Branch cel­e­brates mile­stone

Past and present mem­bers turn out as Biggenden QCWA branch marks 90th an­niver­sary

Central and North Burnett Times - - OVER 50S -

DUR­ING the past 90 years the Biggenden QCWA branch and its rest rooms have been an im­por­tant part of the com­mu­nity.

Es­tab­lished on June 10, 1926 by QCWA founder Ruth Fair­fax, the branch re­cently cel­e­brated its 90th birth­day with a lunch that was at­tended by past and present mem­bers and Bur­nett Divi­sion branch mem­bers.

The branch held its first meet­ing on July 9, 1926 with a Mrs Os­borne as pres­i­dent.

The rest rooms were built on land leased from the rail­way and were opened by the then shire chair­man, N Minchen­ton. At the time it was the only build­ing on the street.

The first meet­ing in the new rooms was held on Septem­ber 6, 1928. Foun­da­tion mem­ber Mrs Brit­nell was the pres­i­dent and re­mained so un­til her death in 1941.

Up­grades in­cluded in­stal­la­tion of elec­tric­ity in 1940 and sew­er­age in 1970.

The De­part­ment of Maternal and Child-Wel­fare used the rooms from March 22, 1937 and moved into a spe­cial room when the build­ing was ex­tended in 1959 thanks to a Queens­land Cen­te­nary Year project. That spe­cial room was up­graded in re­cent years to in­clude a toi­let and stor­age cup­boards.

Dur­ing the war years from 1939-45, a Com­forts Fund was formed and mem­bers made cam­ou­flage nets and col­lected sal­vage for the war ef­fort. Food parcels reg­u­larly went to Bri­tain and later war brides were wel­come to the dis­trict.

Jean Tinck­nell came to Biggenden in 1943 and joined the Younger Set which had formed a year ear­lier. She said her su­per­vi­sor at the time was Bobby Archer.

“We learnt to make holdalls, knit bal­a­clavas and socks for the sol­diers,” Mrs Tinck­nell said.

“The socks had to have no joins, knots or mis­takes. If they did, they would hurt the sol­dier’s feet when march­ing.

“We also made An­zac bis­cuits which had to be ex­tremely hard so as to stand up to the tem­per­a­tures in New Guinea or the Mid­dle East.

“They had a pretty tough jour­ney get­ting to the sol­dier’s des­ti­na­tion.”

Fruit cakes were also made and wrapped in a cal­ico ma­te­rial which se­cured the con­tents well.

Mrs Tinck­nell was to later take over the role as su­per­vi­sor but sadly the Younger Set dis­con­tin­ued in July 1972.

Mrs Tinck­nell said the Younger Set was very help­ful to the par­ent branch fi­nan­cially.

“They held well-at­tended gar­den par­ties ev­ery year,” she said.

“There were beach um­brel­las along with ta­bles and chairs on the nice green lawn at the front of the build­ing.

“Prizes were given for the best dressed in a va­ri­ety of sec­tions.

“Every­one al­ways en­joyed the man­nequin pa­rade, com­pe­ti­tions and af­ter­noon tea.”

Mrs Tinck­nell said when a Younger Set mem­ber mar­ried they were given a kitchen tea party and pre­sented with a CWA cook­ery book.

“The CWA cook­ery book was first printed in 1928 and many edi­tions have been printed since,” she said.

Mrs Tinck­nell be­came a CWA mem­ber shortly af­ter her mar­riage in 1947.

“Dur­ing those years, mem­bers was called on of­ten to cater for clear­ing sales, pro­vide sup­per for a dance or ball or to help any­one in dis­tress,” she said.

“Like the present branch we also had spe­cials days of com­pe­ti­tion, cook­ing, knit­ting and sewing.”

Mrs Tinck­nell said the CWA had a suc­cess­ful choir which was very pop­u­lar.

“I re­mem­ber Sue Giles, Ruth Brown and Les­ley Itzstein singing to­gether,” she said.

A cou­ple of years ago there was the pos­si­bil­ity of the doors clos­ing due to lack of mem­bers but as the build­ing still plays an im­por­tant role in the com­mu­nity, the call for new mem­bers was an­swered and a new com­mit­tee formed un­der pres­i­dent Ju­lia Young.

The QCWA vi­sion is for the women of Queens­land to come to­gether to sup­port com­mu­ni­ties while cel­e­brat­ing their in­ter­ests and forg­ing friend­ships in a re­spect­ful and car­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

Their mis­sion is to ad­vo­cate and pro­vide op­por­tu­ni­ties for women cen­tring on ed­u­ca­tion, health, com­mu­nity, im­part­ing knowl­edge and pro­vid­ing sup­port through­out ev­ery phase of a woman’s life.

Today the Biggenden QCWA mem­bers meet on the first Thurs­day of the month and craft classes are held ev­ery Wed­nes­day in their rooms.


CUT ABOVE: Biggenden QCWA branch pres­i­dent Ju­lia Young with for­mer mem­ber Jean Tinck­nell at the 90th birth­day cel­e­bra­tions of the branch.

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