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Queensland Country Women’s Association turns 100!

By Anne Scheu, Collections Engagement, Queensland Memory | 29 March 2022

group of women in the QCWA pose for picture

Presidents and proxies attending the annual meeting of the Queensland Country Women's Association at Cambooya 1927. The photo was taken at 'Merinya', the residence of Mrs. J. H. Fairfax, State President. (Description supplied with photograph.) John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland. Image number: 27295-0001-0004. 

Women from all walks of life are members of the QCWA and they join for a variety of reasons. The QCWA means something different to everyone and that’s the way we like it.
Queensland Country Women's Association

The Queensland Country Women’s Association (QCWA) celebrates 100 years of continuous service in Queensland on 11 August 2022 and March 30 (today) marks the official launch of the centenary year in Queensland with a gala evening for past state officers and partners, sponsors, members and official guests acknowledging the energy and work of the CWA founders and their support given to women and families across the state since the organisation was first formed. The Queensland Country Women’s Association has 220 branches all over Queensland. Visit QCWA online to find a branch near you.  This blog acknowledges the 100 years of service by women of Queensland. 

Historical background
In her presentation to the Queensland Local Studies Group of Librarians on 24 February, Christine King, Chair of QCWA Centenary Committee shared the following: 

  • NSW and QLD CWAs were formed 100 years ago in 1922.
  • The NSW Association started at the time of the Royal Easter Show (April 1922) and the Queensland Association began at the Royal Exhibition Show on 11 August. QCWA held its first meeting at the Brisbane Women’s Club, when it was decided to form a Country Women’s Association of Queensland. 
  • A provisional committee was appointed to meet again 6mths later and all who attended were to be members of the Association. It was an extraordinary invitation. Members were given the right to convene a branch in their district and Mrs Ruth Fairfax was elected to the position of President. Toowoomba was chosen as the centre for Queensland and a subcommittee convened in Brisbane. The first constitution was discussed 12 September 1922. Read more information about the history of the QCWA online. 
The Queenslander newspaper featuring he Country Women's Association

Illustrated front cover of The Queenslander, May 10, 1928 showing promotion of the Queensland Country Women’s Association, artist Garnet Agnew. John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland

2022 Highlights 

  • In early February the Perth Mint (WA) launched a $1 coin commemorating the CWA Centenary in Queensland and New South Wales. 
  • The Association’s Archives based in Ipswich will host ongoing displays celebrating the amazing achievements by early members. 
  • In May QCWA Board and Council members will attend a lunch at Parliament House and raise concerns affecting women and families across Queensland.
  • On 11 August, QCWA will share the ‘Ekka’ stage at the RNA showgrounds and every Branch will invite their local community to come together for a traditional “Scone Day” as part of the celebration.
  • Brisbane’s bridges and buildings will be festooned in the QCWA colours of blue and white and branches are creating local banners to signal the QCWA milestone in regional communities.
  • Send in your photos of ‘sconversation’ morning teas, purchase locally handcrafted items to raise much needed funds, keep an eye out for the heritage cookbook due to be launched at the QCWA conference in 2023 and pop in to the QCWA trade stall (2022 chosen charity) at the Gympie Muster later in the year. The list continues to grow. 

Leading in Queensland
QCWA was inducted into the Queensland Business Leaders Hall of Fame in 2013. QCWA State President Jennie Hill and Archivist Norma Lovelace OAM were interviewed for the digital story. Watch it on our Vimeo platform.

@slq Flickr Commons
View the selection of digitised photographs from the collections of the John Oxley Library, added to the curated QCWA album showing women in regional parts of Queensland.    

Blogs representing QCWA 

Queensland Memory enewsletter 
During the QCWA centenary in 2022 members are sharing short articles with GLAM audiences and subscribers of the Queensland Memory enews. You can browse every edition of the enews hosted by the National Library of Australia and Trove. Go to the end of the list to see the latest editions. 
To date, members have shared contributions on accessing QCWA centenary information in 2022; Mallalieu Home, a QCWA hostel (March edition) and QCWA seaside holidays due in the May edition. 
QCWA collections listed in One Search, State Library’s catalogue
The list of items is extensive, including published books and original Minute Books of closed QCWA branches. State Library is adding descriptions to the records for easier keyword search. Only a small selection of items are digitised. 

Anne Scheu 
Collections Engagement | Queensland Memory 
State Library of Queensland 


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