Please do bear in mind if you are following mum's story that she tends to write about one subject at a time, i.e. the shop or the Guilds and so on. In doing this she does not write in chronological order so at times you will find people missing and they will pop up again in anther chapter. Sorry if this is confusing but it was obviously the best way for mum to write her memoirs.
Excerpt from 'THE CLOCK OF TIME" by Gertrude Ruston. (pp126-128)
"Sub-committees were appointed in each State to celebrate this event, and limited funds were made available for this purpose.
Dr Robertson was Chairman of the W.A. Committee, and Mrs B.M. Rischbieth, together with a number of well-known people, were appointed to serve on that body and arrange a suitable programme.
As State Secretary of the Women's Service Guilds I was invited to a meeting at which details were presented of the proposed programme for Western Australia. No mention at all was made of the important part played by women in the early years in social welfare generally. or in the various voluntary agencies which had been established to cover the needs of the community. Mrs Rischbieth drew attention to this omission, and insisted that no history could be complete without the inclusion of a record of this vital part of the State's development. After discussion it was agreed that a grant of £100 would be made from the State's allocation to cover the welfare services, and Miss Ethel Cannon, Social Worker, proposed that the money should be used to provide the first directory of social agencies in Western Australia. She drew attention to the fact that all other States had such directories, and there was a definite need for one in this State. The suggestion was approved and, to my astonishment, Miss Cannon nominated me to be responsible for producing it. Mrs Rischbieth supported the nomination, and I was officially asked to undertake the task.
It was a mammoth undertaking. A condition of the grant was that the book must obtain a brief history of Western Australian social welfare as an introduction, and a small amount of the money was to be set aside for an exhibition of welfare agencies, including their activities, to be held in the Perth Town Hall.
The challenge was accepted, and it required a very tight budget to cover postage, publicity, printing, cartage etc., for the whole programme. I was responsible for the directory, and Mr Ben Richter of the Civilian Maimed and Limbless Association played a prominent part in organising the exhibition, and we worked together very happily in a voluntary capacity.
Questionnaires were sent to each organisation seeking its history, as well as details of its particular branch of social welfare. We had to ascertain the order in which agencies were formed for the historical section of the book, and the services performed by each organisation for the directory section.
As a guide we obtained copies of directories from other States and used the New South Wales edition as our pattern.
The early history clearly indicated the activities of the women in laying the foundations of social welfare and, most important, the services being carried out by all the known welfare bodies in 1951.
The consensus was that it had been a hard task but a worthwhile effort to show what had been done in social welfare in Western Australia up to 1951. A copy of the directory is in the Archives, together with a further three editions produced by me in later years during my period of Honorary Secretary of the *Council of Social Services.
The exhibition in the Town Hall was also a great success, and created considerable interest in all age groups. Fitting everybody into the space available was like a jigsaw puzzle, but everybody co-operated and assisted by following Mr Richter's plans as far as possible so that the result was gratifying.
It was incredible that we had done it all with £100 but, once again, it was voluntary work that had made it possible and a success."
*You will read about mum's role with the Council of Social Services later in her story.