They, whoever “they” are, say that a week in politics is a long time. I think so much happens, so quickly now, that a week in anybody’s life is a long time; including mine. Almost a week has passed since our building at 11-13 Greenknowe Avenue, Potts Point was sold for $18.4 million to an overseas buyer and I am still trying to find time to process the enormity and historic significance of that event.
Modern communications being what they are the news was out before the ink was even on the page, let alone dry! When the building was purchased in July 1953 the President of the day, Barbara Cullen, made the announcement in her Report to the 1954 Conference. Some 10 months later!
You know that I am a believer in Karma and eerily, it has shown itself again. As mentioned above we received just over $18,000,000.00 for the site, but did you know it was purchased for £18,000? Don’t you find that a rather large coincidence? The logical thinkers amongst you will say no, just a good return on investment!
At the time the “Country Life” Newspaper donated £250 to furnish a room in the new Club and members were advised that a wonderful meeting room would be built and that there would “certainly” be room to “house our Handicraft Committee”.
I found these interesting little gems whilst researching the history of the building in old copies of The Country Woman (aka the Journal) and by now you must be thinking that I spend all my time perusing the pages of past copies of our Journal. Oh that your thoughts could be true, for they are very absorbing and reveal some thought-provoking reflections of modern times as well as some very different viewpoints and values.
For instance, Barbara Cullen said in her report that “It is at Conference that we find the wishes of the members, and once anything has been passed there by a majority, it is the wish of us all and it is the duty of the Executive Committee to put into effect the resolution which Conference has passed”. I wonder if there was dissent around the purchase of the property, mirroring members’ feelings with the sale?
In the same report she spoke about helping migrants who come at the invitation of the Commonwealth. “We can teach them so much and this they can take back to their own countries. We do ask you to befriend them and take them into your homes – in fact, to take all visitors to these shores into your homes”. Are we as open and generous in our thinking now as we were then?
In this same Journal it was recorded that 800 delegates attended the 1953 Annual Conference, that there were 30,427 members in 515 Branches and that “we took an interest in the mentally ill and … are hoping to be able to change the attitude of the public towards the mentally ill”.
Some things change, some things don’t.