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High tea with the passionate ladies of the Tilba CWA

Lisa Herbert15 July 2022
Mrs Elsie Bate of Tilba and Mrs Duck of Cobargo CWA standing in a doorway

Mrs Elsie Bate of Central Tilba CWA (left) and Mrs Duck of Cobargo CWA were legendary presidents of their chapters. Photo: Harry Bate.

The fine women of Tilba’s CWA branch want everyone in the region to join them for a glorious old-fashioned Vintage Garden Party this Spring.

The lunchtime gathering to celebrate the CWA NSW centenary will take place on Saturday 10 September on the lush grounds of Mountain View Farm, at the base of Mount Gulaga.

Expect all the country hospitality, delectable catering, games, activities and speakers you could wish for, upholding a fine and long tradition of garden parties on the old Bate properties of Tilba Tilba.

Legendary local woman and president of Tilba District CWA for the 35 years leading up to 1970, Mrs Elsie Bate held many a party for church and CWA in her gardens at Mountain View House, which now adjoins the current Mountain View Farm.


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In 1952 The Land said of Elsie Bate’s garden “it could be a section of the Botanic Gardens itself, except that it shows better landscaping and more imagination”.

The kettle is whistling as CWA’s Annette Kennewell and Kathryn Ratcliffe tell us about their big plans for the day, while we peruse old photos Elsie’s step-grandson Harry Bate gave to the CWA.

“Kathryn and I have been talking about this event for nearly four years. Now it all feels very synchronistic,” Annette says.

“The Opening Ceremony will include a Welcome to Country by Ms Lynne Thomas, a Yuin-Biripi cultural knowledge holder, whose family lived and worked with the Bate family on Mountain View Farm for many years, so that’s very special.”

A garden party at Tilba Tilba for Anglican Bishop of Goulburn 1913

A garden party at Tilba Tilba for Anglican Bishop of Goulburn 1913. Photo: William Corkhill.

There will be three high tea sittings beginning at 11:30 am, 12:45 pm and 2 pm. High Tea tickets are $35 per person with fresh pots of tea or coffee, CWA’s famous scones with jam and of course, Tilba cream, a variety of fresh sandwiches and hot food, plus other delicious sweets and cakes all served on three-tiered stands.

Guests can also opt in for a wine and cheese tasting in the pergola garden for $20 per person. The wine and cheese will be sourced locally by Carly of Tilba Valley Winery & Ale House, paired with cheeses selected by Erica Dibden of Tilba Dairy.

The wine and cheese tasting times will be 12 pm, 12:30 pm, 1 pm and 2 pm and Tilba Dairy’s Ms Dibden says it will be “an experience”.

“We are getting together with the CWA event organisers to taste and pair the wines with our cheese,” she says.

“Under the mountain with the view from Kathryn’s farm, it will be sensational.”

Children playing at a garden party at Mountain View Farm in the 1950s

Children playing at a garden party at Mountain View Farm in the 1950s. Photo: Harry Bate.

There will be crafts, cake and soft drink stalls throughout the grounds, and games including croquet, bocce, giant Jenga and table tennis and music from local band Stitch.

Guests are advised to “really get dressed up in vintage outfits” and to take advantage of the photo booth, complete with props and costumes.


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There will be a chocolate wheel, raffles, lucky door prizes and a scavenger hunt for the kids. For those who would like to enjoy the party activities at Mountain View Farm but not partake in the high tea, entry is only $5 per person or $10 per family.

New Tilba CWA member and current owner of Mountain View Farm Kathryn Ratcliffe has replanted her paddock of famous everlasting daisies this year with a secret message to celebrate CWA of NSW’s centenary. The message will be revealed as the daisies grow.

Garden party in 1950s

Mrs Elsie Bate and Mrs Thelma Bate swishing through their CWA garden party in the 1950s, in the season’s frocks, with local dignitaries and landowners. Photo: Harry Bate.

Proceeds from the Vintage Garden Party will be donated to the Women’s Resource Centre in Bega to support their domestic violence programs.

Car parking is available on the day at Tilba Tilba Oval with a short walk or shuttle transport to scenic Mountain View Farm.

For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Tilba CWA treasurer Helen Thomson on 0407 100 710 or by emailing [email protected]

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One Response to High tea with the passionate ladies of the Tilba CWA

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Lynda Raczkowski Lynda Raczkowski 6:46 pm 17 Jul 22

A lovely article, thank you. It was very exciting for me to see the last photo, as it is of my grandparents, Marjorie Helena Thomson and Douglas Thomson, who would have been Mayor of the Eurobodalla Shire at the time. Douglas was also a grandson of Samuel Bate. I’m sure the event will be very successful and I hope the sun keeps shining for such a wonderful cause.

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