FAIRFAX, RUTH BEATRICE (1878-1948), a founder of the Country Women's
Association, was born on 8 October 1878, at Lue, near Rylstone, New South Wales,
second surviving daughter of native-born parents Vincent James Dowling, and his
wife Frances Emily, daughter of T. C. Breillat. She was mainly educated by
governesses at Lue and briefly attended the Sydney Church of England Grammar
School for Girls under Miss Badham. On 2 February 1899 at the Anglican Church,
Dungarey, near Rylstone, she married John Hubert Fraser Fairfax (1872-1950).
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Australian Dictionary of Biography
After marrying John Hubert Fraser Fairfax in 1899, Ruth Fairfax and her husband moved to Longreach, and then later Marinya, in Queensland. She was heavily involved in her local community teaching at the Sunday school, whilst also supporting the Bush Brotherhood and other Anglican organisations. She was awarded the Belgian Medal 'de la Reine Elizabeth' for her local efforts during the First World War. At a meeting in Albert Hall, Brisbane, in August 1922, Fairfax was appointed the first State President of the Queensland Country Women's Association.
After being elected President of the Queensland Country Women's Association, Fairfax went on a six month tour of outback Queensland, during which she organised several branches. In 1926 she resigned as President of the Southern Division but remained State President until 1931. In addition to this, she was appointed a Justice of the Peace in 1927.
Visiting England from March 1929 to December 1930, Fairfax represented Australia at the International Conference of Rural Women's Organisations in London in 1929, and on the Liaison Committee of Rural Women's and Homemaker's Organisations. On her return to Australia, she lived in Sydney, New South Wales and continued her work for the Country Women's Association (CWA) as the New South Wales secretary until 1946, as well as fulfilling her role as a vice-president of the Associated Country Women of the World in 1934.
Co-editoring a book with Dorothy Catts entiltled The Countrywoman in New South Wales, Fairfax also served on the boards of the Adult Deaf and Dumb Society of New South Wales, St Luke's Hospital, Darlinghurst, the general council of the Girl Guides Association, was life governor of the Benevolent Society of New South Wales, a trustee of the Public Library of New South Wales and Chairman of the council of the Australian Board of Missions. In June 1935, Ruth Fairfax was appointed O.B.E.
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Australian Women's Register