Remarkable Women: Judith Amey

This month’s Remarkable Woman of Girl Guides WA is Judith Amey. Here is her story …

Judith Amey

Judith Amey

Guiding has always been important to me.  I can’t remember when I first heard about Brownies and Guides but I was immediately drawn to it.

My parents were reluctant for me to join so I invented my own pretend Brownie Pack and ran meetings with myself on the front verandah.  Nedlands Brownies met on a Saturday afternoon and one wonderful day my Mother took me there. I was as happy as a child could be!

There was a schedule of set tasks one had to complete.  After the first set you were awarded the Golden Bar, followed by the Golden Ladder and finally the Golden Hand. When I turned eleven it was time for me to ‘Fly Up’ to Guides. The Dalkeith Leader was Edna Greaves who, when a District Leader, had enrolled me as a Brownie. Edna and Kath Baird, Leader of the Stirling Rangers, were two wonderful influences on my life.

Once a month on a Saturday, Mrs Greaves’ parents’ home, which backed onto the Swan River, became the venue for a field day when we would ramble through the bush, prepare a fire and cook a meal and play adventurous games we made up.

Each year there was a seven to ten day camp under canvas. One memorable one was in 1960 – an International camp under canvas at Paxwold. Nearly 400 girls from all Australian states joined Guides from Singapore, PNG, Malaysia and Kenya. Thea Brown was one of the campers and our friendship dates from then.

A highlight from my Guiding days was during the Commonwealth Games held in Perth in 1962. As part of the Opening Ceremony at Perry Lakes Stadium we marched in and erected a full camp site – six seven-person tents and two lots of canvas screening – and then dismantled it – all in 15 minutes! Not the modern light weight tents but the heavy canvas with flies and tent pegs.

While a Ranger Guide at camp I met up with Kay Arrantash and Joy Miller. Then study and other activities became more important and I had a break from Guiding.

In October 1969 I was contacted and asked if I would take on a Lone Guide Unit.  After 3 years with the Unit I then became State Adviser for Lones.

In 1979 I opened the 1st Gooseberry Hills Guide Unit with six girls which grew rapidly to a full Unit of 36. Camping is the highlight of any Guide’s life and we had some memorable ones. As Camping was a new experience for the girls, much time was spent getting ready for the first one – however we still had one girl who arrived with dressing gown and fluffy slippers and another who had china plates and cup – with saucer, as her eating utensils.

When they first joined as 11 year olds, they were very definitely little girls, when they left 4 years later they were impressive young women. Watching that transformation was something special.

During this time I was also a Guide and Camp Trainer and then for 5 years from 1980 I was the WA editor of the National magazine Guiding In Australia. I also did two stints as Assistant State Training Adviser, firstly with Margaret Abbotts and then Thea Brown.  I was later appointed State Extension Adviser.

I am now a member of the Lone Trefoil Guild. There is a ‘magical bond’ that keeps women who first joined 40, 50 and even 60 years ago, coming together for simple activities remembering the old traditions, renewing their promise and finishing the meeting with ‘Taps’.

My Guiding memories are precious and I am grateful for all it has meant to me.

Story contributed by Ann Miller

Click below for more Remarkable Women:

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s