Wednesday marked a special event in the history of our region – although for many it would have passed largely unnoticed.
The Riverina Group of the Country Women’s Association (CWA) celebrated it’s 90th year of operation – and what an occasion it was.
More than 120 members gathered in Wagga for the group conference and while there was the usual business of the day to conduct, it also provided an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the CWA in our community.
Long forgotten are the jibes about the tea and scone parade – instead the CWA has grown to become an effective and influential group of ladies that remain committed to improving the lives of women and children in regional and rural areas.
But it hardly stops there.
While the initial aim of the organisation was to do just that, the deeds of the association has meant that life for everyone in regional Australia is so much better.
Every branch and group has its own story to tell.
For some, it can be as simple as raising funds for a local charity, but for many, it goes well beyond that.
The Riverina group played a key role in seeing the first maternity facility constructed in Wagga.
Fast forward several decades, and the same group was instrumental in seeing the recently opened Wagga Wagga Rural Referral Hospital become a reality.
After decades of being ignored, it was the groundswell from the Wagga community – and particularly organisations such as the CWA – that turned the hospital dream into a reality.
When times are tough, the CWA stands strong and becomes the glue that holds many communities together.
The decade-long drought which ended in 2010 tested the mettle of many as rural centres were left devastated.
But through it all, the CWA ladies remained strong – ready to help and share the burden these tough times bring.
They have helped, influenced and led the charge in fighting for our way of life - protecting and enhancing our communities.
It is hard to imagine life in a regional or rural centre without the CWA. Fortunately, based by Wednesday’s enthusiastic conference, it’s not something we are going to have to contemplate any time soon.