GEM100 wrap-up

This post contains a LOT of photos! See if you can find yourself and please leave a comment if you do.

First some thanks:

1. Thanks to the organising committee for a spectacular job of creating a memorable event for this special day. Thanks Radio Lollipop, Out of the Box, and our other suppliers of games and activities. And also thanks to those lovely people who chipped in on the day, sometimes without even planning to.

2. Thanks to our Archives Committee who developed an outstanding exhibition in the Perth Town Hall. Thanks also to Snap Burswood, who donated their design work for our display boards. Let’s hope we can see it displayed somewhere else soon!

3. Thanks to Australian Chief Commissioner Robinette and her Assistant Miranda, and our own State Team, for coming to help us celebrate, giving out special badges, and posing for countless photos.

4. Thanks to the media, support people, and Tony our photographer, who supported our event, and our gorgeous MC, Christina Morrissey.

5. Thanks to anyone I’ve missed and especially a HUGE thanks to those people who came along in party-mode to bring energy and joy to Perth City in the name of Girl Guides!


The opening was bright and early (for a Sunday) at 9.30am in the beautiful Perth winter sunshine! Our VIPs welcomed us and explained how the day would work. Lots of bystanders took photos of the amazing sight of over 1000 people coming together to celebrate our 100th birthday.

Many partygoers remained in Forrest Place to check out the games and activities on offer, pick up their cupcake, or get a balloon. All balloons had been diligently tied to the wristbands which was a brilliant idea to prevent girls from losing their helium balloons … but we didn’t count on the wind whipping them in circles until each bunch became a tangled mess! Luckily we had many helpers willing to untangle and many patient girls willing to wait for their balloons! (a bit of Girl Guide Law in action there!)

Just love the wry expression on Blue Wren's face as she untangles balloons!

Just love the wry expression on Blue Wren’s face as she untangles balloons!

Party hats, party hats, and more party hats!

Urban Orchard Activities

Other groups wandered over to Perth’s Urban Orchard, where they played games, got airbrushed tattoos, caught up with the Commissioners, and did tug-o-wars. We also wrote on fabric ‘Thought Walls.’ These will be made into bedspreads and used at Our Barn, so girls camping there will get a kick out of seeing their messages in years to come! The 3 topics were:

  • I was a Guide on the 28th June 2015    (to celebrate the day)
  • Guiding in the future will…….
  • I love Girl  Guides because…….

Exhibition at Perth Town Hall

The other city location to visit was the Perth Town Hall where Girl Guides began in WA exactly 100 years ago. Here, we found a wonderful exhibition of poster boards explaining what we’re all about, with loads of photos, old and new. There were badges of today and yesteryear, as well as a pop up shop to buy memorabilia from – and don’t forget the Our Barn donations loo!

Closing Ceremony

What a special moment in the closing ceremony when we all renewed our Promise together! There were a few different words to be heard as some of us made a different Promise to the one we make today, but the heart and spirit of the Promise is just the same as it always was – a promise to do our best and show respect and compassion to ourselves and other people.

Then we counted up by tens to hundred and got a wonderful surprise when the stage lit up with fireworks and streamers burst upon us in a rainfall of silver!

And being Girl Guides, we tidied up after ourselves – as always, leaving the place a little neater than it was in the first place 😉

Happy 100th Birthday, Girl Guides WA!

PS check out a short video montage of some of the day’s activities.

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GEM100 is almost here

LogoJust a quick post today to wish all the members past and present a happy 100th birthday for Sunday!

We’re finishing up our big year of centenary celebrations this Sunday with a street party in Forrest Place, Perth. We are also revisiting the site where it all began – the Perth Town Hall – to see a photographic display. Any and all members of the public are invited to see this display from 9.30am till 3pm on Sunday June 28th.

What a wonderful hundred years of friendship, camp cooking, skills, songs, games, good deeds, community service, positive self image, leadership, fun, laughter and biscuits it has been!

And what a great year of celebrations. We’ve had a week-long Jamboree, a Centenary Dinner, and State Leadership Conference, the Centenary Challenge for youth members, a Service Challenge for Radio Lollipop, a Fundraising Challenge for Our Barn in York, a Trefoil Guild celebration, the Remarkable Women initiative, and lots of little celebrations in units and regions around the state. We really know how to celebrate a special day!

And this weekend, that special day is finally here. As you stand in Perth Town Hall with your Girl Guiding friends, look around and remember that about 70 people gathered in that very building 100 years ago to the day, and arranged to begin Girl Guides in Western Australia. I wonder if they could have known, when they lit that flame, how it would burn brightly for decades to come and reach thousands and thousands of women and girls across our great big state?

Here’s to the next hundred years!

PS remember to use the hashtags #GEM100 #GGWA100years #GirlGuides when you’re sharing your thoughts and pictures online. You are also invited to tag @GirlGuidesWA.

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Remarkable Women: Joy O’Grady

This post’s Remarkable Women of Girl Guides WA is Joy O’Grady. Joy recalls life as a Ranger.

Joy O'Grady

Joy O’Grady

“I can recall camping with our Ranger unit about 1955.  We caught a train to Midland and then followed a map to a farming property.  As we were travelling by train we had to dress in best uniform complete with stockings.  Unfortunately the map reader fell in a river and that was the end of the map!   We wandered until nearly midnight through many paddocks filled with cattle and we were quite worried about bulls. After climbing through several wire fences our stockings were not in good condition but we arrived at our destination.

We slept in tents and erected a hessian latrine, and were warned not to take a torch in with us as we would be in a slideshow.  We cooked interesting meals including a spotted dog which was a rice pudding with sultanas and which we lowered down a well to cool.

Another highlight was the being the flag bearer at the march past for Lady Baden-Powell’s visit.  We were challenged to erect a ring of tents at speed, but when mine went up it was the wrong way round and I had to do it again.

I attended an International Ranger Jamboree in Victoria. When we arrived at the venue we had to pour boiling water down all the holes we could find to kill the huge black snakes that were there. Although we had been instructed not to take any water in to our tents as it would encourage the snakes, one day it was so hot that I couldn’t resist having a bowl inside the tent to sit in.  When I was walking around at dusk I felt something slippery under my foot and I screamed.  Another Ranger came to the rescue, but luckily it had only been a grass snake.  We met many girls from other countries and some Asian girls performed a dance routine where two of them clapped long sticks together and two others stepped in and out in time to the music.

There are so many memories of our time in Rangers. We kept in touch for many years as our children grew up, and now we have reformed as the Anson Trefoil Guild and the family is back together again.”

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Remarkable Women: Nancy Brazier

This post’s Remarkable Women of Girl Guides WA is Nancy Brazier who recalls eating a particularly sandy meal at one Girl Guide camp! Here is her story.

Nancy Brazier

Nancy Brazier

Nancy Brazier joined the Girl Guide Association when she became an enrolled member of her Local Association.  However it wasn’t long before she found herself becoming more involved than being a Brownie mum or a L.A. member. Nancy’s roles in guiding have been many and varied.  From being a District Commissioner she took on more responsibilities as a Division Commissioner and then as an Assistant State Commissioner.  She was the Region Commissioners’ representative on State Executive and also the International Adviser for W.A.

She has many memories of her times spent with the girls and she recalls one in particular.   She was being served a meal of a chop and a dozen green peas by a very nervous young guide, but the plate slipped and the meal ended up in the sand.  Not daunted, Nancy scooped up the meal and ate it, sand and all.

Nancy has had many interests outside of guiding.  She was the State President of the Penguin Club W.A. and served as the Club’s State Executive Officer and CEO for Australia. She is an accomplished public speaker. She was honoured for her work with Life Membership. She joined the National Council of Women of W.A. and has worked tirelessly for the improvement of rights for women from migrant and refugee backgrounds.

Nancy continues to devote time to both guiding and the community.  She was a foundation member of the Burswood/Bentley Trefoil Guild when it was formed in 1999 and has been both its secretary and president. She is also a member of the Honorary Australian Associates.

Nancy has been presented with an Emu Award from Girl Guides W.A. and in 2014 received her 50 year Long Service Award.  Her services to Youth and the Community were acknowledged in 2010 with an O.A.M. She was honoured with Life Membership of Guides W.A. in 2005.

(Story by Ann Miller)

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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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Information on GEM100

About GEM100 – an update from the organisersGEM

GEM100 is a celebration of 100 years of Girl Guiding in Western Australia and is our opportunity to celebrate with a party and to showcase girl guiding to the public of Perth.

  • DATE: SUNDAY 28 JUNE 2015
  • TIME: We will gather in Forrest Place from 9am for a 9.30am opening and will gather again at around 2pm for our special closing ceremony.

There will be a party atmosphere in Forrest Place with music and dancing, balloons, cake and games. We will also have games and activities in the Urban Orchard in the Cultural Centre precinct (over the railway line, near the State Library, Art Gallery and Museum).

At the Perth Town Hall, where the decision to begin the first Girl Guide Company was made, there will be an historic display featuring photos and memorabilia. This will be part
of our celebrations and Guides will visit this to gain a sense of our rich history. There will be the opportunity outside the town hall to purchase Centenary merchandise from Guide

The end of our party will include a renewal of Promise for which Guides and Leaders will be awarded a special certificate, and the day will have a surprise ending.

Leaders will have to bring with them current details for their girls including any medical or health requirements and contact details for parents or guardians (as in the Youth Activity Consent Form).

We are expecting special visitors for the day, including our Chief Commissioner. Please encourage all members to join in our birthday party and make it one of our special memories of Girl Guiding in Western Australia.

If you have any further enquiries please contact the Administration Oficer at Reception at Guide House who will forward your enquiry to the organising committee.

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Snippets from the past: Merredin’s Guide Cottage

Merredin’s Guide Cottage

In 1951 King George VI initiated a “Bridge of Service” effort and Miss Teasdale, Merredin District Commissioner, had the idea of building a cottage for an aged pensioner couple.

The Rangers, Guides and Brownies worked hard to raise the money for this project but it was a slow process. The main means of raising the money were cake stalls, Paddy’s markets and assisting with catering.

The fund eventually reached £500 pounds. As a suitable cottage had just become available in the town, it was decided to buy it with the money in hand. Building costs had risen and it seemed impossible to raise enough money to adhere to the original idea of building a small but modern brick cottage. Show catering and a hot dog stall raised another £300 which was used to modernise the cottage; the renovations included installation of a septic system and modern bathroom.

The Local Association assisted with the arrangements for purchasing and modernising the cottage, this was in 1956. Catering for a wedding provided the last £50 which bought paint and such furnishings as were required before the cottage could be occupied.

Members of the Guides/Scouts Associations in conjunction with the APEX Club of Merredin did all the painting and it was finally complete to be occupied in the B P Centenary year of 1957.

The first tenants were an aged pioneer couple. It was a great boon to them as they had been living some distance out of town, and regular medical treatment necessitated the wife
living in close proximity to the hospital. They occupied it until 1962.

The new tenants were an elderly widow and her daughter. With the building of pensioner flats at Merredin by the Lotteries Commission there was not then the hardship for elderly folk.


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Remarkable Women: Marjory Cobb

This post’s Remarkable Women of Girl Guides WA is Marjory Cobb. Here is her story.Marjory Cobb

Marjory became involved in guiding in the same way as did many of our leaders: she volunteered to help when her daughter’s unit was in need of a leader. It wasn’t as though she needed another activity to keep herself busy, as she was the mother of six children and also ran a cake decorating business, but she willingly accepted the role of a Guide Leader.  That was in 1960 and 55 years later she is still involved.

She was busy with her unit through the 1960s.  Her camping and leadership skills were excellent and she was appointed State Camping Adviser. In 1970 Camp Jubilee was held in Perth. A small group of six guides from Christmas Island came to Perth to participate, and and two of them were billeted with Marjory. Shortly after that a request came from the Division Commissioner on Christmas Island for a trainer to visit and Marjory was invited to go.

Marjory remembers:  “The secretary of the Phosphate Company arranged a passage for me on their trading ship Triadic, there being no airport there at that time. The Guide Commissioner was the wife of the Island Administrator and I stayed with them at Government House, although I also accepted hospitality for a few days with the family of one of the girls who had billeted with me and a few days with the school principal and his wife.

I held a three day camp for the guides as a Camp Training for the Leaders as well as general trainings for Guide and Brownie Leaders. I organised a fun day for all the girls plus a few kids who gate-crashed the event, and a social day for all the leaders and their helpers. I visited each of the Unit meetings, so was kept pretty busy.  I was on the Island for three weeks as that was the Triadic’s turnaround time for loading and unloading.

The Island people were so hospitable and friendly. In between guiding matters I was taken swimming, fishing and canoeing as well as a day 4-wheel driving through the jungle. There was an official function with the Administrator and his wife. I learned about the ocean crabs, the jungle crabs, the famous Red Crab Day, the Moslem religion and life in the kampong or village. I knew nothing about any of these before going there so it wasn’t just me training the guide leaders!

To my acute embarrassment I was presented with numerous gifts as I was leaving, many of which I still have and treasure. Many other memories stay with me despite the passing years and although I have travelled to many overseas places since then, Christmas Island has a very special place in my heart.”

After that time Marjory became involved in State events. She was the leader-in-charge of two State Guidoramas. The first was held in 1980 at Churchlands College and was attended by 1,000 girls including members from 34 country units. It was a day crammed full of fun filled activities. The second was in the grounds of Murdoch University in 1989.  Over 1,400 girls enjoyed challenges on land and on the water.

Since then she has held many guiding roles. She has been the Division Commissioner for the Lee Steere East Division which was later to become the Heirisson Region and also a Brownie Guide Leader and District Leader for the Rivervale/Carlisle District.

Marjory has always been involved in community affairs and has been justly rewarded for her hours of voluntary work with a Community Service Award from the City of Perth and a Community Volunteer Award from the Town of Victoria Park.  The Guide Association has presented her with an Emu Award and she has been honoured as a Life Member of Girl Guides WA.

Today she is a valuable member of the Burswood/Bentley Trefoil Guild.

Story contributed by Ann Miller

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A not-so-crummy history … of Girl Guide Biscuits!

Old Biscuit ad, possibly from the 1990s

Old Biscuit ad, possibly from the 1990s

Given that Girl Guide Biscuits have arrived for sale in WA, we thought you might be interested to know a little about the history of Girl Guide biscuits in our state.

Here are some Did You Knows courtesy of our extraordinary Archives team.

Did you know…?

That the Biscuit Scheme commenced in Western Australia in 1958 when Mrs Rita Bartlett introduced the idea after a visit to the United States where she saw Girl Scout Cookies?

Did you know…?

That the Girl Scout Cookies scheme operating in the States involved the sale of special biscuits for a certain period each year, and largely financed the whole movement?

Girl Guide Biscuits ad from the 1950s

Girl Guide Biscuits ad (date unknown)

Did you know…?

That Mrs Bartlett managed the entire business process which, during the 12 years it operated, raised close to ₤5,000 for Headquarters and Company funds?

Did you know…?

That South Australia also participated in this venture alongside WA?

Girl Guide biscuits in the 1980s

Girl Guide biscuits in the 1980s

Did you know…?

That when the Willing Shilling (bob-a-job) fundraiser was introduced, biscuits were temporarily discontinued?

Did you know…?

In the 1980s, Blood Donors received Girl Guide Biscuits along with a drink following a donation during biscuit season?

Brownies distribute biscuits at Blood Bank 1982

Brownies distribute biscuits at Blood Bank 1982

Did you know …?

That Girl Guides have now been selling biscuits in Australia for over 57 years to raise money for local Guiding activities, camps and events, purchase supplies and program materials, support disadvantaged girls to enjoy Guiding, provide training and support for Girl Guides Leaders, and to support international Guiding events?

Undated Biscuit ad (possibly 1980s/90s)

Undated Biscuit ad (possibly 1980s/90s)

Did you know …?

That this year, Australians are expected to consume more than 13 million Girl Guide Biscuits, raising over $1.7 million for young Australian women?

2015's Girl Guide biscuits campaign

2015’s Girl Guide biscuits campaign

That’s one deliciously interesting history!

Much of this information was sourced from the Girl Guide Courier – May, 1962.

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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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