Australian Women's Register

An initiative of The National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) in conjunction with The University of Melbourne

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Spencer, Ida May (1900 - 1982)

MBE

Born
1900
Freemantle, Western Australia, Australia
Died
14 April 1982
Occupation
Community worker
Alternative Names
  • Christie, Ida (maiden name)

Summary

On 10 June 1961, Ida Spencer was appointed a Member to the Order of the British Empire for services to the Country Women's Association in Western Australia.

Details

The sixth child of James and Phoebe (née Hymus) Christie, Ida Spencer grew up in Fremantle and Perth and was a youth leader with the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA). After completing a business college course she at first worked in a solicitor's office. Later she worked with the state office of the Returned Services League (RSL) before spending five years as business secretary for the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) from 1936.

She joined the Darkan Country Women's Association (CWA) following her marriage to a sheep farmer, John Spencer. Drawing upon her musical background - she had previously sung in church choirs, eisteddfods, hospitals, elderly persons homes and charity concerts - Ida Spencer organised the Darkan branch choir competition in 1951. The competition was to later develop into an annual Choral Festival. Ida Spencer became the Western Australian state president of the CWA in 1955. During her reign she established the Western Australian CWA branches of the air enabling women in isolated area to attend meetings, without leaving their homes, by using a pedal-radio link-up.

Spencer became national president of the CWA in 1957, a position she held until 1959. In 1958 she was awarded honorary life membership of the CWA. On 10 June 1961, Ida Spencer was appointed a Member to the Order of the British Empire for services to the Country Women's Association in Western Australia.

Dedicated to the community Ida Spencer organised Darkan's first Anzac Day Service with the RSL. She was awarded the thirty years' service medal from the Red Cross and supported junior farmer organisations. She helped established Darkan's kindergarten and assisted in welfare work with deserted wives. Spencer also was a member of the Good Neighbour Council, the Royal Historical Society of WA and Collie Repertory Club.

Sources used to compile this entry: Popham, Daphne; Stokes, K.A; Lewis, Julie, Reflections : profiles of 150 women who helped make Western Australia's history; Project of the Womens Committee for the 150th Anniversary Celebrations of Western Australia, Carrolls, Perth, Melbourne [etc.]:, 1979, 266 pp. pp. 232-33.; Stevens-Chambers, Brenda, The Many Hats of Country Women: The Jubilee History of the Country Women's Association of Australia, Country Women's Association of Australia, 1997, 211 pp. p. 38..

Related entries

Archival resources

National Library of Australia

  • Interview with Dame Raigh Roe, Past President, Associated Country Women of the World (sound recording), interviewer: Gail O'Hanlon., 1995, ORAL TRC 3410; Roe, Raigh Edith (1922 - 2014); National Library of Australia. Details

National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection

  • Records of the Country Women's Association of Australia, 1945 - 2003, MS 2707; Country Women's Association of Australia (1945 - ); National Library of Australia Manuscript Collection. Details

Anne Heywood

Site-wide information and acknowledgements

National Foundation for Australian Women The University of Melbourne, eScholarship Research Centre

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