Guide Dogs Help Young Achievers Fly High

July 13, 2017

Guide Dogs were not normally allocated to anyone under the age of 18 but in 1967 Nola Flomersfeld became the exception to the rule.

Nola Flomersfeld, from Broken Hill, was identified as a high achiever very early in her life. In December 1954 at the age of five she was selected for a prize for her Grade 1 achievements at Townsend House. The Minister of Education, Mr Pattinson, was Guest of Honour at the presentation and annual break-up at Townsend House and his wife presented the prizes.

In turn little Nola presented Mrs Pattison with a sheaf of flowers. The Advertiser reported this occasion at which Mr Pattinson advised that he would be making strong representation to Cabinet that the State should aid in the education of blind, deaf and dumb children at schools such as Townsend House feeling that it was 'a reproach to their enlightenment if they did not accept this responsibility' rather than rely on the philanthropy of the hundreds of citizens who gave their time and support.

Townsend House must have provided a wonderful educational grounding with many going on to higher education. Nola followed many of her contempraries to Woodlands Church of England School for Girls where she had a brilliant school career resulting in her being accepted to study an arts degree at the University of Adelaide.

To assist her mobility when studying at the University Nola was selected for allocation of a Guide Dog, despite only being 17 years old, and completed 28 days of special training at the National Guide Dog Training Centre in Victoria.

Twenty three year old musician, Barrie Liebie, who ran his own record bar in Kadina attended the National Centre at the same time as Nola. Two very excited young people arrived back in Adelaide, Nola with Guide Dog Gina and Barrie with Guide Dog Ricky. Barrie felt that Ricky would be a great asset, not only in assisting his mobility in conjunction with business activities but also enabling him to join the other young people in Kadina in various recreational activities.

What amazing progress was made in those early years in opening up the world to these young people and providing them with Guide Dogs to move confidently through all circles of life.