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Operation Nighthawk
Garraboo District Operation Nighthawk

Way back in history when the the earth was just in the process of having a glimpse of a peek at what is now the super highway i.e.... the INTERNET, there was a Scout Group based in Toowoomba located up near Picnic Point Rangeville where two of it's Scout leaders came up with an activity for the members of their troop and a few other groups within their Garraboo District Garraboo District. The two leaders were Don Masters (Kanga) and Mike Cole (Hawk) and the activity was Operation Nighthawk.

For those that don't know, Operation Nighthawk is an overnight hike for ScoutsScouts and VenturersVenturers with activities that have to be done at checkpoints around the bush course.

The activities done at the checkpoints are based on Scouting knowledge, training and the award system. Anything from lashings to first aid, Scouting history to boiling an egg to name but a few. Teams were marked on their teamwork, initiative, behaviour, safety etc. It was a team score awarded at each activity.

It was run at a local campsite called "Wirraglen" and this was in 1982. There was no badge, or huge numbers of scouts or a feed when you had returned from the hike.

The following year in March 1983, it was run from Mike Cole's house block just outside of Murphys Creek township. Once again it was a small event, but there were tents all over the place.

In March of 1984 it was run from the Murphys Creek State School, where there was now a badge, a pie on completion of the hike and groups further afield were involved. The Department of Defense assisted with the communications as well as the SES. Also at this time there were badges made for the previous Operation Nighthawk events.

You will note that the Nighthawk badge is a diamond shape to match the Garraboo District badge as well as the background colours to also match the background of Garraboo District badge. The first few years of badges were the same for both Scouts and Venturers. It was in 1985 when the green edge was added to the Scout badge and the maroon colour for the Venturer's badge.

This was the last year that Mike Cole and Don Masters were involved in the running of Operation Nighthawk.

Two other people took up the running of Operation Nighthawk at this stage and had planning well in hand, inverations sent out, and all the activities planned as well the ability to cater for even more Scout and Venturer teams, but the acting District Commissioner for Garraboo District the then Darling Downs Area Commissioner decided to cancel the 1985's Operation Nighthawk without asking any questions.

If it hadn't been for the efforts of AAC (Scouts) Leo Camm this would have been the end of Operation Nighthawk for good. It would have been a pity if the short sightness of one person putting a stop to what was/is one of the biggest non Jamboree scouting activity in Queensland.

Because of all the delays and challengers which had occurred because of the actions of the Acting District Commissioner a new date had to be set. Had to be away from exams, away from holidays, and so forth but at the same time didn't wanted to make it too easy for the Scout and Venturer teams so the second full weekend in August was chosen. It has been this weekend ever since. What helped choose the date in 1985 was the fact that this weekend it was only a half moon to add to the experience without making it too easy. Because of everything that had happened there was a limit of 1280 Scouts and Venturers put in place. This was the first time it was run in Winter.

Operation Nighthawk in 1985 was then run from the old school building at Withcott. It was still mostly run by Garraboo Scout Groups with some assistance from Steele Rudd District, mainly 6th Toowoomba Scout, Venturer and Group Leaders.

For the 1986 Operation Nighthawk it was moved to the show grounds at Cabarlah. We found it so good that it was also held there in 1987 as well.

Some of the Scout activities are listed here
Some of the Venturer activities are listed here
Some of the Briefings are listed here
Some of the Photos here

One would think that the Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission would have been able to come up with a better name than Operation Nighthawk, but hey maybe someone there was a Scout or Venturer in their younger days.
Whereas Pennsylvania Police's Operation Nighthawk was more to do with DUI than Police supplying drugs.