Girl Guides Queensland Cadet Uniform

Contributed by: Girl Guides Queensland

Boundary St 1955 Colour Parties. Marian is the flag bearer wearing her Cadet uniform at the left of this photograph. Girl Guides Queensland Cadet Uniform Darts at hip front Girl Guides Queensland Cadet Uniform Back Darts at hip back Snag on front of left cuff darned with matching thread
  • Australian dress register ID:

  • Owner:

    Girl Guides Queensland
  • Owner registration number:

  • Date range:

  • Place of origin:

    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
  • Gender:

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Object information

Significance statement

Marian Langdon OAM was an exceptional person. Her dress is the only known Queensland Girl Guide Cadet uniform held in the State of Queensland. 

The Girl Guides Queensland Archive holds a collection of the uniform worn by members in Queensland from the 1920s to the current day.  There have been sections for girls aged from five years through to adults in the senior level for retired ladies. Uniform styles were set by the founding organisation in London, U.K. and the requirements were recorded in the rule book, Policy, Organisation and Rules. A 1929 diary shows that Queensland did not use pleats as worn in other States of Australia. In 1948 the Queensland branch decided to adopt changes that would be appropriate for the climatic conditions in this State and guidelines were published in 1949. 

Throughout the years, changes were made for comfort such as lower necklines, short sleeves, action backs, and styles to appeal to the current wearers.  Marian’s Cadet dress was soft material that was only washed and ironed.  It had less pockets than other designs, which provided a more flattering look and it needed to be practical for the duties involved when working with youth.  

Marian undertook countless roles in Australia, the Asia Pacific and Guiding worldwide.  She dedicated her life to service for others, including two years in the United Kingdom to teach campcraft skills.  She organised major events.  She accompanied girls to interstate events and for overseas experiences.  She helped develop Guiding in Mongolia through repeated visits.

Service is a key element of the Girl Guide organisation.  Marian worked as diligently for the wider community as she did for members of the Girl Guides.  She used her skills to be the treasurer for the C.W.A. Junior Group for several years.  She read on air for the Print Handicapped.  She was a volunteer at the Disabled Games, Handicapped Swimming Championships, the Asia Pacific Master Games, the Gold Coast Marathon, and the Pan Pacific Games.  She was the Games Director for her local Croquet Club for eight years.  She was State President for the Institute for Professional Secretaries.  For 10 years, the Palm Lodge Nursing Home was the recipient of knee rugs she knitted.  She was never idle.

She enriched the lives of others selflessly, spending her time in training, leading and encouraging the people whose lives she touched. Marian led by example.


Author: Jill Hogrefe in consultation with Marian’s sister, Dallas Langdon., 28 May 2019.


         Hat              soft navy fur felt, small brim—the same width all round, turned up  

                             at the back and down in front, crown with circular crease all

                             round, 1-inch white corded hatband with bow left side

         Beret for night wear if desired by company, navy blue felt in official style with

                             leather headband and when invested, cadet badge worn above  

                             left eye

          Cadet Badge white and blue enamel trefoil worn on ribbon band at the front of

                             the hat

          Tie               white triangular cotton material in broad-bandage fold

          Lumber jacket navy blue or navy cardigan

          Bag             shoulder bag or brief case       

          Gloves         brown leather optional; navy blue gloves for Colour Party

          Shoes          black

          Stockings     beige lisle


          Badge          Guide Tenderfoot badge worn in the centre of the tie

          Belt              two brown leather loops, one each side, metal swivels from

                             loops, official metal buckle

          Lanyard        white

          Whistle        attached to lanyard and fastened to belt on right side

          Knife           worn on left side of belt

          Title Tape     worn across left shoulder seam, close to armhole seam

          State Metal Badge worn on left shoulder epaulette above title tape

          Service Star one metal star without background showing total number of years in the

                              Movement. Marian’s star had the number ‘10’ and it was worn

                              on the flap of the left pocket


All uniform, badges and belts were registered items.


 Marian knotted her lanyard with several macramé knots.

History and Provenance

Marian Langdon OAM, commencing from a young age, dedicated her life to community service. She began Guiding as a youth member in 1946. She was invested as a Cadet in the 1st Brisbane Headquarters Cadet Company on 2 June 1955. The Girl Guide scheme was for young adults training to become leaders of Brownies or Girl Guides. This dress was the uniform of a Cadet and worn at her Cadet meetings and in her leadership role. The uniform signified her position when working with young girls.

A Cadet was expected to gain experience at several meetings of her chosen age-group and one meeting of the other section.  She was able to attend adult leadership trainings at night where she wore her Cadet uniform.

Marian became an assistant leader for 1st Coorparoo Guides in 1956. She was entitled to wear a miniature Cadet badge over the left pocket when she finished her training and became a leader.

In 1957 she met the Chief Guide and Founder of Girl Guides, Lady Baden-Powell, who autographed Marian’s camp flag.

In 1967 she became the Captain (leader in charge) of Leichhardt Cadet Company for three years to train other Cadets.

A Local Association was always formed in any place that wanted Guiding to commence and Marian’s mother was a member of the Local Association in their district.  She was a volunteer on the Guide Association’s Hospitality Committee.

Marian’s mother never drove; she walked everywhere and travelled by tram.  Marian’s father had a car because he had been engaged during the war in essential services and also received petrol ration vouchers to drive to Army bases.

The Langdon family (Marian and her sister, Dallas, with their parents) worked diligently at the new State Guide campsite “Kindilan” at Redland Bay to clear the land for camp sites.  Marian’s father was on the Kindilan Management Committee for the development of the site.  Fathers assisted with paper and bottle drives to raise funds.

Marian's Brisbane State High School uniform was navy gloves, black stockings, navy skirt, white blouse, maroon and navy striped tie. The family did not have bicycles.

At 15 after attaining her Junior Certificate in an academic course, Marian commenced studies at a Secretarial College, travelling by tram from the family home at Camp Hill to Fortitude Valley. Marian was always in a same-sex class.

Births, deaths, marriages, children or family information

Miss Marian Fay Langdon OAM 02.01.1937 to 22.01.2014

A covered campfire circle was installed at Langdons' Place at the Guide camp ground 'Kindilan' as a memorial to Marian.

Do you have any stories or community information associated with this?

The Girl Guide Association Queensland was registered officially with the founding body in London U.K. following a meeting, called by the Queensland Governor’s wife Lady Goold-Adams, at Government House in Brisbane on 19 November 1919.  The Governor’s wife was always to be the State President and society ladies served on the Guide Council.  Guiding attracted people from all walks of life.  The aim was to develop good citizenship and service to the community. The association was determined to prevent any infiltration by Communists.  In 1957 Guiding worldwide celebrated the centenary year of the birth of the Founder, Lord Baden-Powell and the highlight of the year in Queensland was the visit of the Chief Guide, Lady Baden-Powell, G.B.E.

Family members became leaders of Guides, Brownies and Rangers. Women who had served in the Forces during the war, often returned to their leadership role in the Guide movement. Their experience of leadership and working with other women in Guiding had contributed to their advancement into officer roles during their war service.  Guide members had been instrumental during the war of training other women and girls in preparation for emergency situations. Following the war, the training continued in skills for life.

The Guide Promise included a pledge ‘to help other people at all times’ and the Guide Law included ‘A Guide’s duty is to be useful and to help others’. Almost all Charitable Organisations in the State were helped in some way by Guides.  

The population of Brisbane in the 1950s was over 500,000 but the city was considered a big country town. This was the time of the Polio epidemic. People listened to valve-operated radio to follow serials and the news.  The mother was usually engaged in home duties and often did not drive a car. Trams were in use. Many families owning cars had them placed on blocks at this time.

Eating out was a rare family occurrence. Families went without fridges. Milk was home-delivered as was bread. Many people grew fruit and vegetables in their back yard. Travelling salesmen called at the houses and men doorknocked looking for odd jobs.

Children walked or cycled to school, and not without wearing their school hat and gloves. Segregation of the sexes was the norm at school. The school leaving-age was 14 and many students moved into jobs and apprenticeships. 

How does this garment relate to the wider historical context?

The standards for Guiding were the same worldwide and Guiding flourished in many countries. The World Conference was held in Holland that year with representatives from 31 countries and all had made the same Promise.  (In 2019, 150 countries are members of the Girl Guides/Girl Scouts.  Boy Scouts is a different organisation.)

Queensland Guides also supported causes for other countries in times of need such as funds for the United Nations’ Appeal for Children, and clothing for Korea, in the 1955 to 1956 period while Marian was a Cadet. Members responded to a request from the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts for clothing for refugee children in camps.

Where did this information come from?

Girl Guides Queensland Archive and Marian’s sister, Dallas Langdon OAM.

This garment has been exhibited

This dress was worn for a parade held in Queensland to celebrate the Centenary of Guiding Worldwide in 2010. 

A poster sharing the story of this dress was part of a display to celebrate the Girl Guides Queensland Centenary in 2019.

  1. Place of origin:

    Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

  2. Cost:

    Girl Guide buttons were sold at the Guide Shop for 3d (3 pence) each, only four needed (available from 1952)

    The sale price in Brisbane for Lystav (fabric) was 8/11d (8 shillings and 11 pence) per yard of 36-inch-wide material. 

    Instructions with drawings were in Your Uniform as Worn in Queensland Compiled by Uniform Advisory Committee 1949 Price 1/- (1 shilling) This information varied from the official Policy, Organisation & Rules from the U.K.  Updates were to be published in the monthly State magazine Coo-ee.

     1949 prices for dresses in stock sizes were £2/7/6 (2 pounds, 7 shillings and six pence) but if made to measure, the dresses cost £3/-/. (3 pounds) 

     ‘Hi-Gloss’ Starch from the Guide Shop in the 50s was 1/9½d per packet.

    Insignia sold at the Guide Shop: Cadet Investiture badge 2/10, Cadet miniature badge 2/10, Service Star No.10 1/3, World Badge 2/6, lanyard 2/6, whistle 6/-  Guide Tenderfoot badge (Marian received it in 1948), hatband 3/3d, leather belt with metal Girl Guide buckle 11/6d, white corded ribbon for beret 1/- , beret 17/6, Windjacket £4/2- and brown shoulder strap handbag £1/7/6; hat 19/11

    Knife with marlin spike sold at the Guide Shop for 13/-


  3. Owned by:

    Originally owned by Girl Guide, Marian Fay Langdon. Currently owned by Girl Guides Queensland Archive. Marian donated her dress to Girl Guides Queensland in the 1980s.

  4. Worn by:

    Miss Marion Faye Langdon, later OAM (Medal of the Order of Australia). 

  5. Occasion(s):

    Cadet company meetings one night per week, Saturday youth unit meetings and adult leader trainings, held at night.  

  6. Place:

    Boundary Street Headquarters, Brisbane, Australia. 

  7. Designed by:

    Design specified by Girl Guides Association, London U.K, and modified with short sleeves to suit Queensland conditions.

    Uniform was considered a ‘leveller’; the Guide dressed exactly the same as the other members of her company.  It was designed for neatness and smartness, and serviceability for work and play.  The tie could be used as a triangular bandage in an emergency, the pockets for carrying a first aid kit or other useful items, a belt to hold knife and cord could be used as part of a stretcher or halter, her hat as a bucket and so on.

  8. Made by:

    Marion Langdon's mother, Mrs Ellen May Langdon.

  9. Made for:

    Miss Marian Fay Langdon (later OAM). Sole use.

Fibre / Weave

The dark navy fabric is a lightly textured rayon known as Lystav. This British fabric made by Tootal was being promoted in 1955.


  1. Natural dye
  2. Synthetic dye


Dress made by mother

Hand stitched hem and cuffs

The fabric appears to have been cut with pinking-sheers.  The waist is joined to the skirt without a waist band.

  1. Hand sewn
  2. Machine sewn
  3. Knitted
  4. Other


Dress with six gore skirt with four darts, two close to the side seams at the front of the skirt and two close to the side seams at the back of the skirt.

  1. Bias
  2. Straight


  1. Hook and eye
  2. Lacing
  3. Buttons
  4. Zip
  5. Drawstring

Stiffening / Lining / Padding

Plastic shank style buttons embossed with the Girl Guide badge were introduced in 1952.  Marian had Guide buttons for the two breast pockets of the dress and to close the epaulettes.

Three composite buttons are on the front placket and a small button is in place below the collar to close the neck.


Neck 400 mm
Chest 1000 mm
Waist 820 mm
Hip 1140 mm
Cuff 320 mm
Hem circumference 1700 mm
Front neck to hem 1030 mm
Front waist to hem 700 mm
Back neck to hem 1080 mm
Back waist to hem 700 mm
Sleeve length 250 mm
Neck to sleeve head 140 mm
Cross back 370 mm
Underarm to underarm 530 mm
Fabric width 914 mm
Convert to inches

The horizontal measurement accross the back is taken when the gathered material at the back is spread open.

Yoke dimensions:

back from arm hole to yolk point 190mm

neck to point 160mm

from shoulder at arm hole to end of yoke 80mm

from end of yolk at arm hole to end of sleeve armhole 160mm

The scarf, hemmed all round, is 889mm x 457mm x 457mm. It is folded like a flat bandage to be worn as a tie and the ends fastened with a reef knot at the back of the neck.


The pockets on the bodice are  114mm width by 140mm height.  The flap from top corner to the point is 70mm. The pocket has a centre pleat.



Additional material

Other related objects

In 1954 Marian was a young Girl Guide when she featured in cinema advertising to launch the Girl Guides Queensland fundraiser, the Willing Shilling Drive and a lantern slide with a poster-size photograph is held in the Guide Archive.

Link to collection online


Tiny snag left-hand gore at back of skirt.

A slight trace of white marks not removed by drycleaning are on the centre back panel of the skirt and another small mark is on the skirt front

Although reported by Marian’s sister, Dallas Langdon, that the dress has been well worn, the only evidence is the fading, which is obvious when the epaulettes are unbuttoned.

The dress was removed from the archive at Gould Road, Herston, Brisbane, for domestic cleaning following a flood in 2009. 

The dress and hat have been drycleaned by Leon’s Fine Dry Cleaning, a member of the Dry Cleaning Institute of Australia.  This specialist business drycleans the collections held by the Queensland Museum.

The white scarf has oxidisation marks. 

Evidence of repairs

Snag on front of left cuff darned with matching thread


  1. Excellent
  2. Good
  3. Fair
  4. Poor


  1. Fading
  2. Holes
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