WHAT does Kelvin farmer Noel Kennedy have in common with former media magnate John B Fairfax?
Simple. They’re both members of a very exclusive club.
Mr Kennedy, husband of Gunnedah CWA branch president Elaine, will become the first man in regional NSW to enter the all-female domain of the 90-year-old Country Women’s Association, when the Namoi branch meets at Quirindi next month.
Noel said it was a privilege to be among the first gentlemen invited to join, finding it a fitting reward for his “years slaving away with the ladies”.
Noel is known as the go-to man for the Namoi branch, best recognised for his work with the CWA tent at AgQuip where wife Elaine says he works tirelessly all day for his “girls”.
Remembering his first CWA chores more than 40 years ago at the Kelvin Hall, Noel said he enjoyed both the work itself and giving back to his local community.
Although his membership won’t be official until October, Noel said he’s now looking forward to a few more entitlements.
“I think it’s more tea and scones,” he laughed.
“I asked Elaine if it entitled me to show up at meetings and conferences and she just looked at me.”
Groups from around the region have organised functions for CWA Awareness Day, with the state ceremony at Sydney’s head office marking the major milestone.
Mr Fairfax, along with former Australian netballer Anne Sargeant and Clyde Thomson from the Royal Flying Doctor Service, were among those awarded with state honorary memberships yesterday.
Ten individuals were selected for their significant contributions to the history of the CWA and inspiration to ordinary Australians.
CWA of NSW president Elaine Armstrong said it was a history- making occasion.
“For the first time, we have awarded honorary memberships and some of those recipients were men,” she said.
“It’s a commemorative year for the CWA and we have been looking forward to recognising these individuals who have made a difference.”
The Namoi group, which encompasses branches from Willow Tree up to Bellata, were at Gunnedah’s Smithurst Theatre on Tuesday for the annual international cultural day.
With speakers, a singalong and a few entertaining skits, Namoi group treasurer Michelle Eggins said being a member wasn’t all hard work.
“We still think we’re pretty young. We always have a laugh,” Michelle said.
A member for 22 years, Michelle said her proudest moment was being awarded life membership.
“I was awarded early, after about 12 years. I was so honoured,” she said.
“Despite what you might think, it’s not all cake sales and raffle tickets. It’s about what you can do for your community.
“Last year we gave six local school students $100 each on their transition from Year 6 to 7,” Michelle said.
“That’s the sort of thing we like doing.”