THEY have a combined 140-plus years of volunteering with the Country Women’s Association, but Gladys Smith and Doris Budden both say they’ve just “pulled my weight”.
At the recent Namoi group annual conference in Manilla, the two women were given mementos marking 50 years each with that local branch.
But that tells only part of the story of their long-running fidelity to the organisation.
They started their memberships in other branches: Mrs Smith more than 75 years ago and Mrs Budden more than 65 years ago.
The two were among several other women at the event honoured for membership milestones of 50-plus years, their longevity was eclipsed only by Narrabri’s Elaine Jones, who joined in 1940.
Mrs Smith, 92, said she joined the CWA at 15; her growing family moved within Victoria and NSW before setting in Manilla.
“Wherever we went, I was in the CWA because of the company and the lovely ... friends that you make, for miles and miles,” she said.
Mrs Smith said the CWA was “definitely” relevant to today’s young women.
“They’re doing their own things: we might have cups of tea, they might have bottles of wine,” she said.
“I hope they never give up – and I don’t think they ever will, because there’s good leadership.”
Mrs Budden said the CWA had “a lot of clout”.
“They do a lot of good work and keep the government on their toes,” she said.
“It was originally formed to look after women and children and people on the land … We do a lot of international work, scholarships for children, things like that.
“I just felt it was a very worthwhile organisation and just pulled my weight.”
The conference had women from more than 15 Namoi group branches, including Gunnedah, Curlewis, Goolhi, Manilla and Quirindi.
Representatives from six other CWA groups also attended.
Palliative care advocate Yvonne McMaster was the special guest speaker.
The group passed three resolutions: urging the federal government to create a permanent emergency fund for primary producers in natural disasters, and to encourage viable agriculture in Australia by setting up industry incentive packages; and supporting Crown lands.
They will be discussed at state executive level and might end up on the agenda for the state annual conference in Albury in May 2019.
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