Join in ... with Murray Bridge CWA
Joyleen Lucas invites you to get involved with an organisation she has known for more than 70 years.
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Community service “through country women, for country women, by country women” – that’s the creed of the South Australian Country Women’s Association.
But beneath that benevolent aim was another benefit for the organisation’s members, the president of its Murray Bridge branch said: companionship.
Members learned new skills, Avis Tolcher said; they socialised; they raised money and advocated for local causes – and they did it all together.
That sense of togetherness was still important more than 90 years after the CWA was established to link women on remote rural properties.
Isolation was still a real issue, especially for older women.
“I wouldn’t be the person I was today if I wasn’t in the CWA,” another member, Maureen Kennett, said.
“I’ve been a member for years and I’ve learnt so much, I’ve developed so much.”
For longevity, though, Joyleen Lucas has got the rest of the ladies beat.
She joined the Alma branch 72 years ago.
When did you first get involved with the CWA?
I started off in the Alma branch; then I got married and joined the Wasleys branch; then we got a farm down in the South East and I joined the Coomandook branch. We moved here (to Murray Bridge) when we retired in 2000. It’s been an everlasting thing … It’s meeting people. You get out.
What do you spend your time doing every fortnight?
Cooking barbecues I love. I’m legally blind, but I can still serve … Every second and fourth Friday of the month (we meet). The second is craft in the morning and a meeting in the afternoon, and the fourth is craft all day. Anybody is welcome to have a look or join us … The only thing I can do now, because of my sight, is coat hangers made out of little pom poms. You do them on a piece of dowel. Maureen takes them and I donate them to the hospital – they use them. I can’t do any fine work now, which I used to do, but that’s how it is. You take life as it comes.
What do you get out of your involvement?
Friendship, and meeting new people. I think, more than anything, it’s friendship. You look forward to going out for that day … For meeting people, when you go into a new district, that’s how you can make your friends.
What is one of your fondest memories of your time with the CWA?
One of the things we did do, especially down at Coomandook, was, if there was a sickness in a family or a new baby, we’d take a hot meal round, see if there was anything else we could do for the mothers, things like that. Looking out for each other – that was really good. We did have a family down there where she had a little one and knew she had twins (on the way). We used to go round once a month, we’d either go round and help out, make a meal, something like that.
What is your goal with the CWA?
My goal? Not at this stage, I’m too old! In the first place it was about what I could do to help others … When I got my (70-year) badge I said I’d like to live another 10 years and get my 80-year badge. I’ve had a lovely time, learning crafts and different things.
Why should people join the CWA?
To enjoy friendship and companionship and learn a little bit about what the CWA is about.
More information: Call Maureen Kennett on 0429 346 460 or Avis Tolcher on 0409 346 460, or email Avis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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