Maryborough QCWA celebrate 95 years: Mayor George Seymour with Maryborough QCWA president Sandra Death cut the celebratory cake.
Maryborough QCWA celebrate 95 years: Mayor George Seymour with Maryborough QCWA president Sandra Death cut the celebratory cake. Boni Holmes

Generations of super women

AFTER retirement Sandra Death knew she wanted to be part of the oldest womens organisations in Australia.

As the current president of the Queensland Country Womens Association Maryborough branch, Ms Death helped celebrate its 95th anniversary.

On July 23, 1924 country rural women founded a space where they could meet and talk. Sandra said the concept behind the association was for women to meet where they felt safe and secure, and to socialise.

Once the seed was planted CWA branches spread like wild fire across the nation, "well and truly around Queensland."

It became the largest womens organisation in Australia. Maryborough's branch location in Wharf St was given to the association in 1927 by the then Maryborough Council.

 

Ms Death said branch members did everything from bowling afternoons to table setting competitions to garden parties and stalls.

"You name it, QCWA did it to raise funds to build their home," she said.

The president knee-deep in research found the premises was built in 1957.

"Originally it was to be a two-story hostel where people could stay while they were in Maryborough for medical attention. but I can not find why the top floor didn't go to plan.

Wide Bay Burnett Electricity Board built garages out the back in the 60s and utilised it for parking and in 1980 donated it back to the CWA who now rent them to running costs of the hall.

"We are very proud of the fact we are 95 years old - the actual association will turn 100 in 2022."

Ms Death said the scope of what members do is immense.

They hold workshops for self improvement, handcrafts, floral art, public speaking, short story writing, and support the larger community with student bursaries.

They also support worldwide country women, United Nations' world peace, economic and agricultural independence for countries to support themselves at an appropriate level.

Each year they hold a plethora of fundraisers, and make specialised kits for third world countries, domestic violence, children and babies.

Members also have a product and a country they study annually.

This year they learning about bees and honey and studying Lithuania. Former years have been carrots, Germany and Greenland.

"Everyone thinks CWA is little old ladies with cups of tea and scones but it is about far more than that these days.

"We cover everything - you name it, QCWA does something for you."

Growing up in Tiaro, Ms Death was part of Rural Youth who worked with the local CWA, who taught everything from painting to welding.

Although at 19 she wasn't that interested she knew the CWA was "the place for me".

"I think of it as a quiet achiever."

 

QCWA Maryborough branch meet on the first Tuesday every month from 9-11am at 124 Wharf St.

 

A craft morning with morning tea is held every Tuesday for any ladies in the community - open to friend- ship and fellowship - a cuppa and a chat - served for $3.

Fast facts

CWA achievements:

The Maryborough branch sent 36 cases of soap made with dripping, 44 gallon drums of honey, jams, meat and bunny rugs to Britain during the war

CWA dispersed $11million for drought and flood affected areas in 2019

They lobbied for the removal of GST on womens' hygiene products