Meg McSpeerin’s 2CH Women’s League

The 2CH Women’s League was formed by Amalgamated Wireless (Aust/Asia) Limited on Station 2CH in July 1935.

The objective is to give the home women the opportunity to take part in organised sports, home crafts, etc., and allocated thirty minutes radio programme, 9:30am to 10:00am to promote the organisation.

Meg McSpeerin has organised the Women’s League and conducted this programme for thirty-two years, from 1935 to the present day. Thirty-eight thousand women have joined the Women’s League and wear the badge to take part in golf, tennis, bridge, homemakers, lawn bowling, ten pin bowling; in fact, every activity for women’s pleasure and education.

The Organisation is entirely voluntary and every activity lead by honorary committees under the direction of Mrs McSpeerin, and the proceeds of each club is donated to philanthropic projects. Pre-war, cottages were built and maintained in the T.B. Picton Lakes Village; Queen Victoria and Wentworth Falls; T.B. Hospitals were the main objectives. When war clouds gathered the 2CH Women’s League, to a plan devised by Mrs McSpeerin and with the co-operation of St John Ambulance Brigade, trained thousands of League members in first-aid, home nursing and volunteer aids for hospitals.

With the co-operation of the Australian Gaslight Company, two-hundred league members were trained in quantitative cooking and received their award certificates. On 3rd September 1939 with the advent of war all sports and social clubs turned to war work and the raising of money for the war efforts; a voluntary car drivers club available to hospitals for patient transport and outings for servicemen and women from repatriation hospitals; knitting clubs – thousands of pairs of socks and pyjamas were made available for Red Cross distribution, the money for material raised by 2CH Women’s League.

Meg McSpeerin
© Jan Davis Collection.
2CH Christmas Party at the Trocadero, Sydney. 1937.
© Sam Hood Collection, State Library of NSW.
2CH interstate tour to Coolangatta leaves Sydney, 1938.
© Sam Hood Collection, State Library of NSW.

In 1940 Mrs McSpeerin directed a N.S.W. appeal for the Red Cross to build additions to the Lady Gowrie Hospital at Gordon. Lady Wakehurst, wife of the Governor, attended for the first time on a commercial radio programme to receive a cheque for £6000 ($12000) presented by Mrs McSpeerin; the result of a radio party in every home on 7th July 1947. In addition, the League has contributed £3050 ($6100) for bed endowment to this hospital.

Meg McSpeerin [2nd left] at 2CH Women’s League function 1950s
© Jan Davis Collection.

Every appeal for volunteers and money in every phase of civilian and war work was answered by the 2CH Women’s League. Mrs McSpeerin, with the sanction of A.W.A represented the League on every major appeal committee, and served on the wartime board of the Y.W.C.A. and the Lord Mayor’s Appeal committee. Thousands of parcels were sent to Britain; many of the recipients are still corresponding with League members or have made contact when coming to Australia as migrants.

Mrs McSpeerin worked night and day in radio and in support of every hospital and wartime appeal, raising thousands of pounds.

In 1948 with the blessing of A.W.A and under the auspices of Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt and the Soroptimist Women Clubs of America, Mrs McSpeerin did a guest lecture tour of the USA.

Meg McSpeerin [2nd right] at 2CH Women’s League function 1950s
© Jan Davis Collection.

Post war, each December at the 2CH Women’s League Christmas party, Meg McSpeerin presents to Lady Hooke, Patron of the League one hundred cheques to be mailed to accredited philanthropic organisations; the proceeds of activities and functions throughout the year. In addition appeals are made for bushfire and flood relief work and special projects such as “Breakthrough”, “Forget Me Not” and Doctor Barnardo’s etc., which receive generous cheques. The Women’s League has donated more than one million dollars to philanthropy objectives since 1935.

Meg McSpeerin has organised and hosted hundreds of group tours all over Australia, also one to New Zealand in October each year for the past six years; group tours to the Far East – Hong Kong, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, and every month for thirty-two years group day tours have been held.

Meg McSpeerin received an MBE for services to charity in 1969.

This material is provided courtesy of Meg’s granddaughter, Jan Davis, Brisbane, Queensland.

Supported by the Australian High Commission, Wellington

Read more about 2CH in the 1940s:

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