The Brownie & Girl Guide’s Way

I was washing up this morning and my mind started wandering, thinking about the way I wash up, when I remembered how I first learnt to wash the dishes ‘correctly’. I remember being in the Brownies, the younger cohort of the Girl Guides, back in the 80s and I had a copy of The Brownie Guide Handbook. This book showed how to behave, how to perform well as a Brownie or Guide and demonstrated numerous tasks, step by step, in order to complete badges and generally become a well-rounded young lady.

retro brownie guide handbook vintage book

With this handbook I learnt how to efficiently pack a suitcase, repair a hole in a sock and why fingernails should be cut and not bitten. But most importantly I learnt how to wash the dishes, and the girl-guide method has stayed with me throughout my life. This is why I give my husband a funny look when he tries to wash crockery before glassware and pans before cutlery. Surely everyone knows that the cutlery goes into the bowl to rinse while glasses are washed, followed by teacups and barely-soiled saucers, bowls, plates, then pans and lastly greasy frying pans and caked-on bakewear. Obviously, I’m just being cheeky – my hubby doesn’t really muddle up the order, I’ve showed him the Girl Guide’s Handbook 😉 seriously sweetie, I’m just pleased you do it more often than I do!

vintage brownie guide handbook retro book

I wonder what the modern Guiding Handbook would say about housework? Does it mention the correct way to load a dishwasher? (I hope so, because this can be done wrong too) or does it focus on more important things such as camp survival, building a fire and first aid? I’d love to take a look and the next time that I see a copy at a school jumble sale or carboot I’ll buy it and report back!

Author: Cassiefairy

Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.


  1. Haha, Oh noo!! I don’t have a copy of the book anymore, I wish I did but mine also went missing years ago after a big loft clear out! If it ever turns up I will find that fairy cakes recipe and share it!

  2. I would really like the fairy cakes recipe from the brownie handbook. My Mum through my book away along with my bride doll, Narelle. It is a standing joke between us 40 plus years down the track.

  3. Ooh great! Yes, I’d love to know what it says 😀

  4. I remember this book!! Our girls don’t get one quite like that these days… but must make a note to actually dig the ‘Brownie Adventure’ book out of our dusty cupboard to see whether it does say about washing up when I go to Brownies tonight!! I will let you know!! 🙂

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