Sunday History Photo / Au

Submitted: Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 06:28
ThreadID: 100724 Views:4805 Replies:4 FollowUps:3
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The Country Women’s Association of Australia is the largest women's organisation in Australia. It has 44,000 members across 1855 branches. Its aims are to improve the conditions for country women and children and to try to make life better for women and their families, especially those women living in rural and remote Australia. The organisation is self-funded, non-party-political and non-sectarian.
These women realised they had nowhere to turn but to themselves - and the result was staggering. Within a year, the Association was a unified, resourceful group that was going from strength to strength. The members worked tirelessly to set up baby health care centres, fund bush nurses, build and staff maternity wards, hospitals, schools, rest homes, seaside and mountain holiday cottages - and much more. At the same time they continued to run homes in which they were often mother, nurse, teacher and general hand. The women of the CWA, while believing deeply that their role in the family is vitally important, have been initiators, fighters and lobbyists. They have made localities into communities by providing social activities and educational, recreational and medical facilities.
By 1936 there was a branch in each of the States and territories of Australia. The formation of a federal body was discussed in 1943 and was agreed in 1945 by a meeting of all state presidents. The First Annual Conference of the C.W.A. of Australia was held in Adelaide in 1946. In 1947 delegates were appointed to go to the Associated Country Women of the World Conference in Amsterdam.
During the depression years, the CWA helped those in need with food and clothing parcels. During World War II, the CWA provided meals for the troops at Quorn, South Australia and Tennant Creek, Northern Territory, their efforts being rated one of the best voluntary war time services in Australia. CWA members also made camouflage nets and knitted balaclavas and socks for the troops. In 1992, the CWA of Australia was awarded the RSL Anzac Peace Prize in recognition of their outstanding effort in promoting international understanding and contributing to world peace in accordance with best traditions exemplified by the ANZAC spirit.

It was at an open conference for women, arranged by the Brisbane Women's Club and held during August 1922 that it was decided a Country Women's Association be formed for Queensland. On 11 August 1922 at 10.15 the first meeting was convened to appoint a provisional committee. At the unanimous request of the meeting Mrs Ruth Fairfax agreed to accept the position of President of the Country Women's Association.
It was decided very early on that the Association would be non political and non sectarian and that only women whose income was derived from the land would be eligible to be full members. This was later changed and today women of Queensland regardless of location, employment or income can become members of the Association.

The Country Women’s Association began in Western Australia in 1924 as a non party political, non sectarian and not for profit organization with the first branch being at Nungarin.
The aim of the Association then, and still, is to improve the wellbeing of all people, especially those in country areas by promoting courtesy, cooperation, community effort, ethical standards and the wise use of resources.
CWA was formed to meet the needs of the time – to help women in isolated rural communities and to provide a voice to Government to seek solutions to the difficulties facing families in such areas.
The first CWA Rest Room (now known as CWA Centres) was purchased by Donnybrook Branch.
In 1928 the first purpose built Rest Room was built at Baandee. In 1953 the branch was flooded out of its home for several months, the piano sitting up on 44 gallon oil drums.
Rest Rooms provided a home for the branch and were used for many and varied activities. Rest Rooms became the hub of small communities and many are still used today.
The first Head Office established in Boans Ltd. This was followed in 1953 by new headquarters in West Perth adjacent to Kendenup (the CWA Club). These were replaced in 1968 with CWA House and now in 2008, new headquarters built on the site of the original purpose built Head Office of the Association.
The Countrywoman of Western Australia was established as the official journal of CWA.

The Country Women’s Association of Victoria Inc. (Association) was formed on 12 March 1928 out of concern for women living in isolation and in difficult times. This active Association is an incorporated volunteer organisation that is non-party political and non-sectarian that today boasts over 5,200 members throughout Victoria for country and city women.
Whilst the focus has often been on tea and scones, there is so much more on the menu of this dynamic Association which aims to improve conditions for women and children.
The founder and first State President of the Association, Lady Mitchell, CBE, realised the big part women would be called upon to play as society moved forward and women have benefited through this focus on service and friendship which she engendered.

The South Australian Country Women’s Association has been serving the community since 1929 , initially as the "Burra Country Women's Service Association" with Mrs. Mary Warnes as its founder and first President. The organisation is made up of volunteers who work to promote the welfare and conditions of life for women and children, of all ages, whether in the city or country.
The slogan is ‘Sharing and Caring with Action’. Sharing involves service and the giving of time, talents, efforts and finance. What is given in service is the road to what is gained personally. Caring involves friendship, tolerance and understanding of others.

The Country Womens Association in Tasmania (Inc) began in 1936, when the first branch was opened at a meeting in Launceston Town Hall, convened by Lady Clark, the wife of the Governor. In the next 18 months, 18 branches were formed, with a membership of 550. Membership peaked at 6,000 around 1954 in 203 branches.
Handcraft and Home Industries Committees encouraged participation in agricultural shows, exhibitions and displays and Choral and Drama Committees fostered music and drama. CWA shops opened in Hobart and Launceston and holiday homes and rural halls were acquired.
Working with local councils, Child Health Centres were established in country areas and maintained by branches until the Health Department restructured the operation. Rest rooms were established in towns, providing areas for visiting doctors, clinic sisters and community services. Community support initiatives included the provision of infant clothes and care items for families in need and aids for cancer sufferers, distributed through the Cancer Council.
The war years of 1939-1945 saw outstanding work. Members raised funds for the Red Cross, prisoners of war and the British Air Raid Relief, provided food parcels, made 27,000 camouflage nets for the armed forces, repaired army uniforms and were involved in the Womens Land Army. A Voluntary Aid Detachment held classes in first aid and home nursing around Tasmania. An ambulance was donated to the armed forces in the Pacific.

And up to the present you will find Women of the CWA helping people in disaster areas such as drought and floods, lobbying governments about all sorts of issues, teaching cooking and crafts, entertaining and even making scones at agricultural shows.

Thank You Ladies.


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Reply By: member-PradoMad - Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 07:18

Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 07:18
most interesting; thank you for that.
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Reply By: Member Bushy 04(VIC) - Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 08:35

Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 08:35
Great article Doug, about time someone told their story.

Have a great day.
AnswerID: 505421

Reply By: Member - Tony H (touring oz) - Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 09:56

Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 09:56
Do we really appreciate the wonderful work & tireless efforts of the CWA......I hope so.....Thank you ladies!
AnswerID: 505428

Follow Up By: Mick O - Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 10:47

Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 10:47
....and please bring a plate.


''We knew from the experience of well-known travelers that the
trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
Richard Maurice - 1903

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Follow Up By: Member - barry F (NSW) - Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 16:16

Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 16:16
Of Lamington's or would you prefer scones?

Good on you Doug, another great read.My mother was a very active member of the CWA in western NSW. I have her membership badge in my safe keeping & will pass it on to one of my grand kids when I can decide which one of them will most cherish it!!
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Follow Up By: Life Member - Doug T (NT) - Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 19:10

Sunday, Feb 24, 2013 at 19:10

Please feel free to post a photo of the badge if you have one. and details of the owner and age of the badge.

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Reply By: Member - Dunworkin (WA) - Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 01:46

Monday, Feb 25, 2013 at 01:46
Great story Doug, being a country girl know a lot about the CWA....



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