Gunnedah Day VIEW Club members celebrated their 50th birthday with a happy luncheon gathering in the Green Room at Gunnedah Services & Bowling Club.

Day VIEW Club president Joan Harwood welcomed guests from Gunnedah, Tamworth Evening and Tamworth Peel Clubs, Narrabri, Coonabarabran and Manilla, with the black and white theme and a touch of gold embraced by those attending. 

Formed on July 8, 1973, the club is part of a much larger network of close to 300 VIEW friendship groups across Australia, with 14,000 members who all have a focus on raising funds to support disadvantaged students through the Smith Family charity’s Learning for Life program. The Day VIEW Club has raised a total of $123,124.60 since 1992.

The foundation president was Eileen Carter, with Ivy Warne as vice-president. Other committee members elected included Jill White (delegate), Pat Hughes (secretary), Leila Smith (assistant secretary), Ula Egan (treasurer), Betty Slacksmith (assistant), Kath Fiddes and Judy Dwyer (program officers), Fay Wicks (publicity officer). Assistant national secretary of the VIEW Clubs of Australia, Peggy Porteous, attended the formation meeting.

Special guests at the 50th anniversary celebration were VIEW zone councillor Aletia Norman, The Smith Family program co-ordinator Cindy Pearce and Gunnedah mayor Jamie Chaffey who congratulated the group on its longevity.

“Fifty years of volunteerism is really something to celebrate,” he said.

VIEW Club members from Gunnedah, front, left, Coreen Carter, Judy Sills, Aldyth Hailes, Deidre Andren, Chris Mirow. Back, Marie Hobson, Trish Whittaker, Joan Harwood, Laurel Hall, Margaret Stevens, Adrienne Stubbs, Rosemarie Eveleigh, Anne Finnigan, Raelee Bruce, Linda Lee. 

“In a recent local survey, it was revealed that 23 per cent of respondents were volunteers – many regional towns would not survive without volunteers and I encourage you to invite younger people to become involved so that great spirit will survive.” 

Aletia Norman presented an amusing look back 50 years ago, noting some historic events and memorable television shows and fashion such as the voting age being lowered from 21 to 18, the Sydney Opera House officially opened by Queen Elizabeth, a third tour for the Rolling Stones, with jumpsuits, flared pants and platform heels the height of fashion; and petrol was 58 cents a litre.

Cindy Pearce outlined the progress of the Learning for Life program and delivered a message from one of the program’s alumni who expressed his thanks to VIEW Clubs everywhere for the scholarship program that allowed students like him to complete their education and realise their drams.

The anniversary cake made by Day VIEW member Joan Harwood, decorated by Anne Finnegan and was cut by Aletia Norman and Cindy Pearce.

Guest speaker Florence Chauraya spoke about her journey from her homeland in Zimbabwe to Australia and the set of circumstances that brought her family to Gunnedah and her experiences along the way so far from her family.

“It took a trip back home for me to realise that we had made the right decision,” Florence said.

“Australia is now our home.”

The many messages of congratulations included VIEW national president Meg Woodhouse, Bundaberg and Camden clubs and many individual tributes.

VIEW stands for the Voice, Interests and Education of Women, a policy put in place by then general secretary of The Smith Family charity in 1960, at a time when women were discouraged from having a voice in the community. 

He believed society needed a better balance in decision-making processes and that this imbalance could be rectified through the creation of a supportive network of women that worked across these levels. At the same time, he hoped to offer these women the means to assist others less fortunate through The Smith Family.

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