Memories From Dorothy Harbisher
Queeny Chinnery first introduced me to floral art, upstairs in the Perth Town Hall.
We used to park our cars – FREE on the north side of Hay Street, outside Bon Marche and dash across avoiding the traffic both ways,making sure that we didn’t get our heels caught in the tram lines.
Once a Mrs. or Mr. Wilson gave a talk on how to keep cut flowers fresh – the Wilsons had Wilsons Florist Shop on Barrack Street. It must have been spring as she had fresh Iceland Poppies and burnt their stems and also said that putting sugar or lemonade in the water with charcoal helped, others in very hot water and cutting a cross in the stems. (Later when we were in the country, I tried the sugar in the water – it might have kept the flowers fresh, but it certainly brought the ants in.)
One day, all in cars, we went out past the Old Narrogin Inne to a gladiolia farm, where they demonstrated putting the bulbs in a bath of permangamate, then drying them on wire racks and packed in ash. Then my husband was transferred to the country and it was sometime after we came back that Ann Parker reintroduced me to Floral Art at Maylands. When it was at the Town Hall, I was told that it was started by five or so ladies, meeting upstairs in the boardroom of Newspaper House (per kind favour of one of their husbands), where they enjoyed wonderful views of the river while sitting at a highly polished beautiful wooden table.
At Maylands we had a fund raising drive so that we could have our own china. I had a morning tea for non Floral Artists. It was after this I think my friend Betty Pitscher (it might have been later) joined. The china caused trouble when we moved to Cambridge Street in West Leederville as there was no cupboard there, so someone had to look after it for a while. During our time at the Leederville Town Hall, we frequently did the flowers for Government House.