‘As a member of the first Gathering Committee I look back at the experience of showcasing my Orange region and providing an opportunity for rural women as both challenging and rewarding. Since that time I have worked with over 100 women who have used their amazing organisational and networking skills along with creative talents to deliver Gatherings that are diverse and unique to their area.’ Sonia Muir – Community Engagement Manager
The Rural Women’s Network (RWN) developed guidelines to share feedback and best practice from past Gatherings. By passing on the knowledge and skills gained by each organising committee a progressive bank of information can be passed on to future organising committees and the spirit and philosophy behind this unique and wonderful event in the rural calendar is maintained.
What are Women’s Gatherings?
In Orange in 1993, NSW Agriculture’s (now NSW Department of Primary Industries) Rural Women’s Network (RWN), along with FarmSafe Central West and a committee of volunteers, instigated the first Gathering in NSW as a way of bringing rural women together for networking, learning, gaining inspiration and ideas and sharing information. The idea came from Victoria where Women on Farms Gatherings have been an annual event since 1990. You can read up on a history of past NSW Gatherings
Four hundred women from NSW and other States came to the Orange Gathering. From this event came enthusiasm for NSW Gatherings to be held each year. Gatherings have been held in Bega, Bourke, Cobar, Cooma, Coonabarabran, Coonamble, Gloucester, Grafton, Gunnedah, Hay, Junee, Kempsey, Moree, Orange, Parkes, Temora, Tocal, Wellington, Wentworth and Yanco.
To get a feel for a gathering watch these two videos on the 2011 Gathering hosted by Gloucester…
…and the 2008 Coonamble Gathering…
All Gatherings are special and are organised by local committees who make key decisions, develop a theme and the weekend program. Each event reflects the unique culture, industry, tourism and environment of the host community.
See what some of the Parkes Gathering women had to share about their experiences:
Women’s Gatherings are for ALL rural women including: farming women; Aboriginal women; women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds; mining women; women in the fishing industry; women who live in regional cities, towns and villages; and coastal women.
The RWN is available to assist with any issues or concerns that may arise during the planning of a Gathering and can provide advice, support and information and contacts from past gathering committees.
If you are interested in submitting a proposal to host a NSW Rural Women’s Gathering please read the guidelines first. Proposals must be received by the 31 March each year for the following year’s bid For more information or if you would like to discuss your proposal please contact the RWN: P: 02 6391 3620 e:firstname.lastname@example.org