Wednesday, 09 August 2023
SACWA Ardrossan Branch Birthday Celebration
Rod and I are pleased to be with you today to celebrate the 150th birthday of Ardrossan, and the 77th birthday of the SACWA Ardrossan Branch.
We have just spent an enjoyable morning at Ardrossan Area School, getting to know staff and students – with whom many of you would be personally connected.
It’s also great to see some people here today who are directly related to the earliest members of the Ardrossan Branch.
These include Wendy, whose grandmother, Mrs Armfield, was instrumental in starting the branch, and Robert, whose mother Mrs Hogarth was one of the original members.
77 years ago, Mrs Armfield, Mrs Hogarth and a group of ladies came together to launch the Ardrossan branch of the SA Country Women’s Association, to support the women and children of the local area and beyond.
The first meeting was held in a betting room in the main street which you shared with the Red Cross.
This arrangement came with a number of restrictions – including having to ask permission to buy a kettle! – and it wasn’t long before the branch moved to the Ardrossan Soldiers Memorial Hall, where we meet this afternoon.
It’s lovely that the club still has some items from these early years, such as the china we have eaten from today, providing an historic and continuous link to the present day.
For 77 years, the Ardrossan Branch has offered a place for women of the region to come together in friendship.
As members, you know that when you walk through the door, there will always be a cup of tea and a smile waiting for you.
Having this support can make the challenges of life, and of country living, a little easier to deal with.
It also enhances the good times in life, providing a warm circle of friends with whom to celebrate.
Over the years you’ve provided wonderful support to the town of Ardrossan.
In 1964 your members started the Ardrossan Kindergarten, and at one point you also had a popular choir that would sing regularly in town.
I’m pleased to see your branch continues to run events bringing the local community together, such as the 150th anniversary celebration in the town square in March.
I’m told the Devonshire tea, with famous CWA scones, was very popular!
I also thank the branch for its efforts over the years to raise money for the CWA Emergency Aid Fund, supporting women and children in need in the local area and broader community.
I wish you all the best for your next fundraiser in December.
As the years have passed, and our society has changed, it has proven more challenging for organisations like the CWA, RSL and others to maintain their membership, particularly in country areas.
I thank your Secretary Josephine Patrick – a member for 40 years – and others for their efforts to rejuvenate the branch with new members from from up and down the coastline, as well as farming land.
I thank Jan Hanf for her leadership as Chair, and I appreciate the club’s efforts to be as inclusive as possible, with two members who live some distance away joining your meetings online.
Congratulations on reaching your 77th anniversary.
You are a wonderful example of the CWA motto, ‘Sharing And Caring With Action’.
I wish you all the very best as you work towards your centenary.