VIEW zone councillor Joy Gregor and VIEW national councillor Jan Blanch (front left) with members who have been placed on the Honour Roll (from top) Bette Marsh, Gloria Turnbull, Norma Parr, Tess Vigna and Betty Booth.
VIEW zone councillor Joy Gregor and VIEW national councillor Jan Blanch (front left) with members who have been placed on the Honour Roll (from top) Bette Marsh, Gloria Turnbull, Norma Parr, Tess Vigna and Betty Booth.

Ladies find real honour in VIEW

In the days when women were not allowed to join Rotary, Lions or other service clubs, the then general secretary of The Smith Family, George Forbes, had the insight to create VIEW, a service club specifically for women.

This year VIEW (which stands for Voice, Interests and Education of Women) is celebrating its 50th anniversary and what better way to mark the milestone than to honour some of the women who have been the backbone of this organisation, who have amassed 254 years of continuous VIEW membership.

While members of VIEW clubs enjoy fun and fellowship, VIEW clubs of Australia are committed to supporting The Smith Family to help disadvantaged Australian children by unlocking opportunities through education and learning.

At the annual VIEW Zone Conference in Goonellabah last Thursday, six local women were each named on the VIEW Honour Roll for more than 40 years of service.

“These ladies actually knew our founder George Forbes. To me he’s just a name but these women knew him personally, which is just amazing,” VIEW member Dawn Sword said. “They have so many wonderful stories of the early years and the fun and the friendship of those days.”

One of the six women, Norma Parr, said in the 1960s women were often isolated as wives and mothers and VIEW provided a place for women to socialise and find confidence within themselves.

“Often women who came to VIEW had spent most of their life dedicated to their husband and children and they weren’t very outgoing. I watched women come to VIEW and they were like little mice at first… very shy and unsure of themselves,” Norma said. “But after a few years they would be standing for committee positions and taking on organisational roles within the club. All those little mousy girls got really inspired and virtually became different people. They were confident and empowered.”

“Yes, but there’s some nice quiet people in VIEW too!” Betty Booth added with a laugh.

“Oh yes,” Norma agreed. “Lot’s of nice quiet ones. There’s just so many wonderful people and personalities – it’s absolutely splendid.”

The six women have some wonderful memories, like catching the Cream Boat on the Wilsons River down to Wyrallah for supper dances and being entertained by Kamal and Tony Barber at convention dinners. Gloria Turnbull even had her photo taken with Bob Hawke at a convention and it was published in the Sydney Morning Herald. The Herald later ran a competition with the photo where readers were asked ‘What was Bob saying to Gloria?’ Ms Turnbull is still to reveal what was said…

The six women who were placed on the VIEW Honour Roll were:

Gloria Turnbull, who joined VIEW in 1970 and is a past national president. She is a member of Ballina Day VIEW Club.

Norma Parr, who joined VIEW in 1969 and is a past national vice president. She is a member of Alstonville/ Wollongbar VIEW Club.

Maureen Boyce, who joined VIEW in 1970 and is a past national vice president. She is a member of Casino VIEW Club but unfortunately was not able to attend the Zone Conference.

Tess Vigna, who joined VIEW in 1969 and is a member of Alstonville/ Wollongbar VIEW Club.

Betty Booth, who joined VIEW in 1967 and is a founding and current member of the Lismore Day VIEW Club and also a member of the Lennox Head VIEW Club.

Bette Marsh, who joined VIEW in 1961 and was a founding member of the Dee Why Club, the second club to be formed in Australia, and is a member of Lismore Day VIEW Club.

If any women would like to know more about VIEW, phone Joy Gregor on 6624 7057.


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