Cloth badge issued by the Australian Boys Scout Association. The badge is from the Brisbane South Area, Melee region, which uses a stereotypical Aboriginal figure of a naked man holding spears as its mascot.

A 'melee' is a word of French origin, frequently used to describe disorganized close combat involving a group of fighters, ranging from a chaotic brawl to more organised physical games based on a defined set of rules.

Badges like this were issued to each scout attending the an event, both as a memento and for the purpose of swapping with scouts from other districts, each of which had their own distinctive badges for the occasion. The various badges obtained by each scout are often sewn on a camp blanket, shirt or coat. They are not intended to be used as uniform badges.

Physical Description

White rectangular badge with a black Aboriginal figure holding two spears facing water and blue coloured mountains in the background. There is a red sun and the scout sign within a red border.


These badges are significant because they show the way that the Scout movement continued to use stereotypical images of indigenous people on their official insignia from the 1960s to the 2000s. This object forms part of a small collection of objects which demonstrate the various ways Indigenous imagery, designs and materials have been referenced, appropriated and even exploited to produce popular consumer products which at times are branded in inappropriate and even offensive ways.

More Information