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.