Saturday, March 28, 2015


This ends the story of the Soroptimists, at least for now, but in following episodes I will continue telling of the various organisations with which mum became involved.

Excerpt from 'THE CLOCK OF TIME' by Gertrude Ruston.  (pp 141-145)


Miss Field arrived on a day when we had arranged a luncheon conference between the Business and Professional Women's Club, the University Women and Soroptimists; Mrs Chadwick was in the chair at the luncheon, representing Perth Club.  Miss Field, who had been invited as an honoured guest, to the luncheon, was horrified to find that I had a back seat, and said that a conference of that kind should always be chaired by the leading Soroptimist in the area, namely the Divisional Union President.  I explained that we were unaware of the fact, and that I was quite happy to take back seat.  However, it is something to be borne in mind for the future.

Miss Field also gave support for majority rule, and said we should make the Constitution fit our needs as, of course, it had been drawn up for the other side of the world.

I attended the Hobart Conference and was elected Deputy Chairman of the C.O.C. (Conference of Clubs), and in the normal way would have been elected Chairman.  However, at the Melbourne Conference doubt was expressed as to whether Perth would be able to accept the responsibility, and as this doubt was expressed by some of our own members led by Miss Dival, I was denied the honour and it remained in the Eastern States."  (That would be about right,  Perth was always considered 'small fry' compared with those in the eastern states and, by some, I feel it is even to this day).

"However, it did come to Perth a few years later when Mrs Peg Chadwick became Chairman of C.O.C., the only one so far in Western Australia to have had that honour.   She joined the Fremantle Club, in which area she now resides, and received the wholehearted support of Fremantle Club with Miss Phil McKim and Mrs Sadie Stone as her Hon. Secretary and Hon. Treasurer respectively.  There has never been a better conference dinner than we gave them in Government House Ballroom. nor a better venue for conference than the Y.W.C.A. in Havelock Street, West Perth.  It was an outstandingly successful conference and our colleagues who attended from other States still refer to it with admiration.

When I retired from the Divisional Union Presidency I presented the members with a polished gavel and stand, duly inscribed.  I felt very humble and very proud when I was made an Honorary Member of the Divisional Union in July, 1973, having presided at its inaugural meeting on 14th July, 1953.

With the formation of the new Federation of the South West Pacific, what was the Divisional Union is now known as the Regional Council and I am now an Honorary Member of that august body, and very proud to wear my badge.
We now have fifteen clubs in Western Australia:  Perth, Fremantle, Stirling, Canning District, West Coast, Port Hedland, Morrison, Darling Range, Geraldton, Joondalup, Mandurah, Port Walccott, Rockingham, Carnarvon and Albany."  (Note: there may be more clubs in W.A. as this was written in the early 1980s).

Presidents of Regional Council in Order:-
Foundation President Mrs G.W.Ruston M.B.E., J.P.; Miss R. Hagan; Miss M. Caldow; Mrs M. McGillivray B.A., Dep. Ed.; Mrs T. Townshend; Miss G.R.Locke M.B.E., B.A.; Mrs Myra Talbot; Mrs T.M.Chadwick; Mrs S.M.Stone B.E.M., Miss E. Parker O.B.E., J.P., Mrs Vera Bates; Mrs Doris Crawley; Miss Anne Jensen; Miss Delores Caboche; Dr Cynthia Dixon.

Miss Delores Caboche is the 2nd Vice President of the Federation of South West Pacific and should, when she becomes President, bring the honour to this State.  At her request I have just completed the history of Soroptimist international of Western Australia, which shows that, in the thirty one years since Perth Club was chartered we have raised nearly a quarter of a million dollars for community service.  We feel sure that our founder Mrs Florence Rutter, would be happy if she could know the results of her efforts in Australia and New Zealand.

The new Federation has asked each State to provide it with a history of its activities to April, 1980.  Miss Hazel Sim most generously gave her services as calligraphist for the cover an the most important first page of the report, and Mrs Vera bates, an excellent artist, painted our wildflower emblem, the kangaroo paw. as a centre piece for the front cover.  Both these friends are Soroptimist members of the West Coast Club.  We are rather proud of our combined efforts for the W.A.history, and understand there have been requests for copies."   

(I do have a copy of mum's history of Soroptimism in W.A. but have not attempted to photocopy the cover as it is dark green and I am not sure if it is possible to print it only using black and white.  My knowledge of computers, scanners and printers is far too sparse for me to even try to do such a thing but I assure you it is a very elegant document.  The sketch of the kangaroo paw mentioned by mum is beautifully done).

I have added some very modern 'logos' of Soroptimism in the South West Pacific which I found interesting.


  1. I love that the Soroptimsists are still going strong - and wish it wasn't necessary.
    Goodness your mama was busy. What did she do to relax?

    1. Yes, there are many organisations that do such good and necessary work behind the scenes.
      You think mum has been busy so far? There is plenty more hard work ahead of her. Lots more 'busyneses'. Whenever she felt mentally fatigued should would enjoy going out to work in her garden.

  2. Hari OM
    Busy indeed!!! I noted on the Aust. Biography page that your mother went to Central Australia when writing her memoir - perhaps that was the only way to get that 'relax' time!!! ...I particularly like that third badge, very elegant expression of reaching out and embracing others. YAM xx

    1. I think 'busy' was mum's second name!!
      Actually when writing her memoirs mum was home in W.A. living in her retirement unit and I don't think she travelled during that time but I could be wrong. It is a fact she rarely stopped doing 'something' most of her long life. xx