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Namoi Group of the CWA Annual Conference

Despite the requirements of being double vaccinated and the wearing of masks, CWA branches were well represented at the recent Namoi CWA Group’s 93rd annual conference at Emerald Hill.

One highlight of the conference was for members of two of Manilla’s three CWA branches. Of the 16 branch reports accepted for 2021, Manilla Evening won both the Cultural and Branch Report while Manilla was recognisedwith a highly commended tagfor its branch report.Other Branch Report winners were Tambar Springs and Quirindi. Manilla’s Michelle Eggins was re-elected treasurer of the Group while Manilla Evening’s Faye Heywood accepted the role of cultural officer.

The conference was officially opened by Willala Branch’s Jan Donaldson, who was also the guest speaker on the day. Jan, born in the city but who had a yearning for the country life, gave a very informative talk on her life and what the CWA movement had done for her over many years of involvement.

Contracting measles which turned into pneumonia in Year 5 left Jan with a type of dyslexia, but she overcame that later in life, something she attributed to her involvement with CWA. After a three-year teaching stint in Cowra, Jan met future husband and farmer Graham Donaldson, and it was during the busy years of early motherhood with two young sons (in 20 months) that Jan heard of, and joined, the CWA movement.

She’s filled the roles of both branch and group president, group representative on executive twice, been international officer, won the Lister Trophy in a first for Namoi Group, made the final of Country Woman of the Year, been a member of the state choir, has helped with CWA at the Sydney Royal on several occasions, has won The Land Special Decade Award and honoured with Life Membership of her group.

In opening the conference, Jan quoted “Time slows me down and my interests are at Branch level now. CWA has enriched my life and I hope that whatever input I have given has helped in some way”.

Bellata Branch’s Rhonda McPherson, who was re-elected into the chair of president on the day, was honoured with Life Membership of the Group.

Office bearers elected for 2021-22 include Rhonda McPherson (president), Helen Strang (representative), Heather Martin (secretary), Michelle Eggins (treasurer), Margaret Rose (international), Faye Heywood (cultural), Sandra Hunter (handicraft), Gail Kelly (Land Cookery), Judy Wilkinson (agriculture and environment), Pauline McCulloch (publicity), with Robyn Blake, Melanie McHugh, Denise Scott, Trish Heffernan, Joan Bradshaw and Amanda Cooper taking on vice-president roles.

Two-minute presentations by various branches were given on topics for Medical Research and a Primary Product for 2022. Ovarian Cancer and ginger respectively were voted in. France was selected as the Group’s nomination for Country of Study. These Group nominations will be forwarded to the respective state committees for discussion and selection at a later date.

The attendance trophy for branches with over 15 members was taken out by Quirindi, and the venue and date decided upon for next year’s Group Conference is Curlewis on October 20.

By Vinnie Todd