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Country women celebrate

Thursday, 15th September, 2011

COUNTRY WOMEN: Kathy Gilby and Annette Turner at yesterday’s CWA luncheon. COUNTRY WOMEN: Kathy Gilby and Annette Turner at yesterday’s CWA luncheon.

Members of the Country Women’s Association met up in Broken Hill yesterday to celebrate the achievements of the 90 year old organisation.

The members, from Tibooburra, Menindee, White Cliffs and Ivanhoe branches, travel here every three months to discuss important social issues and ways to strengthen the group.

Yesterday they had another reason to come together - it was CWA Awareness Day.

The CWA is the largest women’s group in Australia and has worked to improve conditions for families and communities through changes in social policies, the provision of educational grants and opportunities for forging skills and friendships.

Tibooburra branch member and secretary and treasurer Kathy Gilby said that the Awareness Day was about recognising the role of the CWA within the community.

“Today is a day of bringing it up to people’s noses to say, ‘We’re still here, we’re still working!’”, she said.

Although the four branches meet in Broken Hill, there is no longer a local CWA  group and members who live here must be part of an alternative branch.

Mrs Gilby said that it was a shame that the once-strong Broken Hill branch of CWA had diminished.

“There used to be a large Broken Hill branch...but I think people think CWA is a thing of the past,” she said.

President of the White Cliffs CWA branch Annette Turner said that some interest had been shown in the potential reformation of the group.

“There was a lot of talk of it at our last conference,” she said.

Mrs Turner said that the White Cliffs branch had remained strong due to the group’s willingness to “think outside the square”.

“We’ve got a really nice set of rooms which we’ve refurbished and sometimes we meet at a nice cafe for a change,” she said.

“We do fundraisers and have a mother’s group and last year did a children’s Christmas tree which brought in a lot of the younger ones.” 

But as Mrs Turner pointed out, CWA is not only about fundraising and cake stalls.

“People don’t realise that CWA is quite a powerful voice,” she said.

“If a local has a problem, they can take it to CWA who take it to the state who lobbies on our behalf.”

Mrs Turner put the strength of the organisation, which has 11,000 members statewide, down to the determination of the women within it to keep it going.

“As my husband says, don’t mess with a country woman,” she said. 


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