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New book chronicles path paved

QRRRW LIBRARY: Cr Rae Gate represented Gympie Regional Council and the RADF, Rosemary Burnett and Judy Bandidt.
QRRRW LIBRARY: Cr Rae Gate represented Gympie Regional Council and the RADF, Rosemary Burnett and Judy Bandidt. Peter And Bevly Hughes

IN THE more than two decades that the Queensland Rural, Regional and Remote Women's Network has been in existence, it has well and truly earned its credentials as a major influence on women's role, not just in agriculture but very much in the wider community.

Jan Darlington at Monto is credited with the initial impetus for the formation of the network.

She had lost her husband and in deciding to continue to operate their grain and lucerne farm in her own right, met with many obstacles, jibes and sarcasm.

Ms Darlington decided women needed stronger recognition in the rural sphere, and the rest as they say has become history.

That history of the first five years has been documented in a book Celebration of a Network, edited by QRRRWN member Judy Bandidt, a copy of which was presented to the Gympie Regional libraries.

Ms Bandidt said that in this case the history was told by many of the people who had actually lived it.

"It is a story of women's history," she said. "We lobbied, wrote letters, talked, all with the clear conviction that things could be changed."

Joint presenter and former state president Rosemary Burnett said the actual logistics of the network had changed with the Burnett now being a stronghold, but it was still just as relevant as it had ever been.

An immense amount of work by a few members went into cataloguing and classifying a mountain of detailed material that under Ms Bandidt's expertise became the book.

Funding was sourced from the Rural Arts Development Council and also from Gympie Regional Council and South Burnett Council.

The book presents the history of an organisation that has made a very valuable contribution towards equality, in a chronological, amply illustrated and easily followed format.

Topics:  rural women women's groups