History of the Award

Stella Giles (1904-1995)

Stella (Ryan) GILES was born in the Goldfields, the eldest of six children. She received her education at the local convent and came to Perth around 1920. Stella trained as a secretary/bookkeeper and was employed at Barnett Bros, a hardware type firm.

From an early age she showed a compatibility with people of all types – nothing was ever too much trouble for Stella.

At the age of 28, she married Phillip Giles, a widower with 6 children, the elder ones quite close to Stella in age. With her husband and brother, she ran a poultry market at Perth Market.

Stella became a Soroptimist in 1962. She was a very active member of Perth club, holding most positions, including those of President and Secretary. In 1970 the position of Region Extension officer became vacant and Stella was encouraged to stand. That was the beginning of a career in extension which was both remarkable and outstanding. Stella’s efforts produced 10 clubs in all.

1971  Port Hedland
1975  Darling Range
1977  Geraldton
1980  Mandurah
1981  Carnarvon
1973  Morrison
1975  Port Walcott
1978  Joondalup
1981  Rockingham
1982  Albany

Her success in extension was due to her hard work, her affinity with people, and her sense of humour.

Never one to boast, Stella was always conscious of the fact that the girls (the members of each new club) as she referred to them, had a lot more education than she had. At the conclusion of her extension career, the Region made her an Honorary Life Member – a testimonial dinner was held in her honour at the Sheraton Hotel. At least one member (and in most instances, many more) from each Club she chartered was present. A tribute to Stella was given by a charter member of Port Hedland, her first club.

Stella personified the true Soroptimist spirit – and she will live on in the Clubs she formed. We honour our memories of Stella in awarding, on an annual basis, the “Stella Giles Soroptimist Award for Achievement” to a worthy nominee.


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