Clubs and OrganisationsNotable People

The CWA and Jeannie Pender

Image of Jeannie Pender taken from Marburg Show officials, Marburg, Ipswich, 1920 – Image Courtesy of the Rosewood Scrub Historical Society and Picture Ipswich

Today is International Women’s Day so it seemed appropriate to post an article about notable Rosewood identity Miss Jeannie Pender and the Country Women’s Association (CWA).

In 1924 a new branch of the Country Women’s Association (CWA) was established in Rosewood. From its inception Miss Jeannie Pender was there. She became the first Secretary of the branch. (Mrs HM President and Mrs McGuckin Treasurer). This marks the beginning of Jeannie’s office bearing at the Qld CWA becoming also ‘first President of the West Moreton Division, and a councillor of the association.’ She appears to have embraced the institution and its abiding principles attending meetings in neighbouring towns, attending conferences, fund-raising and organising activities. ‘She spent a great deal of her time travelling the district making C.W.A. known far and wide.’ On one occasion Jeannie attended a reception for the Duke of Gloucester, and another at Parliament House representing the CWA.  In this way she became well-known beyond the Ipswich-Rosewood area. In fact, the Courier Mail opined in 1952 that Jeanie was ‘perhaps the best-known C.W.A. leader in the State.’ Considering the popularity of the organisation around this time, such praise is notable.

When World War II came around women of the CWA contributed to the war effort in their own way, supporting local soldiers. One project was making camouflage nets to cover soldiers’ helmets. The CWA also repaired military clothing and made cakes for soldiers at Christmas. At the end of the war, they would assist returning soldiers, women arriving from overseas, and send food to war-ravaged England and Europe.

In January of 1945 as President of the West Moreton Division of CWA, Jeannie began a regular weekly column in The Queensland Times under the heading – The CWA in Action. Here she stated that the purpose of the association was to ‘improve conditions and promote welfare of women and children.’ Projects like the CWA Restroom in Rosewood and provision of a visiting child welfare nurse did just that. Miss Pender was also a prime motivating force for the establishment of the CWA Mothers Hostel in Limestone Street and the hostels located at the corner of Brisbane and Milford Streets, Ipswich. Members of the CWA raised funds to purchase and furnish the old Campbell home and the former Oakdale Private Hospital to become those hostels. Motivation for the provision of these boarding homes was altruism. None of them were intended to produce an income. The intent was to help expectant mothers, mothers of sick kids, boys from the country desirous of obtaining a secondary education, and young women needing somewhere safe to live. The hostels were a part of the Ipswich landscape for many years and provided a much-needed social service. The money raised for these projects was considerable and involved a mammoth effort and commitment on behalf of the CWA.

Information supplied by Nelly Haly from notes found in Florence Hopper’s papers. The same information is found on Picture Ipswich with more information about her life:
A Woman of Substance. Picture Ipswich, accessed 08/03/2023,

There are many great references at the end of this article that readers can explore further such as: Ipswich Loses Three Prominent Citizens (1952, March 3). Queensland Times (Ipswich, Qld. : 1909 – 1954), p. 2 (Daily). Retrieved March 8, 2023, from

Article compiled by Jenny Stubbs


One comment

  1. Great to have this article on International Womens Day. Thank you!

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