CWA is part of Alma’s life
BEFORE joining the Queensland Country Women's Association's Broadwater branch 55 years ago, Alma Faulkner's life revolved around a stable mix of family, fruit and vegetables.
"Until I joined the (Broadwater) CWA I didn't really know how to mix with people - fruit and vegetables were my life," she said.
"We were raised to stay home and help out with the family, which is what I did. It was the only life I knew.
"I was very self-conscious, but CWA has really helped me out of my shell."
Alma joined the association at the request of her mother-in-law after the birth of her second child.
"At the time the Broadwater branch catered for the school's sports day and they needed help," she said.
"She more or less said 'you're doing it' and I've been a part of it ever since."
Alma, who was brought up with eight siblings on her parents', Henry "Ted" and Dolly Gimm's vegetable farm at Bapaume, met her husband, English immigrant William Faulkner, picking fruit for the Sweet brothers.
"Bill was very quiet too... we were two shy people picking plums," she said.
The pair married "during the heatwave" of November 1968.
But before starting a family with Bill, Alma remembers proudly setting the record for bean picking at Wally Brookes' farm and for grape picking at Fred Flood's vineyard.
"Before my dad died I would help Gwen Sweet with the children and eventually after dad passed I ended up working in their orchard during the season," she said.
"I was 21 when my dad died. It seems like such a long time ago."
Seven years after joining the Broadwater QCWA branch, Alma, her husband and their two children moved to Broadwater, where Alma still lives today.
"It's the sense of community that I love," she said.
The Broadwater QCWA hall - which she has been carer of for more than 40 years - has played a starring role in Alma's life as the home to many special occasions including her wedding day, her daughter's wedding day and as the party venue for all three of children's - Don, Ken and Barbara - 21st birthday parties.
Through all those years Alma said there had been a few times when she'd thought about throwing in the towel, but one thing always brought her back - "the fellowship".
"It was the friendship and sense of community of CWA that kept me on," she said.
"If we lost the Broadwater QCWA and the hall it would be a loss to the community - so many people use the hall for all sorts of things.
"It (the hall) and the school is Broadwater."
One of her fondest memories of the group is from early on in her time, before the Broadwater hall had electricity.
"We were hosting a morning tea and we ran out of milk, so my mother-in-law went and called the cow, pulled up a stool and milked her," she laughed.
"You wouldn't see that these days."
Alma encouraged other women, both young and old, to join the QCWA because of the "support and friendship" the organisation is known for.
"It's women supporting women," she said.
The Broadwater QCWA is available for catering, and the hall, located on Stanthorpe-Texas Rd, is available for hire.
For more information, phone Alma on 46811502.