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Country Womens' Association

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Country Womens' Association

Its aims are to improve the conditions for country women and children and to try to make life better for women and their families, especially those women living in rural and remote Australia. The organisation is self-funded, non-party-political and non-sectarian.

Clyde ladies were among the first in Victoria to form a CWA branch. Cranbourne CWA was among the first ten to open a group in 1928. CWA Victoria was initiatiated on 12 March 1928 by Lady Mitchell.

The inaugural meeting of the Clyde branch of the Country Women’s Association was held in the Public Hall on March, 21 1930. Thirty ladies were present and the meeting was chaired by Mrs.Kerr-Patterson (Kooweerup). Elected office bearers were Mrs.F.Curtis (Pres), Mesdames B. Mulcare,T.Twyford and L. Robinson (Vice Pres), Miss.H. Twyford and Mrs. E. Funston (joint Sec) and Mrs Gamble [Treas.)
The Clyde North branch was formed about two years later.

Melbourne celebrated its centenary in 1934. To commemorate this event both CWA groups planted trees. In September 1934 the Clyde branch planted flowering gums in the grounds of the Mechanics Institute, and the Clyde North branch planted 25 pine trees.
 The Argus, 7 Sep 1934, 5 Feb 1935

The Clyde Branch excelled itself as reported in the Argus newspaper
CLYDE.-At the annual exhibition of the Country Women's Association the cup for the greatest number of points gained by any district branch was won by Clyde. The cup presented by Mrs Grunerson, of South Yarra, for the greatest number of points gained by members of the Clyde branch was won by Mrs. C.Croskell. At a social function at the Clyde hall a presentation was made to Mrs. Mulcare, the past president of the association, who with her daughter, Mrs. Brady, is leaving the district. They have sold their farm to Mr. Vinge of Dandenong.
The Argus January 1934

Throughout the early years the efforts of the C.W.A., were directed at helping local needy families as well as fostering the development of hand craft and cooking skills amongst members. Over the period 1930-70's members met regularly but declining membership in recent years forced the branch to amalgamate with the Cranbourne Branch.

CWA Motto / Collect which was recited together at each meeting


Keep us, O Lord, from pettiness, let us be large in thought, word and deed.
Let us be done with fault-finding and leave off self-seeking.
May we put away all pretence and meet each other face to face,
without self-pity and without prejudice.
May we never be hasty in judgement and always generous.
Let us take time for all things; make us grow calm and serene and gentle.
Teach us  to put into action our better impulses, straightforward and unafraid.
Grant that we may realise that it is the little things that create differences;
that in the big things of life we are one.

And may we strive to touch and know the great women's heart common to us all;
and O Lord God, let us not forget to be kind.

Marie Stewart

CWA Office Bearers - Clyde and Clyde North
Clyde CWA






Mrs F Curtis
Mesdames B. Mulcare,
T.Twyford, L. Robinson
Miss.H. Twyford,
Mrs. E. Funston
Mrs Gamble
Mrs Mulcare
Miss Twyford
Mrs J Gamble
Mrs G Funston
Mesdames Twyford, Croskell, Heathcote, Hardy
Mrs Mulcare
Mrs G Funston
Mrs Cromb, Mrs Griffiths
Mrs Selway, Mrs G Manks
Miss H Twyford
Mrs G Gamble
Mrs Croskell
Mesdames, Smart, Salton,
Brady, Heathcote
Mrs Lecher
Mrs Beecher
Mrs C Croskell
Mesdames S Lecher
G Spencer
Mrs R Watson
Miss D Winn

Clyde North CWA
The Clyde North ladies opened a branch in 1932.






Miss Hilda Twyford
Mesdames R. Campbell,
J. Gamble, W. Robson, C.Manks;
Miss M. Harris;
Miss A. Manks
Mrs Watson
Miss E Hardy
Miss A Manks
Mrs R Millor
Mesdames  C Manks
G Hardy, H Brunet, G Brookes
Mrs Fleming
Mrs C Heathcote
Miss Perry
Miss T Howard
Mrs R Mellor

Mesdames - A group of married women listed by their family names
Married women were often know as Mrs Graham Smith /Mrs G Smith rather than Mrs Muriel Smith.  Mrs T Twyford was actually Mrs Florence Twyford the wife of Thomas Twyford.
In everyday life married people were referred to as Mr Jones, Mrs Smith.
eg Q: " Which Mrs Smith do you mean? A: "Mrs Graham Smith"
  Messrs – A group of adult men- including both single and married men.

Misses – group of single unmarried women

Clyde North CWA Birthday
Photo taken some time between 1937-1952 as these are the years Mr Duke was headmaster of the Clyde North Primary School
Back Row: Left to Right
Amy Heathcote, Lady 2, Mrs Hunter, Mrs Manks, Mrs Duke
Front Row: Lady 3, Lady 4.

  Editor: My gratitude for CWA in Clyde
My mother Marjorie Campbell came to Clyde from a city area, as a new bride, she was held back by low self-esteem, poor personal confidence, and social awkwardness.. Mrs Ratford wisely advised the young bride to be involved in community groups if she wanted to be accepted by others. Nervously Marjorie joined the CWA and also met other mothers through the Infant Welfare Nurse’s visit to Clyde.

Through CWA her cooking and sewing skills were acknowledged and enhanced. Added to that she learnt how to conduct meetings, be a secretary, treasurer, president and even became a judge for handcraft competitions. She took these insights into other areas of life and passed on to her children what she had learnt through CWA. No longer the shy socially awkward person but a normal confident woman. Thank you CWA for your impact upon our family.
1. Clyde North CWA Minute book
2. Newspaper reports: The Argus, The Dandenong Journal.
3. CWA Victoria website
4. Editors' Personal observation

5. CWA -Australia , Wikipedia

6. Photo - courtesy of Lois Smith (Hunter)