CWA Evening Branch - President’s Report

02nd Nov 2021

What an honour it has been to lead such a wonderful group of amazing and inspirational women for the past year. When I was elected as President at the AGM 12 months ago, I wasn’t sure if I was up to the task, but I hope I have done the role justice and I feel I have learnt a lot more about this powerful organisation.
We have certainly had another eventful and productive year and I believe we have flown the CWA Flag with pride and respect.
Our CWA year started in October with a Breast Cancer Awareness/RUOK morning tea with free health checks for attendees and in November our members acted as COVID marshals at the Peony Festival, and we had a stall at the markets where we were able to give away books and toys that had very generously been donated to our Branch.
Our Christmas Party was held at the Royal Hotel after our (very brief) December meeting – this is where the idea for our major fundraiser started, and we have been selling tickets in the meat trays every three months thanks to the generosity of Shane and Naomi Davidson at the Royal Hotel.
January saw the second Guyra Art Exhibition organised by our Branch and although it was in a more condensed format than the previous year due to the Lamb and Potato Festival being cancelled, it was still very much a success.
February in Guyra is show time and we were involved in running the (hotly contested) Men’s Cake Competition and we had a promotional stand in the pavilion where we were able to give away more donated children’s items and sell some of the famous CWA cookbooks.
March was very busy with our Women’s Week morning tea at the Woolly Lamb where we were lucky enough to welcome travel blogger Amanda Woods as our guest speaker who shared with us some stories of inspirational women that she had met on her travels around the world. The fashion stakes were high with a fashion parade of clothing from the ADRA Op Shop – and didn’t we have some splendid outfits! On a very wet afternoon, we welcomed the CWA State President, Stephanie Stanhope to our Branch as part of her tour of the Northern Tablelands. Stephanie is a very down to earth, genuine CWA lady who was very impressed with the strength and diversity of our Branch. We were very fortunate to be welcomed by the members of the Spinners and Weavers group who were very generous with their time and patience in teaching some of our members the finer art of spinning wool!
This year we established the CWA Guyra Evening Branch Scholarship which is an amount of $500 awarded to a girl entering Year 11 at Guyra Central School who is looking to pursue a career in a rural profession. The first recipient of this scholarship was Millie Roberts who is studying nursing through TAFE and would like to become a rural nurse. We are very pleased to welcome Millie as a member of our Branch as well.
A glut of tomatoes at the School Farm saw us dig out our best recipes for Tomato Relish and at the conclusion of our May meeting we gathered our jars together for a taste test and the results were outstanding!
We celebrated Mother’s Day in classic style with a morning tea at the beautiful home of Chris and Paul Gellie. We welcomed many new friends and were treated to the most decadent and delicious treats. Our catering skills continued at the end of May when ARIA Award winning artist, Fanny Lumsden performed at the Australian Poetry Hall of Fame as part of her Country Halls Tour. Fanny was an amazing performer and (of course) a BIG fan of the CWA! Concert goers were treated to hot drinks and a sensational array of sweet treats made by our very talented members. In amongst a very busy month, Mary was our delegate to the CWA State Conference at Bega where she finished the Conference by dancing the night away with Paul West from River Cottage Australia!
Marni has guided us through learning about Ecuador and now Malaysia as part of our international studies, with both of our guest speakers joining us via Zoom links. Our studies on Malaysia will continue in the coming year and I am particularly looking forward to learning about the cuisine!
Our cultural studies have included short story writing, poetry, karaoke, and hip-hop dancing all made very entertaining by our Cultural Officer, Kylie.
And then there is the handcraft whish isn’t traditional in the sense of CWA but more of the how to turn a bra into a purse, and how to use doilies in many, many different ways and then there were hundred of bags made from pillowcases, all thanks to Mary for sharing her skills and ideas.
Even though our fundraising has been limited this year, we were able to support the CWA Association Fund, the Disaster Relief and Medical Research Funds with substantial donations. Our main priority is community care and involvement, a perfect example of this was the Lockdown Letters, delivered to households in the 2365 postcode, a heartfelt message to let people know that CWA genuinely cares.
A personal thanks to Bec and Daria for their efforts this year – your dedication to our organisation is greatly appreciated.
Our membership has continued to grow over the last 12 months with a total of 24 members and 2 junior members. I often ask myself “what makes this Branch work so well?” and I honestly believe that it comes down to the basic fact that everyone is willing to contribute however best they can. Never is it left up to the same few people, everyone is willing to put their hand up and help, and for this I would like to offer my deepest gratitude to everyone who has donated their time, cooking, organisational skills and friendship. We are an incredibly diverse group of ladies, but we all come together at CWA with a common interest and the friendships formed amongst our members have proven invaluable. It has been a privilege and an honour to be in the position of President for the last year.
With my very best wishes,
Anne Starr
CWA Guyra
Evening Branch

Anne Starr has been returned as President, Bec Smith is Secretary and Rosie Arena is our new Treasurer. The branch meet on the first Wednesday of each month at 6pm in the GALA Centre meeting room and new members will be made most welcome.
If anyone has any questions they can contact Anne on  0413 595 353