Reprinted from Mudgee Guardian article by Sam Potts and Same Paine Nov. 2, 2012
Two Mid-Western Region women have included in the latest Department of Primary Industries (DPI) 2012 Hidden Treasures Honour Roll, celebrating the work of women volunteers in rural community. Pam Hewitt of Bogee, near Rylstone, and Joyce Purtle, of Linburn, near Coolah were among 126 women named in 2012 honour roll. Mrs Hewitt was listed for her volunteer work for the Rural Fire Service (RFS) and Country Women’s Association (CWA). Mrs Hewitt is the supervisor of the Cudgegong RFS Communications Unit involving weekend duty during fire season and radio monitoring at home. She also assists in the office at the local Control Centre two days a week. She also helps with RFS training in the local district and with Region West (the wider area incorporating Cudgegong District). And as of October she has been secretary/treasurer of Cudgegong RFS Heritage Committee, who maintain and display historic bushfire fighting vehicles and equipment. She is also the secretary of the Cudgegong branch and Division 12 of the NSW Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA), which consults and represents the views of volunteers and staff of the RFS. In addition to her work in the RFS Mrs Hewitt, is also the treasurer of the Rylstone CWA branch and the minutes secretary of the Castlereagh Country Group of 17 CWA branches. Mrs Hewitt said this is her doing her bit for the community.
“I felt that it was an honour to have been nominated, I never expected to be honoured for the volunteer community work that I do,” she said. “I just do it not expecting rewards, it’s about community spirit really. “I get a lot of enjoyment out of what I do for the community through the organisations that I’m involved in.” Mrs Hewitt first joined the RFS in 1978 with the Arcadia Brigade near Hornsby. She became involved through her husband Barrie who has been with the RFS since 1966 and before joining she lent Barrie and the brigade a hand where she could. Pam joined the CWA 10 years ago when they moved to Bogee. “It was an ambition that I always had but when I was working there were no evening branches so I didn’t join until we moved here,” she said. “It’s an organisation I’ve always had high esteem for.” Pam said she won’t be resting on her laurels and that she will continue until “it’s time to slow down”. “Just because I’ve got an honour doesn’t mean that you give up, you just continue going the way you were all along,” she said.
Mrs Purtle was named a Hidden Treasure in recognition of her work for the Country Women’s Association (CWA) over 45 years, her role in restoring the Cooyal Cemetery and her part in groups such as the P & C, NSW Farmers and the Cooyal Hall Association. Ms Purtle was nominated for inclusion by the president of St Gabriel’s Old Girls Union, who asked Ms Purtle’s daughter to find the details of her mother’s life. “I thought she was getting my eulogy together!” Ms Purtle said. “I’ve never been nominated for anything like this before, but it makes you feel good.” Mrs Purtle has been a member of the Country Women’s Association since 1967 and was named Country Woman of the Year (Far North West Group) in 1984. For 10 years, she has been a warden of St Andrew’s Anglican Church, Cooyal and she was instrumental in obtaining a Keep Australia Beautiful grant to restore the cemetery.