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South Australian Country Women's Association

Matter of Interest

I rise today to speak about the South Australian Country Women’s Association.

The SA CWA was established in 1929 just outside of Burra in South Australia. As a not for profit, non party political and non sectarian volunteer organisation, it has been serving the community for the past 88 years by promoting the welfare of South Australian women.

Whilst the SA CWA are famous for their jam and scones, there is much more to the organisation. Fundraising is undertaken continuously throughout the year to help the community.

The Association’s emergency aid fund provides essential assistance to victims of family violence or those struggling with the general cost of living. In times of disaster, such as the Pinery and Sampson Flat bushfires, the SA CWA have not only raised money for those who have been affected but have also distributed “buckets of love” which provided basic household provisions such as cleaning products and toilet paper.

The Association is also known for their baby parcels which contain handmade goods such as teddies, clothing and blankets along with nappies and other essentials. These parcels are given to new mothers who are in need.

Grants are also provided to rural students to assist with their education through the Dorothy Dolling Memorial Trust. For the past 50 years the Trust has provided support to hundreds of rural students by assisting with the cost of textbooks or relocation to urban areas so that they can continue their studies.

As part of their fundraising efforts, the Association has recently released a new Calendar of Cakes cookbook which provides a different cake recipe for each week of the year. The previous Calendar of Cakes was produced over 65 years ago and the updated version is a perfect uniquely South Australian gift for international and interstate visitors.

For the past 88 years the SA CWA has also provided a vehicle for friendship and support for women who may be socially isolated due to their geographical location. Whilst the organisation may have started in the country, it has grown to now include women from all around the state, including in the metropolitan area. And although the stereotypical vision of a SA CWA member may be an elderly woman, the Association has grown in popularity amongst young women who want to learn heritage skills and is inclusive of all cultures. Workshops range from knitting and sponge cake making to fashion styling and Nepalese dumplings. It is great to see a resurgence in membership so that the good work of the Association can continue in the future.

A major event on the SA CWA calendar is the Royal Adelaide Show. Many members and family of members participate as entrants to the various craft, cooking and agricultural competitions. In addition, the SA CWA operate a handicraft market and the Country Café. The handicraft market gives the public the opportunity to purchase goods handmade by SA CWA members such as aprons, jams, teddies and tea cosies. The Country Café offers homestyle snacks and meals and often offers the best value for money at the show when it comes to food. All handicraft goods all donated from members and profits from the show are returned to the organisation to assist with community projects. I urge everyone to visit the SA CWA at the upcoming Royal Adelaide Show for a cup of tea and some scones.