CWA’s wonder women
FORGED during the middle of World War II, Beechworth CWA recently celebrated its 75th anniversary, and shows little sign of slowing down.
Over the years members have done everything from creating floats for the Golden Horseshoes Festival parade to supporting local schoolchildren with scholarships, and present ideas to State Government.
Club members of all ages, who hail from Beechworth and around the region, say the CWA is more than just handcrafts and morning teas.
Tess Lucas, a past treasurer of the group, is among the longest serving members, having joined 27 year ago after seeing how much fun members had putting on the Christmas concert.
She said the club is a tight knit community, helping and comforting those in need. “They certainly support each other,” Tess said. “When people are ill, they rally around them.” Beechworth CWA supports many initiatives, and Tess is proud of the diverse projects.
In particular, she is a strong advocate for donations of scholarships to help children at Beechworth High School fulfil their potential, and also contributing to more global causes, including Doctors Without Borders.
“I get a lot of satisfaction from helping other people,” Tess said.
“The children were always very appreciative of receiving the scholarship.”
As someone who prides herself on giving back to the community, she takes pride in the group’s 75 year anniversary and said it was a testament to the commitment, hard work and friendship of each member.
Beryl Pope, a member of around 16 years and a past president of the club, said she joined almost by accident through the group’s choir.
She places great importance in helping her local community, believing you get back what you put out into the world.
“I’m a firm believer in the phrase, ‘charity begins at home’,” Beryl said.
“It’s a nice feeling to know that you’ve done something, even in a small way.”
Beryl said there were many facets to the CWA, with many treasured friendships made, and noted that members are tireless advocates for equality.
“We’re all independent women,” she said.
“We believe in freedom for all, and equal opportunity for women.”
As someone who has had a number of friends and family affected by cancer, Beryl is proud of the group’s “Cuppa for Cancer” event, which raises funds for cancer research and awareness.
Current president Barb Edwards is proud of the ongoing work that Beechworth CWA does for the community, particularly in terms of helping people in need.
The group includes members as far afield as Wangaratta and Eldorado, having added an evening group to accommodate the needs of women who cannot meet during the day.
“It’s as relevant today as it was when it was first started,” Barb said, noting its support of women.
“We’re a very progressive society,” she said.
Among the group’s current priorities are looking at ways to help alleviate homelessness, helping struggling members of the dairy industry, and research.
Barb is proud of the anniversary milestone, saying it was an impressive feat, particularly in a town the size of Beechworth, to keep a group active for that amount of time.
More information about the group is available on www.facebook.com/BeechworthCWA.
GREAT WORK: Country Women’s Association long-serving members Beryl Pope and Tess Lucas have shared a lot of fun with others in the Beechworth branch — including work to create the CWA’s award-winning ‘Bollywood’ entry in this year’s Golden Horseshoes Festival parade in April.
MILESTONE: 104 year old Beechworth CWA member Pat Maher cuts a cake marking the club’s 75th anniversary recently, joined by her sister Dorn Hawking and Indigo Shire mayor Jenny O’Connor. Dorn and Pat’s mother was one of the founding members of the Beechworth CWA Branch during World War II.