Remarkable women: Shirley Craigie

This Remarkable Woman of Girl Guides WA is Shirley Craigie. Find out why she Shirley Craigiegot sent home when she first tried to join Girl Guides.

I joined guides when I was ten and a half after being sent home at age ten because I was too young! I loved the hiking, camping and the camaraderie of guides. Meeting Lady B.P. after a service at St George’s Cathedral was a highlight.  Who could ever forget her beaming smile and the way she shook hands with both hands? I remember attending Djindunga, the International camp at Paxwold where we had a patrol of deaf guides which necessitated our learning sign language.

I became an assistant leader when my daughter’s unit was faced with closure due to lack of leaders. Over the years I helped on various committees including Water Activities, Arts, Brownie Section, Public Relations and State Executive and, after some years as a Brownie Leader, I accepted the role of District Leader. I also represented the Association on other organisations. One event I helped at was the Doll’s Show which was held at the W.A.C.A. Our Local Association dressed dozens of little dolls in various guide uniforms which were set into a camping display.  It was subsequently used during Children’s Week at the Burswood Dome. Unbeknown to us we had a visitor to our display – a mouse had made a nest in one of the boxes and we were left with the babies!

My greatest outside involvement was with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs in the year that we celebrated “Australia Remembers.”  I co-ordinated guides to march in the street parade, participate in the Anzac Day Ceremony and officiate at the Len Hall football game at Subiaco Oval.  The Guides’ association with the Len Hall game continued for many years.

Another service project which was a highlight was the Association’s involvement with the Emmanuel Centre. The sessions run by members of Girl Guides WA must be one of the Association’s longest running service projects.  It began in 1993 when a social worker from Emmanuel (a self-help day centre in East Perth for adults with intellectual disabilities) approached Girl Guides W.A. wondering if we could help with their program.  After discussion, permission was given for us to modify some Brownie Challenge Badges to meet the capabilities of the Emmanuel people.  Marion Nairn, State Commissioner at the time, asked Cheryl Murray to co-ordinate the program and I consented to help Cheryl with the project.

We thought we would be needed for a week or two. Twenty two years later, and with the help of many leaders and ex-leaders during that time, the program is still active.  At first many hours were spent teaching and assessing the modified badges and we regularly held badge presentations.  As the needs of the Emmanuel people changed, our programs moved away from badges towards general challenges and activities.  Safety in daily life as well as healthy living and eating were important and were topics which were regularly revisited.  In some years the participants presented a concert to visitors and Emmanuel staff.  Anzac Day, Christmas, Easter and Remembrance Day have also featured in our programs.  As the years passed the number of participants have dwindled and numbers are now lower than they were in the early years.  There have been many guiding people who have come along to either run or help with sessions, and I consider myself fortunate to have been involved from the beginning.  Our greatest gifts to the Emmanuel people have been our time and understanding and their precious gift to us has been their friendship.

Story supplied by Ann Miller.

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1 Response to Remarkable women: Shirley Craigie

  1. Caroline Tully says:

    Shirley Craigie, you are an amazing woman. My Mum, (Cheryl Murray) would be very proud of the work you have continued to do at the Emmanuel Centre. Bravo. Your story of your Guiding life touched my heart.

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