CWA service celebrated

Cecilia AllenSound Telegraph
Rockingham resident Betty Coumbes is proud to have been a part of the Country Women’s Association for 70 years.
Camera IconRockingham resident Betty Coumbes is proud to have been a part of the Country Women’s Association for 70 years. Credit: Cecilia Allen.

Rockingham resident Betty Coumbe has been awarded for 70 years of service to the Country Women’s Association, an organisation she is still proud to be a part of today.

Betty received her award at the Safety Bay Country Women’s Association 70th anniversary event, which was held recently.

The 89-year-old was born at Moora Hospital and grew up on a farm, about 16km from the small town of Watheroo.

She believes one of her biggest achievements was being able to milk a cow from the age of six.

Betty completed her final year of school at Lawley Ladies’ College but stayed on to assist the headmistress with junior boarders and teaching junior classes.

In 1948, Betty returned home to Watheroo as her mother’s health was deteriorating.

She joined the CWA Watheroo Branch, following in her mother’s footsteps.

“My mother was a CWA foundation member, so it was only natural that I got involved,” she said.

“I was 20.

“It felt good being part of something that did good things for the community.”

Betty said the CWA was also a great way to socialise. “In those days, I attended CWA once a month and the church meeting once a month — that’s all there was to do,” she said.

Betty kept busy by starting up a Sunday school, becoming secretary of Watheroo Tennis Club and becoming a part-time correspondent for the local newspaper, writing football match reports for the Midlands Advocate.

It was through the need for her articles to be posted each Monday afternoon that she met her husband, John.

“John came to Watheroo to run the first school bus and I used to get him to take my football reports to the post,” she said.

“His mother was a foundation member of the CWA Nungarin branch.”

Betty and John were married in 1953.

They operated a fuel agency from the backyard of their property and a stock farm agency.

In 1972, the Coumbes moved to Palm Beach, Rockingham, where they bought and managed apartments.

Betty became a member of the CWA Rockingham branch and from 1974-2006 took on the roles of president and treasurer.

She also represented the branch on the Cockburn Lodge committee and the holiday homes committee, and attended many State conferences.

When the CWA Rockingham branch closed in 2006, Betty joined the Safety Bay branch, where she is still a member today.

Her friends at the Safety Bay branch described her as a “quiet achiever” and a much-loved member.

“It’s a great association,” Betty said.

“I’ll stick around for as long as I can.”

The CWA Safety Bay branch is involved in a range of community initiatives including catering at functions for charities and knitting and crocheting blankets and beanies for the homeless, fiddle rugs for local aged-care facilities and teddies for the Rockingham Hospital.

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