many parts of the B.B. world. Many long – term friendships have developed from both P.A. Camps and from Australians who have attended other International camps, particularly in New Zealand.

Originally, the Camps were designed to be a low-cost holiday for B.B. Boys then gradually evolved to include tours, on-site activities, adventure components and the introduction of the five -sided Pentapac award from the 3rd P.A. Camp in 1968-69.


Mr Max Gray, the then Captain of 37th NSW Burwood Company, organised the first P.A. Camp at Narrabeen NSW in Dec 1962-Jan 1963. The next Camp at Southport QLD in Dec 1965-Jan 1966 was largely organised by the B.B. in Queensland with Mr Gray as C.O. (Commanding Officer)

Mr Gray continued to lead a national Camp Committee for the 3rd, 4th and 5th Camps working in conjunction with local State groups. Max was an inspiring leader and also managed to serve as Australian President from 1970 to 1977. He was honoured for his contribution to P.A. Camps at the last Camp in Queensland in January 1999.

The late Mr Fred Roser, took over the Camp Director’s role for the 6th, 7th and 8th (Centenary) Camps, followed by Mr Neville Ray for the 9th and 10th Camps with the structure still controlled by an ongoing national committee based in Sydney.

The 11th Camp in Newcastle structure consisted of a joint Sydney- Newcastle committee under the directorship of Mr Warren Finnan who had served with the former national committee since 1979. Up until this point in time, the key portfolios in the organising structure had consisted of Director, Treasurer, Registrar, Secretary, Program, Publicity, Site Activities and Pentapac with a range of sub-units based on the state network.

12th and 13th Camps have been organised and operated by the host state and were hugely successful, with an emphasis on volunteers providing a wide range of services including catering.

Camp Structure

Every Camp is divided into a number of Camp Companies consisting of Boys and Officers from a number of Battalions, Country Towns and Overseas visitors. Usually, Boys sleep in a different tent to others from their home Company. Each tent has an NCO in charge and an Officer allocated to take Devotions and look after the welfare of each Boy.

Each Company is under the control of the O.C. (Officer-in-Charge) assisted by an Adjutant, Chaplain, First-Aid Officer, Pentapac Officer and various other supporting roles. The 8th and 13th Camps also grouped Camp Companies into Battalions for ease of programming and communication.

An initiative at the 13th PAC was the appointment of younger Officers assisting the Company CO, Adjutant and Chaplain so that they could gain experience in these roles.