Winnie Edith Edwards

Tapestry series no. 64

Date contributed: 27.07.1999

Contributed by Olive E Edwards

Winnie, the first grandchild of her grandparents, was born in Tasmania in 1911. She was the eldest of the family of twelve and was born at her home ‘Cloverlea’ where she lived all her life. She was of average height and build, with hazel eyes and fine dark straight hair combed back in a bun.

As a child she was helpful and loved to cook. At 10 years she helped by much cooking for the school fete. The high school Principal described Winnie as being unusually intelligent, capable and full of initiative. She was head prefect and dux of Scottsdale High School. In her intermediate year Winnie won the State prize for commercial subjects.

After leaving school she stayed home to help with cooking, sewing and farm bookwork. She was later a milker in a dairy of 200 cows and was responsible for making the cheese. Power was from a steam engine. By working on the farm without wages during the Depression years, Winnie enabled her parents to keep the farm and bring up a happy family.

Winnie did her work quickly and competently. A friend as well as a daughter to both parents, she also encouraged family members in their interests. Winnie was an avid reader and read many books by candlelight before the electric power came to Branxholm.

In 1938 there were sheep on the farm and a new dairy started closer to ‘Cloverlea’ where there was now electric power. Cheese was not made but cream sent to the butter factory and skim milk fed to calves and pigs. Winnie milked cows for 40 years.

A committed Christian, Winnie taught Sunday School and was Church Organist. She served as Circuit Steward (first time in 1945) and represented the Circuit at Synod and the Tasmania/Victoria Methodist Conference and was on the Stationing Committee for ministers’ appointments. She represented Tasmania at National Methodist Women’s Home Mission League in 1969.

Winnie was a dedicated, enthusiastic worker for the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and held positions at local, state and national level. She attended all National Triennial Conventions from 1939 to 1984. Winnie was a delegate to World Conventions in Switzerland, Japan, Norway, Australia, England and United States of America and attended the USA Centenary Convention. She was a life member of the state, National, USA and World Union.

Winnie was instrumental in commencing the Branxholm Methodist Ladies Guild, the Branxholm Branch of the Country Women’s association and in commencing a CWA library when the Municipal Council would not participate in state Public Library scheme.

Winnie held positions in local Guild and the C.W.A., was a Member of Honor of the Branch and Group and was also a C.W.A Group and State Officer. She was a life member of Associated Country Women of the World and attended World Conferences in Eire, Germany and Canada.

She was very ‘crafty’. She made a variety of mats, cushions as well as many articles in crochet and embroidery, including a large crocheted tablecloth with birds and animals and larger tablecloths with embroidered birds and a flowers on linen plus other craft articles. Thrift articles included crocheted hats from bread packets, mats and cut rags and footstools from covered treacle tins.

She was generous. One Christmas when hard up she gave each married sister and sister in law a worked or crocheted cloth. The delighted recipients were pleased as a result of Winnie being hard up.

A keen gardener and a member of the Horticultural Society, Winnie participated in Branxholm Flower Shows and many other shows, often winning trophies.

Winnie attended the Tasmanian Producers Organisation and later the Tasmanian Farmers Federation meetings with her father and was local secretary for five years. She represented the organisation at State Meetings, sometimes being the only woman there. Her knowledge of procedure was an asset.

Her encouragement was appreciated by family, friends and members of organisations.

The Branxholm swimming pool was build by working bees. Winnie was secretary when the pool was completed.

Winnie was a wonderful hostess. It was not unusual for there to be twenty or more for Sunday dinner. She was good at cooking food for folk. After her death one small great niece said ‘Now Aunty Winnie can make sausage rolls for God’.

Stamp collecting was a hobby. Children who came to stay were helped to start or extend their collection. Children were also welcome to help on the farm, in the home or garden.

Winnie was busy gardening, cooking and reading two days before her only time in hospital in 1989. Ten days later she asked, ‘Are there any deaths of anyone we know in the paper?’ Winnie died three hours later and notice of her death was in the newspaper the next day.

She was missed so much. Throughout Tasmania many bulbs, plants and shrubs had come from her garden. A friend remarked, ‘Her memory will live on in other people’s gardens.’