During the siege of Mafeking in South Africa, Colonel Baden-Powell, Commander-in-charge of the invested town and having limited man power the men were getting killed, many others wounded.
The duties of fighting and keeping night-watch on lookouts became harder for the rest.
He recruited boys from nine years upward into The Mafeking Cadet Corps. The cadets, aged between 12 and 15, acted as messengers and orderlies first on foot, then on donkeys and when the donkeys were used for food and mattress stuffing the boys were given bikes.
They took their responsibilities seriously, doing "good deeds", not every day, but every moment, and executing "man-sized jobs" under the most dangerous conditions.
They were the true protagonists, of the future world-wide movement of Boy Scouts. The boys showed loyalty, unselfishness, enthusiasm, inventiveness and courage.
After receiving the news of Mafeking in May 1900, the children of Murray Bridge were given a half-day holiday and about 110 school children marched around town to the music of their drum and flute band celebrating the end of the siege in the second Boer War (November 17, 1899 to May 27, 1900).
In the evening 150 residents attended a social in the Assembly Hall, and during this time Mr J Cowan made the following resolution “That the proceeds of the social, together with money to be collected, should go towards the erection of a monument to be placed in a prominent position in our township to keep always in the memory of the townspeople the endurance and gallantry displayed by Colonel Baden-Powell at the siege of Mafeking.”
This was agreed unanimously. The site chosen was between Sixth Street and Railway Terrace, at the time this was across the road from the school and on January 16, 1901, the Baden-Powell, Memorial was unveiled.
It had a concrete base to support two large blocks of granite and a block of moulded freestone and then the spine to a height of 12 feet.
The monument was moved in 1989 adjacent to the Murray Bridge Swimming Centre on Adelaide Road, because this was the home of our local Boy Scouts.
Murray Bridge & District Historical Society Inc.
“A Community Saving its Past”