Shirley, you?re joking!
By DAWN COHEN
THERE is a new club in Ballina for women who love naughty food and a great laugh ? but only if your name is Shirley.
Thirty-two excited Shirleys gathered at the Ballina Bowling Club last Wednesday for the inaugural meeting of the Northern Rivers Shirley Club ? a society for food, fun and friendship with one proviso: your first name has to be Shirley.
Shirley Whitehall, from Lennox Head, heard about Shirley clubs in other parts of Australia on television. "I thought, why not start one here," said the Bangalow-born woman. "I have opened a can of worms. There are Shirleys everywhere!"
Ms Whitehall's task was a teacher's dream as one 'Quiet, Shirley' brought the entire group to order.
Richmond Valley councillor Shirley Wheatley decided to join the Shirleys just for the fun of it.
"It's tremendous camaraderie, but when everyone is wearing the club's blue uniform, there is a strange feeling of loss of identity, too," she said.
Shirley Clubs are an eightyear-old West Australian invention, with more than 5000 members throughout the country.
What could they possibly have in common?
"Most of us were born before the war and were named after Shirley Temple," said Shirley Kocks, from Ballina.
Shirley June Turner, from Lismore, loved the child icon, now 75, but not the rags twisted in her hair to make look-alike ringlets.
"I hated wearing Shirley Tem- ple frilly dresses," she said.
Shirley Ward, a veteran from the Gold Coast group, is convinced that Shirleys have particular personality characteristics.
"We don't drink or smoke much. We like naughty food like chips and sweets. And we love harmony. Shirleys will always help out," she said.
Perhaps we should elect them to run the country next Saturday. For more information call Shirley Whitehall on 6687 4082.