Friday, November 10, 2023


Mackay and Whitsunday Life

Celebrating 75 Years Of Camaraderie

Gargett branch of the Queensland Country Women’s Association will mark its 75th anniversary on 20th November, with a special luncheon reminiscent of times gone by.

This month, the children and grandchildren of those women will be at the centre of the branch’s anniversary celebrations, joining past and present QCWA members and people with links to the branch at a birthday luncheon at Gargett Hall.

A morning tea, as well as a display of photos through the ages will be a part of the itinerary, to assist in celebrating the milestone for the QCWA community.

The branch had its first beginnings on November 17, 1948, at a meeting held in Gargett’s Coronation Hall. One of the earliest photos, taken in the early 1950s, shows a group of women on the hall stage, which doubled as the town’s picture theatre.

The was the early meeting place for members before Gargett CWA opened its own hall in 1957.

Construction of the hall in 1957 remains one of the branch’s major achievements. Members held miniature deb balls, fashion parades, dances, fancy dress balls, concerts and more in the 1960s.

For 10 years during the 1960s and early 1970s, an annual Tourist Festival Ball was held at Gargett Hall, a highlight was the crowning of the Tourist Festival Queen.

Today, service to the community is a major focus, with members meeting monthly to work on numerous fundraising projects to keep the hall open and maintained, as well as boosting the CWA’s State Crisis Fund and financing local community support initiatives.

The 75th Anniversary Lunch starts at 10:30am. The cost is $20 to attend and RSVP is essential by 10th November to Secretary Loris on 0400 559 557 or

This will be a joyous occasion for local women to celebrate the achievements of their beloved organisation and share in the spirit of community, as they do best.

Original members of the Gargett branch QCWA in early 1950s (L-R) Edie Omand, Ethel Bradshaw, Madge Bradshaw, Violet Kohler (later Martin), Thelma Cameron, Doris Voss (later Luscombe), Nell Webster, Elizabeth Henderson, May Millard, Ina Childs, Jess Launder and Elsie Nash

Celebrations for the opening of the new Mirani Bridge in 1959. CWA had a float in the procession

Tourist Festival Queen 1971. (L-R) Lola Dwyer, President Silvia Bourke, Winner Marie Louise Howie Secretary Glady Dillon, Treasurer Shirley Venton and Vice President Irma Forzatti

Photos supplied

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