SHARE
Looking back... Former Mimihau Women's Institute mem bers (from left) Betty Geary, Elizabeth Hunter and Annette Byres look through the organisations first minute book. PHOTO: MARGARET PHILLIPS

The Mimihau Women’s Institute is closing its doors after nearly 70 years.

Dwindling membership is among reasons the organisation has called it a day.

The remaining members marked the closure with a bus trip to Winton to see former Wyndham woman Diane Dynes’ recycled clothing creations.

Member Betty Geary would have been involved with WI for 50 years next year if the institute had continued.

“It was a pretty wonderful thing for me. I was a pretty mousey little person. It brought me out,” Mrs Geary said.

Mrs Geary first began her association with the WI when she became involved in the choir as its piano accompanist.

“It was amazing,” she said.

When her association started, the WI met in a hall at Mimihau.

One of the original members used to light a copper at the hall and boil water for cups of tea and washing dishes.

But on one occasion the person in charge of the copper put the tea leaves in it, meaning there was no water for the dishes afterwards, Mrs Geary said.

Members also had supply coal to fire the copper.

“It was a cold hall.”

The organisation moved to several venues throughout its history.

In its heyday the WI had about 70 members.

The organisation was a hub for women in the district.

It allowed women a night out, giving them a break from their families, she said.

“They were all homemakers in those days.”

Members learned a variety of things including sewing.

“I made all my own clothes.”

“We’ve always had a competition for baking.”

A bloom or preserves competitions were also held.

“I’ve met a lovely lot of ladies over the years.”

President-secretary Elizabeth Hunter said the organisation now had only eight members.

She had been involved for 32 years. When she began her association there were about 20 members.

It was the community spirit that drew her, she said.

Women who were new to the area often joined as WI helped them make friends and get to know people.