A word from the RALF (June 2022)
Dougy, as the beloved Australasian Bittern is known, was adored by over 700 women from across the state who came by to visit him on the Agriculture and Environment stand at the 100 year Centenary Country Women’s Association (CWA) of NSW Conference this month. Anna Wilson of Riverina Local Land Services was unable to attend the State CWA Conference with Dougy, but Anna coordinated extensive materials to be shown on display on the stand.
Being on the ‘Ag & Enviro’ stand was a superb opportunity to promote the Australasian Bittern Summit to be held in January/February 2023, with many women noting ‘in the book’ the dates of the conference. Above all, it was fascinating for everyone to see what a Bittern actually looks like (even if Dougy is part ‘in the flesh…’). Not only was being invited to the conference a great experience to show Dougy the Bittern, it was a proud few days for me to give Local Land Services a plug. Examples of the questions asked from women across the state were:
- Can Local Land Services help me with fox problems?
- How do I control fruit fly?
- I’ve got this unusual plant growing on my property… do I come to Local Land Services or Council?
- What is Local Land Services going to have on the CWA Ag & Enviro stand next conference?
Agriculture and environment are at the top of the issues CWA focus on. An example of one issue lobbied for is to ‘Advocate for the use of Australian wool insulation products to be used in development and refurbishment of NSW and ACT Public Building and Housing’. Each branch/group and State Executive Committee have Agriculture & Environment officers. So ladies, these are opportunities for you all to get involved with your local communities at a closer level.
In addition to being advocates for change to improve conditions for country women, children, families and communities small and large, every year a range of topics are studied, such as these below that are associated with agriculture and biodiversity:
- A foe pest animal/insect/plant– the wild dog, Queensland fruit fly, fox, alligator weed, feather top Rhodes grass
- A native flora – native finger lime, and
- A native fauna – THE AUSTRALASIAN BITTERN.
Given it is 100 years since CWA formed, it wouldn’t be a celebration if there were not some history provided here. In 1922, the CWA was formed when country women were fighting isolation and a lack of health facilities. Within the first year, the Association was a unified, resourceful group that was going from strength to strength. The members worked tirelessly to set up baby health care centres, fund bush nurses, build and staff maternity wards, hospitals, schools, rest homes, seaside and mountain holiday cottages – and much more. The women of the CWA have been initiators, fighters and lobbyists. They have made localities into communities by providing social activities and educational, recreational and medical facilities. The CWA is the largest women’s organisation in Australia. CWA of NSW is a member of the international organisation Associated Country Women of the World.
When country women kick into gear there is nothing permitted to get in the way when it comes to advocating for rural women, families and communities – particularly when they are making their way to the stand to remark on the handsomeness of Dougy!
This article was written by Tammy Galvin. Tammy is the Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator (RALF) for the Riverina region. Her role supports farmers, industry and community groups (including Landcare Groups) to adopt new and innovative sustainable agriculture practices.