Across the state, Queensland Country Women's Association members celebrated the association's 100th anniversary today.
From Mt Isa to Coolangatta, more than 3400 members across 245 locations toasted one of the state's largest and most recognised women's organisations.
The women of QCWA are mums, grandmothers, sisters, aunties, cousins, single, married, working in the home, the office and the land, and are in the city and country.
They have supported and connected women throughout every phase of life, in good times and bad, and have provided opportunities for women around education, health and community.
On the Darling Downs, one of the biggest celebrations was in Oakey.
Members, family, politicians and media all gathered at the Oakey Information Centre to recognise the association and the work its members do.
Toowoomba Regional Council councillor Kerry Shine and Condamine MP Pat Weir were there to congratulate the association on its centenary, while TRC councillor Geoff McDonald donned an apron and helped out in the kitchen.
QCWA Oakey president Wendy Gordon said she catered for 55 people but the turnout exceeded her expectations.
"Fortunately I had lots of helpers. We had about six of us doing different scones - savoury, pumpkin, plain, and orange and date. Everybody gets in and helps out," Ms Gordon said.
"There were too many to count. I made about four or five dozen."
While everyone enjoyed a scone, a cuppa and a quiz, Ms Gordon said it was important to remember the group was more than just women baking treats.
"It's about advocacy, friendship and community," Ms Gordon said.
"In the past 12 months, we've been able to donate sewing machines to the Oakey Community Kindy for the kids to be able to learn sewing. We're hoping to get over there and do some crafts with them."
Between 2011 and 2019, the QCWA distributed, through its Public Rural Crisis Fund, more than $10.7 million to more than 4878 families in need, particularly in rural and remote parts of the state.
The QCWA was formed at a meeting called by Brisbane Women's Club at Albert Hall in 1922, with Cambooya's Ruth Fairfax appointed founding president.
Mrs Fairfax's personal commitment and travel throughout the state lead to the creation of 283 branches with 13,000 members by 1928.
While branch meetings would be a forum for exchanging ideas, and recipes, it is perhaps the tea and scones served at Brisbane's Ekka from 1924 that would help embellish this iconic association.
Over the next decades, countless QCWA initiatives have continued in some way.
Many provided invaluable and practical support in country towns and villages, to women and their families such as rest rooms near railway stations; hostels with medical care for expectant mothers; educational bursaries; shark proof bathing enclosures; aged care accommodation; cardio-phones and x-ray equipment to country hospitals; family holiday accommodation cottages; access to medical and dental treatment; and in 1938, the Emergency Housekeeping Scheme.
Not long after the association was established, the Oakey branch was formed in 1924.
Ms Gordon said they currently had 17 dedicated members, with some clocking half a century.
"We've got two members that are well over 40 years and Lois Speed is 50 years. Her mother was a president and she instigated the building of the CWA Hostel in Oakey," she said.
In a fitting tribute to the association, the city where it all started is being lit up in the iconic blue and white.
To shine the light on a century of achievements, the Story, Victoria and Breakfast Creek Bridges are turning blue and white.
The 15 giant marbles in Reddacliff Place will glow cobalt blue, as will the Tropical Dome in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens.
The ornate wall of the Wickham Terrace Car park will also be illuminated in the QCWA colours.
Banners are also flying at Rokeby Terrace, Taringa, Mains Road, Sunnybank and Turbot Street, Brisbane City to remind the public the CWA has been active in Queensland since 1922 during wars, floods, droughts, fires and pandemics.
Drivers are reminded to take a moment to ponder the network of women it has created - that reaches into cities and towns across the vast state - and what the CWA has done for the state for a century and the potential it has to do more in the next 100 years and beyond.
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