Bindoon CWA celebrates 70th in style

31 May, 2015 02:00 AM
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Past and present members of the Bindoon/Chittering branch of the CWA gathered for an official 70th birthday photo with Sara Kenny, CWA state president.
Past and present members of the Bindoon/Chittering branch of the CWA gathered for an official 70th birthday photo with Sara Kenny, CWA state president.

AS a 15-year-old, Pat Parkinson was too young to join, but on May 31, 1945, she did attend the inaugural meeting of the Bindoon/Chittering branch of the CWA with her mother.

The next year she was able to join and has been a member of the branch ever since and was on hand to celebrate its 70th birthday.

But Bindoon, and its CWA branch, have both changed since then, with the branch changing almost immediately as the second meeting was held in the Bindoon hall, not the Chittering school, the site of the first meeting.

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The school no longer exists, with the remains of the chimney being all that is left of it today, while the 53 members who attended meetings in 1946 has shrunk to 14, a sign of demographic change.

In the 1950s it was decided to build their own rooms and a block had been identified to house it, but one member maintained that ongoing costs would remain a problem for the branch.

Her suggestion that they should build next to the Road Board Hall was adopted and the quarters built, with a physical joining of the two buildings being completed in the 1960s.

The current arrangement demonstrates the wisdom of that decision, for both halls are independent, but opening a couple of doors allows the overflow of one to move into the other, with one kitchen serving both.

Federal member for Pearce Christian Porter MP was on hand to congratulate the branch on its achievement, noting that the "CWA was the Facebook of its time, providing valuable social contact, but with a background of service".

Several members spoke of their memories of the branch, with one remembering how she walked through the door of the hall for her first meeting "with empty hands".

She then explained that on her way out, she was carrying the secretary's case.

Promotion can be quick in the CWA.

Another busy mum explained that attending CWA meetings gave her "two hours of peace every month", but she reiterated the points made by many, that the branch provided "practical help and assistance".

One member made a number of aprons for the helpers to wear while preparing and serving food, but as they were greatly admired, it was decided to put them up for auction, adding to the branch coffers.

The catering was certainly CWA style, providing a roast dinner for lunch with sandwiches, cakes and cream sponges to fill any gaps remaining, all served on china plates, with the cutlery, of course, being metal, not plastic.

The entertainment was provided by the Hullabaloo Hoppers, a group of dancers from the city who, although they definitely weren't around when the branch started in 1945, they excelled in the dances of the time.

Their dancing demonstration was a great success, even when the power failed a couple of times, while the appreciation from the audience was such that the group then gave a number of those attending impromptu dancing lessons, 1940's style.

When congratulating the branch on reaching 70, CWA state president Sara Kenny reminded all those attending that a happy mother means a happy family and happy families make a happy community.

She described the CWA as a nurturing organisation, allowing members to enjoy their association with fellow members of the organisation, but always being available to help others in need.

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