The Tony Balthasar Achievement Award represented a fantastic opportunity for any Rover from Sydney North, to undertake the overseas adventure of a lifetime!
Tony Balthasar was Rover Adviser at 1st East Roseville during the 1960s, when Dick Smith was a member of that Crew. Tony passed away in 1979 and some years later, Dick donated a generous sum of money to create the Tony Balthasar Achievement Award fund. Its intent was to provide the sort of adventurous opportunities for a Rover that Tony assisted with and encouraged during his time at 1st East Roseville.
By tradition, the Award was valued at $6,000-$8,000 and covered the cost of a trip to Europe including a stay at Baden-Powell House in London and a climbing course at Kandersteg International Scout Centre in Switzerland. Over the years, many equivalent overseas adventures were proposed and undertaken. Recipients cycled around Vietnam, mountaineered in South and North America, dog-sledded in Sweden, and undertook many other activities.
The first 13 awardees were from 1st East Roseville Rover Crew over the years 1985-2002. With the closure of that Crew, the fund’s Trustees first made the Award available in 2007 to applicants from any Rover Crew in Sydney North Region. The successful recipient was Kylie Young from Mona Vale Rover Crew. Read of her adventures here
Aaron Smith from Kissing Point Rover Crew was granted the Award for 2009 and travelled to Europe in July 2010, undertaking an 8,300km bicycle journey from the Arctic Circle in Finland to Vienna in Austria. Read the details of Aaron’s trip here
Dom Warland from Turramurra Rover Crew was granted the Award for 2010 and travelled in July 2011 to South America, where he took on climbing the 5,947m high mountain Alpamayo in Peru. Read the details of Dom’s expedition here
Owen Cooke from Normanhurst Rover Crew and Georgia Buckley from Turramurra Rover Crew were each granted the Award for 2014.
Owen travelled to Europe in July 2014, where he undertook a 1,000km solo hike for 51 days across the French and Swiss Alps. Read the details of Owen’s journey here
Georgia returned in October 2015 from her climbing adventures in Europe, where she also took part in International Rover Week at Kandersteg International Scout Centre in Switzerland. See the details of Georgia’s trip here
Lauren Hansen from Turramurra Rover Crew was the successful Awardee for 2015 and spent January 2016 in northern India, undertaking a ten day trek along the frozen Zanskar River. Read the details and see Lauren’s video here
Linda Mitchell from Epping Rover Crew was the successful Awardee for 2016 and completed her adventure in June 2017, hiking solo for almost 400km across the Scottish highlands. Read about Linda’s hike and see her video here
Matt Miller from Normanhurst Rover Crew was the successful Awardee for 2017 and on 5th June 2018, he reached the summit of Denali, the highest mountain in North America and then skiied down. Read the full gripping account of Matt’s adventure here
Sam Robinson from Epping Rover Crew and Ciara Smart from Turramurra Rover Crew were each granted the Award for 2018.
Sam undertook an extensive cycling trip through the Highlands and Hebrides islands of Scotland in June 2019. Read about Sam’s journey here
Ciara headed to Nepal in August 2019 to trek the Great Himalaya Trail, traversing the country from West to East. She and her team completed walking at the end of November, after 91 days and covering 1,300km, including 17 points above 5,000m. Read her story here, her journey blog here and see her video here.
Brodie Miller from Normanhurst Rover Crew was granted the Award for 2019 and solo hiked over 300km of the John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevada mountain range of California in July and August. Read about Brodie’s trek here
Hugh Percival from Normanhurst Rover Crew and Will Wade from Turramurra Rover Crew were each granted the Award for 2020. Unfortunately, both their expeditions were delayed by the COVID pandemic.
In July 2022, Hugh headed to Europe to undertake a solo end-to-end hike of the Kungsleden or The King’s Trail. This is a long-distance trail of approximately 460km in northern Sweden, with a significant portion within the Arctic Circle. Hugh also spent a week at the Kandersteg International Scout Centre in Switzerland, taking part in World Scout Day and Swiss National Day celebrations, as well as several mountain hikes. Read about Hugh’s adventures here
Will plans to travel to Mexico in May 2023 to embark on advanced cave diver training in the Yucutan Cenotes, near Cancún. This area is world-renowned as some of the best cave systems for divers. Will also intends to meet with local Rovers, and bring back his experience and passion to benefit others in Scouting with an interest in diving.
Charlotte Mason from Gordon Rover Crew was granted the Award for 2021. Charlotte travelled to Europe in June 2022, to undertake advanced canyoning instructor training in the French Pyrenees. She followed this with a mountaineering course in Austria, and some canyoning in Switzerland and Italy. Read about Charlotte’s exploits here
Following announcement of the 2021 Awardee, unfortunately the Tony Balthasar Achievement Award will no longer be available, due to exhaustion of the fund. Over a period of 36 years, a total of 27 Rovers have benefited from this unique opportunity to undertake their overseas adventure. Thanks must go to the late Ken Ewen for his vision in establishing the Award, Dick Smith for his generosity in supporting it, and the Award’s Trustees for their role in administering the fund and interviewing all applicants.
The Region Rover Council has now established a new award – the “Warawara” Award (Dharug for “far away”), that will enable an adventurous activity for individuals or groups of Rovers, within Australia or overseas. See details here