NATIONAL ORGANISATION OF RUSSIAN SCOUTS
Who Are We ?
Part of the Russian- Australian Community
National Organisation of Russian Scouts, which was based in Strathfield for many years, has its roots in
Tsarskoe Selo, St Petersburg, when Col. Oleg Ivanovich Pantuhoff founded the Russian Scouting Movement.
Tsar Nicholas II was so impressed with the scout organisation having read Baden Powell's book
"Scouting for Boys" and following the visit of Baden Powell to Russia, that Nicholas II enlisted his son
Tsarevich Alexei as one of the early scouts in the Russian Scouting Movement.
Following the purge of Russian Scouting by the Bolsheviks during and after the revolution from over 143 cities
of the Russian Empire, O.I. Pantuhoff was confirmed around 1920, in Constantinople, as the Chief Russian Scout
of NORS, for life.
Soon , NORS patrols and troops were formed in many countries of the world where Russian emigres lived. This
included Europe, North and South America, Manchuria, China,Philippines and in Sydney and Brisbane at the end
of the 1940's.
The first steps of NORS in Australia were made in Bathurst Migrant Centre in October 1949, when
Assistant Scoutmaster A. Konovets took a group of Russian scouts , newly arrived from the Philippines,
on a trek to the nearby hills.
They raised the National Russian tri-colour flag, proclaiming the beginning of NORS in Australia. The present
Chief Russian Scout of NORS, Senior Scoutmaster Nikita Gileff who has worked with NORS continuously for
60 years , was present at that ceremony as a 9 year old cub.
In 1950 Scoutmaster M. M. Plehanoff, newly arrived from Shanghai and the Philippines accepted the role
of National Head NORS Australia. He was assisted by Scm.M.Nikoliaeff, Scm.Alexeeff and Troop Leader
and later Scm. George Kant.
The activities of the Sydney Troop of NORS were from the beginning , closely tied with the Russian Club, when
the club was still located in the centre of the city and later when the club moved to Strathfield. Sunday scout meetings,
their festivals and parties were held in the Club. The scout leaders assisted the Russian Club in the organisation
of its activities and helped the Club financially with a loan during times of hardship.
Upon completion of construction of the St Peter & Paul Cathedral at Strathfield, NORS Scouts were invited to meet
there and first met in an old garage on the property. Here during the "winter period" scout activities included ,
the learning of prayers, songs and in consolidating the Russian language and culture.
Scouts received practical instruction at the yearly camps held at Lilyvale in the Royal National Park till late 50's.
When Scoutmaster Plehanoff departed for USA in 1959 Scoutmaster M. Nikoliaev was appointed as National Head
of NORS Australia.He is credited as the founder of the Iron Curtain Countries Association of Scouts in Exile and
was president of this Association of scouts for a number of years when it became known as the Australian
Association of Scouts in Exile. The alliance comprised Russian (NORS) ,Ukrainian (PLAST) Hungarian, Latvian, Estonian
and Lithuanian scouts / guides most of whom were located in the Strathfield district or nearby.
For many years NORS met with brother scouts in friendly competition including Jamborettes, swimming and sports'
carnivals, mutual camps and social events. Other leaders who were involved were V.Ivantseff and Nikita Gileff.
From 1956 Scout Leader I.I. Rezayeva edited a journal , "Iskry Kostra" (Sparks from the Campfire.)
Prior to departure of Scm. Michael Nikoliaev for USA in 1960, Scoutmaster Vladimir Mercier from NORS
in Tientsin , accepted the position of Chief Scout of Australian NORS.
It was during this period that great efforts were made to raise finance to build the Scout Hall in the Strathfield
Cathedral grounds. Grand Balls were held each year in June at the Paddington Town Hall (the Paddo.)
It was a place to be seen and the Scout balls with the debutantes were certainly an occasion of splendour.
During that early period the scout ball and the New Year's Eve Ball were about the only large scale functions and
were eagerly attended by the Strathfield and Sydney community. Many young ladies and gentlemen will recall
the day that they were introduced to society.
In 1963, National Organisation of Russian Scouts initiated the annual festival of the "Day of the Russian Child."
At a meeting of the Russian Community at the Strathfield Russian Club, Scoutmaster Elizabeth Kazarinova
announced this vision which came into being for many years and included not only NORS leaders such as
Scoutmaster Peter Logounov but prominent members of the community such as Uri Rotenko. Scouts and guides
were very prolific in their participation.
During this period and onwards, annual camps were held with an ever growing number of scouts, guides, cubs, brownies
and rovers at - Otford, Stanwell Tops, Tahmoor and today at beautiful waterfront location - Telford, in the
Royal National Park in Sydney.
The heyday of NORS could be possibly around 1971 at Stanwell Tops when there was a record heading towards
201 participants at the camp. During these years Archbishop Afanasius visited the camp as did the head of ORUR,
R. Zhukoff. NORS had the pleasure of extending hospitality to many important visitors during these times all
of which were photographed on movie film (later video & DVD) and eagerly awaited by the children and parents
who relived happy memories. These are our treasures today.
Many underprivileged children were sponsored by NORS . They not only participated in the annual camps but
also enjoyed the regular outings and excursions which are part and parcel of today's activities. Hard as it was,
the scout leaders and parents continued the fundraising balls for this purpose.
In 1977 National Organisation of Russian Scouts received its registration and to the sole right to use that name.
A new wave of migration from China's Three Rivers district in 1963 saw even greater influx into NORS and
the Strathfield Group expanded to Cabramatta (Scm. P. Logounov) and Fairfield , under the leadership of
Scm. Kazarinova whilst Scm. Nikita Gileff was leader of the Strathfield Group.
And so, despite impediments of life, National Organisation of Russian Scouts is alive and well and still functions,
at the time of writing. Although our camps our somewhat smaller, there is a new generation of Scout Leaders numbering twenty,
who continue the work of the founder of Russian Scouting - Oleg Ivanovich Pantuhoff (i.e. God, Good Deeds & Scout Laws),
and back in Russia where there has been a rebirth of scouting, many groups now call themselves
National Organisation of Russian Scouts - with the added word of Razvetchicks.
Written by :- Senior Scoutmaster Nikita Gileff,
The Chief Russian Scout March, 2007
1960 - 61
St Georges Day 1961
Scout Grand Ball
Scout Social Activities
Snr. Scm. Nikita Gileff
The Chief Russian Scout
Badge of the Young Scouts of the Tsarskoe Selo Group founded by Oleg Pantuhoff. He ordered this badge from a friend jeweller. One of these original badges was presented through Nicholas II to his son Tsarevich Alexis in 1910.
From the actual archives of Oleg Pantuhoff & now in Russia.
The very first international patrol teams who gained first place as Premier Patrols in 1957.