Calliope CWA's oldest member Jean Bradley OAM will be 95 this year.
Calliope CWA's oldest member Jean Bradley OAM will be 95 this year. Helen Spelitis

Great tales told as Calliope CWA celebrates 90 years

A MEMBER of the Calliope Country Women's Association once rode all the way from Calliope to the Tablelands on horseback, in side saddle with a baby.

That's just one of the interesting facts the Calliope Branch's youngest member Sam Noon uncovered during her two months researching for the 90th birthday celebrations, which were held on Friday.

Mrs E. Ferguson was one of the founding members of Calliope CWA which opened on July 15, 1925.

>> Times Gone By: QCWA celebrates significant milestone

Her adventure on horseback was noted in the meeting's minutes.

But that wasn't the only interesting thing Ms Noon found.

During the Depression, the CWA ladies moved away from their usual duties and focused on helping "cases of distress".

They held monthly themed dances to keep the town morale high, including a Cinderella Waltz in 1932, "A night on the Ocean" in 1933 and the "Orient Sateen Ball" in 1934.

>> Visit our Local Life page for more community news

But in 1937 they held a "Basket" Ball and auctioned off the ladies themselves.

"They invited young ladies to make a dinner for two and put it in a basket, and then auctioned them off to the highest bidder," Ms Noon said.

"The one who got the highest price won a box of chocolates."

Each gentleman who bought a basket got to have dinner with the lady who made it, and combined the CWA made £9.

"That was definitely one of the more amusing things - that they actually auctioned off the ladies.

"It was eye opening how much history there is that nobody talks about anymore, but we should."

In 90 years there have been big changes at the Calliope CWA, including a new fit out of its hall complete with a new kitchen opened this year using $55,000 from the Bendigo Bank.

For Ms Noon one of the most obvious changes is the use of social media.

"We use Facebook now to try and promote ourselves and get more members, whereas then it was all word of mouth," she said.

"It was an honour to do the history for our 90th."