Queensland Country Women's Association Celebrates 100 Years - 96five Family Radio

Queensland Country Women’s Association Celebrates 100 Years

The Queensland Country Women’s Association (QCWA) was founded in August 1922 to provide a window of relief from the tyranny of distance for rural women.

By Jess DrummondFriday 11 Feb 202296five DRIVENewsReading Time: 3 minutes

Main Image: Members of the QCWA Country Kitchens program, which supports Queenslanders to adopt healthier lifestyles (supplied).

Queensland’s largest women’s organisation is celebrating 100 years, and is being honoured with a special commemorative item.

To celebrate the centenary of the Queensland Country Women’s Association (QCWA), the Perth Mint has released a commemorative coin, which the grassroots organisation sees as “an absolute recognition of the value of [the] CWA” and “a privilege”.

The CWA coin (left) is available for purchase with a recommended retail price of $12.50. Additionally, there is a special gold-pated (SGP) commemorative coin with a RRP of $80.

The Queensland Country Women’s Association (QCWA) was founded in August 1922 to provide a window of relief from the tyranny of distance for rural women by offering friendship, support and connection.

By 1928 there were 283 branches with 13,000 members across Queensland and by 1936 there were branches across the country. The Country Women’s Association of Australia is now the nation’s largest non-government organisation for women with 44,000 members.

The QCWA is involved in various activities aimed at improving the lives of people all over Queensland. These include advocacy, health awareness initiatives such as the Country Kitchens program, community support during times of crisis, student bursaries, and support for people affected by domestic violence.

Christine King, QCWA team member for centenary celebrations, has told 96five’s Jess Drummond the birth of the organisation in 1922 was remarkable.

“It’s hard to relate how hard it must have been for those courageous, brave women who had that drive, to start a community organisation – which was quite rare in those days – to embrace so many thousands of women in very rural and remote situations, who were living a very hard life,” she says.

The commemorative coin, which can be used for spending, features a cotton doily as a nod to the CWA’s craft skills, which have been a major fundraiser for the organisation over the years. It also depicts a female figure holding hands with a child to display the support of the network, amid a backdrop of the country sun. The space around the mother and child is a marker of rural isolation, while eight additional female figures represent the Australian jurisdictions that have a CWA.

Christine says they are thrilled about the coin. “It’s very special; we couldn’t have done it better ourselves.”

In a year of celebratory events, the QCWA is hoping to recruit more members. “We really want community to know [that] CWA is a great option. Everyone’s thinking about what they’re going to do coming out of COVID now and how they’re going to spend their time. We hope that people are going to say, ‘I’ll give a little time to community’ and consider CWA as a great option.”

One of those options is to get involved in the QCWA Country Kitchens program which supports Queenslanders to adopt healthier lifestyles.  This program is another way that the QCWA can empower women through education and health, and has been funded by the Queensland Government through Health and Wellbeing Queensland.

Aleks and Suzannah get ready to serve up healthy options at the QCWA Country Kitchen stall at the Noosa Farmer’s Market (supplied).

The QCWA has more than 220 branches across the state with more than 3,500 members from all walks of life. It is open to women aged 18 and over, and there is no requirement for members to have ever lived in the country.

To find out more about the QCWA and how to join, visit the QCWA website.

To view and order the commemorative coin, visit the Royal Australian Mint eShop.

Listen to the full interview with Christine King in the audio player above.