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Girl Guides

Chermside Girl Guides

Guiding in Chermside
The dated sections of this record come from the small book "50 Years of Guiding at Chermside" by Shirley Eickenloff (nee Byrne)

Guiding began in Chermside on 11th April 1956 when the first Brownie Pack, which met at the home of Mrs White in Sparks St., and was officially registered. Expansion was rapid as the following year saw the second Brownie Pack and two Guide Companies commence along with the necessary leaders .

Jennifer Blakey (nee Goward) remembers the 1950s when:

My Saturday afternoons saw me become involved in Brownies. For many years, Mrs Boyle was our Brown Owl, and we met in Charlotte Street, in a spare part of the Woodland Wood Works sawmill yard, and did our badge craft in and around the creek (Somerset Creek).

Eventually a Guide and Brownie Hut was built on council land in Lawley Street, Kedron in what is now Bradbury Park which runs from the netball courts in Rode Road beside the Chermside Bowls Club, all the way to Kitchener Road. We had all that bush in which to practice our bush craft; tracking, fire making and compass reading.

Chermside Girl Guides, Bradbury Park

Girl Guides Hut Bradbury Park
The Hut in Bradbury Park, Chermside was opened in September 1960, extended in 1965 and extensively renovated in 2006. This photo was taken in before the renovations.

While the early groups all met in private homes the need for a Guide Hut was becoming more urgent. This need was filled when the new Hut was opened in Bradbury Park, Kedron on the 10th September 1960 but growth continued and additions were required. These were financed by a loan from the Commonwealth Bank and a private, interest free loan from one of the parents. This was in the days before grants were made by government and private bodies; you raised your own money or you did without.

In 1967 a third Brownie Pack was formed and by 1972 there was almost 100 Guides and Brownies enrolled in the Chermside Guides. The peak enrollment seems to have been about 1976 when a Ranger Unit was formed with 15 girls, but by 1978 the enrollment had dropped to 50 girls, half of whom were Brownies.

The Guides in the 1980s

Girl Guides Social Event Bradbury Park 1982
This photo shows the girls at an event to which their parents have been invited. It also shows something of the uniforms worn by the Senior and Junior girls.

Expenses rose with membership; the cost of running the Hut was $600 annually by 1983 and, in addition there were contributions to Meals on Wheels and support of a child under the World Vision scheme. To cover these costs the girls took part in the District Support Group delivery of the white and yellow telephone books and this became the major source of funds for several years.

The early 1990s saw the introduction of the Gumnut Guides to cater for the younger sisters of the Brownie Guides; the girls had to be in Year 1 of school to qualify for membership. Also, the
2nd Chermside Brownie Unit was established and as a safety measure for the girls, the telephone was connected to the hut.

In 2003 the Brisbane City Council repainted the outside of the Hut with anti-graffiti paint to combat the new, widespread wave of vandalism which developed with the use of easily available spray cans. However in 2004 a much more serious type of vandal struck when they set fire to the kitchen in the Hut; while repairs were underway the Guides met at Huxtable Park.

With the advent of grants by government and private bodies, a new source of funds became available and in 2005 a submission was made to the State Government Gaming Fund in order to extensively renovate the Hut inside, add a new roof and a solar hot water system. The venture was successful and a grant of $25,300 was received.

The Guides in the 21st Century

Girl Guides Hut Bradbury Park Chermside 2-1-2016
This photo was taken on 2-1-2016 and shows the earlier renovations.

Peg Campbell Interview 2006 - Member of the Guides from 1957 to 1966 and Leader at C'side 1977 to 2016

The basic aims of the Guide movement have not changed and are summed up in the promise and the law. A Guide promises "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 Guide Law outlines the type of behaviour which is designed to train a girl to develop a mature, responsible outlook on life; neither the promise nor the law has changed in the history of the Guides.

In 2006 there were 35 guides, ranging in age from 6 to 16, and 5 leaders making a total of 40 girls; a considerable drop from the earlier numbers which may be accounted for in part by:

Girls have a much wider range of activities available than in the past and Guiding is just one of them - a very wide range of well organised sporting activities attract many girls.
Part time jobs and the extra pressure of homework as the education system becomes more time demanding.

The Girls Set Their Own Programs.

Girl Guides Sign Bradbury Park Chermside
The sign stands proudly on the veranda of the hut and proclaims to the passer by that many young women trained here.

The 2006 program is not as structured as the old program which was largely set by the leader with minimal input by the girls. The BP (Baden Powell) award, at both Senior and Junior levels, is the peak Guide achievement and the girls, with the help of the Leader, set their own program and then make a self assessment of their achievements in all the sections of the Guide movement. This gives the girls much more control over their activities and teaches them how to take responsibility for their own lives.

The girls have to spend a minimum of two hours a week on guiding, but the highly motivated ones go much further and develop attitudes and skills, while those who only spend the minimum time often lose interests and drop out.

The emphasis on safety precautions has not had much effect on the movement. The guides have always had a good record, but it is now more formalised in writing and the Leaders have a duty of care. There has always been a comprehensive training program for leaders and this has been recognised by the Government, so that now Guides and Leaders can get credit with TAFE Colleges and receive Certificates and Diplomas through the TAFE system.

Over the years the uniform has changed with fashions of dress in the community. Fifty years ago they wore a short sleeved dress which changed to a skirt and blouse and then to culottes and blouse. The modern uniform comprises navy skirt and polo shirt with logo.
Like any organisation, fees form a important part so both Brownies and Guides make an annual payment of $75 to the state office. This covers membership and insurance as well as a weekly fee to the local unit of about $3-4 to pay for items being used.

Money raising activities consist of such things as the sausage sizzle, selling Girl Guide biscuits, holding Craft Fairs and conducting Chocolate drives, while the old Lamington can no longer be made and sold due to health regulations.

The Changing Local Community

Girl Guides Community Changing
The view from the Chermside Hut in Bradbury Park looking towards the nearby street. The Hut remains while the surrounding buildings rise. higher.

Like the rest of Chermside and surrounding suburbs the face of Accommodation is changing. How will this impact on Guiding? A lot depends on how the Guide Movement changes to meet the needs of the new community.

Chermside Guides First Location Today 20-1-2016

McDonalds and Arbour Apartments 20-1-2016

In about 2012 the McDonald's fast food chain built the present drive in take away and Restaurant. The large Arbour Apartment building behind was built shortly after. This is the site where Jennifer Blakey writes: Off Charlotte Street, in a spare part of the Woodland Wood Works sawmill yard, we did our badge craft in and around the creek (Somerset Creek).

During and after WWII the Woodland Wood Works produced a very wide variety of wooden objects for domestic and industrial use on this site until the advent of plastics replaced wood in common use. The property extended back to the curve in Charlotte Street.

The Wood Works was replaced by Byrne Ford, which dealt in new and second hand automobiles, They had a showroom on Hamilton Road and a large workshop behind to service them. The remainder of the site was available for parking their stock of vehicles.

The only thing remaining from the early days is the creek which is piped under the buildings, under Hamilton Road and Westfield Shoppingtown, curves around to the east under Kittyhawk Drive and resumes its age old course in 7th Brigade Park till it empties into Downfall Creek. Some things change but others don't, yet!