Monday, 26 January 2015

Australia Day

As Australia celebrates its national day today (26th January) we look back through the NFWI archives at a fascinating trip to Australia, taken by then NFWI chairman, Lady Albemarle, in 1951.

With Australians preparing to mark their Jubilee year in 1951, the Australian Government invited the NFWI to attend the celebrations. The NFWI annual review that year proudly reported on this invitation:

“The federation received a signal honour through the invitation to its chairman, Lady Albemarle, from the Australian Government to attend part of the 1951 Commonwealth Jubilee Celebrations. Lady Albemarle was able to accept the invitation, and flew out to Australia early in the New Year, taking with her a gift of a footstool for the Australian House of 
Commons. The gift was gratefully acknowledged by the speaker.”

Lady Albemarle presented a gift of a footstool to the Australian Government. The footstool, pictured below, was a replica of the Speaker’s stool from the UK House of Commons. The plaque on the stool reads:

“Presented by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes to the Commonwealth of Australia on the occasion of its Jubilee Year of 1951”

Her Majesty The Queen took great interest in the trip, and Lady Albemarle received the following letter before she flew to Australia:

Dear Lady Albemarle,

The Queen has heard with interest that you have received, and accepted, the invitation of the Australian Government to their Jubilee Celebrations this spring, and that the invitation came through the Australian Country Women’s Association. 

It is a delightful compliment to the work that is being done by country women all the world over, and the Queen bids me tell you how Her Majesty rejoices to think of all the greetings and good wishes that you will carry from the Women’s Institute members here, as well as the wonderful welcome you will receive from other Australian Associations.

The Queen desires me to say how much Her Majesty will look forward to hearing all about your visit.

Yours Sincerely,
Delia Peel,

If you would like to find out more about the history of the WI, please see our website where you can read about the WI’s campaigning history, or the history of the WI as an organisation. 

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