Remarkable Women: Joan Davis

This post’s Remarkable Women of Girl Guides WA is Joan Davis, who saved a child’s life in a dramatic road incident in 1975. Here is her story.

joan davis

Waroona District Girl Guide Commissioner Mrs Joan Davis, did not consider herself particularly brave. Also, as a 48 year old mother of five and grandmother of six, it would seem she was past diving in front of a speeding car to save a life.

Mrs Davis said it was only a stroke of luck that she happened to be on the spot to save the life of the two and a half year old child, Veronica Andrews.

Joan related – ‘I stopped my vehicle on South Western Highway just north of Waroona because some wire had become wedged under it. The vehicle carrying the young girl stopped almost opposite. The child got out of the car on the traffic side before anyone could stop her. I just acted without thinking, anyone would have done the same. I ran and leapt across the path of the oncoming vehicle taking the little girl with me. As I did the car struck my left foot – my shoe was found more than 150 metres up the road – the car did not stop!’

Joan injured her shoulder and back when landing on the verge and was limping for two months from her foot injury. Veronica escaped with only a cut elbow.

In a simple ceremony in Waroona, Joan Davis, a local farmer’s wife was given a unique award for her action. In 1979 she became only the second person in WA to receive the Gilt Cross presented by the Girl Guide Association for gallantry and lifesaving. The award was presented to her by the Girl Guide Commissioner for Western Australia Mrs D Aitken. Joan also received a letter of commendation from the Minister for Police which read – ‘your action personifies the best traditions of the Girl Guide movement and I congratulate you for displaying such exemplary conduct at great personal risk.’

Reported in the Daily News 26.3.75 and Elders Weekly April 1975

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