Ararat Country Women’s Association day and evening branches in outreach to younger members

RECRUIT: Ararat Country Women’s Association day branch president Noelle McDonald, group president Barbara Blamey and secretary Joy Cox want to find new association members. Picture: PETER PICKERING
RECRUIT: Ararat Country Women’s Association day branch president Noelle McDonald, group president Barbara Blamey and secretary Joy Cox want to find new association members. Picture: PETER PICKERING

ARARAT Country Women’s Association day and evening branches are looking to reach out to younger members.

The inevitable march of time and a disconnect between generational experiences of country women has created the potential for the social and community group to fade away.

Ararat has had a Country Women’s Association presence for at least 76 of the nearly 90 years that the state organisation has existed.

Ararat day branch president Noelle McDonald said the association that first attracted her membership in 1961 had a different focus.

“It was all about getting the best cuts from meat. Now people go to the supermarket or get take away,” she said.

“It’s all very different.”

Ararat’s branch has fought for white lines on highways and reflective panels on night trains to boost road safety.

Regional president Barbara Blamey said it was a paradox that suburban and outer urban Country Women’s Association branches had experienced surges of membership while rural branches were struggling.

“We’re very proactive women, very strong women,” Ms Blamey said.

“We do a lot of craft work. We’re amazing at making scones.

“We focus on social issues. The association gets a lot of things done. We take issues to parliament and event to the United Nations.” 

Ms Blamey said the re-emerging popularity of arts and crafts could explain why women in some areas were getting involved.

“Country Women’s Association members are still doing things with our hands,” she said.

“We’re also very active because we look at issues that are happening and we can do something about it and take them further.

“People don’t have to bake scones, but they can get involved in other ways.” 

Ms Blamey said the Country Women’s Association had a simultaneous focus on the area of each branch while participating in statewide, national and international events.

Those interested in joining Country Women’s Association in and around Ararat can contact secretary Joy Cox on 5352 2539.