The NT Country Women’s Association (CWA) has launched their first history book.
What started out as a documentation about the CWA organisation has become one of the first detailed histories of women in the NT.
After hundreds of interviews and thorough research of newspapers and CWA archives, authors Peter and Sheila Forrest attended the launch of the book Together - The Country Women’s Association in the Northern Territory at The Finch Cafe.
Esteemed historian and writer Peter Forrest said, “the book brings women out of the shadows and shows the vast contributions they have made to the NT to make it what it is today.”
Published by the CWA the book dedicates a large section to Katherine, documenting women’s achievements from the 1930’s to present day.
“The Katherine CWA branch was inclusive – an Aboriginal woman was one of its founding members – it was compassionate and always anxious to make Katherine a better place to live in.
“It was important to show the CWA is more than tea and scones, it’s betterment of community,” Mr Forrest said.
“[Together] is the life and time of the CWA in Katherine,” book researcher Sheila Forrest said.
Past president of the NT CWA Judy Anictomatis OAM approached the historians three years ago following many requests for information about past members and their involvement.
“I couldn’t find the information myself at the time, so the logical next step was to get in touch with people who could.
“This book has turned out to be the only history of women in the NT. It is something to be proud of because women are the back bone of this country.
“It is even going to be recommended in the next edition of the Women’s Weekly Christmas gift list,” she said.
While the book was originally set out to document the history of the organisation as a whole, as the research advanced the women’s achievements came to light,” Ms Anictomatis said.
Katherine CWA president Heather Dingle said the book contributes to showcasing the strong history of Katherine.
“The story of how the branch started and why is really amazing,” she said.
“Things are different for women these days because of the achievements of these women.
“We were in the shadow of men, some women didn’t even have their own first names. I can’t imagine how difficult life was then.”
One of the largest women's organisation in Australia, the CWA works to improve the conditions for rural and remote women and children.
The first branch of the CWA in the Northern Territory was formed in Alice Springs in 1933, in 1937 Katherine formed its own branch.
The book can be bought at The Finch Cafe or online at https://www.cwant.net/.