Former state president Betty Burgess, another life-long city dweller, joined the Pascoe Vale branch in 1976. (“Well, it was almost country in those days. No sewerage, and no guttering along Pascoe Vale Road,” says the now 93-year-old). There is no country-versus-city divide as far as Betty and other CWA members are concerned – they decide together as a branch which charities and causes to support with their fundraising.
‘It stirs you up to think of all the money we’ve managed to raise and the people we’ve helped.’
“At the moment our Pascoe Vale branch is working for the Lighthouse Foundation for youth homelessness. It stirs you up to think of all the money we’ve managed to raise and the people we’ve helped.”
The Pascoe Vale branch membership remained steady over some lean decades when other branches closed. “A young one just started recently in her 30s, and we’ve got a couple in their 40s,” says Betty.
‘There are a lot of lonely women in city areas as well as country areas.’
The resurgence of interest is attributable partly to the DIY ethos championing the lost arts of crafting, preserving and baking, but mostly, says Lynette, to the timeless power of female friendship. “There are a lot of lonely women in city areas as well as country areas. Fundraising is important but above all I tell our members to enjoy their branch meetings. It means so much.”
Baking still means a great deal too, as attested by the 90th birthday Biscuits Galore fundraising book (order on 03 9824 0239). And as newcomer Kate discovered last year at the Royal Melbourne Show, the CWA takes its reputation seriously. “I was started on dishwashing and they were impressed with my work, so I got to put the butter on top of the freshly baked scones. You have to earn your stripes.”
4 cups self-raising flour
1 teaspoon sugar
Add cream and milk to the dry ingredients and mix to a soft dough. Place on a lightly floured board and pat out to about 2.5cm thick. Cut with a floured scone cutter. Bake at 200C for 12 to 15 minutes. Serve with butter or jam and cream.
Hint: A tablespoon of cornflour for each cup of SR flour lightens scones.
4 eggs, separated
¾ cup cornflour
¾ cup castor sugar
1 heaped tablespoon custard powder
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
½ teaspoon bicarb soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
Preheat oven to 175C. Beat egg whites with a small pinch of salt, until soft peaks form and then gradually beat in castor sugar. Beat well until stiff peaks form and very thick, then gently fold in egg yolks and vanilla. Add sifted dry ingredients and gently fold through egg mixture until combined. Turn into well-greased sandwich tins. Bake in the middle of the oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until sides have shrunk a little from side of tin. Turn out to cool.
Filling: Whipped cream
Icing: This is approximate – 2 cups icing sugar, one tablespoon melted butter and a little water to mix. 1-2 passionfruit depending on personal taste.
Mix altogether to form a nice, creamy mixture and spread on top of cake. Leave to set.