From its earliest beginning CWA has been interested in improving conditions for women and children, and this has grown with the needs of the times. With the rapidly growing ageing population the CWA was already concerned about the drift of people to the cities with the older people remaining in their homes in rural areas. The problem of fewer doctors, health professionals and home care services in rural areas is still an issue. When Meals on Wheels started in the 1950s, many were run by CWA branches and catered for from the CWA rest rooms. Senior Citizen Clubs were often organised by the CWA, one of these being in Goulburn.

By the 1980s, CWA members themselves were ageing and attention turned to providing suitable units for the elderly. Evans Head’s CWA holiday home of 1962, has developed into ten units for the aged, staffed by volunteer CWA members.

From their earliest years, CWA put considerable effort into educating the rural community on many aspects of health, many of these operating out of the CWA rooms. This led to other services being supported - financing bush nurses, maternity beds in local hospitals, ambulances and rest homes for those recuperating from illness or awaiting birth of their baby. Collarenebri opened a centre after the war for expectant mothers, because even just 50 points of rain made the roads impassable.

Before Government took over these local services, the pioneering spirit of the CWA women, who knew the distress and hardship, had  provided for their local needs. A tribute to their common-sense and courage.

Pat Hughes

Wollondilly Group Publicity  - Highlands