Remembering the Inner Wheel Australia Conference Warrnambool, 2015

‘It’s a Wonderful…Warrnambool’ 47th Annual Conference 14-18 October 2015

Photography by Judith Banks, IWC Liverpool Combined


Day 1 – Wednesday 14 October
Welcome Dinner – This casual and friendly affair at Deakin University gave everyone a chance to catch up with old friends. President Kay introduced IIW President Charlotte, who was very impressed by the table decorations which were inspired by the ‘Unique and United’ logo.


Day 2 – Thursday 15 October
District Chairmen, Vice & Junior Vice Chairmen attended a breakfast with IIW President Charlotte and the IWA Executive. This was followed by the Opening Ceremony, which was held at the Lighthouse Theatre. The IWA Executive members and their husbands were introduced, as were the Council Members from most Districts. District Chairmen represented their Districts in the Banner Parade, and the banners were presented to IWA President Kay and IIW President Charlotte before being hung at the rear of the stage, where they remained until the end of the Conference. President Charlotte presented each District Chairman with an IIW Banner.
All members were welcomed to the Conference, and it was lovely to see 5 members from New Zealand in attendance.
Keynote speakers at the Opening Ceremony were Jean Kittson and Narelle Skidmore.
Jean, with her typical trademark humour, spoke of many things including her involvement in various medical foundations. Cord Blood Research is particularly important to her, after being introduced to it 14 years ago by Anne McGill. Jean congratulated all Inner Wheel members for their support of Cord Blood Research – we are providing funds which change the landscape of research. As an advocate for women’s health issues including menopause, Jean stressed that we have a voice and it is our responsibility to get involved – as we in Inner Wheel tend to do.
IIW President Charlotte gave her Official Opening Address, and was followed by IWA President Kay. President Kay formally introduced IWNZ President Di Patchett.
National Project Coordinator Anne McGill gave her report. Monies raised to date for Cord Blood Research total $2,264,572.00. Three grants are to be presented at the Conference, bringing the total number of grants awarded to 38.
Narelle Skidmore spoke about her partner Vaughn Dixon, who received Cord Blood Stem Cells to treat his life threatening disease. Five years after the onset of his cancer Vaughn is living his dream of working in the film industry.
Following the Opening Ceremony, around 80 members enjoyed “Hats ‘n High Tea” at the Warrnambool Art Gallery.
Other members took advantage of the tours arranged by the Conference Committee, with some travelling to Port Fairy and others to Proudfoots on the River.

Day 3 – Friday 16 October
While IWA Executive and Council Members attended the Council Meeting, other members had a free day to explore the beautiful Warrnambool area, either on their own or as part of an organised tour. Organised tours gave a choice of visiting the Twelve Apostles, partaking of a Gourmet Food Trail, or enjoying Talent in the Country.
The Gala Dinner was held in Stalker Stadium at Brauer College.
Members, partners and guests were entertained by Nancie Schipper, a 15 year old folk/alternative singer songwriter with a unique voice, and also by Footprints in the Custard, a fun-filled community choir.
The highlight of the evening was the presentation of 3 Cord Blood research grants, to Dr Alla Dolnikov, Dr Ngaire Elwood and Dr Margie Castillo-Melendez, who all spoke briefly about their work and the impact made by the grants.

Day 4 – Saturday 17 October
Business Session & AGM
IIW President Charlotte gave a brief and interesting talk which included the story of how the ‘hand prints’ logo came to be created. Living in the north of Belgium, she also spoke beautifully of the relationship between Australians and Belgians and the significance to her family, and to illustrate quoted part of the poem “In Flanders fields the poppies blow, Between the crosses, row on row”
Attendees enjoyed a boxed lunch before returning to listen to keynote speakers Karen Forster and Rachael Robinson, both very inspiring women.
To finish the session, A51 members gave a fun presentation to promote the 2016 Conference in Warringah, NSW – which very much hinted at a big party atmosphere!

We returned to Brauer College that evening for the Friendship Dinner – Hats off to Inner Wheel. There was a spectacular array of headwear, and each table had as its centrepiece a spectacular hat made by the members of IWC Warrnambool.
Entertainment provided by The Warrnambool Ukelele Group and The Louise Clancey Project had many people singing along and dancing.


Day 5 – Sunday 18 October
The Service of Thanksgiving and Remembrance provided an opportunity to reflect and remember those members no longer with us, and the Rose Ceremony was a very special way to celebrate their friendship and their contribution to Inner Wheel.

This service was a lovely note on which to finish the 2015 ‘Wonderful Warrnambool’ Conference before saying goodbye to friends old and new, with a promise to meet up again in Warringah in 2016.To see all the photographs from the 2015 Conference, please visit Inner Wheel Australia on Facebook