History Matters || When Girl Guides began in Glen Innes

GIRL GUIDES: Theodora Priest presents an award to Cindy OBrien. Donna Walters is on the right of Theodora.
GIRL GUIDES: Theodora Priest presents an award to Cindy OBrien. Donna Walters is on the right of Theodora.

Theodora Mary was the adopted daughter of Miss Annie Stephenson who ran 'Queenswood', a small private girls' school, from 1899 to 1934.

After the CWA sponsored the formation of Guides in Glen Innes in 1932, Miss Stephenson was the inaugural secretary and Theodora 's name became synonymous with the organisation.

She married Merton Priest in 1940.

I wrote in the Beardies Heritage in 1971: The first Guiders were Captain Miss Gilmour, Lieutenants Misses M and E Rowland and M Payne; then followed captains and lieutenants D Pearson R Ryall, J Telfer, J King, M Chapman, E Hallinan, V Drew, T Priest, P Ryall, J Hunt, J Correy, N Nash, P Brook, H Singleton, B Whan, R Lockyer, J Newby, H Packwood, I Campbell, J Shrume, R Marshall and W Schmidt, P Smeaton.

The first Brownie Guider in 1921 was Miss A Stephenson, followed by Miss E Challoner.

By June 1932, 44 guides, four guiders and Commissioner were meeting in the Holy Trinity Hall.

The Annie Stephenson's Memorial Hall [in East Avenue], built in memory of that fine supporter of the movement was opened free of debt in September 1957.

In 1949 Mrs MGW Priest re-formed the Brownies after they had lapsed for 15 years - since then Brownie Guiders have included Misses J McIntyre, E Holmes, B Snell, J Wilson, P Nay, L O'Chee, Mesdames Priest, E Escott, R Parker, W Pugh, V Reading. Mrs O'Hara is the present Brown Owl and Mrs W Purser Tawny Owl.

The District Commissioners have been Miss A Stephenson and Mesdames R Whyte, MGW Priest, H Schmidt, A Crosby, and H Christoe.

Mrs Priest has been in the guide movement since the first local meeting, more than 39 years ago and has received a "Long Servicer Bar" and "Good Service Award in Appreciation and Gratitude" from Guide headquarters.

Glen Innes was proud to see Janet Dungey receive her Queen's Guide Badge in 1971.

The 1971-72 executive were Patroness Mrs R Ryall, and Mesdames I Marcantelli, E Tickle, E Donaghue, Stapleton, E Rigby and MGW Priest.

Women often mention their lifetime interest in sewing, crafts, cooking, bushwalking, etc., was fostered after being introduced to it for Brownie and Guide badges.