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The History of the Tonkin Trophy


The Tonkin Trophy was given to the Western Cape Rovers in 1955 by Dr. Arnold Hugh Tonkin, the Divisional Commissioner at that time. The Rovers however, already had the Hawkeye Trophy and felt a second trophy would now overdo the competition between the Crews. In 1957 the Scouts were looking for a trophy for the best all round Group as an incentive for Groups to work together and increase their quality of Scouting. The Rovers then gave this trophy over to Scouting, provided that the Crews were included in the competition, to be awarded for the first time in 1958.


The early competitions were decided by the Commissioner’s Council and this became very subjective, so it was decided to use the Divisional Competitions as the criteria. Later the results of the Hawkeye Trophy were dropped from this marking, as there were too few Groups with Rovers. In 1974 when the Star Troops / Packs and Groups were restarted, it was decided that the Star marking gave the best indication of the Groups performance throughout the year. Thus this was now used as the main criteria, together with the competitions and one off events as additional bonus points. Thus Groups who took part in Divisional events received additional points for doing well in these events. It then became the prerogative of the Area Rover Council, Scout and Cub Program Commissioners to make recommendations on the requirements and then the Commissioners Council would approve them. These decisions would then come into force for the following year.


In 1977 when the Divisions were dissolved and Areas formed it was decided to include all the Groups in the Area and not just the White Division, as it had been in the past. Until today, this Trophy is the most sought after by our top Groups, winning of which places the Group as the best overall in the Area / Province.


The points awarding structure is reviewed on a regular basis so as to align with any programme changes.



Buzz Macey