Fab Feb Photo Collage Festival: Day 8 Girl Guides

4 x 7UP collageLike many young girls of my generation I became a Girl Guide when I was about 10. However unlike many others I hadn’t followed the normal path through Brownies. Joining the Guides was a big deal because in those days it had the reputation of either not being friendly to Catholics, or vice versa. Certainly one of the deciding factors was that the Guide leader of our company was herself a Catholic and would take the three or four Catholic Guides with her to Mass when we went camping.Pauleen Guide test

I don’t know what the rationale of the objections might have been. Certainly there doesn’t seem too much in the Guide oath to be threatening:

I promise that I will do my best:
To do my duty to God,
to serve the Queen and my country,
To help other people, and
To keep the Guide Law.

The equal prominence of the British flag as well as the Australian is interesting yet typical of the era.

Perhaps my joining up had to do with my neighbourhood friend who joined at the same time and whose parents would often drive us to events. On other Saturdays we would walk through the shoulder-high grass along the creek bank with one or other of our parents watching us until we reached the NARM bridge (near the local tannery) and they could see us heading to the Guide hut.Pauleen Guide tests crop

I really enjoyed much of my Guiding experience and learning and passing all the various tests. The image featured today is one of my tests, possibly the one entitled “Nature” for my Second Class test. I also remember doing another one for which I documented the changing seasons, flowering trees and birds in the bush at the end of our street. Along the way I learnt a variety of skills, some useful and some not. I remember being aghast that people didn’t know the names of all the streets in their area, and now I’m one of those too ….remembering where places are but not bothering with street names.

It doesn't look like any of us were having fun here.
It doesn’t look like any of us were having fun here.

There were also local hiking and picnicking outings, always making sure to bring our plastic sit-upons so our personal sit-upons wouldn’t get wet. We would make damper and cook it over the open fire. There would also be periodic camp fires near the Guide hut and we’d have a fine time singing.

The other fun thing about Guides was going on camp and my first Guide camp when I was about 10 was the first time I had overnighted, or perhaps spent more than one night, away from home. I distinctly remember that my parents had felt quite lost without me <smile> or that’s what they told me.

My old Guide badge for our group.
The old Guide badge for our group.

Whenever we went on camp we would travel in the open back of an old five ton truck driven by another Guide’s father who lived near us. We would sing Guide songs as we went along and it was great fun, though these days of course it would never be permitted for safety reasons.

We used to have those great big heavy canvas tents and flimsy sleeping bags ( I had mine for years) and woollen blankets. The dining area was in a big marquee and all the meals were cooked in big metal dixies. I suppose we must surely have helped with the meals but I don’t recall. We would also dig our own latrines and erect hessian screens around them. Bathing was done in big round metal tubs in another screened area. My first camp was at Brookfield and was beside a creek bank. I remember that we were provided with fresh milk each morning straight from the farmer’s cows, and also that there was a water snake in the creek when we went swimming.

Guides flooded Samford
Flooded in at Samford. We were on the land to the right, Water Police mid-stream and anxious adults on the far side.

However my most memorable camping trip is one I described a while back. You can read all about it in this 52 weeks series post on disasters…my sole experience of being on the front page of the paper.

I did enjoy Guides a lot but gave it up when I was heading to my Junior or Year 10 exams, probably just after being awarded my First Class Guide Badge. Unlike some of my friends I wasn’t tempted to continue along with the more challenging Queen’s Guide text.

Fab Feb image

Family Hx writing challenge

This post is part of the February Photo Collage Festival and the Family History Writing Challenge.

12 thoughts on “Fab Feb Photo Collage Festival: Day 8 Girl Guides

  1. Such happy childhood memories Pauleen and thanks for sharing….
    That “Guide Oath” reminded me of standing under the Australian flag every morning and chanting: “I am an Australian, I love my coluntry, I honour our Queen, I promise to obey her laws” along with the accomanying hand signals of “hand on heart” etc… and then marching into school to the beat of the “drum and fife” band 🙂 …


    1. That’s obviously another difference between state and Catholic Catherine because I don’t remember that chant and it rings no bells, and to this day, I really really hate it when people do the “hand on the heart” “I’m patriotic” thing. I don’t ever remember seeing it in Qld as a child -perhaps a factor of SA’s more Imperial affiliations? Sorry, that sounds mean, but for some reason “hand on heart patriotism” rings all the wrong bells in my head…it wasn’t intended as a “go” at you.


      1. Oh, no worries Pauleen… no offence taken. You know, I woke up in the middle of the night remembering I’d left out the “I salute HER flag… wonder if that’s why I have no affiliation with the Australian flag?… cos from a child I never felt ownership. I also disljke patriotic “jingoism”.
        You may be right about State differences…e.g. SAustralia was settled by “land speculators” and “dissenters” ( Political links/ power & prestige resided only with members of the Church of England) They were Protestants – largely Baptist and Methodist.and the plan was to create a “Utopia in the South”. They brought out workers who were fleeing religious persecution (largely Lutheran) and who found the British colony a safe haven… and then the Scots & Irish whom had been dis-posessed of their land etc. mmhhh… When I was at school SOz had only been colonised for 120years… food for thought.
        Will give my cousin, Helen, a ring tomorrow and see if her Catholic South Oz school also chanted the “Oath of Allegiance”?


      2. Yes it would be interesting to know Catherine. Perhaps we said something similar but if so my republican brain has erased it 😉 You are after all, a weird mob down there 🙂


  2. Yep Pauleen… we sure are a “weird mob” down here in South Oz… just about laughed my head off over that!!! 😀 …
    Helen’s reply was… “NO… we didn’t do anything silly like that and then we both cracked up about the silly/ different “things” she did in her South Australian St Joseph’s Catholic School in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Helen’s actually my mum’s cousin whom I found the courage to contact, after mum died … and we delight in sharing memories and filling in the gaps of our shared family history. Good eh? … 🙂
    BTW… I share your “republican brain”…


    1. Glad I gave you a laugh Catherine 🙂 It would be interesting to sit down with someone from the same era and location and compare those specific Catholic/State differences. As I think I said, when the session was on at Shamrock, the young ones were aghast at the sledging that went on with all the chants -the “old timers” just smiled knowingly.


      1. Yep Pauleen… and Kristin I was amazed that on my teacher- exchange to Seattle, in 1994, schoolchildren were still doing the “hand on the heart” bizzo. It came through the “loudspeakers” every morning and my gorgeous USA students asked why I didn’t “do” the pledge? Be assured though that I stood quietly, and respectfully thoughout the Ceremony. So it was a learning experience for them as I explained what it actually meant and why, as an Australian, it was not appropriate for me to take the pledge.


      2. I hadn’t thought of that aspect of teacher exchange. I can see why the kids would be confused a bit… a useful teaching and learning experience for them.


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