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About The Boys’ Brigade

The Object of The Boys’ Brigade [top]

The advancement of Christ’s Kingdom among Boys, and the promotion of habits of Obedience, Reverence, Discipline, Self-Respect, and all that tends towards a true Christian Manliness.

The Motto [top]

Sure and Stedfast.

The motto comes from a verse in the Bible. Hebrews 6:19 “Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast”.

The Purpose Statement of BB in Australia [top]

The purpose of The Boys’ Brigade in Australia is to provide, in cooperation with the local church, a supportive Christian community for boys and young men to assist in their Christian growth, balanced personal development, and leadership training, and to assist the church reaching out into the community.

Our Patron [top]

The Boys’ Brigade Holistic Program [top]

With a Christian foundation, each Boys’ Brigade group focuses on a holistic program that engages boys in five aspects of who they are: Body, Mind, Spirit, Creativity and Community. All activities are age appropriate and give the boys a chance to be challenged in these aspects and grow as future leaders of their group, school and community.

Our groups are divided into three age groups.

Anchors – Boys aged 5-7 years old

Juniors – Boys aged 8-11 years old

Seniors – Alphas: Boys aged 12-15 years old

Omegas: Boys aged 16-18 years old

Luke 2:52 “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men”

The BB Program engages boys in five aspects of who they are:

Body: Boys participate in age appropriate activities that aim to develop the boys physically and include team and individual sport, drill and figure marching, expeditions and learning about healthy living.

Mind: Boys have the opportunity to stretch their mind through learning about the world they live in, the Boys’ Brigade itself and the environment.

Spirit: Boys have a chance to discover a God who loves them and learn about the Bible and Christian Life.

Creativity: Boys explore their creative talents through developing new skills and hobbies, giving them opportunities to discover and express their own creativity.

Community: Boys are challenged to be active members of their local church and global communities through engaging in community service projects, learning about the needs of others, how our society works and how they can be an active part.

Church [top]

The Boys’ Brigade Qld partners with local churches to work with children and young people. Children can begin Boys Brigade from the age of 5 (as long as they are in Prep) and can remain in Boys Brigade until they are 18, strengthening the Churches youth programs, congregation and leadership.

The Boys’ Brigade opens opportunities to the church to reach out into the community to provide a safe environment for boys to have fun and learn, as well as connecting with families who would not normally have contact with a church.

It is important to remember that the Boys’ Brigade Company is a part of the church youth program. The church is responsible for appointing the Captain and endorsing the leaders. The program is run under the umbrella of the church ministries.

Leaders [top]

Each Boys’ Brigade group belongs to a local church and part of their youth ministry program. Leaders are volunteers and either come from within that Church family or from other local churches. They share their time, skills, passion and faith.

Leaders provide a positive male influence to boys. We also welcome women leaders in the Anchors and Juniors age groups.

Leaders are trained by The Boys’ Brigade Qld and qualified leaders are registered on their roll. They are supported and encouraged by the Boys Brigade Queensland Board of Directors and Staff.

Leaders are nominated by the Captain to the church and they are endorsed by the church.

All BB leaders hold valid blue cards and are registered with BBQLD. They undertake Safe Environments training as part of their training.

Safety [top]

All volunteers must hold a Working With Children’s Card and be appointed by the local Church Leadership.

All leaders and helpers must attend the Safe Environments Child Safety Course and adhere to its teaching.

Cost [top]

All groups set their own costs and the price varies. Many BB companies are registered with the Fair Play Program. Fair Play vouchers can be issued to qualifying children to cover fees. You will find that belonging to BB will be much cheaper than many other activities. Many churches cover expenses of the BB Company in their budget and some offer subsidies to help boys attend activities.

If you would like to support The Boys’ Brigade through a donation or list them as a beneficiary in your will, please contact us.

Terminology [top]

We use a lot of strange words in The Boys’ Brigade. Here some of the BB structure and words are explained.

In Boys’ Brigade, the group that meets at a church is called a Company. The Company will have a name that will represent its location and a number representing it. The name and number belong to the church, so even if a Company closes down and reopens later in time, they will retain the same name.

The main leader is called the Captain and the other trained adult leaders are called Officers and are ranked either Lieutenant or Warrant Officer. Senior boys will become Non Commissioned Officers as they get older and will have the ranks of Corporal, Lance Corporal, Sergeant and Staff Sergeant.

To help you identify the Captains and Officers, their uniform is white long sleeved shirts, black tie, navy pants and they wear a black cap called a Glengarry. The Captain will have red epaulettes on his shoulders and the Officers have blue.

A Staff Sergeant is identified by a leather shoulder belt, crop and epaulettes with 4 stripes.

A Sergeant is identified by epaulettes with 3 stripes

A Lance Corporal is identified by epaulettes with 2 stripes

A Corporal is identified by epaulettes with 1 stripe.

Local Companies are networked into Battalions. Battalions organise events such as swimming carnivals, soap box derbys, camps and other outings for the Companies in their area. It’s a fun way to get to know other boys and leaders.

The Boys’ Brigade Qld also run State Events for all boys in Qld to attend. These include The Great Canoe Race, Soap Box Derby, Camps, Leadership Training.

History [top]

How BB Began:

The Boys’ Brigade was founded on 4 October, 1883 , by William Alexander Smith at the Free Church Mission, North Woodside Rd, Glasgow, Scotland.

William Smith, a voluntary Sunday School teacher and “volunteer” member (similar to our Army Reserve’s) devised a unique youth movement and program based on Christian ideals achieving personal goals for his Sunday School members aged 12. Choosing activities that engaged boys of that generation, the initial program included a simple form of parade drill, gymnastics and team games. Other activities were soon added and in 1886, William Smith held the first camp. In fact, it was the start of recreation camping for young people.

BB was quickly taken up by many Scottish churches and then by churches throughout Britain and Ireland. This growth in Britain was soon followed by the starting of companies overseas in places such as Canada, USA, South Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand.

William Smith asked his friend, Lord Baden-Powell, to rewrite his articles about “scouting” for the army and tailor them to run within a boys program which eventually resulted in Baden-Powell founding the Boy Scouts as a separate movement in 1908.

William Smith was knighted in 1909 in recognition of his work with BB and the nations youth. He died in 1914.

The Boys’ Brigade is now in 60 countries around the world with 750 000 boys and leaders involved.

BB History in Australia

In 1890-91 a Company was formed at St. Mark’s Church of England, Fitzroy, MELBOURNE. The next Company started at the Wesley Church, PERTH in 1895, and was quickly followed by Companies in each of the other States on a fairly scattered basis. For instance, by 1899 in QUEENSLAND there were Companies in Mackay, Townsville, Weipa, Aurukun, Charters Towers and Brisbane, whilst in NEW SOUTH WALES there were Companies in Richmond, Kurrajong, Bathurst and Cobar and in Sydney. Additionally, Companies were operating in Launceston and Hobart, TASMANIA.

1st and 2nd Fremantle Companies at Fremantle Baptist Church and Wesley Church, Fremantle, respectively, and the 1st Northam Company at Northam Presbyterian Church, WA. It was not until 1929 that a new 1st Melbourne Company was formed at Armadale Baptist Church, Melbourne, and a new 1st Sydney Company was formed at Glebe Presbyterian Church, Sydney. 1st Brisbane is still active.

Currently The first BB Company in Qld, founded in 1913 and still running, is 1st Brisbane, which meets at Ithaca Presbyterian Church in Red Hill. Other Companies run in Beaudesert, Beenleigh, Brisbane, Crow’s Nest, Fraser Coast, Gladstone, Ipswich, Logan, Moreton Bay, Mt Isa, Toowoomba and Warwick.

No further Companies were formed in Queensland or Victoria up to the outbreak of the Second World War and in NSW growth was extremely slow. However, the immediate post-war years saw a rapid spread of the Movement with Companies in all states and territories.

At one time another unrelated non-uniformed boys’ organisation operating in Sydney and Adelaide for many years under the name “The Boys’ Brigade” became legally incorporated in those States, resulting in BB without the right to the use of the name “The Boys’ Brigade” in NSW and SA. Ultimately it was agreed to use the name “THE BRITISH EMPIRE BOYS’ BRIGADE”. In 1970 the Australian Council adopted the name “THE BOYS’ BRIGADE AUSTRALIA” and the Movement is now known by that name in all states of Australia.

In 1948 the Overseas Committee of The Boys’ Brigade Executive Committee in London, appointed Mr. Robert McEwan (Captain 3rd Sydney Company) to act as Honorary Organiser for Australia and acting under this authority Mr. McEwan invited one Officer in each State to join him in what was called the Provisional Federal Advisory Committee (P.F.A.C.). This body continued to operate until 1955 when each state was invited to appoint two representatives to the Committee. The enlarged P.F.A.C. paved the way for the formation of The Australian Council and on 1st January, 1958, The Boys’ Brigade Australian Council was formally constituted. A fitting tribute was paid at this time to the oldest Company in Australia, the 1st Brisbane Company, when its Captain, Mr. R.H. Tait, was elected the first President of the Australian Council.

A more detailed history of The Boys’ Brigade in Australia is published in “Boys, Urchins, Men” by M.E. Hoare.

There is an extensive display of Boys Brigade Memorabilia at the Glengarry Education Centre.