History of Girl Guides

Originally, the encouraging force behind the foundation of the Girl Guide movement in Ballarat was from local schools, and later from the churches. Guiding began in Ballarat in 1922 with the formation of the 1st Ballarat (Queens Church of England Girl Grammar School) Guide Company. This was followed in the same year with the opening of the 2nd Ballarat (High School) and 3rd Ballarat (St Andrews) Guide companies.

In these early days, Guiding was considered “fairly innovative and a potentially radical development”. According to Janice Croggin (author of “After lunch we practiced our stalking”) Guiding was perceived as challenging the traditional roles, and moulding the hearts and minds of girls in new and often revolutionary ways. Yet the emphasis was still strongly focused on feminine accomplishments such as physical exercises, roller bandaging, drill work, ambulance work, horseshoe formation for enrolment with colours and morse code signalling. Girls worked towards the following badges : cook, cyclist, music lover, laundress, milliner, domestic service, homemaker, health, clerk, writer, motorist and photographer.

In the period between 1945 and 1970, Guiding made a gradual swing away from the British-centred, monarch-oriented movement to a more Australian identity. However the link between the Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has always been respected, reflected in the editorial of the programme for her coronation:

“This Coronation of 1953 is a specially important and historic one for the Guides of the British Commonwealth because the Queen herself is a member of the sisterhood of Guiding. For this reason every Brownie, Guide, Ranger and Guider will feel that she has a share in this most important and impressive ceremony.

In 1958, the Ballarat District (which was the largest in Victoria) was divided into three districts: Ballarat, Eureka and Wendouree. The Sebastopol District was soon to be established, and later, Buninyong.

“In 2013, Guides Victoria reorganised the Guiding regions and districts in the state. The above districts were incorporated into the Ballarat District, members of the Grampians Region.

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