Guiding takes biscuit at Australia Day honours

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Jackson BarrettSouth Western Times
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Brenda Hamlett is now a Member of the Order of Australia for her work in the Girl Guides.
Camera IconBrenda Hamlett is now a Member of the Order of Australia for her work in the Girl Guides. Credit: Jackson Barrett

After more than 50 years as a Girl Guides unit leader across two different countries, Brenda Hamlett must have seen an eye-watering number of the group’s famous biscuits — but the Guides mean more than that to the Australind resident, whose volunteer service to the organisation has seen her awarded an Order of Australia.

The retired maths teacher said it was “fantastic” to receive the honour, which she said was recognition of the organisation as much as it was of her.

“I got an email probably about three months ago to say I was being considered and then at the beginning of December we got another one saying it had been confirmed, but we were not allowed to say anything to anybody,” Dr Hamlett said.

I think it is a recognition of Guiding as much as anything, we do it all as volunteers.

“I was teaching at Newton Moore, I had been here about three weeks and I asked one of the teachers if there were any Guides in Bunbury and she told me her daughter’s unit had just lost their leader,” she said.

“That was a Friday afternoon and she said, ‘We have a function on tomorrow afternoon’, so I went and I was leading the unit by Monday night.”

As she became involved at a State and national level, Dr Hamlett travelled as far as Papua New Guinea and the Maldives among others places, which even drew her to becoming an Australian citizen.

“Everywhere I have gone there is a connection to Guiding that has opened up a local network,” she said.

“I became naturalised because I was chosen to represent Girl Guides Australia at an overseas event and I thought there was no way I could represent Australia and travel on my British passport.

“We try to get across to the girls that they might be in their little group of a dozen, but there are other little groups of a dozen in 150 countries around the world.”

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