I am in Sydney this week to spend some time volunteering alongside hundreds of other members (and several ‘ring-ins’) from across NSW at the CWA Tea Rooms in the Arts & Crafts Pavilion at the Royal Easter Show. Being here in the State Office has also afforded me the opportunity to indulge in some old fashioned “surfing” through past Country Woman Journals to research the beginnings of our show kiosk, as it was originally called.
What I found was not only interesting, but also a little surprising.
The following is an excerpt from the May 1947 edition written by the President of the day, Bertha Mac Smith.
“After surmounting many difficulties, we at last have our own corner at the Royal Easer Show. For some time we have been asking the Royal Agricultural Society to make space available for us, but it was actually not very long before Easter that there came an opportunity to buy a stand; a decision had to be made within twenty-four hours, so after Miss McCallum and I had inspected the stand and I had discussed the matter with some members of the Executive, I decided that it would be most unwise to lose the chance of acquiring a permanent position in the showground. The purchase price of the stand was not great but a lot of repairs had to be effected, as the Army had occupied the stand during the war years. With so little time at our disposal, it seemed to be attempting the impossible.
However, thanks to the efforts of Mrs. E. J. Munro and the metropolitan members who staffed the kiosk each day, serving tea and hot scones, ice cream and soft drinks, the venture has proved most successful. An annual rental is paid for the ground, whilst the building itself is our own property. At one stage we had a permit to effect repairs, but not to paint the outside! Then three or four days before the show opened, the Board of Health inspectors informed us that it was necessary to be licensed to sell food and hot water must be put in near the stove! Another difficulty lay in being unable to obtain sufficient rationed foodstuffs. We do appreciate the assistance given to us by Col. G. C. Somerville, Secretary of the R.A.S. and Mr. Skidmore, the Assistant Secretary.”
The following year a brief report appeared in the April Journal indicating the grand total of £694 had been raised and that approximately 50,000 scones had been made.
This is the part I initially found surprising because I did not expect that we would have sold quite so many scones; until I realised that ‘back then’ there would probably not have been as many food outlets as there are now. Whatever the reason, over 68 years that is a lot of scones!
We are aiming to break the 47,000 mark this year and $100,000.00 in profit (there’s some inflation figures for you!) to support the various projects our members champion throughout the year.
Over the next two years we can work towards a target of 50,000 to celebrate 70 years of the perfect scone at the Royal Easter Show.
Will I see you at the Show to help us out?