By Margaret Barbour - June 2004
(Edited by Bruce Barbour - January 2020. At the time of
writing (June 2004), Matilda's Mate was still being edited
and produced by Margaret. Margaret ceased to be the
Newsletter's editor shortly after.)
* * * * *
"Matilda’s Mate" is the North Metro Region Guides
Newsletter. It was published every two months to bring
news of the Region, such as the dates of Region activities
planned, stories and photos of events enjoyed from the
various Units. Contributions to the Newsletter was written
by the girls and the leaders, with an enthusiastic letter
from the Region Leader to commence the edition for this
How did "Matilda’s Mate" start? Sometime ago, back about
1980, there was a need for each Region `to start their own
newsletter’. At that time there was a Guiding magazine
called "Guiding in Australia". This magazine allowed each
State to put in their news – and we all enjoyed reading
about Guiding in other States. But it also meant that the
Region Leader had to circulate her Unit Leaders, who then
had to pass on to the Guides, notices of Victorian events
being planned. While many filtered through and some didn't
meaning some Guides might miss events or information.
A suggestion was put forward at the Region Leaders'
meeting that each Region may like to start their own
Newsletter. An article - "How to start a Newsletter"
- was printed in "Guiding in Australia" in November 1980.
Many Regions started their own newsletters – and this
assisted their Leaders and and Guides to keep up-to-date.
Finding a Leader to do the job in the North Region was
hard as all Leaders were busy with running Units. Finally
a Leader volunteered – and the Region Newsletter was
The Newsletter needed a name so suggestions were called
for. Another Leader remembering that the Victorian
Magazine – before "Guiding in Australia" - was called "Matilda"
suggested the name "Matilda’s Mate" as the Newsletter was
to be a "Mate" to the Region Commissioner and the Units as
So "Matilda’s Mate" came into being as the official
newsletter in North Metro Guides Region in approximately
1980 or thereabouts. "Matilda’s Mate" started off well,
with lots of interesting items, but then communications
seemed to fail between the Leaders and "Matilda’s Mate".
Eventually the Newsletter lapsed.
It was soon realized that North Metro Region still had a
need for a newsletter, to get notes from the Region Leader
and to be able to share the "fun and friendship of
Guiding" throughout the North Metro Region. However they
needed to find someone to edit and produce it.
For many years I was a leader with 2nd Strathmore Guides
and then, owing to the changing way of activities in the
district, numbers dropped and my company closed in 1979,
with the remaining girls transferring to 1st & 3rd
Strathmore. 1st Strathmore eventually closed and this left
3rd Strathmore Guides to continue on thus becoming
Strathmore Guides. I was appointed as District
Commissioner for Strathmore District in 1980 for five
years to 1985. Also around 1980 I had a meeting with other
Guiding leader friends, and we planned and started
Strathmore Trefoil Guild to keep our friendships of
Someone suggested that I might like to "do" the Region's
Newsletter, "Matilda’s Mate". Having been in Guiding for
many years in a range of roles and liking writing and
verses, I accepted "the job" as another challenge to do. I
took over being the editor of "Matilda's Mate" from
The job involved lots of making sure I had the notices and
news to include in the magazine, getting news from guides
and brownies and leaders and learning how to make
"Matilda’s Mate" interesting and informative.
It also involved learning a number of new skills: planning
out the layout, juggling pieces to fill the pages,
learning how to use a photo-copier, and later learning how
to use a computer, how to send and receive e-mails.
The newsletter needed content, including verses &
thoughts. I encouraged Guiding friends to write items for
"Matilda's Mate": a "thank you letter" to Guides or
Brownies, or a "thank you" to leaders.
Luckily I was a "bower bird" and had collected items of
interest over the years – notes of activities and events
of Guiding that I had taken part in through the various
avenues of Guiding in over the years. Many of those items
found their way into "Matilda's Mate".
At first, "Matilda’s Mate" was collected by the District
Leaders – then the Unit Leaders made arrangements for
their newsletters to be collected, and finally newsletters
were posted out on the due date. Later on the Strathmore
Trefoil Guild assisted with the collating of the
newsletter. It had become a big job – but a vital link
between Units in the Region.
"Matilda’s Mate" - North Metro Region Guides –
Newsletter – full of news and informative as ever!
Editor - "Matilda’s Mate"
A Life in Guiding -