Country Women’s Association (CWA) branches form the backbone of every country town, having become known for baking scones, their halls, their scholarships and their community work.
One branch is marking a special (and long-time coming) milestone this year, with the Young CWA group turning 100.
Past president Carol Xuereb said the organisation took on a variety of roles and responsibilities in the community.
“We’re often seen as those women that provide the lunches or bake the scones, but there’s a lot more involved,” she said.
“The CWA is there to serve – they are at the front in any major disaster or need in their communities.
“We are women of action.”
While the branch members organised and ran programs to support Young residents at times of drought, flood or the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms Xuereb said that was far from their only activities.
“We have an ethos of service and we’re very, very strong on the belief that we should service and assist each other in that,” she said.
“Personally, I was lucky enough to have a number of more mature members who were able to mentor me into taking on duties and, particularly, leadership positions.”
Over the years, Ms Xuereb said, the branch had spent countless hours working within the Young region to support residents in need.
“I think the thing about the Young branch is that we are so different, so diverse – in our talents, expertise and what we see in the CWA,” she said.
“We have people that do handicrafts and make the scones and jam, but others do other things.”
Members hire out their rooms to community groups and support services, organise a weekly craft group, and volunteer at the Cottage Craft Shop and community events.
“We also cater for functions and we have an industrial kitchen we use for that,” Ms Xuereb said.
Members have also lobbied and worked with counterparts from other branches to support women across regional and rural NSW.
“We have people who are very, very strong on the policy aspect of CWA,” Ms Xuereb said.
“Whilst we’re an apolitical group, the CWA overall has a very large population of women who are very astute on what is needed in our communities.”
Ms Xuereb said the success of members’ efforts relied on them pulling together.
“We will all chip in and help each other in various ways,” she said.
“I have a number of smaller roles within the branch.
“We have a number of programs or a number of objectives that need to have committees to run them, so there is a lot of collaboration.”
Young CWA is one of several South Western Slopes branches with upcoming milestones.
“We are at the end of this amazing line of women who have done so much for the community here in Young,” Ms Xuereb said.
“But as we are turning 100 this month, so are Cowra and Boorowa.
The branch will mark its anniversary with a celebration today (Saturday, 18 November).
“We’re having a luncheon at the golf club and we will have representation from our state president and other official guests,” Ms Xuereb said.
“Members and people in the community have provided us with a mixture of vintage and some replica clothing for a fashion parade.
“During that, we will talk about what CWA was doing at the time or what was happening at the time.”
CWA Young branch’s Cottage Craft Shop is at 172 Boroowa Street, and the branch can be contacted by emailing [email protected].