Na­tional con­fer­ence to set wheel rolling

Wangaratta Chronicle - - News - By JACQUIE SCHWIND

SPEND­ING in Wan­garatta is tipped to soar sig­nif­i­cantly with the city’s host­ing of the Aus­tralian In­ner Wheel Con­fer­ence from Oc­to­ber 21 to Oc­to­ber 25.

Be­tween 500 and 600 peo­ple, mainly women, from across Aus­tralia and New Zealand are ex­pected to at­tend the con­fer­ence which is the first event to be booked in the new Wan­garatta Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre.

The women’s or­gan­i­sa­tion, In­ner Wheel, has its ori­gins in the wives of Ro­tar­i­ans from Liver­pool, Eng­land, help­ing their men dur­ing World War I.

To­day its fo­cus is friend­ship and ser­vice and its net­work of clubs have helped many in the com­mu­nity through per­sonal ser­vice and sup­port of larger projects such as fundrais­ing for cord blood re­search in Aus­tralia.

Con­fer­ence co-or­di­na­tor, Patti Stafford, who is a Dis­trict A61 coun­cil mem­ber and past dis­trict chair­man, said Wan­garatta and dis­trict traders and tourism op­er­a­tors would reap big re­wards from at­ten­dees’ ac­com­mo­da­tion book­ings, shop­ping, win­ing and din­ing, and tour­ing around the re­gion.

“These ladies shop till they drop,” Mrs Stafford said with a smile.

“I would like to see traders stay open later, es­pe­cially on Satur­day. That will be their op­por­tu­nity.

“Most will ar­rive on the Wed­nes­day.

“We’re ex­pect­ing 300 on the first night.

“It’s go­ing to be great for traders.

“Traders are re­ally go­ing to ben­e­fit.”

Mrs Stafford said the lay-out of the new per­form­ing arts cen­tre, with its au­di­to­rium and func­tion cen­tre, and its con­ve­nient lo­ca­tion were ideal for the con­ven­tion.

“The plan has made it so easy and most of the ladies can walk to the per­form­ing arts cen­tre.

“The ac­com­mo­da­tion houses are so close, we’ll only be shut­tling from the out­side ones.”

The con­ven­tion pro­gram in­cludes a four course de­gus­ta­tion meal and tast­ings from the re­gion on Wed­nes­day.

“Thurs­day is the open­ing cer­e­mony where all the dis­trict ban­ners will be pre­sented to the Aus­tralian pres­i­dent.

“We’re hop­ing to have the world pres­i­dent come out from Great Bri­tain.”

There will be fo­rums, a gala din­ner spon­sored by Gran­ite Range Es­tate, a friend­ship din­ner spon­sored by King River Es­tate Wines, din­ing out, shop­ping and tour­ing time, and a farewell break­fast at The Gate­way.

Mrs Stafford said lo­cal sup­port for the event had been tremen­dous to date.

“Ev­ery­one has been so help­ful and so co-op­er­a­tive,” she said.

“The ru­ral city has been fan­tas­tic and Busi­ness Wan­garatta has gone over­board.

“Wan­garatta is just open­ing up its heart.”

PLANS COME TO­GETHER: The Aus­tralian In­ner Wheel Con­fer­ence is the first event to be booked for the new Wan­garatta Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre and In­ner Wheel con­fer­ence regis­tra­tion of­fi­cer, Elaine Sewell, sec­re­tary Brenda Joyce and co­or­di­na­tor Patti Stafford have been ea­gerly look­ing over cen­tre plans with site man­ager, David Fry.

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