Women's Groups 2013 - Girl Guides WA

Girl Guides WA

Purpose of the group

Girl Guides WA is part of Girl Guides Australia, a member country of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).

From the beginning, the group was intended to empower girls. The mission statement is to enable girls and young women to grow into confident, self-respecting, responsible community members.

Time period

Established in 1910, Girl Guides has spread worldwide to 144 member countries. In WA, it was established in June 1915 and continues to operate.

Key achievements

‘Be prepared’ (in all contingencies) and doing ‘a good deed’ are basic to guiding. A good deed also translates as service. From a WA standpoint, guiding has an outstanding record of service including contributing to the World War II effort, collecting silver paper and contributing money for the Guide of Dunkirk—a small vessel that plied between Dunkirk and the UK in that time of need.

Kath Baird, Florence Couper, Des Cohen and Pat Richards (Knight) were four young WA leaders trained rigorously to be accepted for GIS (Guide International Service) towards the end of World War II. Three women went to Europe and one to Malaysia, working with the army to re-locate displaced persons. Monetary collections have supported worldwide need in disadvantaged countries and closer to home during times of disaster.

Radio Lollipop was started in 1985 by Girl Guide State Commissioner Pat Goodheart, based on a similar service project in the UK. It was initially located at Princess Margaret Hospital for young patients and has since expanded to other hospitals.

The Aboriginal Outreach Program worked with children in centres across the State from 1972–1989. A small Commonwealth grant was used to create a modified form of guiding for groups of Aboriginal girls. Starting in Geraldton, day camps were held during school holidays with help from local government authorities. Others locations included Moora, Gnowangerup, Bunbury, Carnarvon, Port Hedland, Yandiyarra Station, Hilton, Coolbellup, Girrawheen, Koondoola and Belmont.

Life-skills, such as home-making and personal grooming, were learnt by these children are part of the guiding program. The adage that influenced management style was ‘Do not walk in front of me, I may not wish to follow. Do not walk in front of me, I may not wish to lead. Walk beside me’.

Outreach in the 1980s, distinct from the Aboriginal Outreach Program, helped refugee children from countries such as Chile, Vietnam, Kampuchea and Poland settle into their new Australian home.

Programs for Jewish, Muslim and Polish girl have also been successful.

Girl Guide camp sites at Fairwinds City Beach, Seaward Swanbourne, Paxwold Lesmurdie and May Yates Busselton have provided an array of outdoor activities, lasting friendships and memories.

Guides have been animal handlers at the Perth Royal Show for more than 20 years and have staffed the Yellow Brick Road, a suggested route to take around the venue during the show.

All girl guides are involved in service through their unit or as individuals. Their awards are earned on the basis of individual service.

Key people and positions in the group

  • WA Governor Sir Harry Barron was strongly supportive from the group’s inception.
  • Each Governor’s wife is president of Girl Guides WA.
  • Significant people have included Dame Edith Cowan, Lady Bridget Lee Steere and successive State Commissioners.


  • Guiding in WA, comp Winifred Wilson. Paterson Brokensha Pty Ltd. Perth. No date given.
  • Miller, Joy. Promises Made and Promises Kept. A History of Guiding in Western Australia. Guides Western Australia, Perth, 2000.
  • Information provided by Margaret Luckett.

Article Index
Women's Groups 2013
Abortion Law Repeal Association/Association for the Legal Right to Abortion (ALRA)
American Women's Club of Perth (AWC)
Association of Civilian Widows of WA Inc
Australian College of Midwives WA Branch (ACM)
Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA)
Beta Sigma Phi
Business and Professional Women Western Australia (BPW)
Catholic Women’s League of Western Australia (Inc)
Chrysalis House Women's Refuge
Cine-Matrix: Women in Film and Television WA
Cockburn Women’s Peace Camp
Combined Equal Pay Committee/WA Council for Equal Pay and Opportunity
Community Midwifery WA
Country Women’s Association (CWA)
Domestic Violence Action Group (Geraldton)
Emily’s List
Equal Opportunity Law Reform Coalition
Fremantle Women’s Health Centre (FWHC)
Girl Guides WA
Graduate Women Western Australia (GWWA)/Australian Federation of University Women (AFUW) Western Australia
Grapevine/Perth Wimmin’s Collective
Gretel Club of Perth (Inc)
Harvest Guild
Incest Survivors Association (Inc.)
Inner Wheel Australia
Inside Out Project
Ishar Multicultural Women’s Health Centre
Kalgoorlie Auxiliary of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Karrakatta Club
Labor Women’s Association
Lespar Library
Living Child Inc.—Safe Village Births
Lutheran Women WA
Marninwarntikura Fitzroy Women’s Resource Centre
Mining Mums
Modern Women's Club
Mothers’ Union Australia
Movement for the Ordination of Women
Muslim Women’s Support Centre of WA (Inc)
National Council of Women of Western Australia (previously known as West Australian National Council of Women and Western Australian National Council of Women)
National Council of Jewish Women of Australia—WA section (NCJWA)
Nintirri Centre
Older Women’s Network (OWN WA)
Penguin Club
Perth Ionian Club
Polyhymnia Reading Group
Rape Crisis Line
Rural Remote Regional Women’s Network (RRR)
Sexual Assault Resource Centre (SARC)
Sibyl/University of Western Australia Student Guild Women’s Collective
Society of Women Writers WA
Soroptimist International of Western Australia
Starick Services Inc
Status of Women Committee WA—Australian Labor Party
Tradeswomen on the Move
UN Women Australia (formerly UNIFEM Australia)—Perth Chapter Young UN Women Perth Chapter
Union of Australian Women—WA Branch
V.I.E.W. Western Australia
West Australian Women’s Society of Fine Arts and Crafts
War Widows’ Guild
Warrawee Women’s Refuge
Women’s Electoral Lobby (WEL)
West Australian Housewives’ Association (Inc)
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)
Women in Media
Women’s Information Referral Exchange (WIRE)
Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) of Western Australia
Women in Education Coalition
Women in Mining WA (WIMWA)
Women in Sailing (WIS)
Women in Sport Committee of the Western Australian Sports Council
Women in Technology WA (Inc) (WiTWA)
Women Lawyers of Western Australia (Inc) (WLWA)
Women with Disabilities WA Inc (WWDWA)
Women’s Action Alliance (WAA)
Women’s Advisory Council (WAC)
Women’s Broadcasting Cooperative
Women’s Committee of State School Teachers’ Union WA Executive
Women's Committee of the Waterside Workers Federation
Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services (WA)/Women’s Refuge Group of WA (WRG)
Women’s Health and Family Services/Women’s Health Care House/Perth Women’s Centre/Women’s Health Service
Women’s Information Service (WIS)
Women’s Interest Network
Women in Engineering WA (WIE WA)
Women’s International Zionist Organisation (WIZO)
Women’s Liberation
Women’s Service Guilds
Women’s Studies Group
Yanay Yanma
YWCA of Perth
Zonta International
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