More Than Tea and Scones – We Bake Cakes Too!


I am honoured to say, as a woman in her 70’s, that I am the daughter of a very active CWA member who worked for many causes and charities in the Far West,   More than that though….I am a wife, a mother, a grandmother, an aunt, a sister, a friend AND I am a member of the CWA.  I like to think I am a “today” woman, kept up to date by my children, grandchildren and the wonders of the internet.

I joined the CWA of NSW in 2001 to meet new friends and join the handicraft group, hoping to improve my needlework and patchwork skills.

We are very fortunate to have four CWA branches in the ACT, all offering different things.  Prospective members can join a branch that best suits their interests. Younger members join a branch that appeals to them.  More senior members wishing to join may be drawn to the knitting, crochet, embroidery, baking, other crafts and competitions.

At Canberra Branch we are a city branch surrounded by office blocks, not very “country” at all!  We have a membership of close to 150.  The retention of these members is vital in keeping our CWA active.

Through CWA I have made many wonderful friends at Branch, Group and State level.  I have been given many opportunities that only CWA offers.  The chance to improve my baking skills, to compete at Branch level, being eligible to enter Group competitions and having entries at State level have been rewarding experiences. I have also learned a lot through the positions I was encouraged to take on within CWA including President, Vice President, Secretary, Cultural Officer and best of all Cookery Officer.

The CWA has also given me the chance to sit for and receive my judges’ badge, a wonderful opportunity!  I also received the inaugural Donna Latter prize awarded for my citation at that time.  Being involved at an official level on the State Land Cookery committee continues to be a great experience.  All members of this committee have different gifts, come from different Groups but are all happy to be associated with the CWA proud tradition of tea, scones and friendship_ but we are a lot more- we bake cakes too!  LOL

I often speak of the term “keepers”.  I like to think I am a “keeper”. It is a term I use when I turn out a really great cake for competition. It is one really worth keeping. So are the hard working members I work with!  We need more of these workers, those that join, attend meetings, help in the decision making of the Branch and have a desire to make our Association stronger.  The retention of these members is important in nurturing the younger members we hope to welcome.

While CWA is not mostly about tea and scones, the many morning teas provide the perfect base to achieve greater things.  For me, the CWA has created opportunities, encouraged new friendships and given me the chance to make a difference – now that’s quite a chance!

Why not encourage your friends to join?

In her 70’s, Barbara is young at heart. Despite her advancing age Barbara thinks of herself as a ‘woman of today’. With her email (vintagebarb) and her own facebook page, Barbara shops and banks online, and messages up a storm. Based in Canberra, Barbara is a teacher by training and classifies herself as a “home baker” – so you can imagine her surprise when she won her first CWA baking competition. One of her biggest pleasures in 2013 was walking in the Mother’s Day Classic Breast Cancer walk supported by her husband, her daughters and her three granddaughters.  It doesn’t get much better than that!

Fun fact – To help celebrate Canberra’s centenary, Barbara and two other CWA ladies baked 1,000 scones in one day – using only one oven.

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