The Country Women's Association of NSW is this week celebrating its 99th state conference in Bega.
The official opening was held on Monday, May 3, at the Bega Showground. CWA members from all over the state gathered with special guests and dignitaries for the annual meeting.
Piper Graham Durant-Law led special guests into the hall followed by a Welcome to Country by Aunty Colleen Dixon.
The National and CWA Anthems brought the hall to life before state president Stephanie Stanhope welcomed attendees to the conference.
Mayor for the BVSC Russell Fitzpatrick made special mention of the 400 or so delegates who had travelled from all over NSW to attend, as well as the Valley branches for their organisation efforts.
"I love the motto of the conference, Strength in Adversity, we couldn't have asked for more adversity than we've had in the last couple of years," Cr Fitzpatrick said.
"We've had nine natural disasters in the Valley the last three years, everything from drought... three lots of bushfires... six lots of flooding, so Strength in Adversity is something that really resonates."
Governor of NSW Margaret Beazley was unable to attend, but sent a video message of support.
She said Strength in Adversity had been a consistent part of the 99-year history of the CWA and paralleled post-war times to current challenges such as drought, bushfires, flood and the pandemic.
"You've done so much to support your members and to help your communities," she said.
Bronwyn Taylor, Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women, enthusiastically spoke to the conference and thanked the CWA to be able to begin her week in "beautiful Merimbula".
"What you do is endless, your sacrifice, your wisdom, your ability to bring people together in one of the most challenging years that we've all faced."
She called on women to continue being leaders and stepping into local government positions with bravery in face of current investigations into sexual assault and sexism in parliament.
"We fear you in government... because we know that almost all of the time you are right.
"You're aligned to your communities... and you represent them so well, don't ever lose that because therein lies your power and your strength."
Ms Taylor also spoke of thriving rural communities with rural property booms post-pandemic and acknowledged the challenges facing communities in terms of housing.
After the official proceedings, delegates poured on to the showgrounds to have a cuppa and some morning tea.