As you read about all the organisations in which my mother was involved you will begin to realise why 'the family' do not get much mention in this section of her book. Yes, we did see mum but only when she had time to spare. She had done so much for me until I was 21 (and afterwards too) that I felt no resentment of her spending time helping others. She had found her true forte in life and went headlong into that wonderful new world.
Excerpt from "THE CLOCK OF TIME" by Gertrude Ruston. (pp 180-182)
Dr George Bedbrook (now Sit George Bedbrook) invited me to join his Committee for the Rehabilitation of Disabled, which had its headquarters at Shenton Park, and I was very happy to do so, but accepted as the Honorary Secretary of the Council of Social Service.
Dr McKellar-Hall, who was in partnership with Dr Bedbrook, had been to America and brought back with him a booklet issued in Boston, Mass., for the benefit of handicapped people. This "Guide to Boston" impressed ACROD, and I was asked to assist in producing a "Guide to Perth for the Handicapped" on similar lines.
Mr Frank Dargan, in charge of occupational therapy at Shenton Park Paraplegic Centre, and Mr Dennis Dorricott, who had been a victim of polio and was still somewhat handicapped, came to our headquarters in Murray Street after business hours, and we slowly and painstakingly drew up a rough blank of the booklet showing the items we wished to include.
Once again the voluntary workers of the C.A.B. went out of their way to note essential buildings. banks, etc., inaccessible through steps, lack of rails and ramps. We received help from many interested people and eventually proudly printed our first guide. Through working on the guide w found many adjustments necessary to make life easier and more convenient for the handicapped.
While a member of ACROD I also helped to produce the second edition of the "Guide to Perth for the Handicapped:, and took part in a film called 'BARRIERS", the name of which is self explanatory It has been shown and acclaimed very widely in Australia and overseas, with considerable benefit to the crippled and the aged.
The powers that be refused to allow actually handicapped people take any part in the film and, having been handicapped and graduated to a walking stick, I was recruited to use elbow crutches and carry a bag to go shopping. I had to enter a large grocery store with self-opening doors, to show their advantage, and proceed into the self-service departments and select my goods, I chose items in tins rather than bottles as there was a chance I may drop some of them. The photographers delighted when I did drop some of them and was quite unable to pick them up. When I had completed shopping I had to go through the checkout, another difficult ting with elbow crutches and trying to carry a shopping bag. I was then asked to go up a ramp alongside another building and found it reasonably easy, showing the difference between a ramp and steps.
Mr Frank Dargan used a self-propelled invalid chair to point out the limitations of people so handicapped.
Over the years our ACROD branch battled to obtain public telephones suitable for the use of the handicapped; banks and chemist shops were persuaded to include drive-in facilities where possible; ramps and rails have been included in public buildings; and in many spots there are sloping curbs for the use of people in wheelchairs, mothers with prams, the aged and infirm.
Toilets also have been a problem in hotels, motels and public buildings in the city an country. At one time there was no public toilet in Perth which could be used by a person in a wheelchair. The position has improved but there are still many essential facilities lacking.
Plaques are now presented to the owners of buildings complying with ACROD requirements and they are affixed to the walls near the entrance to the premises.
I retired from ACROD in 1974 and was presented with a beautiful book entitled "Swan River Landscapes". (That book resides in my own bookcase now). In addition they kindly made me a stand for my recliner chair which raised it about 10" and made it more convenient for me. (Mum doesn't explain why this was necessary but later on you will learn the reason for her own disabilities).
ACROD has continued to make progress. A third edition of the "Guide to Perth for the Handicapped" has now been issued. Mr Frank Dargan has just retired after 35 years at Shenton Park and Mr Dennis Dorricott is in charge o a very flourishing centre for quadriplegics also at Shenton Park, and was recently decorated with the M.B.E.
(16.4.15......ACROD has progressed much further since the 1980s. For several years I have had an ACROD parking permit which allows us to park in designated ACROD parking bays. Unfortunately there are usually far too few of these bays at most shopping centres but they are very useful for people who can't walk very far, such as myself. If they are in use Phil will drop me as close as possible to the entrance of where we are going and then go and park the car. Then when we leave he fetches the car to the entrance to pick me up.)