Friday, March 27, 2015


We had farewelled Mrs Rutter who had reminded the new club that as the only club in this State, they were responsible to extend and start other clubs.

Excerpt from 'THE CLOCK OF TIME' by Gertrude Ruston.  (pp 139-141)

"Fremantle was the obvious choice for the next club, and we decided to work towards a *Fremantle Club when our own Perth Club had been firmly established.

 There being no extension officer at that time, we formed a small committee of Perth Club members to explore the possibility of establishing this club, and Mrs Thelma Townshend, our hairdresser member, sought the help of Mrs D Bull, her hairdresser colleague in Fremantle.  Her particular calling enabled Mrs Bull to suggest suitable business and professional women to form the nucleus of the club in Fremantle, for which we were most grateful.

Dr Hilda Kershaw had asked Dr Dorothea Parker of Fremantle to accept the position of President when the necessary exploratory work had been carried out and the Charter granted, and she had agreed.

We paid visits to Fremantle and gradually gathered the interest of prospective members and, in due course, invited them to have dinner with us and meet the member of our Perth Club,

At last we had sufficient members, the Charter was approved by the British Federation and duly arrived.  The Charter Dinner was held at the Rendezvous Restaurant in Fremantle on 16th April, 1952."  (The previous day mum celebrated her 55th birthday).

"By then I had become President of Perth Club, and had the honour of presenting the Charter to Dr Parker, President of the new Fremantle Club.  I had been able to gather sufficient information to impart to the new club members about matters of procedure and service.

At the time I was also President of the Slow Learning Children's Group of W.A., and it was indeed very gratifying when Fremantle Club decided to work for the S.L.C.G.  They insisted that all money they collected was to be retained in Fremantle and used for S.L.C.G. in their area and, over the years, their record has been fantastic."  (You will learn all about the S.L.C.G. later in mum's story).

"In Perth I had started a Fun Club for the older slow learners which had been very successful, and a similar social club was started in Fremantle in charge of Miss Glad Locke and her Soroptimist colleagues, which has run successfully and been supported by the club for many years.  It is still going to this day."  (That would have been in the early 1980s).

"I retired from Presidency of the Perth Club on 29th April, 1953 and club members prosented me with a case of beautiful Linton Silver Coffee Spoons as a farewell gift.

It was then decided that, having two clubs, we should form an official Divisional Union with two representatives from each club as delegates.  Perth Club selected Miss Jessie Robertson and myself, while Fremantle appointed Miss Glad Locke and Miss Lena Grady; four people for four offices.

We met in my office and, without any idea of what should be done, we spent a most frustrating time trying to work out how to proceed.  We now know that we should have sent the four names to each club and let them nominate for the various offices.  As it was, I was appointed President. Miss Locke as Vice-President, Miss Grady as Hon. Secretary and Miss Robertson as Hon. Treasurer.

 There was still not a specific Extensions Officer, but a small committee was formed to further the establishment of a club at Subiaco.  Miss Robertson played an active part in the formation of this new club as she was well known in the area but it was a long drawn out business, and we had many meetings and many frustrations before we gathered sufficient names to apply for the Charter.  By the time finality had been reached Miss Robertson had gone overseas and Miss Doris Dival took over arrangements for the Charter Dinner.  My two years as President of Divisional Union having been completed, Mrs Thelma Chadwick was elected to the position and she had the honour of presenting the charter to the new Subiaco Club.

Meanwhile I attended the first Conference of Clubs in Adelaide at which Miss Isobel Patterson was elected to be the First Presaident of the Co-ordinating Committee of Australian Clubs.  It was an excellent conference and the social gatherings were delightful.  The agenda, minutes, etc., were recorded, but the first Divisional Meeting Minute Book was not available when I was writing this story.

The Constitution was not easy to understand and, on one occasion when there was a disagreement, we asked the C.O.C. Chairman, Dr Blackwood, for a ruling.  She supported our reading of the particular item but some of our members were not prepared to accept it.  We therefore wrote to England for a decision and were told that the majority should be accepted in such cases, the reply being received by cable."

*Some years ago the Fremantle Soroptomist Club where celebrating a milestone (possibly their 50th birthday in 2002 I feel it would have been) and publicly appealed for any history of their club and Soroptimism in general.  I happened to have a photograph that had belonged to mum of a large group of original Soroptimists which I forwarded to them so they could copy it.  In return I received an invitation for Phil and myself to attend the celebrations.  We were welcomed with open arms and I believe there were a couple of elderly ladies present who had known mum quite well and many had known of her.   I felt quite a VIP for an hour or two as everyone was so generous of their praise of my mother and I bathed in her glory for a short while.

Once again, the names above being back some very precious memories.


  1. Hari Om
    This post was excellent in that it conveys the sense of involvement required and hints at some of the headaches! It is also made clear, here, that 'networking' began well before the avaricious 1990s mayhem, when that was the ultimate buzzword in business. Thankfully, in Rotary and Soroptimism, the opposite to 'greed is good' was at play! So glad you had such a positive experience in more recent times to add to your memory pool Mimsie! YAM xx

    1. Thank you Yam for your comments and I am so pleased you continue to enjoy mum's story. I think many have stopped following the story so perhaps too serious for them now with no family talk, but I will continue until the story is complete. xx

  2. A fascinating look behind the scenes. My naive self had no idea just how much work was involved in setting up a club - no matter how positive an idea.

    1. Thank you EC. The work involved in setting up any type of serious organisation always took so much time and effort but as you can see the end result makes it all worth while.
      I am so glad you are staying with this story as I feel others are no long finding it of interest. Never mind I shall keep on keeping on with it.