People and Places
28/04/2020
Country women connecting and caring for community

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Women helping women. That’s where it’s at, readers. Coming off the back of International Women’s Day in March, we thought you’d like to hear about a group of dedicated ladies who have been delivering support, care and creative solutions to counter isolation and connect communities since 1928. This is a story about the Country Women’s Association of Victoria and how a determined group of active gals have become increasingly more relevant in a world where caring for each other has become critical. 

There were 55,000 members of the CWA of Victoria in the 1950s. In 2020 there are 5500. Times have certainly changed, but the importance of their work has not lessened even though their numbers have dwindled. Former Mornington Peninsula group president and current Peninsula Belles branch president Marnie Turner explains: “You have to remember that women weren’t allowed to work after they got married in the ‘50s. They were, however, still looking for ways to contribute. All the work of the CWA is to benefit women, children and families. Yes, many retired women come together to cook and do craft at the CWA, but we also volunteer at events like the Arthurs Seat Challenge and have raised funds to supply workbooks for Mornington Park Primary School students. Our current group president is Cate Venturoni.”  

The Peninsula group has about 250 members. The 10 branches within that group include Frankston, Frankston South, Mornington, Mount Martha Seaside, Pearcedale, Peninsula Belles Mornington, Red Hill, Rosebud, Rosebud East and Somerville and have members ranging from juniors right through to women in their 90s. 

Marnie continues: “The CWA works together for the betterment of the Victorian community, but we also have a political presence. The organisation was instrumental in pausing the CFA/MFB merger when first announced, passing an urgent resolution at its state conference and meeting with the Emergency Services Minister. The following week a consultative committee was formed. The CWA has also been responsible for the early maternal health centres and lobbying for the white lines on the outside of highways to assist in preventing run-off-road crashes.”

If you’re interested in coming together with other women for some socialisation and grass-roots activation, then think about becoming a member of the CWA. You’ll have fun, help out where you can and continue the legacy of women working hard to improve the quality of life for all. 

LIZ ROGERS

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