QCWA Country Woman of the Year Penny Campbell-Wilson.
QCWA Country Woman of the Year Penny Campbell-Wilson. Toni Somes

Country woman is strong advocate

ASKING Penny Campbell-Wilson whether the QCWA has a future is akin to questioning whether night follows day.

“Of course it does,” she explained.

“The organisation is needed more than ever now by our neighbours, by our communities, by both city and regional areas.”

This elegantly dressed, articulate local was yesterday sashed Border Division Warwick Country Woman of the Year for 2011.

At the division finals in Killarney, Mrs Campbell-Wilson talked about her strong belief in the future of the organisation and its vital role supporting Australian families.

“The QCWA is so much more than just tea and scones,” she said.

“That sort of simplification is undeserved.

“This year alone our organisation has played, and continues to play, a critical role supporting those affected by the floods and cyclones in Queensland.”

On a personal level she understands the impact natural disasters can have on regional communities.

She was living on the Atherton Tableland when Cyclone Larry decimated the area earlier this decade.

“Cyclone Larry destroyed the CWA hall at Millaa Millaa,” Mrs Campbell-Wilson said.

“Then I became involved in sourcing the funding to rebuild the hall, which we did ensuring it was category five cyclone-proof.”

When Cyclone Yasi swept through northern Queensland this year the Millaa Millaa CWA hall proved a safe refuge for dozens of people.

“Yes it was a special feeling knowing I had been involved in rebuilding the hall,” she said.

For the past two years Mrs Campbell-Wilson has called Warwick home.

“We actually lived here for about 15 years before we went north, so returning here was very much like coming home,” she said.

Yet the truth is, when she signed up as a member with the QCWA Condamine Valley Warwick branch, she never anticipated stepping into the divisional spotlight.

“When they asked me to consider running for Country Woman of the Year, I questioned whether I could do it,” she admitted.

“Then I thought ‘why not’ and here I am.”

She said she was motivated by the increasing interest in the organisation from tree changers and retired women.

“There is no doubt the CWA still has a lot to offer the community in so many ways.”

As Border Division 2011 Country Woman of the Year Mrs Campbell-Wilson will represent the region at the State competition in Charters Towers in October.



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