Beecroft-Cheltenham History Group

GIRL GUIDES NSW & ACT

BEECROFT DISTRICT

HISTORY NOTES

1926  district opened, then closed and reopened 1929

         Registration Certificate 1 October 1927     

Groups met in Scout halls at York Street & Welham Street and in the Methodist & Presbyterian church halls

1977   Cheltenham-Beecroft Scout & Guide Centre was opened on 20 August.  The Girl Guide hall was opened by Mrs Dorothy Evans, Patron to Beecroft Girl Guide District for almost 40 years and wife of the then Shire President, Don Evans who opened the adjoining Scout Hall.   Shared facilities of kitchen and toilets are located in the middle of the building.  Scouts later added a Venturer room at the southern end.  The whole facility is occasionally used for charity fundraising events such as Rotary annual Book sale.

Girl Guide Membership trends at Beecroft:

            1960s             2 Brownie packs for girls aged 7 – 11

                                   1 Guide company, a second opened in 1966 for girls aged 11 - 16

            1970s             3 Brownie Guide units for girls aged 8-11

                                   3 Guide units (36 girls each) for ages 11-16

                                   1 Ranger Guide unit for girls aged 17-25

            1980s             Peak Membership with waiting lists

            1990s             Added a Pre Junior Guide (Gumnuts) unit for girls aged 5-6 years

            2015               1 Junior Guide unit for ages 6-10

                                   1 Guide unit for ages 10-14

                                   1 Senior Guide unit for ages 14-17

 Names and terminologies evolve:

1940 onwards

2015

Girl Guides Association New South Wales

Girl Guides NSW & ACT

1988 Gumnut Guide

Pre Junior Guide

Brownie

Junior Guide

Guide

Guide

Ranger

Senior Guide & Olave Program

Lieutenant, Captain

Leader

District Commissioner

District Manager

Badges

Brownie: Footpath, Road, Highway

Guide: Tenderfoot, 2nd Class, 1st Class

Yellow, Green, Red, Blue Trefoil

BP Emblem

Queen’s Guide for Guides

Recognition System

Interest Badges, Gold & World Trefoil

Create a Challenge

Explore a Challenge

Achieve a Challenge

Junior BP, BP Award

Queen’s Guide for Senior Guides

Leader training was very practical

Australian Adult Training Program

Australian Adult Leadership Program

Australian Leadership Qualification Program

requires documented competence

Local Association

Support Group

Leaders continue to use Guide names to separate their Guiding role from day-to-day activities: Kulla, Keira, Beelah, Bindi, Jerboa, Keelie, Brown Owl, Pipca, Talia, Trangie, Jarrah, Mumbil, Alkira, Mella, Berringa, Kyeemah, Biaime, Blue Wren, Bundilla, Prylia, Doongara, Mulka, Bini - just some of the volunteer Leaders at Beecroft over the years.

Girl Guides Local Association (called Support Group in 2015), of parents and supporters, has been a very strong contributor to the community and to Girl Guides for decades.  Some ladies who met as parents and supporters in 1970-80 continue to meet together in 2015, long after their involvement with Girl Guides ceased.  Throughout 1960's and 70's the Local Association members undertook significant fundraising and worked towards the planning, permissions and construction of Beecroft-Cheltenham Scout and Guide Centre in The Crescent, Beecroft, on Railway land with a loan from Hornsby Council.   Melbourne Cup Luncheons were hosted in private homes for up to 100 guests until the late 1980s – popular events throughout the Beecroft-Cheltenham communities. 

It has been a privilege and honour to have Beecroft Girl Guides return as volunteer Leaders in adulthood, using the skills they learnt and sharing those skills with the next generation.  

Beecroft and beyond:

Norfolk Island Girl Guides have maintained a long connection with Beecroft Girl Guides.  Beecroft girls visited Norfolk Island on five occasions – once being delayed on Norfolk Island due to weather restrictions for aircraft.   Norfolk Island Girl Guides have been home hosted by Beecroft Girl Guides, particularly before and after their attendance at major Girl Guide events in New South Wales. These connections resulted in some long-standing friendships by correspondence and later meeting up in adult life.

Beecroft Girl Guides have represented Australia at International events around the world. The district booked the Girl Guide activity centre for snow sports, Araluen at Jindabyne, for a week of the winter holidays in 1978, involving girls and leaders of all the units in skiing and après ski activities.  Girls have taken part in water activities from RTS Tingira at Cabarita, and gained Pilot wings flying light planes from the Scout Air Activities Centre at Camden. Some families joined the Araluen Ski Club to better enjoy the NSW ski fields.

Beecroft Guides have been represented at every State Muster, later called Jamborees, since the first in 1966 at Canberra.  Weekend and sometimes longer, camps, both indoors and outdoors, have been enjoyed at Glengarry at North Turramurra, Carawah at Cattai, Tara at Silverdale, Terrigal campsite, Burrabaroo at Kootingal nr Tamworth, Random Cottage at Mount Victoria, Camp Chapman at Somersby, Kum-ba-yah at Mt Keira, Wilberforce, Karingal at Engadine, Bourke showground, Coffs Harbour, Norfolk Island, Bundilla at Winston Hills, and overnight stays in the Guide Hall, disturbed only by the noise of heavy goods trains and commuter trains. Sleeping out under the stars at Taronga Zoo in August has been a popular fundraising event and an experience to raise awareness of homelessness. 

 Developing performance skills - Beecroft girls and Leaders have been members of cast and crew for numerous annual Gang Shows at Hornsby and Parramatta.  Beecroft Girl Guides joined in years of carol-singing at aged care residences, charity food collections, cake stalls at Rotary fairs, Red Cross collections, collecting discarded clothing at the start of Sydney's City to Surf fun run, and of course, selling Girl Guide Biscuits every year.  The annual Willing Shilling drive of the 1960s became Cents for Service after 1966 and evolved into Guide Job Month by the 1980s, when Guides undertook jobs to raise funds for the local unit and the wider organisation. Guides of all ages have provided a Guard of Honour when their Leader has married.

Campfire singing is always popular, whether beside the railway line outside the Guide hall, at a weekend campsite or a Region anniversary event.  Good leadership and good voices have enabled Beecroft Girl Guides to produce two CDs of campfire songs, available through Guide Shops for Girl Guides everywhere to enjoy and learn the traditional songs.

Beecroft members of girl Guides who went on to other roles in Girl Guiding include:

Amanda Doxat-Pratt   Leader, state committees, national committees,  National Trainer, Assistant National Leadership Development Manager.

Cecilie Yates              Youth Member, Queens Guide. Her daughter, Bronwyn Hughes, has worked at World Centres -  Our Cabana in Mexico  and  Sangam in India and represented,  WAGGGS at UN Climate Change event.

Gillian Read               Youth Member, Queens Guide, state committees, NSW State Commissioner 2014-present.

Helen Stoddard         Youth Member, Queens Guide, Leader, state committees, NSW Deputy State Commissioner, National Executive Officer.  

Jane Harris                 Youth Member, Leader, national committee, WAGGGS representative to UN Sustainability event in Rio, and to UN Health Conference in Melbourne.

Jeanette Druce           District Commissioner, Region Leader, State committees.

Robin Hill                    Support Group President, District Commissioner, state committees, NSW Deputy State Commissioner.  

Robyn Lovie               Youth Member, Leader, state committees, National Trainer, State Program Adviser, State event and Jamboree convenor.

Robyn Miller              Youth Member, Leader, state committees, State event/International jamboree program convenor, State Training Adviser, National Trainer, NSW State Executive Officer.

Sarah Hill                   Youth Member, Leader, state committees.

As young adult representative for Girl Guides, attended a luncheon for the opening of Darling Harbour with HM Queen Elizabeth II. 

Leaders from Beecroft have undertaken trainer roles at Region, State and National levels and have conducted trainings in country venues, other states, Norfolk Island, UK, New Zealand and Myanmar.

Beecroft Girl Guide Leaders have made significant contributions on planning committees and as coordinators for major state events, including Project 77 in 1977 and Acorn to Oak in 1983, both at Sydney Showground and Beyond Bees and Butterflies at Hawkesbury Showground in 1995. 

Leaders have also been involved in the planning and delivery of week-long camps for Girl Guides from throughout the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.   At Porepunka, 1988 Bi-Centennial International camp for Girl Guides & Girl Scouts, the camp staff included 12 of Beecroft's 13 Leaders, including one who had not even started as a Leader!   Beecroft Girl Guide youth members also had ceremonial responsibilities during Porepunka during which it rained for that whole week at Cataract Park.

Beecroft Girl Guide Leaders have made significant contributions on planning committees and as coordinators for major state events, including Project 77 in 1977 and Acorn to Oak in 1983, both at Sydney Showground and Beyond Bees and Butterflies at Hawkesbury Showground in 1995. 

Leaders have also been involved in the planning and delivery of week-long camps for Girl Guides from throughout the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.   At Porepunka, 1988 Bi-Centennial International camp for Girl Guides & Girl Scouts, the camp staff included 12 of Beecroft's 13 Leaders, including one who had not even started as a Leader!   Beecroft Girl Guide youth members also had ceremonial responsibilities during Porepunka during which it rained for that whole week at Cataract Park.

Beecroft leaders were again to the fore at the International camp, Bundarra, held at Tara in 2003, when Robyn Lovie was Leader In Charge.

Honour Boards in Beecroft Girl Guide hall show that, by 2015:

              20 girls have earned Queens Guide Award 

              10 girls have earned the Junior Leader Award or Leadership Focus 

            105 girls have earned the BP Emblem or BP Award 

              26 girls have earned the Junior BP Award

Girl Guides Australia - Adult Awards presented to Leaders in Beecroft include:

Red Kangaroo          Robyn Miller, Robyn Lovie

Bar to the Emu         Robin Hill, Jeanette Druce

Emu                         Helen Stoddard, Gillian Garsia (Read), Amanda Doxat-Pratt

OAM for services to Guiding - Robyn Miller

In recognition of her term as District Commissioner for Beecroft in the 1950s, Olive Miller was presented with a bronze toadstool sculpture, which can still be seen at Glengarry Training Centre.

Thousands of girls have enjoyed Girl Guiding at Beecroft.  They become a member of a small team (Patrol) within their Unit which builds a sense of belonging, encourages teamwork, helping girls to grow in confidence and have a voice. With the support of  amazing volunteer female leaders (yes you can be one), Girl Guides enables girls and young women to grow into confident, self- respecting, responsible community members. 

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