The Country Women's Association hostel in Moree was opened in 1956 in Frome Street. It was a boarding hostel for high school girls who lived in isolated areas. With the advent of school buses the building was offered to the Department of Education and became additional classrooms for Moree High School around the early 1970s.
The Land reported in 1996 that the Moree Branch of the Country Women's Association decided to build its own meeting rooms and child welfare centre in Frome Street in 1928. They decided to make this building a hostel for women who were waiting for the impending birth of their children, as the roads were often impassable in the rain. Mrs Matt Sawyer, president of the CWA, opened the building on 18 April 1929.
As transport and road conditions improved, the demand for this service declined. However country girls who sought town employment needed accommodation, as did high school girls who lived in isolated areas. In 1956 the first pupils were taken to board at the hostel.
Iris Smee (nee Fuller), was one of the first girls to enter the hostel. She contacted the Find & Connect web resource to share her photographs and memories. She wrote:
After 1956 (beginning of year) flood [on the Mehi and Gwydir Rivers] caused hostel staff and school girls to be evacuated. The last half of the year, the hostel only a metre off ground, was raised - jacked up - all the while still being used until December 1956!
January 1957 school holidays, when the job was completed for school girls to start school year, in completely raised building, with laundry and three girls showers downstairs.
Iris remembers Governor Sir John Northcott visited and inspected the hostel in 1957 and the girls formed a guard of honour along the front footpath on Frome Street.
Iris also shared photographs of a reunion of girls held in 1996, and of tours of the hostel. According to Iris, the building burned down around 2008.
Sources used to compile this entry: 'Moree CWA looks back', The Land, Rural Press, 30 November 1995; 1996 front CWA Hostel, Frome Street, Moree [Image]; Moree CWA looks back [Image], Date: 1995; Townsend, Helen, Serving the country : the history of the Country Women's Association of New South Wales, Doubleday, Sydney, 1988; Email correspondence from Iris Smee (nee Fuller), October 2013.
Prepared by: Naomi Parry
Created: 17 May 2013, Last modified: 19 March 2015