THE sun beats down and the strain is starting to show as many creek beds are drying up quickly.
Not long ago creeks were full of water and water lilies; now are empty and cracking.
Night-time brings some relief. Sugar gliders, possums and other nocturnal creatures emerge into the coolness.
This is one of those times of year when special things happen. It's also a time when kitchens are filled with the aromas of fruit cakes and puddings, often made in the traditional way in a cloth or pudding steamer. I recall my mother telling me they used to find coins in their Christmas puddings.
Women bake and ice cakes which are admired and consumed in no time at all.
The best thing is the smiles on the faces of children. Each year, it is wonderful to see people coming together in friendship for Christmas. Yet people can do this all year round, getting together with a common interest, making friends and helping improve things in their area.
With an open mind, good food, drinks and a willingness to help, many amazing things have been achieved.
This is what QCWA members do. We get together and over the years we have made life-long friends.
We talk about our local areas and we lobby governments to gain facilities to help with many things, including health, education, road safety and agriculture.
Many important issues have gained the support of the QCWA and more will follow.
For 90 years, the QCWA has offered the hand of friendship, understanding and support to those who have needed a kind word and a hot meal. Things may have changed dramatically in many ways over 90 years but the reasons we were first formed on August 11, 1922, are still as important today.
On July 25, 1927, our founding president Ruth Fairfax visited the McKinlay QCWA branch, formed in 1924.
Membership had grown to 50 and the women had organised to have a cottage built, taking five lorries to carry the timber 50 miles.
They had established a bush nurse position six weeks before Mrs Fairfax's visit. Bush nurses were established in many areas and continued to provide an important service for ladies for many years.
Branches have helped purchase operating tables, hospital beds, X-ray machines, chairs and other medical needs over the past 90 years.
Living in remote areas did not deter members and branch memberships grew, some in amazing numbers. For example, when Mrs Fairfax visited Aramac in August, 1927, she was made aware that when the branch opened it had 18 members, which had since grown to 135.
Distance and rough conditions didn't deter anyone. In some areas, every woman would be a member.
These women helped their local communities through thick and thin, good times and bad. Today, we carry on this legacy, raising funds and bringing forward awareness of what needs to be improved and how we can achieve that through lobbying departments and making clear the needs of rural communities.
Branches in the Capricornia Division have taken an interest in many topics over many years. Many branches are reaching mature age, with the members possessing a wealth of knowledge and eager to share it with new members.
THE Ambrose branch is no exception, having played a vital part in their community for many years. The branch will hold a monster cent sale tomorrow, at 1.30pm for a 2pm start; afternoon tea will be available. It will be at 1.30pm for a 2pm start. They hold many functions, giving local residents a venue to attend on a social basis. For details or to join this group of friendly women, phone Nola Dawes on 4975 1396.
Emu Park branch have been providing scones with their devonshire teas in conjunction with the local markets in Bell Park for some time. Members enjoy holding their own markets in the hall and hold regular craft and patchwork days. The branch will finish regular events on December 11 and 13 and restart on January 29 and 31. To find out more or to join, phone Dorothy Condon on 4938 7300.
Goovigen branch hold a regular bingo session in the local hotel and functions through the year. To find out more or to join, phone May Campbell on 4996 5132.
Gracemere branch hold their functions and meetings in the local Girl Guides' Hut in Gracemere, where the branch Christmas morning tea was held yesterday. The branch provide a regular trolley service for residents of Gracemere Gardens, who can buy needs and treats. To find out more or to join, phone Eunice Gifford on 4933 1525.
Kalapa branch hold regular events at the Kalapa Community Hall. The women can provide information about the branch and how to join. For details, phone Dawn Nicholas on 4927 4844.
Marmor branch are preparing their functions' list for 2013, including the popular trivia night. The women also hold a fashion parade and plant sale. For details or to join, phone Heather Clark on 4934 6669.
Mount Larcom branch hold functions in their hall, also used by the local community. The women help with local events, including the show, and welcome new members. For details, phone Carol Billings on 4928 6506. The Mount Larcom Younger Set also welcomes new members. The girls meet to work on handcrafts and hold meetings. Each year, they attend the Younger Set Leadership School. To find out more or join in the fun, phone Jemma Hill on 4975 3645.
Mount Morgan branch hold hoy every Wednesday and Friday; these will finish on December 12 and 14, and resume on January 16 and 18. A grocery cent sale is held every two months, with the next planned for February 2. The branch is planning a Dress Red for Heart Day on February 23. For details or to become a member, phone Julie Whittaker on 4938 2465.
Moura branch members are preparing events for 2013, with March 1 and 7 booked for their street stall, offering home-made Easter eggs and treats. They welcome new members. For details, phone J. Smith on 4996 2177.
Parkhurst branch hold regular craft and patchwork days. To become a member or attend the classes, phone Daphne Myles on 4936 3409.
Raglan branch hold a regular morning of fun and friendship, which includes games and home-made morning tea. The women raise funds for Legacy and other causes. For details or to join, phone Dorothy Ramm on 4934 6565.
Ridgelands branch have held their "stitch and chat" days for many years, where women have gained techniques needed to complete many crafts. The women welcome new members. For details, phone Hilary Chippendale on 4934 5125.
Rockhampton branch hold functions in the hall adjacent to the QCWA Hostel in Archer St and help run the hostel, which provides both long and short-term accommodation. Members enjoy meeting people at their functions and welcome new members. To find out more, phone Marjorie Buchanan on 4939 2191.
Theodore branch hold regular morning teas, providing locals with a place to meet and share stories. The branch offers emergency accommodation. The women welcome new members. For details, phone Lorraine Tysoe on 4993 1297.
Wandal branch members are happy with continuing upgrades to their QCWA Hall. The women hold cent sales and welcome new members. For details, phone Gloria Wakefield on 4922 4289.
Wowan branch members enjoy meeting people at their functions and welcome new members. For details, phone Irene Bond on 4937 1354.
Yeppoon branch members love sharing their handcraft skills. They are knowledgeable and enjoy telling people about their branch. For details or to join, phone Shirley Maguire on 4939 4068.
THE Capricornia Division Piecemakers have for years captivated people with quilts, bags and other items they have created. Many of the quilts have taken on traditional themes, while others have told stories. The women's talents have expan- ded with the concepts taught to them by the QCWA tutors.
To find out more about the piecemakers, phone Joy Mackenzie on 4939 2914.
The Capricornia Division Handcraft Cultural Committee look forward to welcoming people to their handcraft classes in the hall beside the QCWA Hostel in Rockhampton.
The women are able to instruct in various handcrafts, soft and hard. Handcraft classes will resume on February 1.
From all the branches and members of the QCWA's Capricornia Division, we wish everyone a merry Christmas and happy new year.
As this is the final Rural Weekly CQ report for 2012, I would like to thank the staff of Rural Weekly for their friendly co-operation and help with publishing these reports during the year and wish them and all Rural Weekly readers the QCWA's best wishes for Christmas and a rewarding, safe and enjoyable year ahead.
Take care on the roads and enjoy the holidays.
Until my next report - in 2013 - take care.
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