AFUW-NSW Inc

Australian Federation of University Women

New South Wales

AFUW - NSW Incorporated is an association of women graduates from universities throughout the world

NEWSLETTER

AUSTRALIAN FEDERATION OF UNIVERSITY WOMEN - NSW Inc.

SEPTEMBER 2005

85th Annual Report: 1 July 2004 - 30 June 2005 - Part B

REPORTS FROM BRANCHES

Armidale
Blue Mountains
Central Coast
Central West
Hunter Valley
Inner Western Suburbs
North Shore
Northern Beaches
River
Southern Highlands

ARMIDALE

This is the 52nd Annual Report of the Armidale Branch. It is with great enthusiasm that we congratulate Doctors Susan Davies & Stephanie Cunningham and Carol Quinn for their election to the executive of AFUW-NSW. We are very proud to have the President, Secretary and a Vice President as members of our branch.

At the AGM last Year Margaret Anderson gave an overview of her Churchill Fellowship to study community transport in the UK and USA in rural communities less than 50,000 population. At the September meeting Susan Davies gave an interesting talk of her attendance at the IFUW meeting in Perth. Susan was able to liaise with international members and observe how the IFUW functions.

Ross Burnett from the Uralla Book Shop spoke to us at the November meeting about old books, engendering lively discussion and enthusiastic acclamation. He chose Uralla because of its close proximity to Armidale and the University. He now has three books shops: good books, middlebrow and cheap. Most purchases are motivated by nostalgia. Ross has about 50,000 books on the shelves and another 100,000 in the shed.

In February Fran Kaberry gave a passionate address that touched many members hearts about “our kids”, Romanian Orphans. She described the living conditions at the orphanage and the very difficult political and economic environment in which the orphanage struggles to operate. It is hoped that with the impending membership of Romania to the European Parliament in 2007 the condition of the orphans may improve.

Of course the April meeting was the highlight of the year when we played host to visiting members of the AFUW- NSW branches. The guests made many favourable comments about the hospitality extended to them over their three day visit. Doctor Denis Wright who is the Senior Lecturer in the School of Classics, History and Religion at the University of New England gave a talk on Buddhism.

This was most informative, with the popularity of Buddhism growing in the Western world. Buddha did not conceive of himself as a god and was against idolatry. Buddhism is a religion of the here and now with loving kindness the aim. We are responsible for our own behavior and there is no absolution. Ultimate and unending calm is obtainable when all cravings for existence or extinction cease. Thus we attain Nirvana.

At the June meeting Kate Mortensen’s topic was “Women in Greece”. Apparently Greek women did not enjoy much freedom of choice. They were married off while quite young by their families to husbands who were frequently at war, resulting in early widowhood. When this occurred and the sons reached maturity, the women then were able to become quite powerful in the family. They had very few children as only a son was required to inherit the estate. The girls were not greatly prized and were sometimes abandoned. Religious ceremonies were frequent and were the only opportunity for socialising. The members were most interested which was clearly evident by the many questions.

The Book Club continues to be a wonderful source of lively discussion and provides a forum for varying opinions. It is a shame our members are not asked to advise world leaders, as our opinions are well informed, practical and sound.

The President thanks all the members for the support they have given this year and wishes the incoming President every success.

Junette Barbato President

Margaret Anderson Secretary
 

BLUE MOUNTAINS

Another year has passed so quickly for our small group of faithful members and friends. Sadly, we lost our loyal member and friend Marion Brockman. Her contribution, especially to the book discussions will be missed. At our May meeting we paid tribute to Marion who was the embodiment of “life-long learning”. The members who attended her funeral were able to fill us in more about the many interesting facts of her long life.

The presentation of our Gladys Weiler Award in November at Katoomba High School was one of our highlights. Prior interviews had been held and the $250 Award was made to Sandy So, with encouragement certificates presented to Anita Bray and Nonni Walker - certainly very promising young women. We were welcomed and entertained by several students, with a talk on ‘girl power’, musical items and photos taken, before enjoying afternoon tea with the Principal, some staff and family members.

We are most grateful to members who have provided hospitality for our meetings - to Margaret Erwood who hosted a fund-raising luncheon, much enjoyed, which was followed by a spirited discussion on AFUW issues at the three levels of the organisation. An afternoon tea at Margot Auld’s home, where a power-point presentation by Merle about the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund of which we are a member, showed how the Grants money is spent in many countries to change the lives of so many women and their families.

At an afternoon at the President’s home, members and a guest indulged in a free-flowing discussion on crime fiction and on the status of women writers in that genre. Extracts from books were read end television and films touched on as well as consideration of the reader/viewer seeking ‘escapism’ or intellectual stimulation.

Our Christmas Luncheon was again at the Wentworth Falls Country Club and was a most pleasant occasion. We thank Margo for organising that event. Lyn and Merle hosted our ‘Christmas in Winter’ Luncheon and their efforts were certainly appreciated. Guests included members from the North Shore Branch. These functions were to raise funds for our Branch Scholarship.

The President thanks all our members and friends, but especially the office bearers for their support and efforts to keep our Branch viable. For our numbers we are well represented at the state and national levels. The structure and future of the larger organisation is generating much discussion. AFUW has a long tradition- and we hope it will continue.

Pamela Lemoine President

Merle Thompson Secretary

CENTRAL COAST

There are 17 financial members and an average attendance of 12 at the meetings.

Meetings are held from February to October, generally at Central Coast Leagues Club, which allows the Branch the use of a room. These are evening meetings. As well as ordinary meetings with a speaker, daytime social functions are arranged in the cooler months if possible.

As Gosford Regional Gallery was a venue for the Regional Archibald Prize Exhibition, a guided tour was arranged and enjoyed by the Branch. The Gallery and Japanese Garden was also the venue for the June meeting.

At last we were able to secure a booking for the Preview Restaurant at the Ourimbah TAFE Campus and were joined by friends and partners in May. The Christmas function is always enjoyed by partners and friends, many of whom are former members who join with us for the Christmas Fund raising. This year the Branch supported the SLFUW Tsunami Appeal and the Hegg Hoffet Fund to help a Sri Lankan member complete her studies.

Speakers have included a representative from UNAA Central Coast who introduced a Sudanese refugee, Anna Malua. We were all moved by Anna’s story told so bravely and were delighted to know from a local newspaper that she had been reunited with a cousin she had not seen for 25 years when they were separated by the Civil war in Sudan. Members of the Branch will attempt to support UNAA Central Coast in our common purpose to seek peaceful resolution to conflict.

We were delighted to have as a speaker a former member Denise King who now has a Legal Practice on the Central Coast using Mediation to assist in Family Law. Her expertise has helped one of our members in a long standing dispute. Thank you, Denise.

Dr Robert Gerdes, a researcher in the field of Genetic Modification, gave a very balanced talk on Genetic Modification and attempted to allay the fears of the layperson. Hopefully commercial interests will not spoil an enterprise, which could benefit nutrition.

Joan Smith President

Pamela Guest Secretary

CENTRAL WEST

During the year 2004-2005 the Central West Branch of AFUW New South Wales has enjoyed the support of 41 financial members. The fellowship afforded our group has allowed us to convene four successful dinner meetings where attendance has ranged from 50 to 95 members and interested guests. We have the great fortune to be able to choose from several excellent venues to hold our functions and the quality of our speakers has left us entertained, educated, and in appreciation of these wonderful people who have taken the time to share their lives and passions with us.
 
Our program for 2004-2005 included:
Date Speaker Subject Venue
2004 August Mr John Lowther Jewish History The Quarry Restaurant
  November Mr Michael Baume Politics and Journalism Cowra Golf Club
2005 March Mr Robert Clark Sydney Harbour Trust The Mill
  June Dr Louise Baker Remote Rural Medicine The Japanese Gardens

 In October 2004 Kath McCredie and Nicola Seymour hosted a visit from the North Shore branch and our committee members provided afternoon tea.

We assisted at a local musical production by providing committee members to help set up the dining room before one of the evening performances and were rewarded with a $500 donation to our scholarship fund.

We take this opportunity to sincerely thank our experienced committee for their assistance and support. We value their friendship, their wealth of knowledge, and their enthusiasm for this organisation. They give strength simply by their presence.

Christine Garner President

Jenny White Secretary

HUNTER VALLEY

The President wishes to thank all branch members for their support over the last year with particular thanks to the committee and the executive.

MEMBERSHIP

There were 38 financial members during 2004-2005. We have welcomed 4 new members during the year. We regret that some of our older members are now unable to attend our monthly dinner meetings. These meetings have had a usual attendance of 20-25 members. Bimet Lodge continues to be a very satisfactory venue for our dinners. Our guest speakers during the year covered a wide range of interests. We commenced in July 2004 with the Annual General Meeting and Bring and Buy to assist our aid program.

Date Speaker and Subject
2004 August Terry St George spoke on the history of Sandgate Cemetery.
  September Veronique Dauriac who was a student teacher from France working in a school here, spoke of the differences she noticed between French and Australian High Schools.
  October Gwen Hamilton, one of our members, talked about her professional experiences as a librarian in the Legal Profession, and the many technological changes she had experienced over her career.
  November Martin Babakhan, well-known meteorologist and our final speaker for 2004, spoke of weather and climate-change in Australia.
2005 February Dr Bernard Curran, talked of his life and times at the University of Newcastle.
  March Ron Evans spoke on plate tectonic earthquakes, volcanoes, & tsunamis.
  April Margaret Ellis gave an account of her experience in business in North and South-east Asia and how to succeed there.
  May Julie Ainsworth traced her journey over 31 years in the Newspaper Business from advertising copy to General Manager.
  June Dr Anne Young outlined results from the first 10 years of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health.

ONGOING COMMITMENTS

We continue to support two girls at St Joseph’s Secondary School in Dili. We fund two prizes locally, The Margaret Auchmuty Prize for Education and the Huldah Turner Prize for Mathematics won by Jacqueline Hicks for the 2004 academic year. These prizes are awarded to the most outstanding women students in their final year at the University of Newcastle. They are named after pioneer members of our Branch.

We have an annual commitment to The Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund, Inc. This year our branch donated $50.00 to the AFUW appeal to aid Sri Lanka in the aftermath of the Boxing Day Tsunami.

Our branch raised $50.00 from the meal associated with the film night held in June. This went to the Study and Action Program of which Gay Reeves is convenor. Thank you Gay for hosting the meal.

BOOK GROUP

The book club is now into its fifth year. Membership has grown steadily with 8-12 members attending regularly each month. Members have enjoyed delving into genres that they would not normally read, as they follow the interests of fellow book-club members. The person who selects the book for that month leads the discussion and hosts the group. There have been some excellent and wide-ranging discussions. Members donate a gold coin each month which helps towards funding the Branch Newsletter.

Hilary Alexander President

Jenny Bain Secretary

INNER WESTERN SUBURBS

This year had a slow start for the branch as in September we had to cancel because illness and holidays decimated our potential audience.

For our Christmas meeting we entertained the Bangura sisters and their Mother and Aunt celebrating the fact they were our chosen year 12 prizewinners for 2004. Dr. Patricia Coyle SJ was our speaker and talked to us on the problems of delivering aid to the 3rd world including an impassioned account of the problems presented by land mines. Since then we have made a donation from the profits from that evening to the charity of her choice involved with the elimination of land mines.

In March Sarah Elliott who has worked with MSF in Sierra Leone talked of her work there with many photographs. She had been repatriated with resistant malaria but was hoping to return and to keep us in touch with her work

In May Lisa Stadtmueller, a current Georgina Sweet fellow of IFUW talked to us of her PhD research in nanotechnology - a very clear exposition on a complex subject.

Fatimata and Kadiatu Bangura from Sydney Secondary College Blackwattle Bay Campus, refugees from Sierra Leone were 2004 recipients of our award to year 12 girls in the inner west and for our AGM we had the principal of the college Jill Collier to talk to us.

For 2005 we plan to make the award to a girl at Fort St High school but as they delay their prize giving until February this award has not yet been finalized.

The Northern Beaches Branch has combined with the remnant of the Southern Suburbs Branch and hold lunchtime meetings in the city. This has led to the impending loss of one of our members and I would like to thank Tricia Blombery for all her time and hard work on our committee since 2003 and wish he well in this new branch. We thank who have run the branch this year - some of them have been involved with the committee so long that we should fall apart without them.

Jane Baker President

Marie Shelston Secretary

NORTH SHORE

This has been a busy and in most ways a satisfactory year for the North Shore Branch.

Dorothy Betty has provided us with a varied and interesting programme of speakers, including Melinda Long, manager of the Aged Care Assessment Unit of the Ku-ring-gai Health Centre; Mr Greg Eddy, retiring Principal of Dunmore Lang College, Macquarie University; Professor Brian Fletcher, noted historian; and Ms Gladys Beriecklien MP, Member for the electorate of Willoughby.

The speaker on “Our Scottish Heritage” at the Annual Meeting was Susan Stannard, former member and President of the North Shore Branch For this program we thank Dorothy Betty.

In September 2004 we enjoyed a trip to the Central West, where we joined members of the Central West Branch for lunch at the home of Miss Kathleen McCredie at Molong. A trip to the old gold towns of Sofala and Hill End is in the planning stage. Our Christmas Luncheon at Dunmore Lang College was a very pleasant occasion and a fitting way to conclude our activities our activities for 2004.

As there have been fewer activities organised by the Central Committee this year, the participation of North Shore members in State activities has been less than in previous years. However, several members accompanied the Central Committee delegates to a meeting in Armidale, where they enjoyed the hospitality of the Armidale Branch.

We have continued the practice of providing prizes for students at Macquarie University, in Level 2 English, Level 2 History. and Level 2 Biology. We have also made donations to the Virginia Gildersleeve Fund and to the IFUW Study and Action Programme AFUW-NSW.

Finally, we thank all Branch members for their support and friendship, with special thanks to the members of the committee for their assistance and fellowship in the past year and look forwards to its continuation.

Betty Davy President

Secretary Vacant

NORTHERN BEACHES

It is with mixed feelings of sadness and joy that we present the tenth and final annual report for the Northern Beaches Branch.

At our Annual General Meeting a unanimous decision was made to change the name to City Branch to reflect our changed circumstances. For the past six months we have been meeting in the city and now draw our membership from any city or suburban area. The sadness comes from losing the name and the joy is the renewed vigour and interest that has resulted from our city meetings with new members.

The branch award this year was a monetary prize of $250 shared between two mature age women students in the Tertiary Preparation Certificate course at Meadowbank TAFE. TPC coordinator Jenny Clegg was delighted with the donation and selected the recipients, both of whom have moved on to study at university.

Branch members have enjoyed lunches, lectures and discussions throughout the year. Some highlights included:

  • attending the Peace Prize Lecture by Arundhati Roy at the Seymour Centre
  • launch of an exhibition of Aboriginal Art at the Manly Art Gallery
  • lunch at The Bennelong to welcome Hilary Roche a visitor from Dublin. Hilary, a member of the Irish Federation, spoke to us about her role as an adviser to the Minister for Education
  • a talk by Sheila Bruhn at The Lady Mayoress’ Rooms in the Town Hall on her experience as a prisoner of war in Changi
  • the subsequent viewing, in the Margery Murray Room, of a documentary by the Discovery Channel: Sayonara Changi

Members agreed no fund raising events will be held however funds will be raised by member donations.

Special mention must be made of the branch secretary, Teresa Valenti, who has been tireless in her efforts of producing the minutes, assisting with publicity and organising events.

We now look forward to the coming year as members of the City Branch.

Ivy Edwards President

Teresa Valenti Secretary

RIVER

First, on behalf of the River Branch, we would like to take this opportunity to express our appreciation of the members of the Armidale Branch, who stood for the vacant positions on the NSW AFUW Central Committee. Without the NSW Central Committee the River Branch would not be able to exist.

The River Branch has 110 members and friends on its mailing list, who have continued to support our lunches and other activities. The Greenwich Sailing Club was the venue for the Spring Luncheon, held in September. Our guest speaker, Mr. Gil Wahlquist, a journalist and local Hunters Hill historian, described the life of an aboriginal woman, named Lucy, who had lived in Hunters Hill until relatively recently.

We thank Gai and Bill Windeyer for making their Longueville home available for the Christmas party in December, particularly as they had only arrived home from a tip overseas the day before. This was a very happy occasion with a superb lunch enjoyed on their shady verandahs.

Mr. Paul Brunton, the Chief Archivist at the State Library, gave a very informative and entertaining talk at the autumn luncheon, held at our now well-established venue at the Greenwich Sailing Club, in March. His subject was the Miles Franklin diaries which he had edited. He too was very impressed by the venue and its wonderful view. In another first we used a caterer, who provided an excellent meal and relieved the committee members of the task of serving and washing up.

Reporting from the committee meeting the general feeling now is that we will have the spring and autumn luncheons catered for, but that we will continue to cater for the Christmas party ourselves. This means that we will raise less money from our functions, so Dorothy Keyworth has volunteered to run a raffle at each lunch specifically to raise money for the Virginia Giildersleeve International Fund.

We continue to provide intellectual stimulation with a Book Group, which meets once a month on a Monday evening, and a Theatre Group, which now has both an evening program and a day program to cater for everyone.

As a result of all the above activities the Branch was able to support the following:

  • $300 for the River Group prize in Special Education at Macquarie University, which in 2004 was awarded to Kelly McMullen
  • $500 towards the River Group Post-graduate Award Fund at Sydney University
  • $500 to the Virginia Gildersiceve International Fund
  • $250 to Dr. Frances Booth, so that badly needed equipment could be shipped to New Ireland for the Eyecare Project

Margaret Fisher has been providing liaison with the Central Committee and Maggie McDonald and Anne Ridley attended a brainstorming session for the Central Committee, prior to the election of the Armidale members to the Central Committee. The President particularly thanked Norma McMorran for her sterling work over so many years as secretary and Maggie McDonald, our former president, both of whom have been so generous with their time and expertise to assist the incoming secretary and president. She expressed appreciation to all those-hard working members of the committee, who have been so supportive and without whom the River Group would cease to exist.

Anne Ridley President

Nada Taylor Secretary

SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS

The President indicated that during the past 14 months as president one of her most pleasurable duties has been to meet our outstanding speakers. In October Pauline Markwell’s “Insight into some North American Gardens”, at our garden party at Faye Frith’s beautiful property in Burradoo was a truly enchanting afternoon and the current state of social development was entertainingly put forward by our Christmas dinner speaker Hugh Mackay.

Our speakers have also led us to many countries. In February we went to the Antarctic with David Burke who also generously donated the proceeds from the sale of his book to the victims of the tsunami. In May we travelled Bhutan with Virginia Ross and in July we were privileged to visit the Solomon Islands with Ewa Czernuszewicz. Each of these guests helped us to understand the trials and tribulations of getting to as well as living and working in such different environments. In April Joan Bielski made us realise that women’s work is never done especially in terms of the women’s movement.

This year our special connection with East Timor has been strengthened with Sister Susan Connelly’s insights at the September meeting and will be further enhanced by AGM special guest – Kathryn Morgan.

In the past 12 months we have changed our regular venue from Jars coffee shop to the meeting room at Annesley. Both these venues have proved to have advantages and disadvantages – Jars was popular and we were always made feel very welcome and who can forget those amazing suppers, but we seemed to be bursting at the seams making interaction between members somewhat difficult as well as having little scope for electronic displays. Annesley is warm and spacious and allows plenty of room for interaction between members and the guest speaker while partaking of the very generous supper they provide but overcoming the equipment problems has been a challenge.

This year our program of awarding grants to women involved in tertiary study has been formalised with the University of Wollongong accepting a total of $1500 for 2005 and $1000 for 2006 and awarding a total of 2 scholarships to students fulfilling our grant criteria. Over the years the awarding of grants to aid the tertiary studies of women students has been an integral part of AFUW Southern Highlands and we can be rightly proud of the contribution we have made in this area. Special thanks must go to Helen Saville for her work in this area.

The reason that we have such a wide range of quality speakers, a constant upgrading of facilities as well as organising and distributing scholarships is that our committee consists of a very talented and hard working group of members. Their organisation allows us to enjoy such a high standard of fellowship between one another. Many of the members having been on the committee for quite a number of years and are not standing for re-election facing increasing pressure from family commitments. We hope that there are many willing hands to fill the vacant positions as this group has a long and distinguished history in the Southern highlands and deserves to continue.

Margaret Harper President

Robyn Kremer Secretary

 
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