Brownie points

Hills Gazette (Kalamunda) - - FRONT PAGE -

KALAMUNDA res­i­dent Thea Brown has been hon­oured for al­most 70 years’ ser­vice to the Girl Guides in the Australia Day hon­ours list.

KALAMUNDA res­i­dent Thea Brown looks back fondly on al­most 70 years of ser­vice to the Girl Guides with a chuckle as she re­mem­bers re­ceiv­ing her war­rant in 1957 on Hal­loween dressed as a witch.

Mrs Brown is now 78 and said she was just as proud today as she was back then, but was re­lieved this time to be pho­tographed in her uni­form for the pic­ture mark­ing her be­ing awarded the Medal of the Or­der of Australia.

The grand­mother of five, who has been part of Girl Guides for 67 years, re­ceived the Australia Day Hon­our for her lead­er­ship and ser­vice to youth across the coun­try and her role in de­vel­op­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion through train­ing.

Mrs Brown was in­spired to join the Scout move­ment by her mother, who at­tended the in­au­gu­ral WA Girl Guide meet­ing in 1915, and went on to run the Mt Law­ley branch that as­sisted peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties.

Fol­low­ing her mother’s ex­am­ple, Mrs Brown said she too went on to lead a group of girls who served the com­mu­nity by help­ing peo­ple in wheel­chairs and cal­lipers at­tend camps and out­ings.

“That was a great ex­pe­ri­ence and it led me to get in­volved with the Em­manuel Cen­tre in East Perth, where a group of us lead­ers es­tab­lished a weekly pro­gram for peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties,” she said.

“I re­mem­ber many of those girls well and I cried the day I read that one of them had been killed when her wheel­chair had got stuck in the rail tracks down at Carlisle rail­way sta­tion.

“We were close to the girls, we were like fam­ily.”

With about seven decades of ser­vice to Girl Guides, Mrs Brown has filled a long list of roles within the “fam­ily” in­clud­ing cer­ti­fied trainer, dis­trict com­mis­sioner for Kalamunda/Goose­berry Hill, state train­ing ad­vi­sor and re­gional leader for the Kim­ber­ley, as well as the Dar­ling Ranges.

“Dur­ing that time, I made a lot of friends and got to know women with sim­i­lar ideas and philoso­phies, hav­ing started with pledg­ing our duty to God and ser­vice to peo­ple,” Mrs Brown said.

“It’s about fun, fel­low­ship and be­ing able to give some­thing back to the com­mu­nity.”

Her ded­i­ca­tion to the Girl Guides was recog­nised in 2003 when she was awarded a life mem­ber­ship, a ti­tle only 25 mem­bers hold at one time.

She has lived in Kalamunda for about 47 years and also founded the lo­cal arts and craft group, was a found­ing mem­ber of the Friends of Piesse Brook, and vol­un­teered at Kalamunda Learn­ing Cen­tre and Meals on Wheels.

Pic­ture: David Baylis­mu­ni­ d478537

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