Few organisations can boast a history that goes back almost a century, but the CWA of NSW has succeeded where so many others have failed.
The Country Women’s Association (CWA) of NSW recognised the need to evolve in line with changing community – and member – expectations, while remaining true to the core values on which it was established.
The CWA of NSW was formed in 1922 at a time when country women were fighting isolation and a lack of health facilities. The branches that were established became a friendship group for members, but they also became so much more. They threw their efforts and resources behind setting up baby health care centres, funding bush nurses, and building and staffing maternity wards, hospitals, schools and rest homes.
In the decades that followed the CWA of NSW became an influential voice for country communities, turning its attention to advocacy around the issues of the day and lobbying government departments and representatives. Today, that focus remains unchanged, and the CWA is recognised as one of the most powerful lobby groups in the nation, particularly for rural and regional Australia.
The message is, we’re still as relevant today as back in 1922 and we’ll continue to lobby for people in rural and remote areas.Annette Turner, State President, CWA of NSW
Healthcare remains a primary focus – recently the CWA of NSW has been lobbying for the legalisation of medicinal marijuana – but education, the environment and transport infrastructure are other areas in which members are vocal advocates.
During the recent CWA of NSW Awareness Week, the organisation chose to focus on four key areas: the rights of grandparents as primary carers of their grandchildren; advocating for rural and regional women in starting their own small business; advocating for greater financial literacy among women in country areas; and building resilience amongst teenage girls in the bush.
CWA of NSW president Annette Turner said while some people still thought primarily of cooking and craft when it came to the CWA – and these skills still hold an important place within the organisation - members were also speaking up on behalf of their communities, and their ranks were continuing to grow.
“The message is, we’re still as relevant today as back in 1922 and we’ll continue to lobby for people in rural and remote areas,” she said.
The organisation also maintains a high-profile public presence, one of its biggest commitments of the year catering for ravenous crowds at the Sydney Royal Easter Show. This year the CWA of NSW marked 70 years at the show and sold a record 50,000 scones, igniting renewed interest in the recipe that’s stood the test of time. We don’t give away our Easter Show recipe, however here is another version you can try which should be just as good!
60g Icing Sugar
1½ cups Milk
½ tsp Salt
30g Cream of Tartar
15g Bicarbonate Soda
Sift dry ingredients 3 times, then mix with milk and egg. Bake in a fairly hot oven. The mixture should be handled as lightly as possible and patted into shape with the hands. Then cut into shapes as desired and brush over with a little milk. Bake on a hot floured tray until golden brown.
Danica Leys is the CEO of CWA of NSW