Australian Federation of University Women

New South Wales

AFUW - NSW Incorporated is an association of women graduates from universities throughout the world





Greetings to All Members

The Annual General Meeting in October provided members with the opportunity to visit the beautiful Southern Highlands and interact with members of the Southern Highlands Branch who hosted a most successful and enjoyable occasion. Lunch at Dormie House followed the AGM with guest speaker, Gaby Kennard, whose story of her solo flight around the world in a single-engine Saratoga I found inspirational.

All committee positions were filled so a warm welcome to our new Vice-Presidents, Rose Figtree and Lyn Thompson, Secretary Jane Baker, continuing Treasurer 'Tricia Blombery, continuing CIR Beverley Pavey and to Ordinary Members Lennie Norgard and Marilyn Kelly. At the same time I wish to thank the retiring committee members, Susan Davies, Christine Hosking, Carol Quinn and, in particular, Stephanie Cunningham who filled the role of secretary with meticulous precision.

Chairman of the Constitution Committee, Carol Quinn, and her team, deserve special thanks for the professional presentation of the Constitution. Healthy debate ensued before all sections were passed by the members present. The Constitution was also passed by AFUW Council at the end of October and is now before the Department of Fair Trading. It is unchanged from the draft which you received with your Annual Report. Members who renewed subsequently may obtain a copy by contacting the Editor.

A highlight of the meeting was the unanimous endorsement of the proposal to confer Life Membership on Dorothy Betty. For 53 years Dorothy has given unstintingly of her time and talents for the benefit of AFUW which include serving as Branch, State and National President. Congratulations Dorothy!


The Central Committee Meeting held on Thursday, 16 November, saw a dynamic gathering of dedicated members. Conveners were confirmed: Celeste Rossetto, Southern Highlands, as Convener Status of Women; Stephanie Cunningham, Armidale, as Convener Education; Joan Smith, Central Coast, as Convener Fellowships; Gaynor Reeves, Hunter Valley, Convener Program for Action (formerly SAAP).

A particular welcome is extended to Celeste and Stephanie who are new to these roles and who I expect will provide excellent advice for advocacy and action. Conveners for Membership and Peace and Human Security are required. If you are interested in either of these roles or know someone who may be, please let me know as soon as possible.

Lyn Thompson retains the duties of Membership Registrar and Newsletter Editor, while Carol Quinn continues as Public Officer.

AFUW Conference 2009

I am really delighted to announce a Local Arrangements Committee (LAC) has formed under the Chairmanship of Vice President, Rose Figtree, to organise the 2009 AFUW Triennial Conference, to be hosted by AFUW-NSW. In addition to members Stephanie Cunningham, Christine Hosking, Dorothy Betty, and ex officio members National President, Jenny Strauss and National Treasurer, Deborah Haydon, Rose has the support of Central Committee. We will hear more from this vibrant committee in the new year.

AFUW Council Meeting

State and Territory Presidents and Proxies from around Australia met in Canberra on 28 October. While it is an enriching experience to meet with and learn from our colleagues, business is conducted and we are expected to produce results. NSW lags behind in some matters of advocacy and action on issues important to our association while we have led the way on Peace initiatives due solely to retiring Convener, Pamela Lemoine. This year I trust we will improve our position with the appointment of active conveners in other categories.

AFUW requires nominations for Conveners for Status of Women and Membership. If you are interested in this role or know of someone who is please let me or AFUW secretary, 'Tricia Blombery, know as soon as possible.

If you would like to know what goes on at Council meetings, submit your name as a Proxy as all STAs require one from NSW with meetings for this triennium being held in Sydney.

A discussion on membership resulted in State and Territory Associations (STAs) sharing initiatives taken and further suggestions to generate and retain members. These included:

  • updating all methods of communication
  • networking in universities
  • mentoring new committee members
  • creating website and direct payment options
  • increasing visibility in community events
  • needing to stress the success of advocacy work as education for the wider community

STAs were asked to create a list of positive values of AFUW membership for website input.

IFUW Conference 2007

Council discussed and debated proposed amendments to the IFUW Constitution to be voted on at the Manchester Conference and approved the mathematical model to calculate Dues payable by affiliates.

We have been asked to submit:

  • policy resolutions with supporting statements to be considered for Australia's contribution to the Conference.
  • a proposal for a workshop at the conference before 22 December.

If you would like to conduct a workshop at the IFUW Conference or if you have ideas for a policy resolution that requires international support, please let me know as soon as possible. I would be delighted to hear from you.


While our numbers are about the same as last year, I am sorry to report three branch closures, Blue Mountains, Inner Western Suburbs and Armidale. However I am pleased to report that Armidale have a core group of active members who are close to reforming their branch with assistance from UNE Alumni.


Reports from the branches who participated, Hunter Valley, City, Central Coast and members in Armidale were very positive with everyone enjoying diverse activities on this social occasion as well as raising funds to ensure continuance of our NCW Australia Day Award. I am heartened by the response and trust we can make it an annual event. The original idea was for members to share a state-wide Morning Tea or some activity to support the Australia Day Award and generate publicity. One branch visited an art gallery followed by lunch, another went on a bushwalk followed by a picnic, one met for lunch and another had fun with morning tea at the president's home.

It is timely to acknowledge Education Trustee, Teresa Valenti, who saw the value of AFUW-NSW being involved in the NCW event and progressed the move with a personal donation of $100. Thanks Teresa for your insight and acumen.

AFUW-NSW Australia Day Award

I am pleased that the new initiative of an award has been met with such enthusiasm by members. The University of Wollongong are in the process of choosing our recipient. Please note the date 25 January 2007 for the NCW Lunch at Parliament House for presentation of the award. When you book, say you wish to sit at the AFUW table so that we can be well represented on this occasion. See further information in the Newsletter.

Other Awards

A total of $20,030 is contributed annually to women's higher education in NSW by state and branches through our collective awards, prizes and bursaries. $2,030 is donated to women in Cambodia and East Timor and $1,150 to other overseas projects.


It was decided we would like to celebrate Pamela Lemoine's contribution to AFUW. Retiring as Peace Convener at state and national level after nine years in the job, Pamela has been tireless in her advocacy of peace initiatives and in representing AFUW at numerous peace-related conferences and functions. If you care to join in honouring Pamela write the date of a lunch, 17 April 2007, into your diaries. More details later.

Write into your diaries 30 March 2007 for the next Sophia Holland Lecture and Lunch. Details are being finalised. We are trying something different by having it on a Friday so the important thing at this stage is to secure the date.

I encourage you all to consider coming together for the annual Christmas lunch to be held this year at Sancta Sophia College, Camperdown, on 2 December. Guest Speaker Judith Wheeldon AM is former Principal of two girls schools, Queenwood and Abbotsleigh and, among other things, Trustee for The Powerhouse Museum.

Every best wish to you and your families for the holiday season and take the time to do something that gives you pleasure and happiness because if you are happy those around you benefit as well.

Ivy Edwards



AFUW - NSW is, by its IFUW affiliation, a participating entity of an international women's organisation known as Project Five -O. The "five" are Soroptimist International (SI), International Federation of Business and Professional Women (IFBPW), the International Council of Women (ICW), International Federation of University Women (IFUW), and Zonta International.

Project Five-0 supports vocational training for women and girls in developing countries and countries in transition. Approved local projects receive initial and follow-up funding, and aim at self-sufficiency within five years. Next month our Secretary, Dr Jane Baker, will attend a meeting in Sydney, to be held under auspices of NCW, to explore common interests and the place for further joint activities and discussions so it is important that we refresh our knowledge of the nature and origins of this organization.

The Women's Conference in Mexico in 1975 was the first inter-governmental conference specifically organized to address women's issues and world problems from women's perspectives. The International Women's Year adopted by the conference set the overall theme of the UN Decade for Women and all other world conferences on women afterwards: Equality - Development - Peace. Participating representatives left Mexico determined to put these words into action. During the following years the presidents of four NGOs, the Soroptimists, IFBPW, IFUW and Associated Country Women of the World discussed a possible partnership to fulfil the goals of the Plan of Action. An idea was launched by Beryl Nashar, President of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women, who after discussing it with people in United Nations agencies and receiving encouragement especially from UNESCO, put it to the other presidents.

The idea was to organize occupational training centres for less fortunate women particularly in developing countries. It was received enthusiastically. Professor Beryl Nasher OBE, a member of AFUW for more than twenty years, was an Australian pioneer among women academics, her leadership of the Department of Geology of the University of Newcastle, making her one of the first female professors in Australia, so the roots of Project Five-O are distinctively Australian.

In 1979 International Council of Women (ICW) was invited to join the partnership. With their participation the partnership would consist of five women's NGOs that together comprised a substantial world-wide membership. Together they could contribute to the improvement of the status of women through the provision of vocational training to the underprivileged in developing countries. Members of the organisations in these countries would be encouraged to get together and plan the programme. The Associated Country Women of the World resigned from the partnership in 1990 and was replaced by Zonta International.

In Copenhagen, during the second Women's Conference in July 1980, the five presidents concluded the discussions carried on till then by correspondence, by agreeing on a partnership to establish joint projects in vocational training/employment skills for women in developing countries. The partnership was given the name PROJECT FIVE-O. Funding would be sought from UNESCO or other UN sources. In their approach to UN bodies the organisations would emphasise their combined strength: they are all worldwide, they have similar objectives regarding the status of women, they have local clubs in the developing countries that would be able to implement programmes, they are all in consultative status with the UN, they represent about 75 million volunteer women in 75 countries in all continents.

In April 1981, a vocational training centre in Calcutta was selected as a pilot project. This project had the local support of all five organisations, and a Local Committee was set up under the leadership of Aroti Dutt, who was experienced in project work among less fortunate urban and rural women, being already president and manager of an association which worked for the same purposes, viz. training of women in tailoring and sewing, embroidery, knitting and weaving, literacy, health and child care, and family planning. The Calcutta project also launched mahila samiti, discusssion groups where the women could exchange ideas and become trained in discussing society issues. It also offered a kindergarden and pre-school education.

This first project was funded by a donation from the Virginia Gildersleeve Foundation.

Based on the successful evaluation of the pilot project, other projects were approved in the years to follow. An account of these projects, may be found on BPW International Website:

The newest project is in Patagonia in Argentina, inaugurated in March 2004. Women of low income in the remote town of Villa La Angostura will be offered courses in computers, including assembling and repair, clay modelling, haute couture sewing, languages, marketing and packaging, to enable them to start production or get a job in the tourist industry.

The 25th anniversary of Project Five-O was celebrated in its birthplace Copenhagen on Saturday, 3 September 2005. The theme of the conference was "Education and Empowerment of Women in Developing Countries". 125 participants came from 17 countries. The long list of speakers started with Griselda Kenyon, IFUW President and Convenor of the Five-O Committee. Griselda was Five-O Co-ordinator in 1990-93.

The activities of the Five-O projects, started in 1980, were begun to fulfil the objectives of the International Women's Year 1975 and the goals of the Women's Decade 1976-1985. Their programmes also comply with the Beijing Platform for Action, adopted 15 years after the foundation of the Project Five-O partnership. They also fully comply with the Millennium Development Goals, adopted at the Millennium Summit in September 2000, to eradicate poverty, to ensure education and improved health, to promote gender equality and empower women.


At the Annual General Meeting of AFUW - NSW Inc at Moss Vale on Saturday, 14 October, 2006, the members present unanimously and with acclamation supported a proposal to bestow life membership on Dorothy Betty. She joined Margaret Maxwell and Mary Kane as current members whose contribution to our organization both in Australia and overseas has been recognised and endorsed by their peers in this distinctive manner.

The following is the citation read at the meeting.

Dorothy, currently the President of the North Shore Branch, has already celebrated a golden jubilee of participation and service in AFUW. While her family and social background has been firmly rooted in the North Shore of Sydney, her sphere of influence has been far, far wider.

Dorothy was born at Killara and grew up in Lindfield. Her education began at Roseville Preparatory School, then continued at Presbyterian Ladies College, Pymble (now Pymble Ladies College), from 1936 to 1942.

She says she was strongly influenced by a Calvinist grandmother and by the intelligence and insight of PLC's then Headmistress, Miss Dorothy Knox, whose guidance and instructions always stressed "Aiming for the Highest". Many of us, not necessarily educated at PLC, are also the wiser for the influence in education and women's affairs of Miss Knox, herself a member of AFUW.

Selected by the Public Library of NSW, in 1943 Dorothy studied for the Diploma of Librarianship and worked in its Research Department, while simultaneously completing a BA degree with Honours in Modern History at the University of Sydney, graduating in 1947. She was then appointed as the first professional Librarian at the Sydney Water Board.

The choice of her area of study and career path clearly illustrates the practical side of Dorothy's nature which has underpinned and strengthened her contribution to AFUW. Dorothy has a rare ability to see both the personal aspects and the practicalities of a situation.

As a NSW Public Servant, the rules in 1949 required that, as a female, she had to resign upon marriage. She has, however, maintained her contacts and interest in librarianship through the Australian Library Association of which she is still a member and in temporary appointments and voluntary service.

Her first child, a daughter, was born in 1951, followed by two sons. After a year living in Britain, on their return, in 1953, Dorothy joined the two women's organizations which she would influence and be influenced by and of which she is still proud to be a member: the AFUW-NSW, and the National Council of Women - NSW.

During 53 years with the North Shore Branch Dorothy has acted for two terms as the branch Representative to the Central Committee and is entering a third. Her election last month as North Shore Branch President makes her second time in that role. She has served as the State Education Convener, and as the State Vice-President, under the presidency of another Life Member, Mary Kane, whose citation Dorothy wrote and presented.

In 1989, Dorothy was elected for three years as State President, then followed a three-year term as AFUW National President. It was during her presidencies that Dorothy confirmed herself as a strong but caring leader and a very knowledgeable and skilled performer at a meeting table. The breadth of her involvement has made her a valuable mentor to members bearing office at all levels of the organization.

As National President, Dorothy had the opportunity of visiting every state association, gaining an overall picture of AFUW activities. Her term culminated in the Triennial Conference in January, 1997. This was centred at Macquarie University and the Stamford Hotel and was attended by the IFUW President, Dr Elizabeth Poskitt.

As president-elect and as National President, she was twice a delegate to triennial IFUW Conferences, first at Stanford University and then at Yokohama. At the latter, she was appointed to the IFUW Status of Women Committee; also serving on that Committee was the current IFUW President, Mrs Griselda Kenyon.

Dorothy has attended three other IFUW Conferences - Glasgow, Auckland and Dipoli in Finland. We have enjoyed Dorothy's reminiscences of these overseas meetings, especially the delightful tale of her supplying cardigans in Finland to the ill-prepared among the participants.

Dorothy counts by far her biggest challenge to have been the move from Challis House during her term as State President. AFUW-NSW had to abandon its long-held and convenient premises because of the University of Sydney's redevelopment of this property in Martin Place. After much difficulty and long negotiations with the University, accommodation was determined in the newly refurbished Dymock's Building. With its large meeting room and kitchen facilities, the Central Committee was able to host well-attended luncheons with prominent speakers. Alas that property too, has passed from us.

During her state presidency Dorothy steered AFUW-NSW through the legal complexities of becoming an incorporated association, under the NSW Act. Also a new Tweed River Branch was formed, which attracted working and retired graduates from Lismore to the southern Gold Coast. This branch has since closed. Because of her often wintering in the north, Dorothy represented this Branch at Central Committee.

In 1993 Dorothy was awarded the OAM for leadership and service to women. This service was manifest not only through representation of AFUW in organizations such as UNIFEM and CAPOW but in a range of organizations in the fields of education, heritage and history. In 1953, she joined the National Council of Women of NSW as an individual member and later became the Representative Delegate from PLC. She was elected to the NSW Executive, being the Newsletter Editor for many years until serving as state Vice-President. After this, she served as Vice-President of the National Council of Women of Australia.

In 1971, she joined the Pymble Branch of Torch Bearers for Legacy and became the Branch President in 1980, serving in that capacity for almost 25 years, and being awarded Life membership of Torch Bearers in 1990. Dorothy spent many years on the Committee of PLC Pymble Ex-Students Association including a time as its President. She also served on the organizing committee of Dunmore Lang College, a residential college at Macquarie University with strong AFUW associations. She is currently Vice-Chairman of the Chancellor's Committee of the University of Sydney and also committed to the National Trust of NSW, and the Australian Decorative & Fine Arts Society.

Through all these activities Dorothy was generously supported by her husband John Betty, who died suddenly in 2002. A tribute to him appeared in our Newsletter at that time.

Once her nomination was made known to her in the agenda papers for the Annual General Meeting, Dorothy herself contributed valuable CV information for the text of this commendation.


Huldah Turner, a Foundation Member of Hunter Valley Branch, died on the 30th March at the age of 99 years after a long period of illness. Huldah was much loved and admired by all who knew her. She was a woman of exceptional talent, dignity, warmth, humour, courage, independence of spirit and candour. She was a woman of comparative rarity in her generation: she was a woman graduate with a career and also a Master's degree. She was an English teacher in N S W high schools and later lecturer in English at Newcastle Teachers' College, Head of the Department, the first woman Vice-Principal of a Teachers' College and at times Acting Principal. She was also one of the first women members of the University of Newcastle Council.

Huldah grew up in Tamworth and won a University Exhibition for Medicine but was unable to take it up because her parents did not have the means to support her. Instead she accepted a Teachers' College Scholarship. She taught at several high schools in New South Wales including North Sydney Girls' High, Sydney Girls' High and Armidale High. While she was at Armidale High she met her future husband, Joe Turner, who was a widower.

Huldah was not only a gifted poet and writer, she was also an accomplished violinist. She was a great music lover and an early supporter of Musica Viva in Newcastle. Throughout her life she was eager to gain new knowledge and skills in a wide variety of fields. Apart from this she was a loving wife and stepmother - it was heart-warming to hear her stepchildren speak of their great love of and admiration for her.

Hunter Valley Branch has been much enriched by the membership of Huldah since its foundation. She has truly been a great supporter and mentor and she will be greatly missed. Some years ago the Branch initiated the Huldah Turner Prize for Mathematics for a woman at the University of Newcastle. This was to honour Huldah and to encourage women in the study of a subject at that time not popular with women - a fitting tribute to an outstanding woman graduate who was a friend and mentor to many.


B.Sc. (U. Syd.) Ph.D. (Dental Science, London)

Dr Joyce Fildes OAM writes:

Being a continuing life member of AFUW-NSW, Margaret qualified for Associate Membership with AFUW-ACT, in which capacity she served several times as a Committee Members. Her work was especially noteworthy for the organisation of the 50th Anniversary luncheon for AFUW-ACT on 3 December 1994.

Margaret joined the Canberra AFUW in 1960 after her husband, Dr Hugh McKenzie, was appointed as a Senior Fellow in the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University. With her biological background, it was not surprising that she provided editorial work for the eminent Oxford Dictionary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, as well as for the 50th Anniversary of the Dental Department at the University of Sydney, where she had worked earlier.

It is noteworthy that her mother (Marjorie Dewar), an early female graduate, Margaret herself, and later Judith McKenzie (her daughter) were all graduates of the University of Sydney.

LORNA PUFLETT died in February, 2006, an active AFUW member

Dr Joyce Vautin, former President of the North Shore branch contributes:

In 1957 when I was settling my children into a new school after moving from the country, it was delightful to run into Lorna Puflett. In 1948, when we had first met, Lorna was a librarian at Sydney Hospital and I was a medical student. Now we had many other interests in common. I was feeling starved of intellectual pursuits and Lorna had become the centre of a group of mainly university people who revelled in regular discussion groups. Many of these have remained firm friends. From these groups we progressed into play readings then also into British Drama League competitions. Lorna had a gift for encouraging others to contribute without ever giving orders or behaving like a teacher. Going to plays and symphony concerts she loved, in intervals she would range widely "meeting old friends."

Lorna was one of two daughters of a Harden family. She enjoyed her country school but in her teens came to Sydney as a boarder at Wenona. After the Leaving Certificate she took a clerical job at Sydney University but found she could enrol in the Faculty of Economics attending evening lectures. After graduating she decided to become librarian. She was the first from her family to attend and graduate from university.

In 1950 she married Dr Robert Puflett, a physician. Lorna was a person of unfailing grace and good humour who loved fine literature, poetry and art and was a collector of rare books and paintings. She had great interest in her garden and delighted in watching her nine grandchildren grow. It was a blessing that her death came suddenly and conclusively.


The reduction in AFUW-NSW's space in the Mechanics Institute was an appropriate time to take a serious look at the filing drawers of membership cards and to put into action my long held intention to transfer their important information to computer records.

The current cards ceased to be used in 1996 when our membership records were developed into a computer database. They had been in use since 1966-7 when a new system was introduced. I know that the existing records at that time were transferred to an archival library in Canberra and that they would now be in the archives of the National Library. It is my hope that I can have access to the records there in order to create as complete a record of membership of AFUW - NSW as is possible. The current cards will in the new year be transferred to the State Library for preservation.

The records transferred to the computer embrace biographical details given name, maiden and later surnames, and the suburb/town of the last known address, academic qualifications and interests and years of membership.

It is a rich collection of data which in time could become a valuable academic and genealogical resource.

The amount of knowledge about each person varies because a large number of older cards had sketchy information. As was the social custom of the time, many members were listed only under their husband's initials, which were used for mailing. Because of the effect of an earlier system of life membership where women graduates paid a "life fee" it is not always possible to tell when a membership ceased. The new database indicates the last contact recorded and the date of death, where stated. There were just on 300 of these known "life members" recorded.

A clear statistical understanding of our membership history is not possible because of this system. The sum of money paid in the 1940's and 50's proved totally inadequate and there have been various programs to enlist support from these people since the 1970's. We still have a small group of loyal members who joined in this way. They make a financial contribution if they wish a levy to be paid on their behalf for AFUW/IFUW.

There are 2,991 existing cards so we can safely say that they represent at least 3,000 identifiable members in the period 1967 to 1995 and there are 711 records of new members since then. With some additional names whose membership has not been authenticated, AFUW - NSW has embraced close to 4,000 women in the past forty years.

Sadly our current membership stands at only 236 as this Newsletter goes out. Of those members more than half have been members for more than twenty years - 60 since the current recording system was introduced in 1967, 16 joined in 1970's and 27 joined in 1980's.

The phenomenon of one year membership, whilst more pronounced in recent years, is by no means restricted to them, seeming to have become a more obvious trend since 1980.

Some interesting statistics: The earliest stated joining year is 1920 - Miss G Adlem B Sc of Normanhurst.

The earliest graduation year given is 1895 by Miss M Elliott BA of Mosman, whose last recorded year of membership is 1969. She is followed by 1897 - Miss Margaret Armstrong BA of Gunning, 1898 - Mrs Anne Cooper (Beaumont) BA of Blaxland and 1899 - Miss Annie Turner BA Hons of Lindfield.

There are many fascinating facts and trends to be followed in due course in this database. Many social changes such as the passing of the use of husband's name mentioned above are apparent. An interesting observation is the development of the use of the title "Ms" and resistance of the office assistants of the time to embrace the change, as suggested in comments made on the cards.

Of the 2991 recorded members, a cursory survey reveals:

1,660 indicated a first degree as BA or BA Hons, 430 as B Sc or B Sc Hons and 68 as B Ec or B Comm.

1304 MB BS or MB ChM were recorded in the same period, the earliest in 1916.

The earliest architecture graduation was in 1922, the earliest B Sc Ag in 1934, the earliest B DS in 1922, the earliest B V Sc in 1937.

1,397 graduates completed their first degree at University of Sydney, before the other universities made their impression. The earliest graduation noted at UNE was in 1952, at UNSW in 1957, at Newcastle in 1965, at Macquarie and also at Wollongong in 1971. Multiplicity of campuses makes it harder to identify the other NSW universities. There was not a high proportion of first degrees at overseas or interstate universities but the picture for post graduate study is very different.

On a lighter note: The most frequently occurring given name is Margaret, 121 occurrences, twice that of its nearest rivals, Elizabeth and Patricia, 56 each.

The most frequent addresses, after the university city of Armidale, were Bowral, and Killara. Other popular residences included Mosman, Cremorne, Lindfield, Chatswood, Darling Point and Orange.

Lyn Thompson, Membership Registrar




This half year has seen an increase in membership numbers. A very warm welcome is extended to new members particularly those who have joined us from the former Inner West Branch. We are delighted to have you join us.

Apart from supporting AFUW-NSW state-wide initiatives, City Branch's local focus through award presentations is on supporting women to access university education and to assist them to achieve their educational goals. In addition, there is particular emphasis on the well-being of members through intellectual stimulation and social interaction. Meetings are held in conjunction with such activities as historical walks, visits to galleries and interesting buildings with lunch, sometimes with a guest speaker, in a variety of restaurants and cafes. The City of Sydney is proving to be a wonderful "playground" for an adventure of discovery and mental stimulation. Members of other Branches are welcome to join us as we continue on a discovery of our city.

The crypt of St James Church, King St. Sydney was an unusual but very interesting venue for the AGM which was held in August. St James Church, located in the heart of the central business district of the city, is the oldest surviving church building and one of the oldest Anglican parishes in Sydney. After a guided tour of the crypt and the church, members enjoyed lunch at the Sydney Mint Cafe, another historical city building. Members were delighted to welcome Dr Sally Keister, Virginia Gildersleeve International Federation Marketing Co-ordinator to the lunch.

During lunch, Alice Livingstone from the Historic Houses Trust provided an interesting historical account of The Mint which, during the 19th century, was built as the southern wing of the Sydney Hospital. Known as the Rum Hospital it was built by private contractors in exchange for an exclusive license to import rum. In 1854 a branch of the Royal Mint - the first outside England - was established on the site as a result of the discovery of gold in New South Wales. The Mint operated until 1926 when the new Commonwealth Mint was established in Canberra.

Customs House, Circular Quay, another historical building in the city, was the venue for the September meeting. In order to cater for the needs of members currently in the workforce and those unable to attend daytime meetings, this meeting was held in the early evening. After the meeting, members adjourned to Young Alfred Café at Customs House for a light meal.

A wonderful discovery was the tiny library in Haymarket where the October meeting was held. This very small and charming library is an annexe to the City of Sydney Library which is now housed in Customs House. Prior to the meeting members enjoyed an historical city walk through the old Spanish Quarter and Chinatown. A yum cha lunch in Haymarket was a most enjoyable finale to a very interesting day.

The state-wide special activity on 2nd November to support the NCW Australia Day Awards, and to generate publicity for AFUW-NSW, a luncheon at The Apprentice Restaurant, Ultimo TAFE, was held. Twenty members and friends enjoyed a silver service three-course lunch hosted by TAFE hospitality students.


Kate Chidlow of the Conservation Department at the Powerhouse Museum was the guest speaker at the North Shore Branch's Luncheon Meeting on June 5th, 2006. In spite of it being a cold, wet day a good number came to hear a very interesting talk on a topic few previously knew anything about. Kate specializes in textile conservation, an area in which she is only one of two employed at the Powerhouse. The Conservation Department employs 16 full-time staff and 6 or 7 part-time staff. The main tasks of the Department are to organize exhibitions and to provide the correct environment for safely keeping those objects donated or bought by the Museum.

Kate passed around photos and diagrams from some of the exhibitions she has worked on at the Museum. For example, there were photos of Mary Piper's ball gown. This was donated by her family (of Point Piper fame) and the family paid for its conservation. It was of Japanese silk and material had to be specially dyed to match the original. Several photos showed the various stages in the conservation process.

Other types of conservation were touched on by Kate such as the reconstruction by volunteers of the 3801 steam engine at Everleigh. The Conservation Department also answers many queries from country museums which are often rich sources of heirloom materials. Workshops are run in country towns where help is given to local curators and their assistants on how to put on exhibitions and such like topics. The Department endeavours to educate local museums on what should be kept and how best to conserve fragile items. It stresses that the story behind each object should be sought so that its historical value can be ascertained and documented.

The Conservation Department has a huge store at Castle Hill which has recently been opened and in which 30,000 costumes and 70,000 other objects are being stored. Kate explained that there has been a philosophical change in the way conservation is carried out. Whereas once it was felt important to completely restore a specimen to its original, pristine state, today it is thought that as long as an object does not disintegrate further, it is better to leave it showing the wear and tear of use.

Kate opened up to her audience a whole new world of expertise and answered, with great enthusiasm, many questions such as the conservation of family documents, photographs and other such objects.

At the September meeting of the North Shore Branch we were fortunate enough to have as our guest speaker Stephanie Shwabsky, daughter of our long-standing and respected member, Betty Shwabsky. Unfortunately, Betty was in hospital and could not be present to hear her daughter's most absorbing talk. Stephanie, from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has held many important posts and been the ambassador in places as far-flung as Bonn, Hanoi and Lebanon.

Stephanie talked to us about the role of ambassador which has changed considerably in recent years. Because of the speed at which information can be gained in any situation throughout the world, the Australian Government no longer has to rely on its ambassador in any given country to supply intelligence. However, there is still an enormously important role for the ambassador to play, especially in the volatile world in which we now live.

Every ambassador has a directive when sent to a specific country and where there were once marked distinctions between economic, diplomatic and political interests, these are no longer as relevant. If sent to major powers such as the USA, China or Japan, an ambassador would have a very wide range of interests. In a smaller country such as Lebanon (and here Stephanie spoke from personal experience) the interests may be narrower.

However, above all is the fundamental principle that the ambassador must consider is what is in the interests of Australia, or whatever country it is he/she represents. In Lebanon, for example, one of the largest concerns arises out of the large numbers of migrants Australia has received from that country. Then, too, in the smaller countries the number of workers assisting the ambassador is fewer so that can make the job harder.

It is vital, on coming to such a position, to get to know those who wield power in the society and the organizations in which they operate. Many Eastern countries do not make decisions in the way we are used to in the Western world. The live sheep trade is a case in point. Why do some shipments from Australia get turned back? Is it really because of some disease in the animals or is there another agenda altogether? Maybe there is another competitor offering a lower export price. All these scenarios have to be explored in a diplomatic way. Social contacts are all important in a country such as Lebanon and an ambassador can never afford to turn down an invitation to a cocktail party.

The role of an ambassador is important in solving smaller problems involving Australian citizens visiting foreign countries. Such things as lost or stolen passports, gaining medical advice in emergencies and such like are all part of the job. There also arise much larger problems such as the abduction of children and young women having family problems. In cases such as these, the personal contacts of the ambassador and Department officials means everything. Knowing who to approach when a visa is needed urgently can be of vital importance.

Unfortunately, it is true that when an ambassador is introduced to a person the immediate thought is "What can this person do for me?" But then, this is really asking what can this person do to help Australian interests. In certain countries, for instance in Germany, there is little interest in this way of thinking. It is going by the rules that matters most and this is entirely different from the mentality in Eastern nations.

Ambassadors and their departments have to be equipped to confront such things as natural disasters, train and plane accidents and, of course, terrorist attacks. In all such cases, it is Australian citizens who have to be considered first so they can be quickly transported to hospitals to receive the best medical treatment, so the Australian Government can be briefed and the relatives at home speedily notified.

Stephanie told us that many of these situations were not what she had foreseen she would be doing when she first joined the diplomatic service.

Ambassadors and their co-workers must be able to liaise with the Army, the Police and officers from the United Nations. All these organizations operate in different ways. She herself has had experience in these areas in such countries as East Timor, Namibia and Cambodia. East Timor is an especially difficult situation because of its proximity to Indonesia.

Altogether, the role of ambassador is an intellectually challenging job and has long-term consequences for Australia. Stephanie is especially interested in the role education should be playing in many of the countries in which she has worked. The education of women, particularly, will play a large role in many developing nations. The development index moves up when education is advanced. Even if an educated woman does not move out into a professional sphere but remains at home and sees her children well educated, this can have great long-term benefits to that society.

Stephanie's talk enthralled her audience and made us all feel thankful that we have such ambassadors representing Australia in countries around the world.


Our June function was held in Canowindra at the Old Vic Guesthouse. About 40 members and their guests enjoyed a delicious lunch followed by our guest speaker, Mrs Mim Loomes. Mim spoke about the history of the Age of Fishes Museum and the need for a teaching resource for young people visiting the museum. So, the book, "Long Ago but not Far Away" evolved with the story of Ossi, the Canowindra Grossi. This factual book describing the different fossils and how they were formed is an informative read for adults and children alike.

Our September function was held at Eat Your Greens in Eugowra. It is a stunning setting for a Sunday lunch and over 50 members and guests enjoyed the lovely meal followed by our guest speaker, Ms Julia Finn. Julia, the daughter of member, Ros Finn, is a past Lord Mayor of Parramatta City Council and is at present a Policy Officer with the Department of Energy, Utilities and Sustainability. She gave us a fascinating insight to the refugee situation in Ghana.

The research project she did in Ghana was part of a field placement with SHIFSD (Self Help Initiatives for Sustainable Development). The research project was based in the Buduburam Liberian Refugee Camp on the outskirts of Accra and Julia was involved in identifying needs regarding education, vocational training and counselling of camp residents in order for them to return to normal civilian life. The identification of needs will contribute to the establishment of an effective peace-building project.

Our next function will be held at The Mill, Vaux St, Cowra on 9th December, 2006. Our guest speakers are Roy Lumbey and David Rozenker-Apted, the President and Vice President of The Twentieth Century Heritage Society of NSW Inc. They are both architects and will speak on an aspect of twentieth century Architecture. Roy and David have spoken at Canowindra and generated great interest in the local architectural heritage there. They also have been involved in the preservation of some of the hotels in Orange. For those with access to Internet, there is a most interesting website for the Twentieth Century Heritage Society of NSW: We will be delighted to welcome Roy Lumbey and David Rozenker-Apted to Cowra.


"Farnborough" -circa 1860 - the Moss Vale residence of Rose and Grant Figtree, was the perfect setting for a very enjoyable Garden Party.

This very successful function was the result of a decision by the committee this year to have a different focus from the annual afternoon tea. Members made a concerted effort to market the event. Aside from mailed out invitations, local radio stations and local press were contacted and sponsors were sought.

Wonderful support came from ten local sponsors: Welby Garden Centre, Naked Gum Cellar Door, Highlands Hamper Co., Gardens R Us, Little Piece of Scotland, Moss Vale Fruit, Angus and Robertson, Blooms of Bowral, Moss Newsagency and Moss Vale Printing.

The committee would like to thank all members who helped in anyway; their efforts were most appreciated. Thank you to AFUW members who travelled from outside the district to support us. A special thank you to two dedicated gardeners Rose and Grant who worked amazingly long hours to have their garden in pristine condition in time for the day.

Monies cleared on the day were $2500 and will go towards the Southern Highlands Branch Gift of Education program next year.

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