Dear Friend,

I was given this natty little book for my birthday;

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It is filled with recipes that have been used in CWA (Country Women’s Association) baking competitions over the last 60 years. Apart from the obligatory Jam Drop and Marble Cakes there are recipes for lamingtons, sponges and several variants of fruit cake.

Although the recipes are quite good, I think the real treasure contained within this book is the photos of real life women in the 1950-60’s. For those of you who aren’t aware the Country Women’s Association is an organisation that operates throughout rural Australia to assist and unify women in semi-remotes areas. In the days before the internet and television this group was a vital social link for women of all ages and backgrounds. The CWA provide a frame work to support women of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds. Women would meet regularly to gossip, share news and rally together for many a worthy cause in their area.

The highlight of many country women’s year was the agricultural shows that were conducted in capital cities. Whole families would pack up the car and go to the show, donning their Sunday best and head for the big smoke.

Whilst the children looked forward to the rides and husbands the stock and cattle competitions…the women had the home craft and baking competitions. These competitions were fiercely contested a substantial cash prizes were offered and many a proud baker had reputations at stake.

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The show was a chance to wear ones finest. Older women would wear their smart two piece dress suits, furs and hats to the judging days and would catch up with friends that lived too far away to see throughout the year.

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The CWA pavilion provided refreshments and a quiet area to collect ones thoughts amongst the hustle and bustle of the showground, and was often used as a meeting place. I love this photo snapped in 1952, which shows a broad spectrum of people at the show;

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This tiny portion of the photo has three ladies of very different ages and backgrounds. The woman in the front (with the coat over her arm) has a young-ish look but seems to have had a hard, work-a-day life. Then we see the older woman behind her who, whilst not well-off, has a certain air of dignity about her. But, I am most intrigued by the woman in the rear of the photo- who is the only one to be wearing gloves- I want to see more of her dress and that fabulous saucer hat!

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Isn’t this young man gorgeous in his mini safari suit…eat your heart out Richard Attenborough! We can only catch a glimpse of his friend/brother (to the right) who appears to be in a short suit, tie and hat…I say shorts because you can see his long socks poking out the bottom;

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I notice that the winning circle is mostly comprised of middle to late aged women.

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After looking at all these pictures I have a severe case of glasses envy (I wear glasses for computer work) and was particularly taken with this ladies;

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They have the most beautifully shaped arms, complete with two tone engraving and rhinestones-cats eye heaven-sigh!

xx

Princess Pin Curls