CWA gathering kicks off 90th year

Danella BevisCountryman

The Country Women's Association has officially entered its 90th year in Western Australia and there is no looking back.

The achievement was recognised at the association's 89th conference last month, attended by almost 300 delegates.

Outgoing State president Maggie Donaldson, who handed over the reins to Badgingarra's Sara Kenny after completing a three-year term, says the change will open up the association to a fresh set of ideas for the future.

Ms Donaldson said a highlight of her tenure had been the formation of seven new branches, including at Kununurra, Tom Price, Cowaramup and Manjimup, of which five were "Belles" branches that Mrs Donaldson hoped would attract more young women.

"I believe we should keep encouraging the younger generation to form new branches so the association can continue for another 90 years," she said.

The State's first branch was formed in Nungarin in 1924 and a branch in Perth soon followed.

Another achievement was the recent launch of a website that will enable the association's some 2000 members from 140 branches to keep up to date with news and events.

Ms Kenny joined the CWA's Badgingarra branch in 1965 and, as part of her new role, is looking forward to working with, encouraging and motivating members and also inspiring more women to join.

"I am hoping I can help encourage a team effort, to inspire members to ensure that their group is the one that has the most fun in town and is the one that gives great community service," she said.

"So people can see that we are making a contribution to the community, offer great friendships and fun opportunities."

The three-day conference carried motions including that CWA request the State Government declares an immediate moratorium on gas fracking, asks the Federal Government to establish a public register of the beneficial ownership of all agricultural land and requests the State and Federal governments to commit funding to secure safe accommodation for homeless single women.

Honorary life memberships were also awarded to Lyn Diepeveen and Lesley Langley.

Throughout a membership spanning more than 40 years, Mrs Diepeveen, of the Ajana Binnu Branch, has contributed greatly through her management, financial and planning roles.

Since first joining the CWA in Nyabing in 1960, Mrs Langley, a Claremont branch member, has served on several committees and for the past 14 years has been the association's representative on the State Welfare Emergency Committee.

The CWA Young Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Jessica Elliott, while the Nungarin branch received the Clarice Rudduck Memorial Award.

In celebration of the special anniversary, next year's 90th annual conference will host the launch of the Ultimate Scone Cook Book - a collection of the best scone recipes from members around the State.

Visit the association's new website at

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