Robert (Bob) Taylor AM

  • CHS 1959 – 1962
  • Member School Hockey team
  • Completed Year 12 with 1st Class Honours in Geography and 2nd Class Honours in French
  • Fulfilling career as a geography teacher and curriculum developer
  • Australian Sports Medal 2000 and Centenary Medal 2001
  • Upper Beaconsfield Citizen of the Year 2007
  • Chief Commissioner of Scouts Victoria 2008-2014
  • Awarded the Order of Australia (AM) for Significant Service to Youth through Scouting and to the Community in 2013

Born in Edinburgh, Bob migrated with his family to Australia in 1957. His first two years of secondary schooling were at Camberwell Central before moving to Camberwell High where he matriculated in 1962. He had the choice of a Commonwealth Scholarship or an Education Department Studentship to assist his tertiary years at Monash University where he initially completed a BA, Dip Ed. and later a B.Ed. & M.Ed.

Bob recalls his years at CHS:
Attending Camberwell High in 1959 was my first time in a large school with strict uniform, including caps! 3E was a big, bright, all boys class studying French and Art and we gave some of our older teachers, such as Art teacher Mrs Bradstreet and Mr Muiriden, our History and Form teacher, a challenge with boyish pranks. Mavis Pettit was our English, French and Form teacher in Form 4E. During recesses and lunch, we played brandy ball on the netball court with many of those mates who were in 3E the year before as we had been split into mixed classes now in 4D & 4E. In Form 5, teachers Vladimir Soloduhin inspired me in Geography and David Collins in British History. In Matric, Miss McMillan, the Senior Mistress, drove me to Second Class Honours in French and Don Gibb enthused me to First Class Honours in Geography.

Bob began his secondary teaching career at Swan Hill High School and then in metropolitan schools at Pakenham, Doveton, Kooweerup and Berwick as a Senior Teacher, interspersed with a leave year teaching in Scotland, a year on Teacher Exchange to Perth, WA and a year teaching in Yorkshire, courtesy of the International Teaching Fellowship scheme. In total, Bob’s teaching career spanned 35 years in 10 secondary schools with part time secondments to the Education Department 1977-1987 and 1999-2003 for curriculum development and administration.

A long-term interest in Scouting was sparked when he joined Cubs in Scotland, so when he arrived in Australia, he joined the 8th Camberwell Scout Group. He went on to be a Senior Scout and a voluntary Scout Leader there and wherever he taught, including those years spent in Scotland, Perth and Yorkshire.

As an experienced Scout Leader, he was appointed a District Commissioner while in Perth WA and a District Commissioner, Region Commissioner and Assistant Chief Commissioner and then Chief Commissioner of Scouts, Victoria from 2008 to 2014. In 2001 he received the Centenary Medal for his community work with youth through the Scouting, sport and recreation. He also received Scouting’s highest honour in 2006 when he was awarded the Silver Kangaroo for Eminent Achievement & Meritorious Service from the Chief Scout of Australia, the Governor General.

Sport, mainly soccer and cricket, interested Bob from an early age while living in Scotland but on arriving in Australia, he changed his winter sport and joined the Camberwell Hockey Club where he played from 1958 to 1987.

As an enthusiastic cricketer, he played in Upper Beaconsfield and developed an interest in the administration of the local competition. He occupied every leadership role in the West Gippsland Cricket Association over a period of 23 years. His dedication was recognised when he was awarded its Life Membership in 1999 and the Australian Sports Medal in 2000.

Cricket and Scouts are now located together on the Recreation Reserve in Upper Beaconsfield due to Bob’s leadership following the disastrous Ash Wednesday fires of 1983. Bob and family escaped onto the small disused oval on the Recreation Reserve while his home survived the flames. In 1985 he was elected to the new Recreation Committee, now responsible for a large reconstructed oval and new buildings used by the revived Cricket Cub and the relocated Scout Group. Bob has been a member of the Reserve Committee for 35 years and has been its President since 1994.

Bob is also a continuing member of the Upper Beaconsfield Men’s Shed, the Upper Beaconsfield (Progress) Association and a driver of its Village Festival committee for eight years while still serving on a number of committees at the Scout Victorian headquarters.

Bob’s commitment to community service was recognised by his appointment as a Member of the Order of Australia, AM, in 2013 for Significant Service to Youth through Scouting and to the Community. For 5 years, Bob has served on the committee of Camberwell High School Ex-Students Society (CHESS) and for several years he also represented CHESS on the School Council. Updated 2020

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