Successful Annual Conference of CWA in 1954

Recently I received a package from June Files in Broken Hill.  It looked to me as if it had been lovingly stored away and forgotten about for many years.  Reading through it I recognised some of the names as descendants who are still in the district.  The Barrier Miner was our evening paper and the Barrier Daily Truth was our morning paper – today the BDT remains but the Barrier Miner is ‘long gone’.

Below I have taken excerpts from the Barrier Miner 21 September 1954 –

“Members of the Country Women’s Association from several branches in the Far Western Division gathered at Wilcannia on Saturday for the 24th Annual Conference.  Many decisions of general importance to women were reached.  Domestic matters concerning C.W.A. were also discussed.

Delegates were present from Cobar, Collerreina, Coolabah, Hermidale, Marra Creek, Narromine, Nevertire, Nyngan, Trangie, Warren, Wilcannia, White Cliffs … apologies received from Bourke, Brewarrina and Girilambone.


Photo taken: Sydney 25 October 1949 – Mrs Rawlings, Mrs Snell, Mrs Eddy, Mrs Ryan and Mrs Burford.

The Opening …
“Opening points – The Association is State wide and branches/groups are only part of the machinery said Mrs Noel Thompson Metropolitan Vice President. She said the successful working of the association depends on the co-operation and support of all members.  The State Executive was after all elected by the branches and it was their task to carry out the branches wishes.”

The work of the Association had been formed to promote friendship and happiness among country women and thus make their lot a happy one.

Mrs Thomson asked for expansion of branches and membership.  The voice of the country women was already heard, but could be better heard by expanded membership.

Call to the Nation …
Miss Una Wilson welcomed Younger Set members and asked branches to foster this portion of the movement, for the Younger Set were the members of tomorrow.  They had a duty to the young people and if they did not help them someone else would and this could be the wrong way.

She also mentioned the association’s wish that the hand of friendship be extended to new migrants to the country.  Many things we took for granted were not understood by these people and we could be of help to them to assimilate our way of life by friendship and understanding.

General Work …
Miss Hall asked branches to be particularly careful when asked to attend various bodies as a representative of C.W.A.  This could be a dangerous practice for they may find their name linked where they least desired it.

Miss Hall also requested branches with a Baby Health Centre to keep accurate records of their expenses for it was headquarters wish to obtain.

A report from the secretary stated there were 19 branches with a membership of 1,074.

Motions carried from this conference …

  1. That the Railway department be asked to arrange for ice water on long distance country trains.
  2. That the association request the government to lift the means test of  the old age pension
  3. That the tariff to Keera House be raised to meet rising costs.


The meeting ended with all branches reporting successful years with many just completing new rest rooms or sufficient money to begin building.

My question to you in the year 2016 is … “what has changed”???


Opening of CWA accommodation in Broken Hill. Later all caught the bus to Silverton (ghost town 10 miles from Broken Hill) for a picnic.


October is Group Conference month for CWA of NSW and I feel privileged to have been invited to attend and open/speak at several throughout the month. The Conferences are a chance to celebrate the achievements of the past year and determine projects for the future, as well as the usual election of Office Bearers and debating of motions to be put forward for inclusion on the State AGM Agenda.

The invitations have, however, reminded me of the first time I was asked to open a Group Conference. It was for my own Barwon Group which for many, many years bucked the trend and held their annual conference in September to try and avoid the October heat in halls that had/have no air conditioning.

Whilst pondering what to say and thinking there’s got to be more to this than just saying “it gives me much pleasure to officially open your conference” I decided to so some research on the actual date to see if anything was recognised or promoted.

The meeting was to be held on the 19th September and my research revealed that it was and still is the day that everyone (maybe that’s a slight exaggeration) celebrates International Talk Like a Pirate Day! Avast and Arrr me hearties! I thought to myself, that’s interesting.

Luckily, my Rowena Branch was hosting the event, so I knew all the guests who had been invited and that they were used to some of my antics. So I hurriedly put together my props which consisted of the usual feathered hat, eye patch, scorched scroll and parrot, all the while practicing my Ahoy’s and Aye aye’s with just the right inflection.

The day arrived, along with the second thoughts; “What possessed you to think this was a good idea!!?”, “What if no-one likes pirates?”, “What if they don’t think it’s appropriate?”

Did those thoughts stop me … No. I blindly blundered on convincing myself that the unidentified “they” always say “go with your initial decision” …pirate eye patch

Well … all I can say is “they” are not always right!

My parrot had a rum hangover and wouldn’t stand up, the string on my eye patch broke as I was putting it on, my carefully rolled and beautifully singed around the edges scroll was therefore difficult to open single handed and because by this time my nerves were totally shot, the well-rehearsed Arrr sounded more like an old crow in a shady tree on a forty degree day than a feisty pirate addressing the assembled land lubbers!!!

Eventually I was able to gather myself enough to complete the task at hand and utter a few more pirate-like phrases before sinking into my chair and silently vowing never to attempt such a thing again. My audience, however, seemed to think it pretty entertaining, definitely different and were gracious enough to even offer applause, which soothed my bruised ego somewhat and stopped me cursing “them” for getting me into the situation. It was however, not long after that we decided to move the annual meeting to October….

All jokes aside the month of October is filled with opportunities to raise awareness of particular issues that are important to our members including Mental Health Month, Ocsober, Pink Ribbon Breakfast Campaign, Sexual Violence Awareness Month, to name just a few. Take a look and find one that fits your day