Thank you for beginning another new year of The Country Women’s Association of Victoria Inc. with enthusiasm and dedication.
The Annual General Meeting of the Association is always an opportunity to hear about the work of the whole Association from member to branch to group to state level for the past twelve months and to look forward to what may be planned and achieved over the next twelve months.
Congratulations to Past State President Lyn Harris OAM for all that she did for the Association over the past two years.
Appreciation is extended to office bearers and committee members at group and state level who have completed their term of office and best wishes are offered to members who commence a new office or continue in office.
I am grateful for the encouragement of members as I commence my presidency. Together we will continue to fulfil the purposes of the Association by providing assistance to women, children and families. This begins with friendships, first made as a new member. Friends help each other, learn from each other, teach each other and respect each other. It continues with support of the Association at branch, group and state level.
I thank my branch members at Meeniyan, group members of Gippsland Hills, as well as past and present staff, State Council and board members for their friendship and support.
It is a pleasant duty to write this monthly column and some of you may know that I have been fortunate to appear in print in the magazine over a period of time. Firstly, in February 1961 (pages 44–45) in the era of For the Children I had a short story published titled ‘Daisy’s First Ball’.
This was during the presidency of Miss AT Stewart OBE and the editorship of Acting Editor Mrs Neil Cameron.
As a branch office bearer (my first office began less than two years after I, officially, joined in February 1981) and as Group President (2005–2007), during the leadership of State President Noela MacLeod, I occasionally forwarded news and photographs for publication.
For the period 2007–2010 I was appointed Editor and elected Magazine Committee Chairman (during the presidencies of Helen Wall OAM and Helen Christie), contributing the Editor’s Page in each edition, in addition to photographs and feature articles from time to time. I loved my time as Editor and continue as a member of the committee as I have read the magazine to CD for the vision impaired since 2011.
As Social Issues Committee Chairman (2010–2012) I wrote a monthly column. Interestingly, three other Editors have also led the Social Issues Committee – Member of Honour Noela MacLeod AO, Susan Pitman and Jean Black.
Other offices have produced only the occasional report. I was appointed State (March) Fair Convenor while State Vice President (2012–2013), and assisted with the organisation of Australia Day at Government House while Deputy State President (2017–2019).
As a Secretary one writes and reads many reports but I have not had a (winning) branch report published in the magazine, although that is a secret wish. My report as a member of the National Rural Law and Justice Alliance was published in the Minutes of the 35th National Conference
of The Country Women’s Association of Australia – a book of 228 pages I prepared at the end of my term as National Secretary (2012–2015) under the guidance of National President Noela MacLeod. I am very glad I have not had to read that volume aloud!
Many of you will remember, with some amusement, the phrase I had to repeat a number of times while Public Speaking Convenor (2006–2007) as these words were the topic for the impromptu speech: “And then the rains came…” We might wish these words would come true and that the rains would indeed come today in many places throughout Victoria and Australia.
As you may be able to guess, I enjoy both the written and the spoken word. The written word is powerful but not as powerful as the spoken word, so we must all do our best to choose our words carefully so they uplift us and the people to whom we are speaking.
If we understood the power of our thoughts, we would guard them more closely. If we understood the awesome power of our words, we would prefer silence to almost anything negative. In our thoughts and words, we create our own weaknesses and our own strengths. Our limitations and joys begin in our hearts. We can always replace negative with positive. – American author Betty Eadie
Linking hands in friendship…
Marion E Dewar