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Community & Business

29 October, 2021

CWA Macquarie Group 90 year history

After many delays due to COVID-19, CWA Macquarie Group’s 90-year history book compiled by Heather Prout, has been officially handed over to the Gilgandra shire library.

By Emily Middleton

The book documents the history of the CWA Macquarie Group, which takes in branches from Coonamble in the north, to Mumbil-Stuart Town in the south.

“I got to go through photos, talk to people, and some wonderful stories came out,” said Mrs Prout.

“One of the ladies, when they had done the history 10-12 years ago, had found the motions that the branches had put to group, to then put to state.

“They were all out of order and I worked them out.

“But the conditions were so interesting, one of the notions in the 1930s, they asked for country schools to have backs on their seats for the kids, basic things.”

Reflecting on the CWA’s history, Mrs Prout was able to understand just how much work the women did back in the day to get Gilgandra to where it is now.

“It really made you think, and how lucky we are, the work the CWA did right at the beginning,” said Mrs Prout.

“They would send out doctors to check the kids, and if there was something wrong with the kids, there was no facility to take them to, so the CWA asked to have some sort of access to a hospital for them.

“They didn’t have a morgue at the hospital either, so the CWA raised money and awareness to get one.

“CWA ladies were buying sheets and giving groceries to the hospital, which means the department of health wasn’t doing that, all sorts of things that we don’t realise now how it came about.”

“Some people are totally unaware that these things didn’t just happen, we have all benefited, our families, and everyone’s families in the district, from those hard yards,” said Gilgandra CWA president, Helen Oates.

Mrs Oates explained that the book is the most accurate depiction of the CWA Macquarie Group’s history to date.

“I think to the best of everyone’s ability that have had input into this, it is the truest record available to date.

“Whereas from now on, people’s memories are not quite as clear, because the knowledge is third hand, fourth hand, and often things are remembered how we’d like them to be, not what they were.

“Trying to get something as accurate as it can be with the knowledge we have, that’s where it comes very important for the future, because the elderly generations are very quickly disappearing,” said Mrs Oates.

The book was handed over to the library on Thursday, October 14.

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