A ladies’ Christmas event at the Buffalo Kiwanis Club, New York, in December 1918 united five of Buffalo’s leading business women: Florence Smith, Alice Sauers, Ora Cole, Jean Redpath, and Wanda Frey Joiner. Together they combined their powerful insights and observations to create a club for business women, aiming to provide fellowship and service opportunities that were previously only available to men.
On the 6th of February 1919, a mere two months after contact was made with enthusiastic women executives in Buffalo, the group convened to sign its articles of incorporation, thereby creating the first international club for women; an organisation of service and friendship, embracing members regardless of geographic location.
When looking to name the club, a founding member proposed the word ‘quota’, a Latin word meaning ‘a share or one part to a whole’. This was considered a true reflection of the club’s mission, and Quota Club International Inc. (now Quota International Inc.) was born. Wanda Frey Joiner was the first elected President.
Sixty years later in 1979, Australian Quotarians Rita Hines and Phyl Meredith visited their ex Women’s Auxiliary Air Force (WAAF) friend Joyce Dyer on Norfolk Island. At a time when the island’s only community clubs were Rotary, Lions and The Wives and Mothers Club – Phyl, Rita and Joyce felt that Norfolk would benefit from a Quota club. It is a credit to their foresight and enthusiasm that the Norfolk Island Quota Club was formed, with an aim to benefit both the women and the community.
Just five days after Norfolk Island became a self-governing Territory of Australia, a gathering at the South Pacific Hotel marked another momentous occasion. On the 15th of August 1979, twenty-eight of Norfolk’s ladies pledged themselves to the ‘Ethics and Objects’ of Quota International Incorporated. District Governor Peg Whittaker conducted the initiation of the new members, with Kathleen Percival elected as club President and Joyce Dyer as Vice President. The symbolic event, complete with the traditional wearing of white gloves, was concluded by the presentation of the Charter by Joan Dooley, Area Director for the South Pacific.
With the formalities complete, the Norfolk Island Quota Club dived headlong into fundraising for the community. After the first year the club was able to donate $2,000 to the local hospital for the purchase of an x-ray machine, and then in 1980 Bonnie Quintal – Charter Member and aviatrix – raised $2,500 in an 11,955 mile journey through America and Canada, visiting thirty-five major cities (of which three were also named Norfolk). Another flight followed in 1982 and Bonnie assisted in raising a further $2,590. These funds helped the hospital to equip a five-bed geriatric ward and provide equipment and cardiac beds for an Intensive Care Ward. In 1982 the club also provided funding to help setup the hospital Diabetic Clinic which is still in operation today.
This was just the beginning of Norfolk Island Quota Club’s contribution to the local community and beyond. Over the past thirty-five years approximately $250,000 has been raised by the club through fundraisers and functions. Every Quota Club throughout the world works in different ways to assist their local communities and areas that have experienced hardship or disaster. The Norfolk Island community has been very generous in its support of Quota fundraisers and functions.
The general running of the Norfolk Island Quota Club keeps the members on their toes, with monthly business and board meetings, social evenings and fundraisers. Living on such a small island with only 1,800 inhabitants has its limitations, however Norfolk Islanders are used to ‘making do’ and being creative in their approach to social events, fundraising and entertainment. In the first years, the Quota ladies would run fundraisers and invite husbands, friends and visitors to events such as Olde Music Hall nights, Visa Versa, Roaring Twenty dances, Games, Fashion Parades and Fish Fry’s. In more recent times the club has been involved in Open Days at Government House, Opera Concerts, Gala film evenings, raffles, Health Seminars and much more.
For the past seven years, Norfolk Island Quota has had a static membership of six with an average age of seventy-nine. Many things have changed on the island since the inception of Quota all those years ago, however the current members still maintain the ideals of Quota – focusing on service to the community and support for one another. They also support the Australian Cancer Fund with mechandise sales on Daffodil and Pink Ribbon Day, and contribute when possible to overseas disaster appeals.
This year on the 15th of August, Norfolk Island Quota will be celebrating their 35th year, and over one hundred Quotarians from Australia and New Zealand will be flying to Norfolk for the occasion. It will be a great honour to welcome Peg Whittaker, Phil Meredith and Beris Pritchard to the island; women who played such an important role in Norfolk’s Chartering. Karen Murphy, Quota’s newly elected president, will also be an honoured guest at the birthday celebrations. The Norfolk Island Quotarians look forward to this time of good fellowship and friendship.
Together, Quotarians unite in their vision towards the future of their communities, drawing inspiration from the words of the ‘Quota Collect’ and their motto ‘We Share’.
Image Credit: Patricia Anderson – Norfolk Island Quota Club
Article content disclaimer: Article first published in YourWorld, Volume 04 Issue 02, 2014. Please note that details of specific travel, accommodation and touring options may be outdated. References to people, places and businesses, including operating days and times may be have changed. References to Government structure and Government businesses/entities may no longer be applicable. Please check directly with businesses and/or Government websites directly rather than relying on any information contained in this article before you make travel arrangements.