Wingen Parkville Country Women's Association (CWA) celebrates its 80th birthday

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Wingen Parkville CWA vice president and oldest member Del Mayled cuts the cake with youngest members Faith and Ella and president Helen Gardner.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Wingen Parkville CWA vice president and oldest member Del Mayled cuts the cake with youngest members Faith and Ella and president Helen Gardner.

THE Wingen Parkville Country Women's Association (CWA) has celebrated a major milestone in the community. 

Members from the Scone, Murrurundi, Merriwa, Singleton, Muswellbrook and Nelson Bay CWAs gathered at the Wingen Hotel on Tuesday for a special luncheon celebrating the branch's 80th birthday.

Addresses were made by special guests, Hunter River Group president Bronwyn Dunston, Upper Hunter Shire Council mayor Wayne Bedggood and Upper Hunter MP Michael Johnsen.

Current Wingen Parkville CWA president and oldest serving member Helen Gardner explained the branch's history to those present who enjoyed lunch, dessert and the cutting of a cake.

MILESTONE: Wingen Parkville CWA secretary Alaine Byrnes, president Helen Gardner, treasurer Lynne Ring, vice president Del Mayled and Hunter River Group CWA president Bronwyn Dunston.

MILESTONE: Wingen Parkville CWA secretary Alaine Byrnes, president Helen Gardner, treasurer Lynne Ring, vice president Del Mayled and Hunter River Group CWA president Bronwyn Dunston.

On March 17 1939 a meeting was held at the Murulla Homestead with the objective of forming a CWA branch in the area. 

By May the branch had fulfilled their first actions - writing to the Hon VC Thomson appealing for a better telephone service and a bell on the home of the Post Mistress so that she could hear emergency calls. 

Over the next 60 years many changes occurred across the branch including the organisation of dances to raise funds, major activities for the war effort including knitting, cooking and fundraising and Scone Hospital and Ambulance support. 

In 1947 meetings began to be held at both Parkville and Wingen, with the branch's name officially changed to Wingen Parkville CWA in 1952.

By 1951 there were 54 members of the branch.

In 1956 family support was supplied to family members when their home was burnt down and in 1957 the branch requested the Police Minister consider 30 miles per hour speed limits through the village of Wingen.

Wingen CWA secretary Alaine Byrnes, president Helen Gardner, treasurer Lynne Ring at the group's 80th birthday celebration on Tuesday.

Wingen CWA secretary Alaine Byrnes, president Helen Gardner, treasurer Lynne Ring at the group's 80th birthday celebration on Tuesday.

The next few years saw their involvement in cancer support, international, cultural, Ag and environment, land cookery and handicrafts interests increase. 

In 1969 support was provided to Betty Brown, who was a member along with her two daughters, when the branch was catering for a wedding in Scone and the police came to tell her that her husband had been killed in a car accident. 

Current president Helen Gardner said the true CWA spirit came to the fore on that occasion and has carried on since. 

"Since the 1960s the branch has seen the two schools at Wingen and Parkville close. The early 1970s saw the shop at Parkville close then the store at Wingen. These were followed by the railway stations and Post Offices," she said. 

"The closure of the railway had a major impact on the branch as the wives saw the CWA as a social contact when their husbands came here to work - now these jobs were gone and so too did the families."

The branch achieved success in 1970 with a motion to State Conference that "women be allowed to borrow money, when they could afford the repayments, without having to have a male guarantor".

They were supported by Colleambally-Argon (Riverina) in this motion which was agreed to by the Credit Unions then the banks two years later. 

"Members have fluctuated but the branch continues,"  Helen Gardner said. 

"In recent years membership has declined, as members have aged, moved away or now work. Times have changed. It is nice to have some past members or descendants or original members here today, down to great, great grandchildren who are now junior members."