Burren Junction had 100 reasons to celebrate on May 26, with community members marking the centenary of the town’s Country Women’s Association branch.

Turning 100 never looked so good as the joyous occasion showcased all the ingredients of a brilliant birthday bash: a scrumptious cake, beautiful flowers, big bunches of balloons, a photo gallery, fabulous speeches, drinks flowing, fairy lights sparkling, good food and even better company as CWA members and those associated with the group – past and present, young and older – enjoyed catching up over a delicious lunch inside the iconic Burren Junction School of Arts Hall.

“I wonder if the 27 women who met on July 24, 1924, to form the first Burren Junction branch would ever have envisaged that the branch would celebrate its centenary, many of those members still having descendants in the district today,” said Pamela Moore OAM, who was the guest speaker at the Burren Junction branch of the CWA NSW 100 years of membership celebration. (See photo caption for inaugural member names)

“It is a great pleasure to be here today for this wonderful occasion,” Mrs Moore said.

“I think I joined the CWA in 1980, or that was the first meeting I attended having had four children in five years I didn’t have much time to contribute and my focus during those years was the P and C.

“However, I finally attended a meeting where Mrs Pauline Wallace convinced me that I should enter the Country Woman of the Year.

“Pauline had won the group judging in 1978 and went on to win the state title of Country Woman of the Year.

“The Burren district was very proud of her.

“Marcia Moore and Kay Carolan were also participating, so I wasn’t alone.

“Although the thought of being judged was rather intimidating.

“To my horror I won the group judging to then take part in the state judging with 29 other groups in Sydney.

“Pauline was very generous with her time and gave me lots of useful knowledge for which I was most thankful.

“How could I not contribute having been given such an opportunity to learn and take part in such a wonderful organisation, and that was the beginning of an amazing journey of 31 years until we moved away in 2011.”

There’s no doubt the community was the beneficiary of Mrs Moore’s “amazing journey of 31 years”, and her outstanding contribution is a prime example of the CWA providing ‘more than just tea and scones’ (as commendable as the baked goods are), the trailblazing group is the largest women’s organisation in Australia and is often referred to as one of the most powerful advocacy groups.

CWA members have a successful track record of fighting fearlessly for better bush services, lobbying to improve conditions for country women and children, and developing initiatives to support and improve the lives of rural people.

Transforming localities into connected communities by providing social activities and educational, recreational, and medical resources.

In 2006, Mrs Moore was named on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list as a recipient of an Order of Australia Medal for services to the CWA and the community.

Featured front page of The Courier at the time, the report stated: “Mrs Pam Moore of ‘Towri’, Burren Junction was prominent in recent months through her involvement in the staging of the NSW CWA Conference in Narrabri.

“However, that prominence was simply another facet of a life of service to the community through the CWA.

“Mrs Moore who moved to Burren Junction from Sydney when she married, and a member since 1980, has held virtually all the Branch, Group, and senior State positions in the organisation, over many years.

“She was the CWA’s inaugural State Agricultural/ Environmental officer and her CWA portfolios have encompassed key issues such as rural health and drought relief.”

Mrs Moore’s passion for the environment and rural agriculture led her to develop an award, the Moore Award, to acknowledge those within the CWA who are actively furthering these issues.

Generous with her time, fun to be around, and a team player committed to making an impact, Mrs Moore clocked up an impressive list of CWA roles, all while raising a family and helping her husband Jim at home on the land. (See impressive list of roles below)

Giving a snapshot of the CWA Burren branch’s remarkable history, Mrs Moore said ‘the first meetings of this branch held in this hall’ involved discussions about one of the group’s initial major projects: raising funds for a hospital.

“In 1932, 250 pounds was donated for a house to be converted into a hospital which was opened a year later,” explained Mrs Moore.

“The two-bed hospital had almost continuous occupancy and in one year had 88 patients as well as 13 babies born.

“There was obviously a great need for a hospital but there was a problem attracting doctors, and unfortunately the hospital closed in 1939.

“Attracting doctors to rural areas is still a major problem today.”

Following the Great Depression, Mrs Moore said World War II became a focus for the branch, with members knitting socks for soldiers and wool was ordered to make pullovers.

A military committee was formed to make up parcels to be sent to local men who had enlisted, they also posted cakes and puddings.

Camouflage nets were made and waterproof wallets and bags for those fighting in New Guinea.

Preparations were made to help city children evacuated to the country and to provide assistance to the families of prisoners of war.

In 1946, the branch liaised with the RSL regarding the purchase of a block of land, which the RSL donated.

Nine years later, members decided to sell the hospital and the RSL swapped the CWA for a block of land opposite the Police Station.

“A building committee was formed, and the CWA centre was finally built and opened in 1958,” said Mrs Moore.

“Over the next years, fundraising continued for many different causes and several resolutions were sent to State Conference including motions such as ‘that car manufacturers have permanent lights activated by the ignition switch as a safety measure’ and that a police prosecutor with rural knowledge be appointed to each district to help combat stock theft, and object fiercely to a proposed toxic waste incinerator to be built near Cryon.

“We continued to aid bushfire and flood victims through the CWA State Emergency Fund, and during the drought, distributed parcels to each family.

“We have always had a great relationship with the school.

“In 1998 for the ‘Year of the Child’, we awarded $200 scholarships to a student going into high school, and each year give pens to the Year 6 children on speech day.

“We continued catering, especially the Rossmore sheep sale held each year, and remodelled the kitchen at the centre.

“We carried out necessary repairs to the building but unfortunately found that a lot of our money was going to the building as we struggled to support outside causes, which were important to us.

“There were thoughts that maybe we should sell the building, although there were mixed feelings about this and so we decided to call a public meeting … luckily the outcome was – ‘Don’t sell’.

“Following the decision, we were able to recruit some new members and in 1988, the branch won a state award – the David Jones Challenge Cup for the highest increase in
membership in the state.

“In 1997, we sponsored a local telephone directory which was a great asset, the boundaries being the school runs.

“This directory has since been updated and is very well used.

“We had many visits from state presidents over the years, each one was invited to plant a tree – unfortunately, our soil left a lot to be desired and to my knowledge, none survived.

“In 1994, we put forward an important motion to state conference ‘that CWA of NSW appoint a State Agricultural/Environmental Officer’.

“There were problems with the government and landholders regarding SEPP 46 and there were no official CWA policies dealing with agricultural or environmental issues, which were normally dealt with under ‘miscellaneous’. We felt that as younger women with high education levels joining the CWA, they needed another focus to compliment the normal CWA activities of cooking and craft.

“Unfortunately, that motion was defeated but a state agricultural/ environmental committee was formed, which was a step in the right direction,” said Mrs Moore.

“After seven years, we were delighted when a state officer was finally approved … quite an achievement for the Burren branch and which has been extremely successful ever since.

“I cannot finish without acknowledging a very special person in the history of the Burren Junction CWA – Mrs J.M. Gordon MBE,” said Mrs Moore.

“Mrs Gordon was president of the branch from 1933-1950, 16 years – quite a record.

“She resigned as president in 1950 as she had been elected as president of the CWA of NSW.

“However, not to be forgotten by the branch when she completed her three-year term as State President, she returned to the branch as president from 1955-1957 and again in 1968 and 1969, a total of 21 years of loyal service.

“I knew her quite well. She was always very encouraging of everybody’s involvement, and I remember with great affection, following her death in 1995 at the age of 101, the family sent me her Past State President’s badge for safe keeping.

“I have kept it safe, but I think this is the right occasion to present this little treasure to the Burren branch in her memory.

“Congratulations past and present members for keeping this branch alive and remember – ‘Pride in our past and faith in our future’,” concluded Mrs Moore, who received a big round of applause for her engaging speech.

The luncheon’s MC was Sandy Stump, who did a terrific job with the mic and won the hearts of the CWA crowd by stepping up to the role and paying tribute to his ‘Gran’ the late Mrs Edith Gordon, who Mrs Moore spoke so highly about.

“My only qualification for speaking here today and acting as your MC is that I am the grandson of the late Mrs Edith Gordon,” said Mr Stump.

“She was president of the Burren branch for many years before becoming state president in 1950.

“She was awarded an MBE for services to the community in 1972.”

In 1924, Mrs Gordon took the North West mail train from Sydney to Walgett with her husband Ken to ‘embark on life as a country woman’ and two years later, she signed up to be a member of the CWA’s Burren branch and never looked back, clocking up 16 years as president.

“Our father was a doctor in Sydney, but we all spent our childhood holidays up here with my mother, Sheila, who inherited Windella from her father, Ken Gordon, in 1963, and now I live next door at Eurambeen, and Windella is owned by my nephew John and his wife Heidi (Stump).

“I know many of you would have longer associations with the district than we do, but we grandchildren of Edith Gordon were incredibly proud to have her as our Gran.

“Gran was born in 1894 in Sydney.

“Before she married Ken Gordon and moved up here, she studied the anatomy of massage and became a physiotherapist.

“Gran had three daughters and she was a strong believer in education and the rights of women.

“I remember well her enthusiasm for, and dedication to, all that the CWA stands for, she would have loved an event like this,” said Mr Stump.

“Communities that are remote like ours, gain much of their strength and resilience from the groups that actively work to promote them, who keep an eye out for those in the community who may be struggling, and who get together when times are tough, such as droughts or floods or accidents and deaths, to support each other.

“The CWA must be first amongst such groups for tirelessly supporting local people and events whilst also, now more than ever, working on the bigger picture, lobbying governments on a range of issues from health and welfare to education, the environment, law and order and even vaping.

“I hope you have all managed to see the memorabilia that is on display here today, thanks to the hard work of Burren’s current CWA branch members, who have put so much effort into assembling it all.

“Can I take this opportunity to congratulate the current members of the Burren branch of the CWA who have transformed the hall into such a glorious space for this centenary luncheon.

“The hall looks fantastic. The flowers are amazing. I know Gran would have been very impressed.

“When we were planning our garden and thinking about planting a crepe myrtle, her advice was generously, ‘Why plant one when seven will do’.

“We are very fortunate to have some distinguished guests here with us, especially Janice (Holcombe), Pam (Moore), Margaret (Sendall) and Marce (Moore).

“What you ladies don’t know about the CWA and the Burren district would not be worth knowing and it is wonderful to have you all here today to celebrate 100 years of the CWA Burren Branch.”

The current Burren CWA president Sally Croft warmly welcomed guests  before Mr Stump asked the branch’s longest serving member Margaret Sendall to introduce the guest speaker, Pam Moore, he also praised Mrs Sendall’s long-term commitment to the district.

“Whilst Margaret now lives in
Narrabri, there is rarely an event here in Burren at which she is not present and it feels very much as if you are still part of our local community, Margaret,” said Mr Stump.

“Especially since we have Roger and Genevieve and their family and Pru and Rob still in the area.

“In our house Margaret is best known for being a very snappy dresser and for having had, as a child, a pony called Tony. Tony the Pony – brilliant, Margaret.”

As well as catching up with friends, a highlight for many attendees was the memorabilia display in the supper room – a treasure trove of photos, newspaper articles and relics celebrating the branch’s early history, events such as Back to Burren and more recent gatherings such as CWA Flower Show and scholarship program. Attendees loved taking the trip down memory lane and some recalled what inspired them to sign up to the CWA including efforts to impress a mother-in-law, make a difference in their local community, and form lasting connections.

A flip through the history booklet provided plenty of talking points too.

From the ‘Wraybourne Party’ in 1925 where men were charged more than women to attend, the first annual ball in 1925, the first CWA Christmas tree evening in 1927, the branch calling for ‘all to use more wool’ and catering for the famous Burren Tennis Tournaments and the ‘dances on both nights of the tournament’, a garden party at Windella to raise funds for the hospital, a bid to raise money for local children suffering from cancer, Mr J Slack-Smith offered a bull as a raffle prize in 1944, in 1976 the play group was granted free use of the CWA centre in return to ‘keep the centre in order and clean after use’, a champagne breakfast at Rossmore in 1978, the same year project folders were given to all school children entering high school the following year, and a silver spoon sent to all new babies in the district, a garden party at Eurambeen to raise funds for Wee Waa aged hostel, and Sally Young group winner of the Country Woman of the Year in 1992 – just some of the historical nuggets featured.

At the luncheon, long service badges were presented to CWA members, Sonya Marshall, Sally Croft, Genevieve Sendall and Elizabeth Powell, who all play an important role in the community.

Four of the CWA Burren branch life members Janice Holcombe, Pam Moore, Margaret Sendall and Marcia Moore were all smiles when they received gorgeous bouquets of flowers to thank them for their service, and a special mention was made of life member Deirdre Marshall who was unable to attend the day.

The life members cut the celebration cake as Mr Stump shared some wise words with the crowd: “I have just remembered some advice that my grandmother used to give to her grandchildren, and which might be pertinent today. When offering a plate of biscuits, slice or cake Gran would sagely recommend, ‘Train the eye to choose the largest, do not finger all’.”


Pamela Moore OAM was the guest speaker at the Burren Junction branch of the CWA NSW 100 years of membership celebration.
In 2006, Mrs Moore was named on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list as a recipient of an Order of Australia Medal for services to the CWA and the community.
Her roles included: president of the Burren Junction CWA (1984 – 1988); president of the Barwon Group CWA and representative on CWA state executive (1986 – 1988); CWA state vice-president (1989 – 1990); president of the Burren Junction CWA (1990 – 1992); delegate CWA of Australia Triennial Conference Darwin (1990); CWA representative to inaugural Rural Women’s Network (1991 – 1993); CWA state honorary secretary (1991 – 1993); delegate CWA of Australia Triennial Conference Victoria (1994); CWA state vice president (1994); CWA representative Rural Doctors Network (1993 – 1994); secretary Burren Junction CWA (1996 – 2003); chairman inaugural CWA Agricultural/ Environmental Committee (1997 – 2001); National Rural Roads Steering Committee (2000 – 2001); inaugural CWA Agricultural/ Environmental Officer (2001 – 2004); president of Burren Junction CWA (2004 – 2010); CWA representative to NSW inaugural Natural Resource Advisory Council (2004 – 2011); Awarded Patron Barwon Group CWA (2006); convenor CWA annual conference organising committee Narrabri (2006); awarded OAM for services to CWA and the community (2006); Commonwealth Gene Technology Community Consultative Committee (2006 – 2007); Commonwealth Gene Technology Technical Advisory Committee (2008 – 2014).




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