About this blog

This blog is about the history of the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp and neighbouring areas, such as Pakenham, Cranbourne and Garfield, and any other historical subjects I feel like writing about. It's my own original research and writing and if you live in the area you may have read some of the stories before in the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp Historical Society newsletter or the Koo-Wee-Rup township newsletter, The Blackfish, or the Garfield township newsletter, The Spectator.
Heather Arnold.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Inaugural meeting of the Koo-Wee-Rup branch of the Country Women’s Association in 1944

The Koo-Wee-Rup Sun of November 9, 1944 reported on the inaugural meeting of the Koo-Wee-Rup branch of the Country Women’s Association. I have transcribed the article and researched and added some biographical information in everyone mentioned in the article.

On Wednesday afternoon, 25th ult. [October 25 1944] a most important and pleasing event took place in the Kooweerup Memorial Hall, viz the inaugural meeting of the local branch of the Country Women’s Association. Mesdames Nicholson, Keighery, Mortimer, Riggall and Harder transformed the hall into a delightful meeting place. The stage end was banked with shrubs and flowers and the eastern end was set with tables to hold a delicious afternoon tea provided by Mrs H. Bourke and Mrs C. Einsiedel. 

Cr Cochrane, as deputy for the Shire President, in a few well chosen words assured the convenors of the personal interest of the councillors in the formation of a local branch and welcomed and introduced the official party. Mrs Sewell, M.A., representing headquarters, was the speaker for the afternoon and seldom have the ladies of Kooweerup listened to a more able speaker who clearly and concisely and interestingly covered the whole of the functions and aims of the association. As a result 30 members were later enrolled. Miss Kent, [West Gippsland] Group President and Mrs Ellwood, Secretary installed the following office bearers. President , Mrs E. Glasscock; vice presidents Mesdames H. Bourke and Nicholson; secretary, Mrs A Mortimer; treasurer, Mrs R. Levey; committee Mesdames C. Einsedel, C. Keighery, A. Hewitt, E. Holley, W. Levey and W. Henry. 

On taking the chair Mrs Glasscock assured those present that she fully realized the importance of the office she had been elected to. After hearing Mrs Sewell’s account of the activities a branch can undertake she also realized the great importance a branch is to a district. She congratulated Mrs Nicholson and Mrs Bourke for the way they had organised the meeting. Afternoon tea was then partaken of and the function closed with the President passing a vote of thanks to the visiting ladies for their attendance, also the local ladies who had supported the effort. 


As is usual in newspaper reports of this time first names are rarely used, you only get the first initial of the person and in the case of women, they don’t even get the initial of their own first name, it is the initial of their husband’s first name. I have done some research in the Electoral rolls, old newspapers and indexes to marriages to give these women a name (and I believe the names are all correct) so, below, is an alphabetical list of all the people mentioned in the article. 

Bourke, Aileen (nee Donoghue). Wife of Hugh Bourke, grazier, of Monomeith.

Cochrane, Leslie James. Cr Cochrane was a Shire of Cranbourne Councillor from 1930 to 1964 and Member of the Legislative Assembly from 1950 to 1970. Cochrane Park is named after him.

Einsiedel, Agnes Constance (nee Grant). Wife of Percival Gustav Claude Einsiedel, grazier, of Monomeith.

Ellwood, Margaret Jean (nee Mason). Secretary of the West Gippsland Group and a member of the Harkaway Branch. This is Margaret Ellwood, wife of Allan, who was the Manager of the Boys Home (Melrose Training Farm for Boys) at Harkaway.

Glasscock, Phyllis (nee Witty). Wife of Eric Gordon Glasscock, grazier, of Monomeith.

Harder, Alma Evelyn (nee Sevior). Wife of Dudley Grenfell Harder, Bank official, of Sybella Avenue.

Henry, Alma Constance (nee Sturley). Wife of William Henry, Bank Manager E. S. & A. Bank at Koo-Wee-Rup.

Hewitt, Vera Wakefield (nee Mann) Wife of Dr Alan Hewitt of Rossiter Road.

Holley, Constance Mary (nee Feild). Wife Edward John Holley, Theatre Manager, of Koo-Wee-Rup.

Keighery, Eva Emily Adeline (nee Misson). Wife of Christopher Keighery, saddler, of Rossiter Road.

Kent, Kathleen Valetta. This is Kathleen Kent of Wilson Street, Berwick. She was elected as President of the West Gippsland Group on March 16, 1944 at the half yearly group conference held at Dandenong, attended by nearly 100 delegates, according to the report in the Dandenong Journal. Kathleen belonged to the Berwick branch, she was the granddaughter of William Wilson, who established the Berwick quarry in 1859 (now Wilson Botanic Park)

Levey, Marie Alice (nee Jackson). Wife of Wilfred Levey, farmer, of Manks Road.

Levey, Mollie Enid (nee Humphries). Wife of Raymond Wallace Levey, farmer, of Manks Road.

Mortimer, Adele (nee Lamb). Wife of Afton Lindsay James Mortimer, hairdresser, of Rossiter Road.

Nicholson, Jane Stewart (nee McDougall). Wife of Norman Nicholson, farmer, of Bayles.

Riggall, Edna Muriel (nee Flack). Wife of Horton Riggall, surveyor, of Gardner Street, later lived in Charles Street. They were married in 1932 and the wedding was reported in Table Talk  June 23, 1932, a newspaper that reported on popular culture - theatre, movies, sport and the activities of the ‘social set’. Mrs Riggall is pictured, left.

Sewell, Alice Maud (nee Cunning). Wife of Sir Sidney Sewell, a Melbourne surgeon noted for his research into tuberculosis. The Sewells lived at 'Roads End', Berwick. Lady Sewell went to Melbourne University where she obtained  a Master of Arts in 1906. She founded the Lyceum Club in 1912 with Ethel Osborne, a club for women who had graduated from University or had achievements in their own right.



Lady Sewell is pictured above with the Duchess of Gloucester and Mrs McDonald.
The Argus December 13, 1945

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