Happy faces at CWA big birthday in Wauchope

TURNING 80: June Dale, Gwen Taylor, Pam Kirby, Showgirl runner-up Jessica Prussing, Win Secombe and Pam Dein.
TURNING 80: June Dale, Gwen Taylor, Pam Kirby, Showgirl runner-up Jessica Prussing, Win Secombe and Pam Dein.

Wauchope CWA members had a celebration to remember recently.

The CWA branch of Wauchope celebrated their 80th birthday on Friday August 24 with a luncheon at the RSL club, enjoyed by 60 members and guests.

Guest speakers were Melinda Pavey MP, Wauchope Showgirl runner-up Jessica Prussing and Showgirl Co-ordinator, Lesley Olsen.

SPECIAL GUESTS: Lesley Olsen and Jessica Prussing from Wauchope Show Society.

SPECIAL GUESTS: Lesley Olsen and Jessica Prussing from Wauchope Show Society.

Miriam Latimore provided entertainment on keyboard and sang some of the old favourite songs.  

Present were two life members, Lyn Hodgson and Jean Geyer.  Jean is also branch patron, along with Barbara Murphy.

A short history of the branch was read to those present, and the birthday cake was cut by five Wauchope CWA members who turned 80 this year.

SPECIAL CAKE: Jessica Prussing and Wauchope CWA president Janet Kesby.

SPECIAL CAKE: Jessica Prussing and Wauchope CWA president Janet Kesby.

The Wauchope branch would like to thank Janet Kesby for the sterling work she did in putting the event together.  Everyone enjoyed themselves, including women from different branches.

The reason for the existence of the CWA is to promote the well-being and advancement of women and children and service to the country.

The Wauchope CWA story began with a meeting convened by Mrs AH Fletcher in the Masonic Hall in the town on August 18 1938, with the object of forming a local branch of the Country Womens Association of New South Wales.

CWA patron Barbara Murphy with a special memento of their big anniversary.

CWA patron Barbara Murphy with a special memento of their big anniversary.

Office-bearers elected at the meeting were:

  • President: Mrs W Begg
  • Vice-presidents: Mrs A Trotter, Mrs AH Fletcher, Mrs DR Paul and Mrs RK Pountney
  • Secretary: Mrs BH Jordon
  • Treasurer: Mrs AM Moore

On September 9 1938, the branch was officially opened by the Mid North Coast Vice President, Mrs Rudder of Kempsey.

The first objective was to establish a rest room for the farming wives coming into town.  This was sited on a temporary basis at the School of Arts.  Later, a cottage in HIgh Street, beside the council chambers, was rented for use as the rest room and baby health centre in 1940.

In October 1938, the branch, in co-operation with the Wauchope P & C Association, approached the minister for education regarding the establishment of a secondary school on the Hastings, which later resulted in a high school.

In November 1938, the ES & A Bank (now ANZ) offered to handle the CWA account free of charge.

In July 1939, the branch was addressed by Miss Evans, a dressmaking teacher from a technical college.  This led to classes and later the establishment of Wauchope Technical College.

During the war years, the branch identified itself with the local Patriotic Fund, specialising in camouflage net-making under the guidance of Mrs Begg.  The rooms were made available to all war effort groups for their meetings.

In more recent years, Wauchope CWA’s efforts have included supporting the Wauchope District Memorial Hospital and Bundaleer nursing home, catering for a diversity of functions, hosting the Biggest Morning Tea, holding craft classes for the community, involvement in the Anzac Day ceremony, supplying prizes for the primary schools and an annual bursary for small schools, to name a few.

Together with Bonny Hills and Port Macquarie branch, they help with awareness of domestic violence.

After the Pappinbarra bushfire, they made a donation to the recovery fund and have helped the palliative care unit in Wauchope.

Recently, they ran a skill share program, offering six free lessons to young mothers who want to learn handicraft skills, and 11 women have mastered the intricacies of crochet and knitting.

“The future looks good for our branch and we are all invigorated by the enthusiasm of our budding new members,” said president, Janet Kesby.

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