Remarkable Women: Nancy Rogers and Florence Couper

This month’s Remarkable Women of Girl Guides WA are Nancy Rogers and Florence

Lee Edwards

Lee Edwards

Couper. Here are their stories …

Lee Edwards is now a member of the Perth Trefoil Guild, but her early guiding years were spent as a Ranger and Northern Division and then in the Metropolitan Division. Here she recalls time spent as a Ranger under the Leadership of two quite remarkable women.

Lee’s Story

Nancy Rogers and Florence Couper were Ranger Leaders of the Company I joined in 1948-9. Florence was then in Germany with the Guide International Service so Nancy managed us on her own! It was quite a big company.

The Guide International Service was formed within the UK during the last months of the war because of the knowledge of the situation in Germany and the countries that nation had overrun was particularly difficult for women and children. We later learned that they were literally starving and a real difference was made by the lifesaving assistance given by the Guide Association and purveyed by Florence Couper, Des Cohen and Kath Baird amongst other Australian volunteers along with women from many other allied countries.

Florence Cooper

Florence Cooper

When back with the Company, Florence arranged opportunities for us to entertain some of the refugees who were housed in a ‘camp’ across the sand hills from Seaward. We usually entertained them at Seaward but I vividly remember an occasion when they hosted us with dancing lessons in which they excelled – and their contribution for afternoon tea was bread and butter, each slice decorated with two kinds of jam arranged decoratively.

Although a tiny person, Nancy had a big influence on those of us who were her Rangers, we gave her the name of Wakooka , shortened to ‘Wacky’! She gave us many experiences of camping, hiking, interesting meetings at Guide Headquarters – then on the first floor of Pastoral House in St Georges Terrace.

Nancy Rogers

Nancy Rogers

We shared in an International Camp with visitors from Malaya and Singapore, held at Seaward Camp which was opened by Lady BP on her visit during the late 1940s.  The visiting Guides and their Leaders shared a specific weekend with the Rangers of WA which was very special to us. Also some, of us had our first visit to Sydney to attend a National Camp there, I think in 1951.

Nancy was involved with the Patch Theatre and starred in several plays. Then she developed tuberculosis and was hospitalised at Watheroo where we occasionally visited, never allowed to get too close! At this time, Des Cohen and Gwen MacFarquhar ‘looked after’ the Ranger company until Florence came home.

As Rangers had to depart before 21 years of age the time came when each of us had to leave – after 4 to 5 years of excellent Guide experience with these very special women.

Story supplied by Ann Miller

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