Joan was a member of the Swain family who came out to New Zealand from Kent in England in the 1870s. As a member of the Catholic Womens' League she was involved in St Peter's College from the beginning as the League took an active part in fund raising. 

Initially the St Peter’s Fair Recipe Book was just a sheet that was copied and handed out as an annual fund raiser. Later it became a proper book and provides a roll call of supporters who contributed their recipes. Sewing and baking and White Elephant stalls were also popular fund raisers at the fair. The women went to Sewhoys in Dunedin for materials at discount prices. 

Quita Lynch had a big table, so they would congregate there for cutting out patterns and making up. Potholders and aprons were turned out in great numbers and always sold well. Quita was a great organiser. 

On the baking front, Pauline Hickey turned out sponges by the dozen. Once the school kitchen opened, they could do their cooking in there. 

Joan’s two children started at SPC in 1971 and 1972 but then the family moved to Queenstown for nine years. Peter worked for H&J Smith and moved to their Queenstown branch. They returned to Gore in 1981 and their youngest daughter started at SPC the following year. 

Joan served on the PTFA for several years with one year as Chairperson and recalls that there was always great support from parents. 

There was early consultation with the community before the school opened on the subject of uniform. Samples and patterns were discussed with parents and at first they could make or knit items themselves to keep costs down. 

Back in 1953 the CWL was really the only local organisation for women. In the early days they had large numbers of members and in 1964 they opened a Homemakers section for younger women. 

They collected clothing to send to overseas missions (nowadays they send money), they baked for new mothers, cleaned the church, catered for funerals, visited the sick in hospitals and rest homes and each branch of the league supported an overseas mission. They would look after the priests and nuns there, as well as the people. 

Their annual raffle brought in funds and was always well supported in the community. Nowadays there are only around twenty members and they are all getting on in age.

Contact Details

Street Address: 121 Kakapo Street, Gore, Southland, New Zealand
Postal Address: P O Box 94, Gore 9740
Telephone: (03) 208 9060
Fax: (03) 208 0000

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