Writer, Actor and Comedian Dave O'Neil
Dave is a former Scout
Comedian Dave O’Neil is one of Australia’s most popular comics. Dave is a regular at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, has written a book, appeared on TV shows such as The Big Schmooze, The Fat, Good News Week, and Rove Live. He has also appeared in the movies: The Nugget; Takeaway; and as a Scout Leader in You and Your Stupid Mate. He currently co host’s NOVA FM’s breakfast radio show in Melbourne. But before all that, Dave was a Scout!
Scouts Australia: How long were you involved in Scouting for?
Dave O’Neil: From Cubs through to Rovers!
SA: What group did you belong to?
Dave: I belonged to 1st Mitcham in the outer East of Melbourne.
SA: What aspects did you most enjoy about Scouting?
Dave: I actually enjoyed the social aspects, just mixing with kids of my age and mucking around.
Venturers was the best! We formed a band in Nunawading Venturers and went on to put out a record.
I also joined the ‘Gang show’ for two years. That was what gave me my first taste of showbiz!
SA: What benefits do you see Scouting being able to offer young people?
Dave: To do things you can’t do anywhere else. I went on camps. I went motorbike riding, parasailing and got to wear a green leotard on the stage at the Pallais Theatre for the Gang Show.
SA: Your Dad is a Group leader?
Dave: Yeah, Dad is the Group Leader at 1st Mitcham. He’s also big in the Badge Club. If anyone comes across the hard to find, ‘Bass District’, please send it to him!
SA: How long has your Dad been involved in Scouting?
Dave: He’s been a Leader since the 70’s. When Dad served in Vietnam, he even started up a Cub Pack there!
SA: Did your Dad encourage you to join Scouts?
Dave: Yeah, but he didn’t push us.
SA: You have four brothers. Were they also in Scouting?
Dave: I was one of four boys in our family and we all did Cubs and Scouts. Two of us went all the way through to Rovers. The other two stopped after Venturers.
SA: Did you ever attend a Jamboree?
Dave: Yes! The 1979 Jamboree in Perth. It was unreal! The best thing was meeting Scouts from all around the World.
I remember the American Scouts had a fight with the Iranian Scouts. Then they made up. We had a great time. I remember the plane trip over there and the endless cake stalls to raise money to get there.
SA: Any final words?
Dave: Come on kids, Scouts can be great fun. You get to do things like light fires (OK, camp fires), tip over in a canoe (hey, not on purpose), and sleep in a tent (they’re really cold).
Nowhere else can you do that these days.