Koorda CWA ladies - meeting and lunch

Koorda CWA ladies - meeting and lunch

CWA ladies celebrate the branch’s 88th birthday with lunch at the Koorda Hotel

CWA ladies celebrate the branch’s 88th birthday with lunch at the Koorda Hotel

According to a quick google search, Australia’s Country Women’s Association (CWA) is the largest women’s organisation in the country with 1855 branches and 44,000 members. Its aim is to improve the conditions of country women, children and their families, especially those living in rural and remote Australia. It’s self-funded, non-partisan and non-sectarian.

Just four years off its centenary, the CWA is all that and so much more. 

For a start, it’s the creator of the CWA Cookbook which has been handed down through generations of Australian families over the years. An important ingredient in the glue that holds a community together, it’s a reminder of what is worth being nostalgic about, and one way or another, across the country, it’s staying relevant. Whether it’s being clear on its views on same-sex marriage (the Victoria branch were actively pro), or, as is currently the case with the Koorda branch, is an aim to create community engagement and connection around Alzheimers Disease…that it’s not a disease that affects the elderly, it can affect those younger too; and one way or another it impacts all their family members.

In a two-hour monthly meeting, the Koorda ladies had confirmed they were accountable constitutionally and financially via the Minutes, had dealt with a variety of matters arising, and had brainstormed ideas around the attendance targets of the upcoming Alzheimers Awareness community meeting, to make sure those of all ages are encouraged to come along.

By chance I was in Koorda on a special day - the local branch of the CWA was celebrating a birthday. Since its inception 88 years ago, it’s had over five hundred members though currently, with a reduced population throughout Wheatbelt, the members number just 14. The ladies kindly let me be a wallflower while they held their meeting, then invited me along to their celebration lunch at the Koorda Hotel next door. Traditionally, each year at the birthday lunch they invite new brides in the town to join them, and this year Koorda’s new police sergeant Lily Unasa was also a guest of the ladies.

Koorda farmer, Les McNee

Koorda farmer, Les McNee

At home with Mick and Judy in Muka

At home with Mick and Judy in Muka