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Community & Business

26 May, 2021

Dick Smith visits Tooraweenah CWA

After a surprise visit in 2018, the man himself Dick Smith came back to Tooraweenah last Wednesday to see the Country Women’s Association’s (CWA) new kitchen.

By Emily Middleton

Naming Tooraweenah one of “Australia’s prettiest towns,” Mr Smith was welcomed with open arms by Tooraweenah’s CWA members, with plenty of scones and cups of tea on offer.

Back in 2018, Mr Smith the Australian entrepreneur, or as he likes to be known, ‘adventurer,’ was travelling back from the Northern Territory to Sydney in his helicopter, and happened to drop into Tooraweenah.

“50-years-ago when I was into rock climbing, I used to come from Sydney in an old Volkswagen van, stay at Tooraweenah and climb in the Warrumbungle mountains,” said Mr Smith.

His wife Pip and himself walked around village and had a feed at the pub, and that is when Mrs Smith went wondering down the main street looking at all the old buildings.

“As I got to the window, I looked in and it said ‘Country Women’s Association’ and I thought, oh isn’t that wonderful. They were a wonderful organisation and I looked through the window and there were people inside - so I opened the door! And I went in and said, any chance of a cup of tea and some scones?”

During this time, rural NSW was in severe drought however, Mr Smith was nevertheless still warmed by the hospitality of the local women.

“It was Beverly (Pike) that took me in and gave me a cup of tea and some scones. At the time, the kitchen was not in a very good condition, so I gave the Tooraweenah CWA a donation of $5000 to do up the kitchen,” said Mr Smith.

12-months later, after being so inspired by that visit, Mr Smith decided to donate a million dollars to the whole of CWA from his Dick Smith Foods charity. Last Wednesday, May 12, Dick Smith was finally able to make the return visit to the new kitchen that he had donated.

Mr Smith blended in seamlessly, and was just stoked to be there with a cup of tea in hand, while the women from CWA all thanked him for his generosity, and the fire he started in the CWA community to bring on change.

When asked why Mr Smith decided to donate that million dollars to CWA, the answer was simple.

“Most Australians live clinging to the coast and cities, but we all identify with the bush. And the cities in Australia are like cities anywhere in the world.

“But the bush in Australia is completely different. I’ve travelled, I’ve been to 200 countries in my life, I’ve been incredibly lucky, and there’s nothing that is as lovely as a country town, and Tooraweenah is one of my favourites.

“Just standing here in the street and looking at the way old buildings have been cared for, someone hasn’t come along and modernised it all. So, it’s just wonderful, it’s almost as if the National Trust came here and listed it. It’s the locals.”

Mr Smith loved the new kitchen in Tooraweenah, and loved even more the scones that had been baked in it for his visit.

Mr Smith was joined on this visit by Mrs Smith and their daughter Haley Baillie, and friend and radio personality Ian McNamara.

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