Tuesday, April 21, 2015


I am publishing this one on Tuesday 21st April and am hoping it stays in sequence.  The previous post (Perth Emergency Housekeep Scheme) unfortunately appeared as being published on 15th April although it was only posted on Sunday 19th and I hopefully have corrected that and got it in line.  I know you can schedule posts but not entirely sure exactly how to proceed.  Perhaps someone could advise me, please.)  

A slightly longer post of another very important organisation.

Excerpt from 'THE CLOCK OF TIME' by Gertrude Ruston.  (pp 190-193

"The Children's Holiday Association of Perth and State:

The next major problem brought to our attention was the need for some care of school children during school holiday periods, when there was only one parent who was obliged to work to support the family, and there were no friends or relatives able to take over.  We were constantly asked for advice by worried single parents, particularly regarding the *long summer holidays.

Single parents were in a cleft stick!  They either had to leave children to their own device; obtain leave from their employment (not often possible); or leave their jobs, hoping to obtain further work after the holidays, a desperate solution of you are the bread winner.

**My own daughter was similarly placed, and I paid for her two children to go to a riding school in the south-west for two weeks during one holiday.  The cost was much more than an average parent could afford, and I certainly could not have continued to meet such requirements for a long period of time.

I decided to publicise the need and ask if there were parents with lonely children, either in the town or country, who would be prepared to accept a child of similar age to their own as a guest during the school holiday period.

Press and radio gave generous publicity; suitable forms were prepared for hosts and children covering such things as disabilities and insurance.  It was decided that we could not accept any responsibility, and it was therefore left to parents and hosts to decide whether they would be prepared to accept the offered home or the child, and all children had to be covered by school insurance, which also included holiday periods.

The response was not encouraging.  Where necessary some help was given with extra clothing, and it was agreed that the parents should provide their children with pocket money.  Few of the host families asked for board to be paid but, where requested and possible, parents willingly paid a sahre of expenses.

I became Director of the service in an honorary capacity and, at the suggestion of Miss Thomson's public relation friends, we called it the Children's Holiday Association of Perth and State, which would be shortened to the applicable CHAPS.

 One again we ran this from the general office with the help of Mrs Phil Robertson and Miss Marjory Thomson.  There were times when the holiday rush was on that we worked in the office until midnight receiving and sending telephone messages at reduced rates with country hosts.  CHAPS now has an answering service which is particularly helpful when the office is closed,

This organisation was established and run entirely independently of the Council of Social Service.  A regular group of voluntary workers has carried the organisation and it is very well administered.

CHAPS has also proved of benefit to parents, as it gave them relief from worry, and a short period of relaxation from family care after work.

For most of the children it was a wonderful experience as they came into contact with farm like and country towns which they had not known previously.  In return, some of the parents invited hosts' children to visit them in Perth when they were able to do so.

One retired businessman at Geraldton paid the air fares of a mother and twin boys of eight so that they could go to his place for the Christmas holidays.  The mother returned to her job in Perth after the New Year, and the boys remained in Geraldton for the rest of their summer holidays.  What an adventure for two small boys!

Children want as far afield as Experance and Port Hedland, and some of them were invited year after year to the same homes during the school holidays.

An amusing case was that of a mother who wanted her son looked after, but stipulated that he must not soil his bands or his clothes because he was a junior male model.  Poor boy!  We thought a good tumble in the dirt would probably have done him the world of good.  I believe he was placed with a family with sympathy and understanding.  His good clothes were carefully put away, and he was given some 'bush' attire to wear until the holiday was over, when he want back to his mother carefully dressed and groomed, looking as nearly as possible the perfect little model.

We set up a good card system of children needing help (including details of any personal or medical problems), and a similar record of information concerning hosts offering assistance.  Youngsters suffering from diabetes, epilepsy etc., as well as bed wetters, have been placed with host families whose children had similar problem, and the scheme has been surprisingly free of major difficulties or emergencies.

Children and hosts from ethnic backgrounds were placed together to overcome language difficulties.  One Greek family asked for a girl as their family consisted of only boys and they longed to have a daughter by proxy if only for a short time.  There was one condition - she must be able to swim as they had a large swimming pool.  As usual, there was a suitable lass available.

In due course I applied to the Western Australian State Government for a grant towards administration and this made it possible for us to appoint a part-time secretary.

When I began to establish Beehive Industries (you will read more of this in further episodes) I resigned from C.H.A.P.S. and my place as Director was taken by Mrs Phil Robertson.  I was presented with a nice clock as a farewell gesture, and made an Honorary Life Member.  I treasure my clock and it is in constant use.  (If I remember correctly it was a lovely travelling clock which would fold up to keep it safe when travelling.   I feel I had it for a time and maybe stopped working so I discarded it).

Over the years there have been some changes but Mr Rob Stevens remained as President until ill health compelled him to resign in 1981.  He has been asked to accept Honorary Life Membership.

Mrs Toms was the first secretary and is now a voluntary helper.  Her place as secretary was taken by Mrs Ray Buck. a brave bright young woman who gave much to the organisation, and was sadly missed when she died tragically while still young.

Mrs Dawn Fogden is the present excellent secretary and expansion is the order of the day.   There is a group of wonderful voluntary workers who have given their services since the early days and are still happy to carry on doing so.

CHAPS fills a unique spot during school holiday periods, and numerous letters have been received from hosts, parents, and the children themselves, conveying their appreciation of this very essential service.

* In Australia the summer holidays usually begin a week before Christmas and schools don't start the first term of the new year until the beginning of February.

** This was of course when I was separated from my first husband.  My two children had a wonderful time on that holiday and it gave mum an eye opener as to the costs involved in trying to find a place to send children during prolonged holidays where they would be safe while a parent had to continue working during those holidays.

This is a biographical note found on a social archive site (Libraries Australia.  World Cat record id: 665033877):

The Children's Holiday Association of Perth and State of W.A. (acronym CHAPS) was also known as Children's Holiday Association of Western Australia, and Children's Holiday Association, but, was incorporated as Children's Holiday Association of Perth and State of Western Australia.  The Association was fund raising from 1970, incorporated in 1976 and wound up in 1998.  The Association enabled children of one-parent families, where the parent was obliged to work to support the family, or sick, to be placed with host families for school holidays.  
(I am sure mum would have been saddened to know that it was eventually wound up.  No reason was given for this).


  1. I wonder why it was wound up. Expense and the fear of litigation? I am sure there is still a crying need for it.

    1. Of course I have no idea why it was wound up and I am sure some other arrangements have now been made. After all, that was quite some time ago.
      Seems this post showed before...somewhere...somehow. I am getting so confused with it all and need someone to set me straight. (*:*)

  2. Hari OM
    Undoubtedly there would still be need... however, as we are aware, the monitoring of child welfare and safety has become paramount and to administer something of this sort would perhaps be beyond reach.

    Mimisie, am coming to this post a few minutes after the EHS one, but it has clearly jumped out line - I would suggest a complete anti-viral security sweep, backed up with a secondary malware sweep.. though this problem is likely to be within blogger itself , it could do no harm. If that does not resolve, then it could well be that the recent 'revamp' to this template has not been in your favour. Some Templates are not updated and start to misbehave.

    It is possible to 'save' all your posts and load them into a fresh template, then delete this one altogether. If you'd like help with this just give me a 'hoi' via the contacts box on my bio page at Wild YAM. xx

    1. Thanks Yam for your advice but honestly I have no idea how to do all you suggest and not sure it can be done on a Mac anyway. I have used this template before and it worked OK so doubt it is that but probably me that is to blame. I also am trying to schedule future posts and need to know if I am doing it correctly. Do I need to click on Schedule, pick a date and time and save or pick a date and time and then click 'publish'? Please help. xx

    2. Hari OM
      G'day!!! &*> No need for panic. ... just looked down the page and saw that River may have been able to help you through the issue... isn't Etherville a fabby place?!

      here's to uninterrupted reception from here on... Yxx

  3. I'll email you with step by step instructions as to how I schedule my posts and hope it helps.
    I'll come back and read this post and the previous one tomorrow when I'm less tired.

  4. I'm glad someone saw a need for such a program, so many working parents must have been grateful to not have to take holidays at the same time as schools, especially since schools have so many holidays per year and in the working world holidays are annual. places like supermarkets are more accommodating, a casual worker can take more time off than a full time worker, but still, the roster can be adjusted as necessary. A friend of mine disappeared entirely each school holidays, her husband was working so she felt no need to and stayed home to take her kids on holiday excursions instead.
    Way back in the 80s and 90s when I first went back to work, I had no idea about such things, my kids aged from 5 to 13 were left to get themselves to school, the oldest to high school and the middle two walking the youngest to his class before going to their own at the same school. A few months later a neighbour offered to have the youngest two at her house after school until hubby and I arrived home, but they didn't like it there much and soon stopped going.
    When I think back now about things that could have gone wrong I'm horrified, but the only thing that did go wrong was when the kids were in high school, they played hooky a lot and I never knew.

  5. Thanks for those simple instructions, so easy to understand the way you explained them. Seems to be functioning OK now.
    I think children today are in much more danger than when mine were young or even when yours were little and yet, I suppose, children can be danger to themselves at times so need some form of supervision, especially when quite young so as not to be lead astray by older kids.
    No matter how well we train our children to be sensible, there often comes a time when they go haywire.
    My son was extremely shy and when in primary school he skipped going for two weeks (his sister found him when she came home early from school one day) leaving in the morning as usual and then returning home to an empty house. The children had written essays and had to in turn stand and read them out to the class. Steven was so shy he couldn't stand the thought of doing that. I was furious the school hadn't reported his absence and was told they thought he may have the 'flu as there was an epidemic. I felt that a poor excuse and told them so.