Seven decades of recovery from alcohol addiction in the Hastings

The AA group in Wauchope was the first in country New South Wales when it started 70 years ago.

The AA group in Wauchope was the first in country New South Wales when it started 70 years ago.

The Wauchope group of Alcoholics Anonymous will be celebrating 70 years since they were listed in the meetings list for NSW.

The group meets every Wednesday evening at the Uniting Church hall in Hastings Street at 7.30pm. 

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.  The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.

The late Father Leo Donnelly came into contact with AA for the first time shortly after arriving in Port Macquarie in 1951.  He later recalled that he was a young and very green priest, when one of the members invited him along, and it gave him an insight and an understanding of the problems of alcoholics and a faith in the effectiveness of AA.


“AA is a bit like faith.  You can read about it, see it explained in a book, but you never really understand it until you have seen it lived out in someone else’s life,” wrote Father Donnelly, in a booklet celebrating 25 years of AA in the Hastings.

One woman member recalled her early days in AA, coming back to Port Macquarie after being in rehab.

“Back to the previously sneakingly patronised bottle shops.  To the reminder in odd corners where grog used to be planted.  Back to the many problems created by my drinking.  Here was danger and I was afraid,” she said.

“But here, too, were the members of AA and I thank God for them.  My gratitude to these members is enormous.  They carried me until I could stand alone.  They shared with me their strength.  They cared,”

Wauchope was the first country group in New South Wales when it was formed in 1949 by a man who got sober through AA in Sydney.  Now there are groups all over the Hastings.

To find out more about Alcoholics Anonymous, go to or phone AA on 1300 22 22 22 or on 6586 0253.