This Remarkable Woman of Girl Guides WA is Jill Cook. Here is Jill’s story.
Jill Cook was a much loved and respected guiding identity in the Swan Valley area. From the time that she became involved in guiding in 1977 until her death in 1992 she was the driving force in the Dianella District and then the Swan Valley Region. Jill became the District Commissioner for North Dianella and established brownie and guide units there. These were followed fairly quickly by units in both Noranda and Ballajura. Under her leadership as Region Commissioner for the Swan Valley, guiding flourished across the whole Region which extended out as far as Bullsbrook. Due to her untiring efforts, the purpose built North Dianella Guide/Scout Hall at the Light Street Recreation Ground became a reality during her time as Region Commissioner.
After leaving school Jill studied Home Science teaching at the Perth Technical College. She taught at High Schools in Norseman, Bunbury and Tuart Hill before the family moved to Dianella in 1973. She had resigned from teaching when her first daughter was born, but resumed when all three daughters were at school. She recommenced her teaching career at Oberon, a Catholic School for girls who needed support. She then taught at Girrawheen High School followed by Lockridge High School and it was here that she developed the very successful Lockridge High School Catering Enterprise Course. This was a program designed to engage students who had no interest in attending school and to teach them life skills.
Jill’s Enterprise Course consisted of both boys and girls and they catered for local functions, including guiding events. On these occasions the school group and the guides worked together and forward preparation was often done at Jill’s home. A few of the local guides were in her Home Economics class, with some of them attending the Lockridge High School specifically to be able to participate in the Enterprise Group. One of the girls subsequently did an apprenticeship with Miss Maud’s.
Jill was instrumental in establishing Work Studies as a TEE course. She had envisioned an on-site Function Centre at the High School. This became a reality when in August 1996 the Jill Cook Function Centre was opened and Jillie’s Restaurant began to operate. She always promoted Home Economics as a subject and encouraged other teachers to have faith in the ability of young people to achieve success through practical experiences. The time and effort she spent for the students and the school were rewarded by the outstanding success of her Enterprise Course.
Jill was a member of the Girl Guides WA State Executive Committee and she also held the roles of Radio Activities Liaison Officer and Special Projects Adviser. She was presented with the Wattle Award in 1987 and then the Emu Award in 1990. The citation read:
“For total dedication to the Association in her position as Region Commissioner. She is always ready to give of her time and assistance.”
Story supplied by Ann Miller.
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I remember Jill Cook from when I was a Girl Guide. She truely was a remarkable woman. A true inspiration and so generous with her time and efforts. I have very fond memories of my Guiding days and will always be thankful to Jill for her help and encouragement.