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.

Annual Report 2005-2006

AFUW is the voice of graduate women promoting advancement of women worldwide
and their equality of opportunity through initiatives in education, friendship and peace.

86th ANNUAL REPORT

1 JULY 2005 - 30 JUNE 2006

PRESIDENT’S REPORT

It is with pleasure that I present this year’s Annual Report.

COMMUNICATION

The goal of the new executive was to improve communication and build relationships between members and the wider community. Undeniably, technology is a major factor in 21st century communication through the internet and email. As a result of time and effort AFUW-NSW can now boast a modern improved website with the facility for each branch to advertise itself. A new logo was designed which proudly states we are NSW and at the same time affiliates of the National and International Federation. Wherever possible, members have been encouraged to avail themselves of and use email to facilitate communication.

As part of a plan to improve and strengthen relationships within AFUW-NSW State meetings are held, at least once a year, in regional venues. The 2005 Annual General Meeting, hosted by Hunter Valley Branch, was held in Newcastle where a warm welcome was extended to visitors from out of the area. This enabled an exchange of ideas and new friendships to be formed.

In addition, the President enjoyed the hospitality extended by Hunter Valley during her stay and had pleasure in visiting Inner West, River and North Shore Branches during the year.

TRIENNIAL CONFERENCE

Another forum for strengthening relationships is the AFUW Conference. In April, 16 members from NSW attended the conference in Canberra which gave them an opportunity to meet each other as well as colleagues from around Australia.

Also present on this occasion were International President, Griselda Kenyon and New Zealand President, Rae Duff. Attendees learnt at first hand what is happening on the international scene.

Congratulations to President Rosemary Everett and the ACT Local Arrangements Committee for a well-planned experience that provided impressive and informative speakers on Women in Peace Keeping, business sessions for delegates to discuss and approve policy resolutions, social receptions and home hospitality.

Congratulations to the incoming committee President - Jenny Strauss, Secretary - ‘Tricia Blombery and CIR - Dalma Jacobs. The positions of Treasurer and National Registrar were not filled but nominations were received post-conference and will be presented at the next meeting of Council.

WOMENSPEAK - A NATIONAL SECRETARIAT

As part of their research, WomenSpeak, a federally funded secretariat, asked what four issues are most important to Australian women. After consultation with the membership, the four issues that emerged as important to AFUW-NSW were:

  1. Inability for some women to access higher education owing to HECS impost
  2. Financial independence
  3. Domestic and international peace
  4. Ecological sustainability

MEMBERSHIP

The membership of AFUW-NSW is currently 341 which includes two Honorary Life Members and 11 old system life members. Although this is a decrease on last year’s numbers, branches and state continue to work towards attracting new members.

At 30 June, New South Wales has four metropolitan branches: Inner Western Suburbs, North Shore, River and Northern Beaches (changing its name to City), and six regional branches: Armidale, Blue Mountains, Central Coast, Central West, Hunter Valley and Southern Highlands.

AWARDS

Tempe Mann Award

The Education Trust selected Kate Anderson from a competitive field to receive the 2006 Tempe Mann Award. Kate regarded the award as a prestigious recognition of her work and was grateful to receive the cheque for $7,500 to support her further research in Canada. Kate has a BA and BSc Hons 1 Psych USyd and is a 2005 George Institute Research Fellow IMPART Study (Improving access to Kidney Transplantation) for indigenous Australians.

Annual University Awards

AFUW-NSW Inc donates one annual award to Macquarie University and the University of New South Wales and three awards plus a bursary to the University of Sydney. In 2005/6 prizes awarded were:

  • The Gladys Marks Memorial Bursary, in honour of the fourth President of AFUW-NSW, to a mature age student at USyd with a specific financial requirement to finish her studies, to Arash Chehelnabi
  • Gina Savage Prize for 2005 to Bethany Hoye at UWollongong (from former Illawarra Branch)
  • The Tish Proctor Memorial Prize for the most proficient woman student in First Year Government at the USyd in 2005 to Christine Ernst
  • The prize in Mathematics USyd for 2005 to Sophie Ashton
  • The prize in School of English USyd in English II Essays for 2005 to Naomi Danielle Oreb
  • The prize in The School of English UNSW for 2005 to Denee Theodorou
  • The prize in 200-level English at Macquarie for 2005 to Jacqueline Norton

Branches

Branches continue to provide generous prizes and annual awards to students at secondary and tertiary levels both in the metropolitan and country areas as shown in their reports. These reflect the members’ belief in the importance and value of encouraging and supporting women to further education. Some branches support overseas students in East Timor, IFUW Bina Roy Fund, AFUW-NSW SAAP and the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund.

AMUNC – Asia Pacific Model United Nations Conference

Another way of publicising AFUW-NSW in an appropriate forum was through contact with the student Secretary General organising the AMUNC06 at the University of Western Sydney. It resulted in 300 AFUW-NSW brochures being placed in the conference packets of attendees. A special thanks to City Branch for providing $360 to sponsor the award of a magazine subscription to the best performing nine students at the conference.

National Council of Women - NSW Australia Day

Part of the goal to build relationships with the wider community is a new award initiative which is to sponsor a NCW NSW Australia Day Award for a $1000. After much debate it was decided to select a woman who has completed or is enrolled in a Diploma of Education from the University of Wollongong. Special thanks to the branches and individual members who have generously supported the award with donations. Not only will a woman be recognised and helped with this award, but it is an excellent public relations and promotional exercise to have AFUW- NSW recognised as a sponsor at a very well attended lunch with many of the attendees being representatives of large organisations.

Other Organisations

AFUW-NSW supports activities organised by other women’s organisations such as NCW Australia Day Lunch and the Jean Arnot Lunch. Members attended the WEL Edna Ryan Awards which honoured an impressive array of intelligent, articulate women. We also field delegates to NCW, UNIFEM and to meetings organised by Women Into Politics and The Office For Women, NSW Premier’s Department.

SAAP

Originally IFUW Study and Action Programme it is now the IFUW Programme For Action. Thanks to Gaynor Reeves for administering this Programme. As a result of a generous response from the branches, $1000 was sent to The Australian Aid to Cambodia Fund to support two women students at the only rural university in Cambodia. $100 was sent to AFUW National to assist the Samoan Association.

MARGERY MURRAY ROOM

In January the lease was renewed and in the process it was necessary to combine two rooms into one to accommodate the increased rental. A big thank you to ‘Tricia Blombery, her partner, Stuart, and Bev Pavey, who assisted the President and her husband, Peter, to effect the move in one day. Thanks also to office secretary Sue Ewin for her work prior to the move.

ACTIVITIES

Testimonial lunch

This function for Mary Kane on 6 October 2005 was well attended by members in the Margery Murray Room to honour and pay tribute to a deserving colleague in AFUW-NSW. Through ill-health Mary was forced to resign her active participation in the organisation so the occasion was filled with praise and thanks for her tireless dedication and effort for AFUW and VGIF at every level.

Annual General Meeting - Newcastle

As mentioned earlier, the AGM and lunch was hosted by Hunter Valley Branch at the Capri Plaza Hotel Newcastle on 15 October 2005. The guest Speaker, Margaret Winn, shared her experiences working in aid projects abroad and gave an insight into the difficulties and rewards entailed in helping people of different cultures survive major disasters.

Christmas Luncheon

The North Shore Branch offered to organize the Christmas Luncheon on 26 November 2005 at The Womens’ College, University of Sydney, with Diane Ranck as Guest Speaker. Attendees were thoroughly entertained by Diane’s exciting and eventful life-story and enjoyed the hospitality extended by College Principal, Mrs Yvonne Rate.

The Sophia Holland Lecture and Lunch, held at The Sydney Mechanics School of Arts on 27 May 2006, welcomed as Guest Speaker, 2005 Tempe Mann winner, Dr Susan Coulson. Susan’s illustrated talk of her work in helping people with facial nerve paralysis informed the attentive audience who responded with many questions. The current Tempe Mann winner, Kate Anderson, was present to receive her award.


Susan Coulson with Ivy Edwards and members at the luncheon

VALE

Members were saddened by the death of our colleagues during the year, Enid Margaret Alcock, Huldah Turner, Dr Elizabeth Liggins, Lorna Puflett, Dr Margaret McKenzie and Vice – President and Public Officer, Shirley Manion, whose funeral service was attended by many members. Shirley’s contribution to AFUW-NSW will long be remembered.

CONGRATULATIONS

AFUW-NSW members recognise and congratulate Dorothy Balcomb of Central West Branch who received OAM on Queen’s Birthday 2006 for her extraordinary contribution to education and the community.

Congratulations also to Pamela Lemoine of Blue Mountains who was interviewed on local radio and who the local paper described as a “Peace Angel” for her tireless work both at State and National levels as Peace Convenor. Pamela is a role model for all who aspire to making a difference in the world.

COMMENDATIONS

The organisation is indebted to Carol Quinn who took on the duties of Public Officer for the next three years following Shirley’s demise. Carol also generously accepted the position of Chairman of the Constitution Review Committee following Mary Kane’s resignation from the role. Thank you Carol for the many hours of work expended to produce numerous drafts for consideration by the members and for final submission at the next AGM.

Grateful thanks to Treasurer, ‘Tricia Blombery, for her tireless work on behalf of AFUW-NSW. Her assistance has contributed greatly to the administering of our organisation. As well thanks are due to ‘Tricia’s partner, Stuart Grigg, for his work in assisting the Treasurer.

Thanks also to Valerie McCallum whose work for the Education Trust is invaluable. We rely on her professional expertise to assess applicants for the awards and in spite of health problems, she fulfilled the required duties.

Particular thanks are due to Newsletter Editor, Lyn Thompson. Lyn puts a lot of time and effort into producing the Newsletter and Annual Report and deserves our gratitude.

In conclusion it is necessary to thank members of the Executive and Central Committee for the team effort and initiative displayed, to thank office bearers of Branches and to congratulate all members on their involvement with AFUW-NSW.

- Ivy Edwards President

 

2005 - 2006 CENTRAL COMMITTEE

AUSTRALIAN FEDERATION OF UNIVERSITY WOMEN NSW INC
Margery Murray Room: Basement Level 280 Pitt Street, Sydney
Postal Address: P O Box A2231 Sydney South 1235
Phone /Fax: 02 9283 7878 Email: afuwnsw@netspace.net.au
WEB SITE: www.afuwnsw.org.au

President   Mrs Ivy Edwards
Past President   Dr Susan Davies
Vice Presidents   Ms Christine Hosking
    Mrs Shirley Manion (deceased April 06)
    Dr Jane Baker (from May 06)
Secretary   Dr Stephanie Cunningham
Honorary Treasurer   Ms ‘Tricia Blombery
CIR   Mrs Beverley Pavey
Committee Members   Dr Jane Baker,
    Mrs Carol Quinn
Branch Representatives
Armidale   Dr Jennifer Webb
Blue Mountains   Mrs Pamela Lemoine
Central Coast   Mrs Joan Smith
Central West   Sister Pauline Riley
City   Mrs Teresa Valenti
Hunter Valley   Mrs Hilary Alexander
Inner Western Suburbs   Ms Margaret Barlow
North Shore   Mrs Betty Davy
River   Mrs Margaret Fisher
Southern Highlands   Ms Susan Nagy
Public Officer   Mrs Shirley Manion (dec)
    Mrs Carol Quinn
Membership Registrar/    
Newsletter Editor/   Ms Lyn Thompson
SAAP Co-ordinator   Mrs Gaynor Reeves
Chair, Education Trust   Ms Valerie McCallum
Fellowships Convenor   Mrs Joan Smith
Membership Convenor   Dr Minna Shaw-Smith
Education   Ms Merle Thompson
Health   Dr Jane Baker
Peace   Mrs Pamela Lemoine
Status of Women   Sister Pauline Riley
Office Secretary   Mrs Sue Ewin

ABN 23 098 188 689
 

REPORTS FROM BRANCHES

ARMIDALE

Armidale Branch ended 2005/6 with 19 members and one associate member. We held six formal meetings during the year, with dinner, business meeting, and after-dinner speaker. Attendance varied between 10 and 14 members, average 11. On two occasions we invited partners and other guests, boosting numbers by 4 and 7. Speakers and topics were:

July 2005: Our Vice-President Dr (now Associate Professor) Ann Ghandar fascinated us all with her talk on Writing Music – a presentation which demonstrated why her teaching of composition is renowned at University of New England.

September: Bruce Ryan from the Department of Fair Trading gave us an amusing and informative insight into the operation of the Department.

November: Dr Joan Relke’s excellent talk on The Archetypal Female in Mythology and Religion introduced us to Jungian psychology and its influence on her work, illustrating her points with slides of some of her lovely sculptures.

February 2006: Daisy Williams spoke about the challenges of her new job as Director of Armidale’s Aboriginal Cultural Centre and Keeping Place, and her plans for reorganisation and staff training.

March: Our member, Dr Susan Davies, spoke on Academic Brinkmanship Canberra 1959, an account of political and academic differences of opinion over the roles of the Australian National University and the Canberra University College.

May: Professor Sajeev from the University of New England spoke on Information Technology – a Peep into the Future. His presentation was truly excellent – state of the art in both content and electronic wizardry and also amusing and entertaining. Some members were taken with the idea of a microchip implant in their brains to increase/improve memory!

We held six informal meetings, consisting of dinner at different venues, an excellent way of keeping up-to-date with Armidale’s many pubs and restaurants. This year almost all meetings were at recently-refurbished venues.

In December a group of members and partners attended a dinner performance of Cabaret at the Armidale Showground, memorable not only for the musical but also for the sudden storm which noisily tore a sheet of corrugated iron off the roof (not leaving open sky over the audience or stage, fortunately). December also saw our Christmas Party, a most enjoyable occasion at Lois and Peter Beaton’s spacious home.

The book group, with nine members, met once a month; this year’s reading reflected the group’s extremely catholic tastes! Books included two historical novels: The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier (the making of a medieval tapestry) and Mary Renault’s Fire from Heaven (the youth of Alexander the Great) and Terry Pratchett’s Discworld fantasy novel, The Colour of Magic.

Over the Christmas period they read Laura Penny’s book Your call is important to us: the truth about bullshit (a lively account of the ways in which “they” try to pull wool over our eyes, and often succeed), following this with a detective story - P D James’ The Lighthouse in March. The later part of the year was devoted to 1421: the year China discovered the world, by Gavin Menzies, which stimulated much discussion.

Present and former Branch members continued to provide a team to deliver Meals on Wheels once a month.

The branch’s Prize Fund at the University of New England provides $125 each to the best female students in first-year English and first-year Biological Sciences. Winners this year were Jenna Cullen of Dubbo NSW (English) and Monique Elliott of Bonville NSW (Biological Sciences).

Kate Mortensen President

Marian Stone Secretary

BLUE MOUNTAINS

The past year has gone quickly for our small band of members.

The highlight again has been the interviewing of four Year 11 students at Katoomba High School. They were very capable, delightful girls and a credit to their school. The winner of our Gladys Weiler award of $250.00 was Ashleigh Ang (pictured). The presentation was made in the Library of the school at a morning tea kindly given by the Principal, Mr Foy. It was good to see several other staff and parents present. The two Vice-Captains chaired the proceedings and we were entertained by some musical items. Each of the girls was given a Certificate and they were wished well in their future studies.

The September meeting was lively with discussion about the book we had been reading, "The Great Fire" by Shirley Hazzard.

Our Christmas Luncheon was a most enjoyable, relaxed occasion at the Katoomba Golf Club overlooking the fairways.

One meeting was solely given to a very spirited discussion on the revision of the Constitution.

We were saddened to hear of the sudden death of Shirley Manion Vice-President NSW and long time SAAP Convenor. She visited our Branch several times and she will be missed. Three members attended her funeral.

Other activities have kept us busy this year. Three members attended the NSW AGM at Newcastle, the North Shore Branch's Christmas Party as well as the NSW's Christmas Luncheon and also the Sophia Holland Lecture. Four members attended the 34th Triennium AFUW Conference in Canberra. Merle Thompson stepped in at short notice as Minutes Secretary.

Pamela, as Acting National Convenor for Peace, accompanied Rosemary Everett, AFUW President, to the University Women of Asia's 7th Triennial Conference "Women as Agents of Change in International Peace Efforts". The Blue Mountains Gazette had an article headed "Women leading the way in World Peace" and this was followed up with an interview on local radio 2 Blu Katoomba. Good publicity for AFUW and Women.

The President thanked those members who had graciously allowed the branch to hold meetings in their homes and provided afternoon tea or lunch and those who assisted with transport whenever called upon.

Pamela Lemoine President

Merle Thompson Secretary

CENTRAL COAST

There are 16 financial members who meet monthly from February till October at Central Coast Leagues Club. December and June are generally social gatherings. We have had mixed success with publicity in the local press but continue to live in hope that more of our meetings will obtain publicity.

Speakers at our meetings have been both local and from further afield.

A former member, Margaret Blundel, has been researching local history for her MA at Central Coast Campus of Newcastle and with additional information from two of our members who have always lived on the Central Coast, we learned of the different housing types on the Coast formerly.

Dr Tony Adams gave a comprehensive report of the work of World Heath Oranisation in the eradication of polio, the biggest project in medical history and funded largely by Rotary International. Tony is also active with many of our members in advocating a Performance Centre for the Central Coast.

As a lead in to International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, Janet Peters gave a most interesting talk on the life of Dame Mary Gilmore who had been a close friend and teaching colleague of Janet’s grandmother and a mentor of Janet herself.

Rhonda McCormack has lived in three locations in India where her engineer husband worked on projects funded by the World Bank. The regions have differed culturally, in food, language, religion and climate. Her talk generated a lot of questions especially regarding the old customs and practices of rural India.

Chris Bearman, the Artistic Director of the Central Coast Conservatorium, gave a history of the Conservatorium which does a lot of work in early childhood involvement through the primary schools and offers Scholarships to promising students to continue their music education at the Conservatorium. Chris also spoke of his vision for the Central Coast’s Performing Arts Centre.

Mary Sexton has been recognised for her work in many women’s organisations and we heard of her passion to have ordinary Australian women’s stories recorded.

Our fund raising for this year has been directed at SAAP and the NCW Australia Day Award.

Joan Smith President

Pamela Guest Secretary

CENTRAL WEST

During the year 2005-2006 the Central West Branch has enjoyed the support of its loyal members and their many guests. The fellowship afforded our group has again allowed us to convene four successful dinner meetings where attendance has ranged from 50 to 95 members and interested guests.

Our program for 2005-2006 included:
August 2005
The Quarry Restaurant
Mrs Jacqui Schultz
The Archibald Prize
  November 2005
The Mill
Mr James Ritchie
Lessons in a Lifetime in Intelligence
March 2006
The Japanese Gardens
Ms Hannah Semmler
Arts Out West
  May 2006
The Old Vic
Mrs Mim Loomes
Canowindra Grossi

At a State level there have been discussions about the future structure of our association. This has precipitated enlightening discussions at our committee meetings about the history and politics of AFUW. At the National level Barbara Wright and Anne Holloway attended the Triennial Conference AFUW in Canberra during April. At the International level we continue to support, mostly in spirit, but also through our membership subscription to IFUW, the many women throughout the world who struggle to gain higher education.

President, Christine Garner, took up a new position in Dubbo and regretfully resigned her Presidency. Barbara Wright and Jean Mary Fagan became Acting Presidents and Jean Mary, a branch member since its inception in 1965, paid tribute to Christine’s work, saying how much members enjoyed and appreciated having her as President and commenting that Christine and Secretary, Jenny White, (pictured here with Isabel Maher) “have updated us into the 21st century”.

The branch scholarship for the 2005 HSC student with the highest UAI, enrolled in tertiary studies for the first time in 2006, was awarded to Isobel Maher of Orange from The Kinross School in Orange. She is studying for her Bachelor of Philosophy at the Australian National University in Canberra. Her UAI was 98.5. The value of this scholarship stands at $l,000.

In thanking the Committee, Jean Mary gave special thanks to the panel for Post Graduate Scholarship applications and selection. Dr Lois Foster (Chair), Christine Garner, Barbara Wright and Sue Brown. The Scholarship for 2005 was contested by nine very worthy nominees. Alicia Dawson (shown with Lois Foster) from Bathurst was selected and presented with the first instalment at the March meeting. She will use the $4000 scholarship to assist her in completing post graduate studies in Psychology. The branch looks forward to following Alicia’s career and hope that she will return and share her experiences further down the track.

Barbara Wright, Jean Mary Fagan Acting Presidents

Jenny White Secretary

CITY

The inaugural meeting was held on 18th August 2005. Those present comprised members from various parts of Sydney including those of former Northern Beaches and Southern Suburbs Branches.

During the last 12 months the membership has increased slowly. Current membership is eleven. Regular lunch meetings, where members have enjoyed excellent lunches and social interaction, were held each month at different locations in the city. To cater for members working during the day, some meetings were held over early evening cocktails and appetizers.

Guest speakers at the meetings addressed a range of diverse topics which were of interest to members. These included Charles Dicken’s Bleak House, Norfolk Island Convicts, Aboriginal Art and a private viewing of Sayonara Changi which told the story of one person’s life and experience in the prisoner-of-war camp, Changi

In addition, City Branch welcomed overseas visitors, Jeanne-Louise Bieler from L’Association suisse des femmes diplômées des universities, Geneva, and Hilary Roche member of the Irish Federation of University Women (IrFUW) Dublin, both of whom contributed to discussion and provided insight as to how their particular IFUW affiliates are organised and operate. Also welcomed was Fan Jing from China, currently in Australia as a research fellow with the George Institute for International Health, University of Sydney who outlined aspects of her research at the Institute.

Combined with lunch meetings, members have taken the opportunity to visit museums and galleries in the city including Garden Island Royal Australian Navy Heritage Centre, SH Irvin Gallery, Hyde Park Barracks, St James Church and The Mint.

Highlights and activities for the year included:

  • Presentation of awards to acknowledge the achievement of women students engaged in the TAFE Tertiary Preparation Course (TPC) at Ultimo and Meadowbank. Awards were made to Carolyn Marnell (Meadowbank TAFE ) and Diane Hatoum (Ultimo TAFE).
  • Presentation of achievement awards at the annual week long Asia Pacific Model United Nations Conference (AMUNC) held at Parramatta campus, University of Western Sydney. University students from Australia and New Zealand from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines met in a simulated environment which matched the United Nations General Assembly, presenting position papers and debating topics of international significance and concern.
  • Contribution to SAAP.
  • Presentation, Turbulent Times: What Now? by well known counsellor and author, Petrea King, held at the Sydney Mechanics School of Arts. Whilst not well attended by AFUW-NSW members, there was very good attendance from women representing NGOs and public sector organisations.
  • Branch member, Beverley Pavey, outlined the aims and objectives of AFUW and the activities of City Branch during a radio interview on Community Radio Triple H.

Several members attended the AFUW Conference held in Canberra.

This provided members with the opportunity to not only meet other members from various parts of Australia but to experience first hand the inner workings of AFUW.

The President congratulated and thanked the executive and members for their commitment and the time they have given to the Branch in order to ensure its success in this the first year.

Christine Hosking President

Teresa Valenti Secretary

HUNTER VALLEY

The President expressed her appreciation to all members, particularly the executive and members of the committee, for their support during the past year which was a busy and successful one.

In 2005/6 there were 34 financial members including several new ones. Sadly some of the older members were unable to keep up their membership. New members were welcomed and it is hoped that they will enjoy participating in the Branch’s activities. Monthly dinner meetings have been popular with approximately 20 members attending. The guest speakers during 2005/2006 covered a number of interesting areas.

The AGM in July was held with supper served afterwards. On July 30 instead of a Dinner Meeting a number of the members attended the Civic Playhouse for “Broadway at its Best” - music from some of Broadway’s most popular shows.

In August: Bill Chambers, a highly qualified SCUBA diver and photographer, illustrated his talk with wonderful photographs of marine life.

September Art/Craft Morning-Tea: This was in aid of our East Timor students. Members and some of their friends displayed their works. These included paintings, quilts, embroidery, spinning, weaving and knitting, African violets and photography. Several members spoke about their work. Some items were sold. It was a very happy and successful day. About 40 people enjoyed the display and morning-tea prepared by the Committee. There were lots of lucky door and raffle prizes, many of them donated.

On 15 October the Annual General Meeting of AFUW-NSW was hosted by Hunter Valley Branch at the Capri Plaza Hotel. Lunch was served after the meeting. The Guest Speaker was Margaret Winn who spoke of her experience of and insights into working on Aid Projects in less developed countries.

November: Professor Nick Saunders, The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Newcastle, was the speaker for the final dinner meeting of the year. His topic was Our University, Our Town.

Member, Vicki Cowling OAM, was guest speaker in February, 2006. Her topic was “I am a rock. I am an island” (Simon, 1972). She spoke of children of parents with mental illness and their families

The Guest Speaker for March, through mishap, was unable to attend so the members and their guests had a pleasant evening in conversation. In April Cathy Johnston, a Project Officer with the Migrant Resource Centre, spoke about the settling of migrants in our community, particularly our latest African arrivals.

In June: Dr Noel Rutherford stood in at very short notice for our advertised Guest Speaker who had become ill. Noel spoke of The Great Witch-Hunt and placed it firmly in its historical setting.

Musical Morning-Tea in May Jenny Bain had organized musical items for this function held at her home. These were performed prior to a delicious morning tea prepared by the Committee who were assisted in serving it by Jenny’s husband, family and young friends. Some 40+ members/friends enjoyed the morning. Again, there were many much appreciated raffle prizes donated by our members.

On 30 March 2006 our Life Member, Huldah Turner died, after a long period of illness, six months short of her 100th birthday. She had been a Foundation Member of the Hunter Valley Branch. The Branch was enriched by her membership over many years.

University Book Fair In August last year the Branch gave its usual assistance by providing morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea for the volunteer workers and, as well, selling refreshments to the general public. Members of the public did not purchase as much as usual which meant that financial return from this event was disappointing given the unstinting effort put in by the members involved.

The Branch has continued to support two girls with their education in Dili, East Timor. The Principal of St Joseph’s Secondary School has nominated two girls for support over the coming two years. Given the ongoing difficulties in Dili, the Branch is waiting to hear more from Father Edu before sending the next lot of money. Two prizes, are funded at the University of Newcastle. They are the Margaret Auchmuty Prize for Education and the Huldah Turner Prize for Mathematics. The University did not award the latter prize this year. The Branch continued its annual commitment to the Virginia Gildersleeve Fund and to the Study And Action Programme.

Book Group

The book group is now into its sixth year. Membership has grown with 15 members all told and 10 -11 members attending regularly. The person who selects the book for that month leads the discussion and hosts the group. There have been some very lively discussions. Reading tastes vary quite widely so members find that the subject matter of their reading has been broadened by belonging to the group. Members donate a gold coin each month which helps fund the Branch newsletter.

Broader AFUW Issues

Members appreciate being kept in touch with the wider happenings of AFUW. They were saddened to hear of the death of Shirley Manion, Vice-President and Public Officer at the time of her death. Shirley had been a stalwart member of AFUW over many years and had a wealth of knowledge of the workings and history of the Organization both locally and internationally.

The Hunter Committee has made several suggestions to the working party revising the current Constitution of AFUW- NSW and queried several clauses. Further material about the Branch has been prepared to go on to the AFUW-NSW website.

Hilary Alexander President

Jenny Bain Secretary

INNER WESTERN SUBURBS

A year ago we had a brief AGM and a fascinating account of the New Sydney Senior Secondary College at Blackwattle Bay from Jill Collier, the Principal. However we left last year’s AGM with the understanding that this was the LAST time we could simply juggle positions on the committee and twist people’s arms to serve yet again and that without an infusion of new people and new ideas the branch was doomed. As President, Jane was disappointed to acknowledge that despite general mailings to all members and two meetings devoted to discussion of how they could revive the branch nothing has really changed.

The first meeting of the year was in October when Minna, who was involved with founding this branch about 10 years ago when she was State President, gave us a brief history of the branch and led discussion on ways to boost attendance at meetings and membership. There was little support for changing day or venue and concern that the problems were not of AFUW alone.

At our Christmas meeting we enjoyed Shelston hospitality and welcomed Dr Janelle Trees as our speaker. Janelle had just heard she had passed her final exams and gave us a fascinating account of her life as a mature Koori medical student who left school before HSC, married, and had a baby early, then completed HSC as a mature student, struggled to complete her first degree and came to medicine via acupuncture. We are pleased to report that Janelle graduated with honours at a special graduation ceremony marking 150 years of the Faculty of Medicine at Sydney University and is planning to continue in Wollongong in 2007. She is contemplating a career in palliative care via General Practice or one in Psychiatry.

In February 2006 Minna and Jane went to Sydney Town Hall for the Fort Street prize-giving and Jane was delighted to present our High School prize to Chansopheavy Ngoeun (Sophie). The prize was used in part payment of fees for Sophie to attend the Sydney University Summer course on Mind and Morality. This confirmed her ambition to go to university and gave her use of the Fisher Library for the year. We decided in place of our May meeting to encourage people to attend the Sophia Holland lunch since Susan Coulson, the invited speaker, is a member of our branch. Susan did us proud – but unfortunately though we had invited her to come Sophie was unable to attend and meet our members.

Our March meeting at Burwood RSL had Ivy Edwards, our State President, as guest speaker. Ivy spoke informally about her vision for the future of AFUW-NSW and was involved in discussions about how we could save this branch.

Apart from the prize to a high school pupil we have made donations over the year to SAAP, Bina Roy, Virginia Gildersleeve and by changing our bank account we have eliminated bank charges.

NSW AFUW has proposed making an Australia Day Award through NCW and is seeking contributions. At least $1000 is needed plus travel expenses if the student is from outside Sydney. This seems a suitable way to distribute some of the Branch’s funds. The President indicated she would very much like to commit to a Year 12 prize and have details of a worthy recipient.

As to the future - a year ago the branch probably elected its committee unopposed. In October members resolved that, if at the next AGM no volunteers came forward to serve as Treasurer and Secretary, the Branch had no alternative but to close. Jane Baker stressed how it was no pleasure to serve as the ‘final’ president but as yet there are no nominees! She hoped members would join an alternative branch.

Jane Baker President

Marie Shelston Secretary

NORTH SHORE

This has been a successful year and President, Betty Davy, was happy to advise that the financial membership stands at 89 and is in a healthy condition.

Sadly we lost three of our valuable members; Professor Elizabeth Liggins, Lorna Puflett and Shirley Manion who was not only a competent Secretary but also a wise counsellor. A number of our members have spent long times in hospital and we are all pleased to see them recovered and back with us again.

Dorothy Betty has provided us with a varied and interesting programme of Guest Speakers. In September Sue Stannard, one of our former presidents, spoke of her Scottish Heritage and in December Professor Waterhouse delighted us with his reminiscences of life at Eryldene. Gabrielle Upton, Deputy Chancellor of the University of NSW, informed us of the duties of her position and the changing face of the University. Our last speaker for the year was Kate Chidlow, the conservator of the Power House Museum, and we were interested to learn of the items stored at the Museum and the manner in which they are maintained.

We have continued to make donations to University-related projects, providing prizes for outstanding students at Macquarie University in the subjects of Psychology, Biology and English. Representatives of our members attended the prize-givings and were recognised as donors.

We have made a donation as usual to the SAAP Fund which supports a girl student in Cambodia, and to the Virginia Gildersleeve Fund which provides assistance to women in underprivileged countries. This year we made a donation to the Asthma Foundation in memory of Shirley Manion.

We have been involved with both the activities of AFUW NSW and AFUW National. Several of our members attended the AGM of AFUW NSW at Newcastle where we were able to meet members from other branches. Contacts like this lead to an understanding of the organisation on a state - basis.

In April a number of our members journeyed to Canberra for the AGM of the Federal Body where we had the pleasure of a visit to Yarralumla and the Senate and dinner at the home of Dr Jocelyn Eskdale in Queanbeyan. As well as this enjoyable social programme, we found interesting the meetings and presentations of the Guest Speakers, whose topics ranged from the hundred years of service of Women in the Armed Forces, to Emergency Management of Disaster, the Role of Women in the Armed Forces, Women in the Police Force, Australian Women in U.N. Peace-Keeping, to Bullying in the Workplace and Assistance for Indigenous Students to obtain academic qualifications. We were privileged to have the International President, Mrs Griselda Kenyon, with us to tell us of the work of the international body.

During the year we had the opportunity of attending a luncheon to honour Mary Kane, who, due to ill health, has resigned as Treasurer of the State body. Mary has made an enormous contribution to AFUW NSW and we enjoyed seeing her and expressing our appreciation and hope for her better health in future.

Betty Davy expressed her gratitude and praise to the members of her Committee as most cooperative and willing attend additional meetings at short notice when urgent action was needed. She especially thanked treasurer, Greta Recsei, membership secretary, Judith Douglas and Jean Marshall, who willingly acted in the place of the late Shirley Manion.

Betty Davy President Shirley Manion (dec), Jean Marshall Secretary

RIVER

The River branch has enjoyed another very successful year thanks in large part to an indefatigable secretary, a supportive and very hard-working committee and a superb caterer.

We continue to attract 60 to 80 people to our spring and autumn lunches. The spring luncheon speaker, the author, Jacqueline Kent, gave a fascinating insight into her research on the internationally renowned pianist, Hepzibah Menuhin. She described her travels to meet Hepzibah’s children and nephews and the difficulties of reconciling their sometimes differing recollections and their concerns for her reputation.

We were fortunate to be offered the home of Judy and Jim Fitzpatrick for our Christmas Party. It turned out to be a very wet, windy day, but somehow everyone fitted inside thanks to Judy and Jim’s rearrangement of their furniture. The President thanked the committee who organised and cooked a beautiful meal, and particularly, Judy and Jim for making the day such a success in spite of the weather.

The speaker, Helen Caldicott, attracted a large crowd to our autumn lunch, which was again beautifully catered for by Alex Penfold. She gave a most informative talk on the dangers of exposure to radiation and the problems associated with radioactive waste materials, however produced. She stressed that with more countries developing nuclear capability and with increasingly violent terrorism there are new nuclear dangers for us all. Her talk stimulated much discussion, some of it quite heated.

The Book and Theatre Groups continue with varied, stimulating programs and so are well supported.

As a result of all our activities the Branch were able to support the following:

  • $300 for the River Group prize in Special Education at Macquarie University, which in 2005 was awarded to Miss Narelle Walker.
  • $500 towards the River Group Post-Graduate Award Fund at Sydney University.
  • $500 to Dr. Frances Booth, for her Eyecare Project.
  • $443 from the raffles run by Dorothy Keyworth, to the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund.

Anne Ridley President

Nada Taylor Secretary

SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS

Fellowship and friendship are our cornerstones and we welcome those who enjoy our company. We come together at a congenial place to learn more about our society and the world at large, and hopefully, to do something about it. On the theme of congenial meetings, we started the new AFUW year with a very successful garden party at “Karrara”, with a record attendance of members and friends. The President thanked Cath Davies and the Committee for the sterling effort made on the day. The guest speaker, Professor Kristine French, Director of the Janet Cosh Herbarium, delighted everyone with her presentation of the life of Janet Cosh, who collected and documented the flora of the Southern Highlands.

All in all, we raised over $500 towards for our scholarship fund, and our Christmas Dinner Meeting at Gilbert’s Restaurant at Mittagong was similarly successful. Rosemary Stanton is well known to us as the celebrity nutritionist, an attractive and entertaining advertisement for the good health that she espouses.

We have been fortunate to have some good guest speakers this year. Our local federal parliamentary member, Jo Gash gave us a lengthy opportunity to question her on current women’s issues in February, and the following month saw Lily Arthur give us a harrowing account of her experience as a just under-age unwed mother. In May we were privileged to enjoy a power point presentation on the latest research into intelligent fabrics in the prevention of sports injuries by Professor Julie Steele.

David Tranter inspired us in June with his observations of the intricate, co-operative workings of planet Earth, and our need to be pro-active to save it from disaster. Our July speaker Linda Emery highlighted the great strength of pioneer colonial women. These speakers extended our knowledge of the world, and made us think of our part in it.

Our branch sees tertiary education for women as a priority, and the two students chosen by Wollongong University for $500 scholarships were Kylie Wilson and Lisa Keith who are studying at the Moss Vale Campus. We have also given another $500 for our East Timorese Law student Ina de Rosa, who is making exceptional progress in her studies. We have donated $100 towards AFUW-NSW’s Student of the Year Award, to be presented on Australia Day 2007.

Susan Nagy President

Robyn Wheeler Secretary

 
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