News Parliament


The Country Women's Association is part of the heart and soul of regional Australia and I'm delighted to share with this chamber that the Eugowra branch of the CWA has just celebrated its 90th anniversary. It's particularly fitting that it celebrated the occasion with a luncheon for 120 members and guests. The guests included: World President of the Associated Country Women of the World Ruth Shanks AM; State President of the CWA of New South Wales Annette Turner; the Central Western Group president, Alana Donaldson; patron of the CWA Central Western Group Gail Hayden; the Cabonne mayor, Kevin Beatty; and Councillor Cheryl Newsom. Other guests travelled from Queensland, Sydney, Wagga, Canberra and Broken Hill. When special organisations like the CWA in Eugowra pass these milestones, it is very important that we recognise not only the occasion itself but the purpose and the role that these organisations play in our communities.

The CWA was inspired by women's institutes in Britain and Canada. Its brief was to improve conditions for women on the land. It was formed in 1922. Just a few years later, in May 1928, the Canowindra branch of the CWA sponsored a public meeting to form the Eugowra CWA. Thirty women attended, including Mrs Pengilly, Mrs Alford, Mrs Noble, Mrs Welsh and Mrs Douglas, and the descendants of those women still live in Eugowra today. The 90th anniversary was thus a fitting celebration for the state president of the New South Wales CWA, Annette Turner, to present a 50-year service badge to Janet Noble. Janet's a relative of founding member Nan Alford nee Noble. She was followed by Isobel Noble, a life member, and then Janet herself and now Janet's daughter-in-law Libby Noble. Libby's two daughters, Sophie and Laura, are junior members. So there is a continuing family connection.

Other highlights of the afternoon included the Cavalcade of History and Fashion from Sydney, showing women's fashions from 1919 to 1939, including dresses and hats. Founding Eugowra member Mrs Mabel Pengilly was the grandmother of present branch member and patron Shirley Heinzel, who cut the beautifully decorated cake made by Annette Connell.

I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the current members of the Eugowra CWA, including: President Margaret Swift; Treasurer Frances Anderson; the secretary and publicity officer, Janet Noble; the international officer, Dorothy Jones; and also members Jennifer Jones, Lorraine Carty, Ula Langfield, Eve Hayes, Joan McMillan, Jeanette Norris, Rosemary Taylor, Libby Noble, Beverley Pengilly, Yvonne Smalley, Sharon Radwick and Ruth Neilsen. I'd also like to mention patron and member Shirley Heinzel and junior members Laura Noble and Sophie Noble.

Today, the Eugowra CWA is a busy and vibrant branch involved with local group, state and even national affairs. We could not do without the CWA in our country communities, and I wish the Eugowra CWA branch a very happy 90th anniversary.