The Country Women’s Association of Western Australia made history in February when the organisation took to the steps of Parliament House to protest the closure of Moora Residential College.
“One woman can achieve anything, many women can change everything” was the mantra declared by Heather Allen, state president of the CWA, as she looked upon the crowd of hundreds of country and city women who had gathered to lobby the government for change.
This may not be the picture most West Australians conjure when they think of the CWA.
On my first visit to the Country Women’s Association state office I inherited a copy of Her Name Is Woman, a complete history of the CWA in Western Australia.
The hand written inscription inside reads:
“Hazel Chatfield- This book belonged to a special person who devoted much time and energy to a cause that she held dear to her heart,
I recall her loyalty to the cause and pursuit in its word. Died Oct 10 1984. Much loved and always thought of. Deann (daughter).”
The inscription showed me the dedication and heart of the CWA and I wanted to get to know more women like Hazel Chatfield.
My preconceived idea that there would be trays of scones whizzing around and huddles of women busy on sewing machines dissolved when I realised the power they possess.
The CWA is the largest women’s organisation in Australia with a total of 44,000 members.
Although these women (for the most part) stay out of the spotlight, the organisation has community in mind at all times.
As a little girl, I would wander the red dirt of Port Hedland with my mother and now we walk the beaches of Albany.
Country WA, whether it be north or south, has a special place in my heart.
These country towns only thrive when community spirit is strong and the CWA has made it their life mission to keep country communities alive.
I wanted to know how this long standing and respected organisation planned to stay relevant and strong into the future.
This is how my time with the CWA unfolded:
I was granted exclusive access to the CWA archives.
View these archives and stills below: