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CWA stalwart rewarded for community commitment

Juanita Field, from Waggarandall, has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal for her work with the CWA, of which she has been a member for nearly 65 years.

FIONA BROOM January 26, 2013 4:10am

Waggarandall’s Juanita Field has been awarded an Order of Australia Medal.


Juanita Field still has the receipt for the two shilling membership fee she paid when she joined the Country Women’s Association in 1948.

In the years since, she has been president of the Central Murray Group for three, two-year terms, secretary, and sat on several committees.

While joining the young farmers’ group and playing organ at church gave Mrs Field, known to most as June, a way to socialise away from the farm, the CWA gave her a way to give something to her community — a service that has earnt her an Order of Australia Medal.

Mrs Field comes from ancestors who settled at Waggarandall, between Dookie and Katamatite, in 1874.

She joined the CWA after she finished primary school at the ‘‘little school’’ in Youanmite.

‘‘The CWA means quite a lot because of what they do in the bigger, wide world and the community,’’ she said.

After Mrs Field and husband Ted had their three daughters, the girls became involved with the Lone Guides — Girl Guides for those who can’t get to meetings.

Mrs Field was easily convinced to help out, a move that led to her taking on leadership roles after her daughters moved on.

‘‘I thought I’d give up then, but they asked me to be district commissioner, then division commissioner,’’ she said.

Now, Mrs Field is a lay preacher at the Katamatite and Invergordon Uniting churches, as well as Sunday school teacher and organist, and member of the Youanmite Hall Committee and Youanmite Social Connections Group.

She was also named Citizen of the Year in Tungamah Shire.

‘‘So sometimes I get some housework done,’’ the 79-year-old grandmother of 12 and great grandmother of one said.

Just for fun, Mrs Field, who can’t swim, has paddled the 404km Murray Marathon eight times — her CWA team Chicks With Attitude has broken the time record twice.

Caniambo CWA member Helen Wall told Bill Marsh in Great Australian CWA Stories Mrs Field epitomised the organisation (though she didn’t use her name).

‘‘Two bung knees. Can’t swim. Is afraid of the water. Jumps in a kayak. Takes a deep breath. Says a little prayer, and away she goes. That’s the attitude.’’

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