100 years of empowering girls and young women in Mosman
On December 5, Mosman Girl Guides will celebrate 100 years of Guiding in the local area, with Girl Guides, their families, Leaders, alumni, Mosman Mayor Carolyn Corrigan, Federal MP for Warringah Zali Stegall, and other supporters in attendance.
Girl Guides empowers girls and young women to discover their potential as leaders of their world. The Centenary celebration will recognise the work Girl Guides has done to empower girls and young women in Mosman for the past 100 years.
The Mosman Guide Company was formed in August 1921 and is one of the oldest Girl Guide groups in Australia, being the first Guide Company invested in NSW. The investiture ceremony took place at ‘Tregoyd’, the Raglan Street estate of Lady Cullen, Divisional Commander, and her husband, Chief Justice Cullen.
“It is with a great deal of pride that I have invested the First Mosman Troop of Girl Guides,” said Lady Cullen at the time, after the impressive and picturesque ceremony of investiture on the lawns of her home at Tregoyd, Mosman. “Ours is the first division invested in N.S.W.” (Source: Sunday Times, 27 November 1921).
Girl Guides have been in their current hall location at Parriwi Park, overlooking The Spit, since 1951. The certificate to register the Unit is signed by Robert Baden Powell, founder of both Guides and Scouts. Mrs E.D. Relton M.B.E. was the Mosman unit’s first Guide Leader. Shirley Wilson was its first Queen’s Guide (the organisation’s peak achievement award), receiving a signed certificate from Queen Elizabeth II in 1947.
Martine Robins, Mosman Girl Guides’ District Manager, said she was thrilled to be involved in Guiding during such a special milestone for the local community. “I myself was a Brownie and a Guide in the local area, and later a young leader, and my eldest daughter is now a Girl Guide and loves it! And my younger one just can’t wait to join as soon as she is old enough!”
Girl Guides allows girls to be themselves, build confidence, resilience and valuable life skills. They achieve this through activities including camps, games, outdoor activities like bushwalking, boating, rock-climbing and campfires, community service and through earning badges, all the while developing leadership skills, making new friends and having some great adventures.
Guiding has been a constant presence in the Mosman locality for a century, enduring through the developments and challenges that have punctuated that period. Most recently, that has taken the form of moving to virtual meetings during lockdown, with Girl Guides continuing to participate in their regular events through video conferencing.
Martine Robins said, “Girl Guides has remained relevant to local girls and their life experience for 100 years. So much has changed in that time, yet the values and work of the Guiding Movement continue to resonate with young women. The Guides present at the investiture of the unit a century ago were presented with their flag by the wife of Mosman Mayor, William Dedden. The fact that the Mayor of Mosman is now a woman, and will be joining us for this celebration, reflects how much the world has progressed, and I believe that Guides has and continues to play a role in that progress.”
Globally, Girl Guides is the largest voluntary movement dedicated to girls. Its activities include girl-led advocacy, empowering girls and young women to advocate for change on local through to global issues. Girl Guides provides young women with their first powerful experiences of speaking out to shape their future and that of their community. In the last three years, more than 100 young women have attended key global events (including the recent COP26) where they spoke side-by-side with Heads of States and key UN officials, and lobbied decision-makers on issues including gender equality, nutrition, and girls’ agency and empowerment, youth rights, and the environment.
Girl Guides is a volunteer-led organisation, and the local leaders hope that the centenary celebrations remind local women of the wonderful work of Girl Guides and the opportunities that can come with volunteering. Martine Robins says “Our volunteers say they get back far more than they give, and they make great supportive friendships and feel really connected to their local community.”