CHAPTER ONE: The First Freemasons in Australia

(This Book, They Call Each Other Brother, is at November 2022 being totally revised. The revised ‘Introduction’ is now at the Home Page.)

In 1938, Cramp and Mackaness[lxxxi] provided an account of Freemasonry in NSW which became by default the history of the earliest years of Freemasonry in Australia. It began with the very prosaic: ‘Craft Freemasonry, as we now know it, was not regularly practised in Australia until the year 1816. Prior to that date, however, we have evidence of at least three occasions when Masonic arts were either proposed or practised in Sydney.’ [lxxxii] The word ‘regularly’ serves to send the pre-1816 ‘occasions’ to the realm of non-Masonry, but on what evidence? While Arthur Philip, first Governor is believed not to have been a brother, some officers and some of the rank-and-file troopers aboard the First Fleet had certainly been initiated, but into which Constitution and into which lodge, regimental or other, is often not known.[lxxxv] The very murkiness of this early period sets the scene for much of what follows over the next century and a half.

Norfolk Island’s Secret Societies

Australian academic Atkinson has recently asserted ‘a benefit and burial society’ was formed on Norfolk Island in 1793 by a Rousseau-devotee and about ninety others intent on regulation of prices for their produce, and that Commandant King tried to convert it into a ‘Settlers’ Meeting’ shaped more to his liking. Atkinson has assumed that this NI society must have had Speculative Freemasonry as its model, indeed that it must have been of that particular ‘branch’ of Freemasonry, the ‘Ancients’, not because of any Irish connections but because it had benefit provisions:[lxxxvi]

It was a benefit and burial society, as Ancient lodges normally were, and something of the international flavour of Freemasonry can be seen in the provision that the widows of members were to be provided with part of their passage money should they decide to leave the island, whether for Europe, Asia or America.

He has, equally erroneously, assumed the Provost Marshal of Norfolk Island, Fane Edge, was also a Freemason of the ‘Ancient’ variety, and has asserted that these ‘lodge’ members planned an annual feast on St Patrick’s Day , something ‘typical of Masonic lodges.’

In 1796 then-Governor Hunter, reported that the ‘British’ settlers on Norfolk Island included secret conspirators:

(Persons who) have neither been bold enough or so imprudent as to attempt openly..The original discipline of the colony is sadly relaxed or nearly lost..all is confusion, disorder and licentiousness..Our settlers, my lord, have been ill-chosen..many of them are very bad characters..[lxxxvii]

King, Hunter’s predecessor as Commandant of the Island, had pointed in the same direction:

A great part of the marine settlers, when the novelty of the change is gone off, will have neither ability or inclination to get on. They have been extremely troublesome, insomuch that I have found it necessary to try two of them..The charge against the first was for beating the watch and using the most inflammatory language against the government..[lxxxviii]

‘Marine settler’, here, refers to members of the original militia superseded by the newly-formed NSW Corps and, who, having determined to resign, had been granted land. King’s ‘Settlers’ Meeting’ soon died but later in the 1790’s, the authorities became alarmed that ‘settlers and others’ had established a new society. The founders, including some involved earlier, wrote to Governor Hunter denying they ‘had given any name to their meeting’ but he immediately informed the Duke of Portland, the Secretary for Colonies:

I conceive that there is something extremely improper in the manner of the meeting of the settlers on the island…

He then issued a ‘Government and General Order’ to the Island’s inhabitants which began:

It is with much astonishment and displeasure that the Governor has been informed of the very unwarrantable association entered into by the settlers and other persons upon Norfolk Island, and which he understands they have in the most seditious manner termed ‘The Fraternal Society of Norfolk Island’.[lxxxix] [My emphasis]

Just the title ‘Fraternal Society’ might suggest to harried and suspicious commandants revolutionary Paris and unsettled Ireland. The Report of the 1799 UK Committee of Enquiry into Secrecy listed 2 oaths which it claimed had been found in police raids on suspected societies, one of which was a ‘Brotherhood of Affection.’ The French priest Abbe Barruel, as proof of an Illuminati [alleged European revolutionists] connection with European Masons and Irish nationalists, had earlier quoted the 1791 oath of the United Irishmen which sought to bring Catholics and Protestants together in a ‘Brotherhood of Affection’. On the Island in December, 1800, in the aftermath of information received, there was found to be another oath-bound society, called the ‘Society of Affection’ which no doubt added to apprehensions.[xc]

Was either of these ‘Fraternal Societies’ Masonic? Were their members Masons? Expressions of ‘brotherly affection’ were basic to fraternities as we have already seen. There were certainly stonemasons there. One ‘Bricklayer and Stone-mason’ enumerated work in which he participated in the decade, 1791-1800:

1st, an Oven for the troops- 2nd the Government House – 3rd the present Store House – 4 the present Barracks – 5 the Judge’s present house – 6 the Head Surgeon’s House – 7 the present Stone Hospital and Kitchen – 8 Seven or more houses for Officers – 9 the stone-work of the present Mill, together with variety other work, Chimneys for Guard-House, etc.[xci]

Cramp and Mackaness noted Ireland’s (Masonic) Grand Lodge being petitioned in 1797 by three soldiers of the NSW Corps[xcii] for a Warrant, and that the request was deferred, otherwise they paid it no mind. How these troopers had become ‘Freemasons’ was just one question they didn’t think to ask. The requested lodge charter ‘was to be held in the South Wales Corps’ according to the GL of Ireland minute but no lodge is known for that regiment, either then or later. If it was a genuine request, why were troopers making the petition and not their officers?[xciii]

Gallagher’s has been the most thorough attempt so far to get to the bottom of these matters but again as far as Masonry is concerned he was an outsider attempting to see in through the cracks. He wrote in 1985:

We are on difficult ground..when trying to estimate the support which the Irish might have expected to receive from the NSW Corps..In December 1800, when a revolt of Irish convicts at Norfolk Island failed, it was revealed in the enquiry that followed that four of the soldiers were involved in the plot. Farrel Cuffe, a convict and an Irish schoolmaster stated on that occasion that he had been told by one of the implicated soldiers that ‘Turner and McCorigan two other soldiers were masons..’

which third-hand statement Gallagher follows with:

Farrel Cuffe’s statement suggests that there were freemasons among the soldiers, and that freemasonry was closely associated with sedition. In fact there were very strong connections between freemasonry and the corps.[xciv]

at which point he recounts briefly what are known as the ‘Kemp’ and ‘the Whittle’ mainland incidents of 1802 and 1803 respectively. A further reference to a mainland ‘Lodge’ he interpreted from the context as an Orange Lodge. These are all dealt with in more detail below.

A number of attempts have been made recently by Masonic ‘insiders’ to rectify shortcomings in the NI Masonic record. Proof has been claimed for a genuine, if unchartered lodge but, as of this date, none of these stand up to close scrutiny either.

Government records show land on the Island being granted to ‘Masonic Lodge of St John, No 1’ on 27 April, 1800, so it does appear that a society of some sort claiming Masonic legitimacy actually existed.[xcv] But was it a bona fide lodge? Was it even Masonic as we would understand it today? No Constitution has come to light, and ‘No 1’ is impossible if the lodge had been regularly established. All known contemporaneous references to the existence of a lodge’s presence are only to land, not to any building, thus it is likely that while a grant was made for a site, no petition was made to the GLI and no regular lodge gathering ever eventuated.[xcvi] It would seem indicative that no meeting notices or internal records of any kind have come to light and that all claims with regard to membership are circumstantial or for northern hemisphere activities. When for example, Woods, an Island settler killed by a falling tree was given a Masonic service in 1804 and followed to his grave by ‘a numerous procession of the fraternity’ no actual lodge is mentioned and therefore no indication of allegiance.

It would be useful to know how these processionists were identified as Masons and how the display of public grief came about. If any brother from a lodge of English ‘Moderns’ was wearing his regalia he would have technically been in breach of ‘a caution’ issued half a century before from London against any public display of regalia without permission of the GM ‘or his Deputy’. The ‘Antient’ Grand Lodge had only recently advised its members against public displays because of governmental concerns that agitators might use ‘demonstrations’ for seditious purposes.

Astute readers may well ask whether the deferred 1797 petition from the 3 Corps troopers could have come from the Norfolk Island ‘Society’? The only known list of persons put forward as NI Freemasons is dated well after the Island was more-or-less abandoned in 1808. It has 15 names, but the Masonic context of only four is even reasonably clear. Three persons on the list signed their names ‘Masonically’ on an 1807 letter to be referred to shortly, one other, Michael Lee, is described by an unknown writer in 1808 travel documents as a Freemason, while the other eleven are claimed to have been NI Masons on the basis of newspaper reports from Hobart in the 1817-1820 period. None of this constitutes proof of the prior events.[xcvii]

The only definite Masonic initiation claimed among the 15 relates to 1784 in England. One was born on NI, the others were English-born or very probably so.[xcviii] It’s therefore relevant to note that no NI lodge appears in Lane’s list of ‘English’ lodges which is internationally regarded as accurate to 1894, nor in the records of Irish GL.[xcix] All of the 15 appear to have been Protestant, seven were transported thieves, the crimes of 4 were unknown, 3 were marines and 1 was a ‘free settler’. No political interests appear in the published information about them. Neither Farrel Cuffe, Fane Edge or Whittle appear and neither do the 3 troopers from 1797, George Kerr, Peter Farrell and George Black.

The last odd thing is that of this 15 only Lee appears in the documents illuminating events which do clearly involve Freemasonry and the authorities over the two decades 1790-1810. Of the names that re-occur in these conflicts such as Whittle, Kemp, Wentworth, Piper and Macarthur, most are of military men who continue serving and for whom an explicit Masonic connection appears either to have been fleeting or has remained well-hidden.

Apart from European politics, and the chaotic nature of life in the penal settlements perhaps the strongest thread running through this material and bringing some degree of coherence to it, is the repeated insistence on rank and status by certain military officers as they engaged in very dubious practices, including the sale of rum which they knew was undermining the colony’s administration and good order. Freemasonry to such men seems not to have been a repository of high moral behaviour, nor a means to civilise those they regarded as inferior. A number appear to have been using Freemasonry for their own purposes, and not on behalf of the Empire or ‘the mystical brotherhood’.

A man for whom Masonic membership has not so far been claimed by anyone but whose high-risk career links these earlier events with others much later on the mainland is D’Arcy Wentworth. Arrested on a range of highway robbery charges, he escaped convict chains, perhaps worse, by accepting appointment as unpaid assistant surgeon on the infamous Second Fleet transport ‘Neptune’. For a time, he was accompanied on the voyage south by another risk-taker, one John Macarthur.

Wentworth and his convict-‘wife’, Catherine who gave birth to a son, William Charles, just after arriving in Australian waters, were sent onto Norfolk Island in 1790 where Wentworth senior was soon buying up land grants and using them to produce crops for the government agent. In 1796 the family returned to Sydney where Hunter engaged him to continue as assistant surgeon and where he quickly became deeply involved with both Macarthur’s machinations and the rum trade.[c] Both men appear to happily serve the loyalist cause when any Irish uprising is in the offing, with the proviso that Macarthur was absent during the turbulent period of 1801-1805.

Plots, real and imagined, were common colonial currency. Macarthur, often portrayed as the arch-conspirator and puppet-master, achieved wealth and immortality in his adopted country as an enterprising, pioneer wool-grower, and had seen no active service when he signed onto the Corps as a penniless subaltern in 1789. Arriving in Botany Bay in 1790 after eight months at sea, his ruthless ambition and short-temper ensured he would be found close to, or at the centre of many pivotal jousts with authority over the next 40 years. Correspondence indicates that he was a long-time confidante of another in similar circumstances, John Piper.


On the Mainland

King continued to suspect hidden conspirators when he was made Governor of the whole colony in 1800. Sending two men to the triangles for 500 lashes each in 1802, he described them as:

Two of the deluded people..(who have) been detected as active promoters (under the direction of persons at present unknown, but not unsuspected) of attempting to get together a number of offensive weapons..and..detected in seditious conversation, tending to the destruction of Government order and humanity..[ci]

Like Hunter before him and Bligh afterwards, King was being assailed by transportees of various kinds, and from within the military. Two suspects were French pow’s who had been contracted while on the hulks at Portsmouth to come to Australia and set up vineyards. One had married one of two Irish sisters transported after 1798 and had changed his name in the colony to ‘Francois Duri(n)ault’. King wrote of him after the major insurrection by Irish labourers in March, 1804:

Among several who are very deeply implicated and suspected in contriving the tumult is the Frenchman who I meant to retain here..His conduct has compelled me to send him out of the colony.[cii]

Another was a fleeing French aristocrat who had joined the NSW Corps, in 1793, as a private no less, and sailed to Botany Bay.[ciii] A third would have been James Larra, a Jew transported in the Second Fleet but who was nevertheless said ‘to be well regarded by the authorities’ becoming principal of the nightwatch soon after his arrival in 1790. It was he who had the ‘Masons/Freemasons Arms’ built at Parramatta before the end of the decade, and it was there that members of a key French scientific expedition stayed in 1802. One of these, Peron, later recalled:

During the six days that we spent in Parramatta, we received service with an elegance, and even with a luxury that we never thought possible in this region. The best wines always graced our table.

Peron later drafted a secret ‘Memoire sur les etablissements anglais a la Nouvelle Hollande’ which advocated a French conquest of Port Jackson with the aid of rebellious Irish convicts.[civ]

A contemporary engraving shows a prominent advertising sign outside Larra’s hotel bearing a square and compass.[cv] As a retailer of wines and spirits Larra and a number of other licensees were important to those Corps officers with imports, such as rum, to move. Macarthur owned the land under ‘the Freemasons Arms’ at some stage but the following is well wide of the mark:

In 1797, following a meeting at the Freemasons Arms hotel involving some fellow-officers and selected free settlers, the extraordinarily influential junior officer John Macarthur formed an exclusive freemason’s society. This secretive group had an all-pervading, if not sinister influence in colonial affairs from that time on.[cvi]

Binney provides no reference and, despite his claim of its on-going importance, never mentions this alleged society or Freemasonry again.

The justice system in the colony was far from perfect. Discretion allowed authorities, for example, to select among a range of punishments depending, not on the crime, but the probable usefulness of the law-breaker. Whereas others arrested with him in 1800 received up to 500 lashes, another who ate at Larra’s hotel, Joseph Holt, was among a group sentenced to be ‘sent out of the colony’. An alleged leader in Ireland of the 1798 rebels, he was a Protestant who made a point of saying he knew no Catholics ‘intimately.’ Involvement in the 1800 plot was not proven despite a number of the convicted participants speaking about his prior knowledge. Suspicions of his closeness to figures in authority had begun not long after he joined the United Irishmen in Ireland in 1797.

Atkinson has assumed Holt[cvii] was a Freemason because he wore his beard ‘under his chin’, a secret Masonic recognition sign according to Atkinson but unknown to Masonic insiders. Perhaps it was an unusual hair-style as Judge Atkins conducting the 1800 enquiry questioned him about it, but Holt insisted it was an ancient Irish sign of mourning.[cviii] In another version it is ‘a distinguishing mark of the fraternity of United Irishmen’.[cix]

Tendered evidence at the 1800 trial referred to other secret signs, none of which appear to be Masonic:

Placing the forefinger of the left hand in the palm of the right and closing the same. If acknowledged, it would be by clasping two forefingers of the right in the left hand.[cx]

Able to convince his accusers that he had known of but refused to participate in the plot, Holt was pardoned in 1802, another amazingly short sentence in the circumstances, and was given grants of land in 1803. Elsewhere in his memoirs, Holt described an un-named acquaintance as a ‘Freemason, an Orangeman, United Man and leader of a Banditti of robbers’ who, being made a constable in the colony, achieved a free pardon and returned to Ireland.[cxi]

The first pre-1820, Masonic ‘occasion’ Cramp and Mackaness seriously considered involved Captain Fenn Kemp, Lieutenant George Bellassis and French naval officers from Baudin’s marine survey vessel, La Naturaliste, in Port Jackson in September, 1802. The assessment so far among local Masons[cxii] seems to be that on board the French vessel, Kemp was ‘made’ Entered Apprentice, Fellow Craft and Master Mason, ie was received into the three basic ‘Craft’ degrees at one ‘sitting’.

Before receiving his commission into the NSW Corps in 1793, Kemp had spent time in France and the United States. He had then been stationed at Norfolk Island, from 1795-7. Sharp’s opinion of him was that he was ‘among the more active and aggressive officers of the Corps’, Ellis describes him as ‘greedy’. Holt and Margarot, another political transportee, had poor opinions of him, and of the Corps as a whole which they observed at first hand monopolising trade through their control of law and order and of the only viable currency, rum, to line their own pockets and gain control of the best land.[cxiii] Kemp showed no interest in Freemasonry after being ‘made’ and no respect for St Cricq, the French officer in charge of the ceremony. Within days, Kemp accused him of buying spirits in breach of King’s specific instructions. He later apologised as the charge proved to have no substance.

Bellassis, Kemp’s ‘supporter’ at the ceremony, was only briefly in the colony. Probably a Mason by virtue of what was then the less-well known ‘Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite’, (not ‘the ‘Antients’) he had been sentenced to transportation to the penal colony for duelling in India. Arriving in Sydney in January, 1802, he also had been quickly pardoned by King and put in charge of both the colony’s batteries and the Governor’s cavalry bodyguard. He left the colony and his post in August, 1803 immediately his pardon was confirmed.

The ‘bodyguard’ appears to have been made up of ‘trusted’ ex-convicts, including D’Arcy Wentworth, and became the basis of the para-military ‘Loyalist Associations’. Sheedy has assumed much more and named Wentworth as the first ‘master’ of an Orange Lodge formed in Parramatta in 1800, a claim for which no other corroborating evidence has been found.[cxiv]

Asked by King to act as the bodyguard’s and therefore as Bellassis’ commanding officer, John Piper refused the task, because, in his view, such ‘emancipists’ were not the equivalent of even base-grade privates and were not subject to the Articles of War.

King’s behaviour towards the French officers who were in harbour for some months appears on the surface to have been polite and free of suspicion despite the two nations having been recently ‘at war’ and soon to be so again. This maritime task force was acting on orders from Napoleon to seek out possible settlement sites and, it seems, did a lot of surveillance work on the local port and military facilities. King must have kept them under observation by way of his own spy/informer system while helping to restock the French boats and ‘guiding’ them around the region, and it seems unlikely that he was ignorant of the one (or more) Masonic gatherings, but he neither interfered with nor even reported the September meeting to his superiors. He could both read and write French, so perhaps it was unnecessary for Kemp to report the ceremony to him, at least on paper. Were Kemp and Bellassis acting under direct orders from King? Did they use Freemasonry as a smoke screen to meet the French officers ‘socially’ and attempt to gain information as to French intentions? Were the French attempting to turn Kemp to their advantage? Other obvious questions include:

why would Kemp undergo an apparently French ritual in those circumstances?

what ‘obligation’ was he under?[cxv]

why weren’t other, ‘British’ Masons present?

How did French officers come to be staying at the Parramatta home of James Larra, the Freemasons’ Arms?

Why would any bona fide, ‘French’ Masonic gathering not happen there?

Northern hemisphere Masonic jurisdictions were rent with internal conflict throughout these same decades, and French Freemasonry was especially uncertain. Although Napoleon supposedly favoured this brotherhood while suppressing others, his activities induced further conspiracies and conspiracy theories.[cxvi]

King certainly knew about the ‘Whittle’ meeting in 1803, the second of Cramp and Mackaness’ irregular Masonic ‘occasions.’ Now with family, Whittle had access to, was perhaps lessee of the intended ‘secret’ venue, a tavern in Spring Row. Illiterate, Whittle was never more than sergeant-major in the Corps, yet Atkinson’s unsubstantiated comments include not only that he was a ‘radical Freemason’, whatever that might mean, and that ‘Such a lodge would have been a ritual meeting ground for the men among Sydney’s elite.’[cxvii] Is it likely that Sydney’s ‘elite’, most of whom were determined, status-conscious military officers, would have relied upon an illiterate nco for their Masonic base, however ‘radical’?

Henley, another pioneer of SF history, has centred this meeting on Sir Henry Hayes, wealthy Irish land-owner transported for kidnapping a woman he wished to marry.[cxviii] Upon the meeting being broken up and Hayes sentenced by a Magistrate with whom he’d had previous conflict, Governor King wrote:

In consequence of a plan formed by Hayes of initiating Freemasons after I had forbid it, Hayes was detected presiding at a club, and would very soon have made every soldier and other persons Freemasons had not the most decided means been taken to prevent it.[cxix]

The Governor obviously believed that Hayes, who was not in the colony before 1802, was a Freemason, that at least some of the other attendees were Masons, and that some connection with sedition existed. His reference to a ‘club’ discloses 18th century terminology for a meeting place where Masonic business could be conducted but which was not formally a lodge and therefore not governed by the various protocols and Rules. This is what Atkinson accidentally noted with the Knuckle Club in London which he wrongly assumed was a lodge.[cxx] It is also what occurred with the Kemp meeting and could well explain the situation on Norfolk Island. It may, on the other hand, indicate just how loosely the words ‘Masonic’ and ‘freemason’ were being used.

Hayes was a member of Cork Lodge No 71, and Day (above) reviewing the Cramp and Mackaness ‘History’, thought it very likely his claimed Charter was ‘regular’. Writing in his own defence, Hayes asserted that King had adopted a consistently hostile attitude to him personally and that he had some affinity with naval rather than army officers:

Several of the officers of HM ships Glatton and Buffalo, together with some respectable inhabitants of this place, wished to establish a Masonic lodge, and being in possession of a regular warrant, I was instructed to make a respectful application for that purpose.[cxxi]

Of all the early ‘Masonic meetings’, Australian Masonry has struggled with this one in 1803 most of all. The official gloss that it was irregular, as in Cramp and Mackaness, has been maintained despite a ‘Special Communication’ involving 3,500 of NSW’s brethren having been held on 29 July, 1903 in Sydney Town Hall ‘in honour of the Centenary of the Dawn of Freemasonry in Australia.’[cxxii]

A major uprising by Irish labourers known as the Castle Hill Rebellion, against which an armed Larra ‘turned out’ as a loyalist member of the Parramatta Association, happened just outside Sydney in March, 1804, six months before Wood’s Masonic funeral on Norfolk Island in September. Between those events, in August, King reported:

Our Irish insurgents are now quiet, perhaps only for a short time, as they do not want very active and concealed councillors in Muir, Margarot, Henry Brown Hayes and often other incendiaries.[cxxiii]

When searched, Margarot’s home revealed ‘seditious’, ie republican material and correspondence supporting King’s belief, so, in July 1805, Captain Piper, an 18 year-old Ensign on Norfolk in 1792 but now the Island Commandant, was told to expect him, Hayes, his townsmen William Maum, and a London lawyer Massey Robinson, all sentenced to be re-transported there ‘on suspicion’ of being plotters. Margarot, a United Scotchman and the first person to greet Holt in Sydney, is another suspected of being as much spy and informer as radical agitator. Roe in 1966 opined that ‘Margarot’s relations with (King) were complex and mysterious.’[cxxiv]

Hayes appears to have provoked King by asking Captain Colnett, of HMS Glatton, to take ‘home’ his complaints about the Governor including sworn affidavits about a disputed 5,000 pounds. Colnett, for his part, was in conflict with King over alleged behaviour of Whittle’s son who was accused of having ‘smuggled himself (onto the) Glatton and (behaved) himself in a mutinous manner’ for which he had been ‘chastised’. Whittle, on the parade ground, spoke of being prepared to ‘cut his ears off’, referring to a Lieutenant Stewart who had delivered an alleged beating to his boy.[cxxv]

D’Arcy Wentworth was both Macarthur’s neighbour and a co-signatory to a petition Macarthur authored urging a coup by the Corps against William Bligh, King’s successor, in 1808. Hayes supported Bligh and was again arrested when the Corps imprisoned the Governor.[cxxvi] Kemp and Whittle were both centrally involved in the campaign against Bligh, as were many others, but it is Whittle who, Atkinson argues, was Macarthur’s ‘medium’, and the man who ‘provided the spark of Jacobinical energy moving at the heart of things.’[cxxvii]

Whittle’s only public role was to muster the ranks which on the 26th January, with drum and ensigns, marched the short distance from barracks to Government House where they detained Bligh. Thereafter, a cartoon showing the unlucky Governor being dragged from under a bed appeared in a prominent window of his, Whittle’s, house. Macarthur became Colonial Secretary for a time, even more grants of land were parcelled out to Corps members, including Whittle, and the rum spree continued.[cxxviii]

After the official inquiry back in London the following year, at which Whittle broke down under cross-examination, the Corps was withdrawn and broken up, the arresting officer, Johnston, dismissed from the service and Macarthur was effectively exiled from the colony since the new Governor, Macquarie, was given orders to arrest him for high treason should he, Macarthur, return to Sydney.

Wentworth again escaped the hangman, even censure. His influential English patrons had Macquarie appoint him Principal Surgeon, Treasurer of the Police Fund, Commissioner for the turn-pike road to the Hawkesbury River, a magistrate and Superintendent of Police. His son, William Charles, was similarly favored, being appointed Provost Marshall in 1811.[cxxix]

As noted, the labourer, Michael Lee, reappeared on a letter of loyalty to Bligh signed in total by 19 ‘settlers of Norfolk Island.’ Other names belong to men active in the earlier island societies, and described as ‘settlers who had retired from the detachment of marines at Hobart.’[cxxx] Wentworth does not appear while none of the signatories appears to fit the ‘elite’ label. Under the new regime, Hayes and Holt sailed for home in 1812, surviving a shipwreck on the way.

Cramp and Mackaness claimed as their third irregular ‘occasion’, an 1816 procession and foundation stone-laying ceremony for Piper’s new Sydney house. Arrangements indicate that the lodge, L 227 IC, within the 46th Regiment which had replaced the Corps, was revived for the occasion. A very new member of the lodge, ‘that queer character’ (in Ellis’ eyes), Piper entertained on that day a group which included the Lieutenant-Governor Molle, the Surveyor-General Oxley, the ‘notorious’ Judge Bent, the Reverend Marsden, and various other surgeons, solicitors and Government officials, not all of whom were Masons. Macquarie did not attend and neither did the Wentworths.

A merchant vessel in the harbour flew ‘a Masonic ensign’ and ‘saluted by seven guns’ the water-borne group, which included the regimental band, as it was rowed to the site where ‘the Brethren withdrew from the Assemblage’ to form the lodge ‘on a retired spot E of the Solemn Form & Order’. ‘The RWM [Right Worshipful Master, a Captain Sanderson] having given the necessary cautions’, the brethren, with ‘appropriate Masonic symbols’, were marshalled by the ‘Master of Ceremonies’ and proceeded to the site. The items carried, which would all have been regimentally-owned, included

Candlesticks, Globes, a Box of Coins and a Charity Box, a Banner, the Roll, a Basket of Corn and Pitchers of Oil and Wine, the Bible, the Square and Compasses, the Columns, and the Charter supported on a Cushion.[cxxxi]

Two of the company, un-named, wore the robes of Knights Templar, and another that of a Red Cross Knight, ie of Masonic Orders other than ‘the Craft’. The documents also refer to the presence at a meal with ‘the Sisterhood’, ‘Sister Piper, and ‘a Female Knot.’’[cxxxii] These terms may have been social niceties at the time. However, ‘knot’ was the word used for a lodge in the Rules of the ‘Ancient and Most Benevolent Order of the Friendly Brothers of St Patrick’ established in Dublin in 1787.

Masonic authors rarely refer to the physical assault on Macquarie’s favourite architect Francis Greenway by Sanderson, as a supposed result of Greenway’s failure to deliver his regalia on time for the Piper ceremony. The lack of a single, hand drawn and painted apron was surely not sufficient cause of the beating. Greenway and Macquarie were awkward but firm allies in bitter conflict with the new military establishment and their clique, not over rum or trade, but over personal status and the distribution of power within the colony. Ellis has asserted:

It soon dawned on the colony’s many malcontents that [the regimental] Lodge Social and Military Virtues could be turned into a dark recess in which secret plotting might hide.

So soon as the warrant had been put into force, there was a zealous rush for admission by those opposed to the Governor.[cxxxiii]

In theory, regimental lodges were not to admit civilians, and this lodge appears to have been more strictly observing this prohibition than others, throwing into question the Masonic status of individuals at the Piper-stone laying, such as Oxley and Surgeon Harris.

In its service in North America before coming to NSW, Lodge 260 has been anecdotally associated with George Washington, has even been claimed as the lodge in which that worthy was first initiated.[cxxxiv] While on active duty, the regiment apparently twice lost contact with the trunk containing its Masonic ‘paraphenalia’, Washington allegedly intervening on one occasion to have it returned. In Sydney, it ‘lost (its) old Warrant’ only to have it turn up ‘among the effects of a deceased inhabitant.’ There appears to have been a shake-up at this time because Sanderson organised a set of Bye-laws, a seal and a tri-lingual travelling certificate, copies of which were despatched ‘home’ to GLI in February, 1817. It also appears that it was only at this time, 65 years after having been originally warranted, that the lodge adopted its motto, Sanderson writing to GLI:

..I enclose a set of our Bye-Laws as recently arranged and printed, together with a Copper Plate Impression of the Certificate, lately adopted by us..At the suggestion of a Brother, the Honorable Chief Justice Bent, we have chosen as Motto to our Lodge the following Roman Superscription, viz:- “Libens Solvit Merito Votum”, there being a Coincidence between its initial letters and those of our distinctive title – and its being moreover of Masonic Application.[cxxxv]

Samuel Clayton, the man who was on hand to design these items and to have them printed was not permitted to attend meetings of this lodge, although a Mason with Letters of Introduction from the GLI. Sanderson wrote:

..(Consistent) with our established Practice [we would] have given to the unfortunate Brother that Masonic Reception, which belongs to our Institution, but those circumstances which we have ever kept in view, since our Arrival in this Colony, and which are indispensably necessary to be averted to, in support of our Respectability both Military and Masonic, have ever rendered it necessary we should act, in these respects with more than ordinary Caution and Circumspection.[cxxxvi]

In other words, these ‘gentlemen’ considered Bro Clayton, transportee from Ireland, not worthy of admission into ‘their’ lodge, even as a visitor. In 1816, his were such rare skills he was able to immediately resume his printing and engraving business, including of the first paper currency and the first cheques in the colony. The prohibition against him lasted only until Lodge No 260 was fully authorised as the first civilian lodge, whereupon he was elected its first Master of Ceremonies.

In 1822, Greenway joined him, not long after he had completed a ceremonial trowel. In what is the most intriguing of the many un-answered questions, Macquarie only made known his attachment to ‘Masonry’ just before he left the colony, in October, 1821, and that to Catholic Bishop Terry, at the foundation stone ceremony for the first St Mary’s Cathedral. Even then, his apparently off-hand comments only survived because ‘an observant altar boy’ supposedly overheard them and, many years later, communicated what he remembered to the Freemans Journal.

Macquarie had been initiated into the Entered Apprentice or First Degree of Freemasonry in a Bombay, stationary lodge, in 1793, recording the fact in his diary. Ellis has suggested that as he was also in the first ecstasies of love and frantically manoevuring for promotion, the induction must have seemed to him ‘as one in a dream.’[cxxxvii] Masons would like to claim that his apparently humane and tolerant policies flowed from his being ‘a brother’, but at present there are far too many gaps for any conclusions to be drawn.

In 1817, Macquarie had ordered Catholic priest O’Flynn out of the colony, and in 1820 had told the two replacement priests, which included Therry, not to attempt to convert any C/E churchgoer, or any Protestants in general, not to celebrate Mass in public except on Sundays and not to approach Catholic children in the orphan schools, where only C/E scriptures were taught.[cxxxviii] Macquarie’s Secretary, ‘that stern Orangeman, Mr JT Campbell’, in Ellis’s words

had been treasurer of a committee to raise funds for the Popish work, which received the financial patronage of a number of staunch Protestants, who were lured from their prejudices by the Governor’s dispensation and example.[cxxxix]

Macquarie is not known to have progressed beyond his very first, tentative step into Freemasonry and he is not known to have referred to his fraternal allegiance during the almost 30 years from 1793 to 1821. It may be that he had more respect for Masonic principles than was displayed by brethren of the Lodge of Social and Military Virtues and that with its departure with the 46th Regiment, the removal of its especially ugly interpretation of fraternalism had made religious tolerance and reconciliation easier. In July, 1817, on the basis of the situation then existing he had requested London to authorise the ‘speedy removal’ of what he termed ‘a Political Faction’ and its ‘mutinous licentiousness’. An anonymous ‘pipe’ or broadside attacking Lieutenant-Governor Molle had appeared in 1815 and its victim had made such a fuss that enquiries were made. Macquarie explained to his superiors that:

(The) result of my enquiries has been the discovery that the officers of the 46th Regt, on the particular Recommendation of their Commanding Officer, Colonel Molle, had previous to their Arrival in the Colony bound themselves never to admit into their Society or to Hold any Intercourse with any of those persons who had arrived here under Sentence of Transportation.[cxl]

This agreement meant the Regiment, and its lodge brethren, were at odds with the legally-constituted authority as soon as they landed. Macquarie says he continued to treat Molle and his officers ‘with my usual Attention, Until After the Arrival of Captain Sanderson’ late in 1815:

This Officer having used most unbecoming and disrespectful language on a particular occasion to the Chief Magistrate of Police and to the Bench of Magistrates before whom he had been summoned for a Misdemeanour, I found it due to those Gentlemen’s wounded feelings to admonish and reprove Captain Sanderson…Resentment, perhaps mingled with even Worse Motives, immediately led Capn Sanderson to set about forming a Faction among his Brother Officers, and more especially among the younger and more inexperienced part of them, in which he has succeeded but too well; and by possessing a great Share of the Spirit of Faction and Cabal has even brought over others of the Superior Officers to his Party in opposition to Me and all the measures of My Administration.

Ellis has little good to say about the Governor’s opponents, but the available evidence indicts Sanderson as a brutal and arrogant thug. In contrast to his gentler tone towards GLI, above, in a letter to Molle after that gentleman had ended enqiries into the pipe because he was satisfied that WC Wentworth had been its author, Sanderson expressed the opinion:

…These (pipes) We perceive issuing from the Pen of Men so much Our Inferiors in Rank and Situation, that We know them not but among that promiscuous Class which (with Pride We speak it) have been ever excluded from Intercourse with Us. ..[His emphasis and brackets]

Thus, it’s possible that after 1817 a lighter atmosphere made possible Macquarie’s disclosure to a Catholic priest he hadn’t seemed well-disposed towards previously, but the claimed participation of avowed Protestants in the building fund, and the much later testimony of an old man remembering a remark not attested to by anyone else, add up to doubtful evidence, at best.

Clayton by 1822 was Secretary to the Leinster Committee and was thus the de facto Provincial Grand Master.[cxli] With L260’s backing he asked that the Lodge be allowed to assume the title of ‘Provincial Grand Lodge’. The Irish Grand Master refused the request but allowed the Lodge what were later described as ‘unprecedented powers’. This authority added to the resentment felt by certain other brethren. Stephen, in his 1827 letter, strongly argued the need for a local, Grand Lodge with full powers, but mandated from London:

(A Grand Masters Lodge in Sydney) would of great utility, as the Colony has spread to such an extent, and Brethren residing in Towns at some distance from the capital desirous of forming lodges in their neighbourhood would thus be enabled to do so without the trouble and delay consequent on reference to England..

He was also refused.

With threats from both France and Ireland seemingly removed, English authorities were concentrating their efforts on internal enemies. In New South Wales, imperial government and its military representatives were being challenged by rising commercial forces eager to consolidate opportunities and to seize the levers of local power for themselves. Though control of Freemasonry remained a prize, ‘the Craft’ proved slippery and contenders soon looked to the broadening range of fraternal societies for other vehicles of advancement. Two other convicts of uncertain Masonic allegiance who had been kept from Sanderson’s table, ‘the young duellist Dr William Bland’ and an ex-Captain, Robert Lathrop Murray, were among the clutch of previously side-lined observers who, with the young Wentworth, now moved closer to centre stage.

1830 Apprentice Brushmaker’s Certificate.
1830 Apprentice Brushmaker’s Certificate.

CHAPTER 4: Struggles for Power, Privilege and Survival

Well into the 20th century ‘freemasonry’, ‘trade union’ and ‘friendly society’ were not the clearly demarcated terms they later became. Because of their common heritage, there remained a great deal of overlap in function and in form. Debates over Freemasonry’s uniqueness, and over whether colonial society imported ‘unionism’ or that it was ‘of natural origin’, have both missed the point.[cxlii] Freemasonry was assisted into a unique global position mainly by the politics of the period 1750-1850 but the essential simplicity of the guild’s central ideas, and their continued relevance and use in ‘modern’ Europe, made it inevitable the full fraternal range would re-appear in the colonies. Daniel Defoe’s late-17th century recommendation of ‘friendly societies’ is among the earliest known uses of this term.[cxliv] His definition, which roughly coincided with the term’s first known newspaper usages, was ‘a Number of People entring into a Mutual Compact to help one another, in case any Disaster or Distress fall upon them.’ This could apply equally to a traditional guild or to any of the variations then becoming visible, as his examples show, and could cover Freemasonry which he didn’t mention. He drew upon marsh-dwellers in Essex and Kent spreading the cost of sea barriers across their communities, horse regiments collectively funding the costs of remounts, and a Sailors’ ‘Chest’ or common purse at Chatham, on the Thames. That he used a term we today regard as very specific across such a broad sweep of locale and of occupation suggests that in his day ‘friendly society’ had taken over from ‘guild’ as a general catch-phrase, as ‘freemasonry’ did in the late-18th and early 19th centuries. Further, his account emphasised the mundane and made no mention of fraternal ‘trappings’ or of their secret activities. It projected a calm, practical demeanour, arguing the case for utility and efficiency. Many authors have followed this second lead and over time it has been generally assumed the ‘trappings’ had simply disappeared as modernity took shape. In 1889, an Austrian academic investigating voluntary working men’s associations in England made no mention of them though his conclusion was unusually insightful for the time: ‘[If I were to] consider the early history of English working men’s associations it would be indispensable to treat of Friendly Societies and Trade Unions simultaneously, since their origin and their growth are governed by the same economic and social conditions, and both classes of institutions are only different sides of the same historical process.’ [cxliii] His emphasis on ‘working men’s associations’ reflects the gaps, actual and conceptual, which had opened up between the fraternal strands. It was an approach less blighted than most by the period’s class-heavy rhetoric but its omission of other major ‘fraternals’ shows how much had already been lost in the scramble for modernity and how much remains to be restored to the record.

Power and Privilege Amongst Australian Freemasons

Harland-Jacobs assembled her major argument that Freemasonry was THE fraternal society of ‘the Empire’ around public events such as the Piper stone-laying of 1816. Her account puts parade appearances at its centre and highlights the speech-making of colonial administrators, in Canada and India in particular. Her resulting emphasis on respectability as the Masonic weapon of choice to create and maintain the structure of the Empire denies any role for individual motivations, especially those at the heart of the ‘turf wars’ which resulted in the imperial project. Her concentration on what could be seen or heard by ‘the public’ aligns with her era’s thinking that what was not public was unimportant. Consequently, lost from her account are, on the one hand, lodge rites and their significances and, on the other, covert Statecraft and diplomatic machinations. She was not concerned that where lodges originated was important, those of interest to her were just ‘British.’

The 1827 letter of John Stephen (above) from which Harland-Jacobs quoted to begin her account was only superficially about decorum. If manners and mores were the concerns, as she asserts, the disputation which continually sullied the Craft throughout the century would not have been so volatile, it would not have had as a principal focus English-born versus non-English born brethren, and the same issue would not also be apparent in non-Masonic settings. Stephen’s career shows he was not even a good example of the generalised virtue she had in mind. Few of his words can be taken at face-value underpinned as they are by assumptions about class, faith, race and gender which he, initiated in England, did not feel any need to put on paper. They amounted to a belief that ‘the English’ were superior to all other Britons, and that ‘English men’ were the peak of creation. Naturally, English Masons and GLE ‘knew’ that they were overseeing the only authentic Freemasonry, an assumption spelt out after the Union of 1812: ‘(One) of the results of the Union (of 1812) was that pressure began to be laid on military lodges to resign their Irish Warrants and accept English ones…The (GLI) records of the next dozen years are full of protests coming from Irish Lodges.’ One outcome was loss of an earlier form of ‘Provincial Grand Lodge’ in which the different constitutions had worked somewhat more harmoniously together.[cxlviii] Writing to London, not Dublin, in 1827 Stephen did not arouse contradiction when he intimated that Irish lodges were not adequate, indeed may not even have been regular by English standards. Coal River, NSW, later the major port and smoky industrial centre of Newcastle, stands out in this regard. First mapped before 1800 and occupied by Europeans as a penal settlement similar to Norfolk Island, it had quickly become a place where physical work predominated. In 1844, the editor of a Sydney newspaper reported that it was not yet ready: ‘We do not think Newcastle is in a position just now to support a lodge creditably and efficiently, owing to so few of the resident gentry feeling inclined to give their support to the craft.’ [cxlvii] The editor had only Freemasonry in mind, thus the reference to ‘gentry’. In the even more isolated and less populated Swan River Settlement (later Perth, Western Australia) military types were in charge of its establishment and a Freemasons’ parade occurred within 12 months of their arrival. Whether they were always ‘regular’ in their mode of conduct and in their accoutrements in what remained for some years a very difficult situation, is yet to be seen. Formally, the first civilian, Masonic lodge was ‘chartered’ in 1843, and the second in 1853, both of the English Constitution, leaving at least fourteen years of fraternal affairs un-recorded. Before South Australia was even proclaimed in 1836, founders of what became its first Masonic lodge, ‘South Australian Lodge of Friendship, EC, No 613’, had obtained a warrant and held a preliminary meeting in London.[cxlv] Of equal importance here however was that the second Masonic lodge attempted in this colonial outpost, ‘Adelaide St Johns Lodge’, was of the Scottish Constitution. Its founding members wrote the requisite letter to Edinburgh’s Grand Lodge and began in 1844 to ‘work’ in anticipation of a Charter arriving in due course. They were immediately bullied and intimidated by the executive of the English Lodge of Friendship which insisted that any authorisation must be requested through them and must receive their permission. ‘After a long and interesting discussion’ the aspirant Masons are said to have conceded.[cxlvi]

In Sydney:

The 46th Regiment of Foot, which arrived in 1814, had attached to it the ‘Lodge of Social and Military Virtues No. 227, Irish Constitution’. We have seen evidence of its parlous condition and its leader’s attitude towards its renewed form. The 48th Regiment with Lodge No. 218, also of the Irish Constitution, replaced this regiment in 1817. This Lodge then granted a dispensation to the first civilian Lodge in Sydney in 1820 when the total population of the colony was only 30,000. With just twelve foundation members, it was called the Australian Social Lodge and was issued with warrant No. 260 by the Grand Lodge of Ireland, feted as the first ‘properly chartered’ Masonic lodge in Australia in 1820.[lxxxiii] In 1821 the brethren of this lodge petitioned the GL of Ireland to be made a Provincial Grand Lodge with the authority to issue Warrants to sub-lodges. In 1824 the Leinster Masonic Committee, sitting in Sydney with the power but not the title, met and established the next lodge, the ‘Leinster Marine Lodge of Australia, No 266, IC’.[lxxxiv] The first lodge under the English Constitution, the ‘Lodge of Australia, No 820’, Stephen’s lodge’ opened in 1829, and the first ‘temple’ under the Scottish Constitution, ‘Australian Kilwinning, No 337,SC’ was opened in 1844 in Victoria. This implies remarkably slow progress, compared with the West Indies for example, and invites close inspection. Harland-Jacob’s public celebrations are especially inviting.

It has gone un-noticed generally that these events had strategic significance within fraternal communities in addition to any effect they may have had externally, on ‘the natives.’ We have already seen that some Freemasons were in a better position than others to draw on the military’s long-standing use of marching about and were quick to exploit the power of ‘pomp and circumstance’ but not all soldiers saw such events as entirely positive. Even an expansion in the numbers of lodges could be seen as unwise if ‘the right people’ were not in charge. The first public procession recorded in the minutes of L260 was a joint affair with the regimental L218 on 27 December, 1820 ostensibly to celebrate the anniversary of St John the Evangelist: ‘It was then the custom…for the Brethren to march in procession, clothed in regalia to one of the churches, afterwards returning to the Lodge Room, close the Lodge in the usual manner, and then retire to a sumptuous banquet.’ (My emphasis) Newspaper records of such events are scarce. The Benevolent Society benefited on 24 June, 1824, St John the Baptist’s day, by way of a publicised donation from L260 of £10/6/-. The Sydney Gazette, however, also recorded that ‘the brethren sat down at 4.00pm to a most sumptuous dinner’ and did not get up again until ‘a late hour.’

Stephen, of course, had not invented white, English male assumptions of superiority. A letter from L 260 to GLI in November, 1821 included: ‘..(New immigrants) have in some measure kept aloof from us (as we suppose) on account of our Lodge being composed of some Brethren who had once the Misfortune of falling under the lash of the Law (and may) cause other brethren who intend Emigrating to bring with them Warrants from the Grand (Lodge) of Scotland and England (thereby impeding 260) from uniting in one strong chain the poor man and the rich man, as well as keeping all party distinctions from the Masonic walls in this our Infant..Colony.’ [clvii] In 1823 the same lodge requested assistance: ‘(The) difficulties we labour under are, that the brethren of our initiation [sic] in the country are very young in the order, and the old ones of the Mother Country much degenerated and of course very Lukewarm.’ [clviii] They enquired whether brethren in Van Diemens Land could receive a dispensation without their Lodge being regularly installed as it would cost at least ₤100 for a sufficient number of L 260 brethren to make the trip, and could illegitimate young men be admitted? They pointed out that their “Mother Lodge”, L 218, did not wish to assist as ‘they were not free born.’ In 1824, shortly after Lodge 266, ‘L Leinster Marine IC’, as the second civilian lodge, was established, a bye law was introduced into its regulations which excluded every person who had ever been imprisoned from becoming a member, sharply dividing the local brethren. Noted merchant, Robert Campbell, Jr, twice wrote to GLI in 1825 seeking assistance ‘in restoring order.’ He reported that the Leinster Committee were not following instructions from GLI but were appointing their own officers, that Br Bolton had the Committee’s Charter and, refusing to return it, had been expelled. He appended a letter from Clayton and others on the Committee expressing their concerns about L266 and their byelaws which were ‘pregnant with unmasonic matter.’[clix] Subsequently, a freed convict was found to have been admitted by 266, and after much heated discussion advice was formally sought from Irish Grand Lodge: ‘An answer was returned from the Grand Master, the Duke of Leinster, expressive of surprise and indignation at such bye-laws, and ordering that they be immediately expunged under the penalty of withdrawing their warrant.’ [clx] The Grand Master made clear that the Committee’s Charter was vested in the officers of L260 and that a man who had been ‘once under the law’ but had ‘recovered his character’ was preferred ‘above all others’ to be taken into ‘Masonic fellowship.’ He concluded: ‘(The) restoration of men from error was one of the behests of Heaven and to join and assist in such a duty was performing a Godlike action.’

Solomon Levey was another ‘common thief’ who had come to Sydney in chains. In 1826, just a dozen years later, he was able to return to London ‘on the deck of his own ship’ knowing that he left land titles and money worth ₤30,000 behind with his younger brother, Barnett. From England, ‘Solly’ urged the establishment of the Swan River Settlement in Western Australia and became its largest investor. But perhaps released from his brother’s close scrutiny, Barnett began ‘a huge and fantastic building project’ in George Street, Sydney. Combining a public house, flour mill and a 5-storey warehouse, one floor of which became the Theatre Royal, the complex included a lodge for Freemasons, a large supper room and kitchens. Overtopping its 200 feet long loft was to be a huge windmill. Its fraught construction brought down Governor Darling’s wrath, but was it because Barnett was an emancipist, because the building was an ‘unlicensed development’, because of his life-style, or because of his faith? Samuel Terry, a further Jewish transportee who ‘made good’ and commonly noted as the ‘Botany Bay Rothschild’, was said to be widely unpopular for his sly grogging and money-lending activities. Clayton was one who absented himself from Lodge 260 while he, Terry, was WM.[clxi] In his official capacity Terry laid the foundation stone for Barnett’s project in 1827, ‘amid loud cheers’ from his supporters. Within a comparatively short time, however, the venture had broken Barnett’s health and his fortunes, the Theatre Royal only achieving its position of pre-eminence in Australian professional theatre after Governor Darling had been replaced and Barnett had lost control of the property.[clxii]

Wentworth was also no longer poor. Chairing a dinner celebration of lawyers he triumphantly trilled: ‘Look at me, the father of the Australian Bar, yet here I stand with six bottles under my belt and none the worse. I feel for your degeneracy, my sons, but trust that practice will soon make you perfect..Next to wine, my brethren, devotion to the fair sex is the characteristic and pride of the English Barrister.’ [clv] What was also already clear is that many of the Masonic brethren who joined Stephen in establishing the first English Masonic lodge in Australia, No 820, in April, 1829, were directly involved in his campaign to keep Jane New away from her husband and off the gallows tree. Cramp and Mackaness list seven founding lodge officers and four other members.[cxlix] Of these: ‘three appear as signatories with Stephen on a petition supposedly written by Jane New to the Governor’s Executive Council, appealing for a remission of her sentence’ [cl] and eight appear as signatories, with Stephen, to a petition supposedly from James New, the husband, also pleading for a remission. Further to these worthies, the evidence shows that WC Wentworth, joined ‘Lodge of Australia’ in May, 1829, having already been a willing accomplice in his ‘brother’s’ illegal escapades.[cli] Dr Bland also joined at this time. A Masonic observer, concerned that ‘Masonry in the Colony…has been rather on the decline for some time’, wrote ‘(This) new Lodge is to be established entirely among the higher class of Colonists, and our [L 260] assistance in their Installation (of officers) has been dispensed with…’ [clii] The Lodge was probably bankrupted before its opening by Stephen’s insistence on purchasing large amounts of lodge material from London so whether the struggle for social ascendancy extended to a major robbery of Sydney’s prime bank in 1828 just after Stephen and Jane New first met,[cliii] is moot.  Between the robbery and her trial Jane New was approached by one of the bank-robbers, Kelly, who was anxious to ‘launder’ the stolen banknotes after the Bank’s directors began publicising serial numbers. She, apparently, confided in Stephen who kept the information from the authorities until it suited his, and her, case. As it happens, Kelly was well-known to all the major players in the drama since he was also a member of L 260. The major loss of banknotes fed into a bout of currency speculation late in 1829 which in turn led to disruptions of business and employment.[clvi] Its financial difficulties were such that it came to a halt soon after its opening and needed reviving in 1833, with a new number, 548 EC. The ‘observer’ quoted above reported that L 260 was ‘now considerably on the increase’ since Bro Stephen had left the Colony and ‘L of Australia’ [L 820] had ceased meeting.[cliv]

Before emigrating Stephens had shown he was already an unruly and feckless young man, protected by his family’s influence and position and unwilling to accept responsibility for the consequences of his often mis-guided actions. Though one of his brothers was later to become Lieutenant-Governor of the State, and the Stephen family included other ‘men of distinction in the legal and political history of the British Empire’, it was probably in 1829 that its influence peaked, given the size of the population and the number of positions he and his relatives held in the legal structure. Much of the family’s collective ‘powerful force’, according to Baxter, was directed into ridiculing and undermining Governor Darling xxx dates xxx, the very representative of legitimate authority which all ‘regular’ Freemasons swear to support through thick and thin. Whether and to what extent the more successful members of his family were directly involved in his Masonic entanglements is still to be determined.

In 1835, GLI received further complaint from L 260 that Barnett had followed other brethren in joining ‘Lodge of Australia’, without leave and without clearing his debts, and had appeared at a brother’s funeral in regalia and on a horse, all instances of irregular and improper behaviour.[clxiii] Whatever Barnett’s state of mind, the defections were part of a renewed campaign ‘by Lodge 820 [by then 546] take precedence of all other Lodges’ simply because it was the first ‘English’ lodge in the colony. Other letters at the time from L 260 to GLI complained that the members of a new ‘Irish’ lodge at Parramatta had been induced to accept tutelage from L 820 after having begun correspondence with 260, while the newly-formed Operative Lodge in Hobart was being similarly pressured to accept an ‘English’ dispensation.[clxiv]

In Van Diemen’s Land:

Without mentioning Freemasonry, charges and counter-charges have long swirled around the governorship of Van Diemen’s Land [Tasmania] by Governor Arthur, 1824 to 1835. Mackaness in the 20th century supported those called ‘the Colonists’, essentially the nouveau riche, against the Governor without once disclosing his own Masonic allegiance or that of one of the main anti-Arthur protagonists, an ex-soldier named Robert Lathrop Murray. This has been despite Murray’s regular styling within Freemasonry as the ‘father and the founder of the (Masonic) Order in Van Diemens Land’ and ‘of nearly every lodge in Tasmania’. Another anti-Arthur protagonist with Masonic connections was the afore-mentioned and also re-located Anthony Fenn Kemp, to be later revered in certain circles as the ‘father of Tasmania’. Involved with these two, for at least a few years, was the same John Stephen who, having gone ‘home’ to London ‘to argue his case’ in 1829, had returned to Sydney but then spent the second half of the 1830’s as a journalist in Hobart.[clxvii]

As a strict Calvinist, Arthur’s lack of interest in Murray’s very public Freemasonry was far from being the only point of difference. [clxv] A pro-Arthur account written in the 1950’s has: ‘Murray – a well-educated, proud, and very sensitive man; angry because he had been exposed ‘as a most nefarious land-jobber’, partly goaded by his merchant and landowning associates, partly resenting ostracism by the official set, who shunned him as a ‘transported bigamist, a notorious bank-swindler and a practicing con-cubinary’ – (wrote) under the pseudonym ‘A Colonist’, a series of galling attacks on the Administration.’ [clxvi] Having done his duty in the Peninsular Wars and elsewhere, Murray had been transported for bigamy in 1815. He worked for D’Arcy Wentworth as clerk in 1816 in Sydney where influence obtained him an early pardon. He sensed opportunities in Hobart, moved there in 1821, was granted land and began one of its first newspapers. Murray wrote to GLI in Dublin in 1841, the year that Stephen relocated once more, to Port Philip [Melbourne]: ‘I need not remind you that I founded the whole of the Lodges in this Island commencing with a dispensation from the Military Lodge in the 40th Regt (284) from which I formed the Lodge 313. When the members became too numerous for convenience, I found from them Lodge 326, and again from them Lodge 345.’ This claim, which has become the official version, glossed over the inevitable consequences of the imposition of military and Masonic disciplines on a penal outpost.

His regimental lodge, L No 33, IC, arrived with the Royal Scots Fusiliers in 1832. It became ‘stationary’ in 1837 when the regiment was transferred to India and many of the soldiers remained and continued to work as ‘No.33, Fusilier Lodge’ the Warrant for which did not arrive till 1841.[clxviii] ‘The Tasmanian Lodge’ was chartered by the GL of Ireland as No 313 in 1829 on a request by the 40th Foot Regiment, its lodge being No 284, IC. The GLI Librarian, Rowan, wrote in 1990: ‘The Warrant did not reach Hobart until early in 1831. RL Murray seems to have been one of the Masters in the period before the Warrant was received.’ [clxix] The ‘Union Lodge’, No 326 IC, followed in 1832, the dispensation coming from Leinster Marine in Sydney. Then came ‘The Operative’, No 345 IC, in 1834. Having perused the surviving material Rowan concluded: ‘In December 1833, before the Warrant [for L 326] had arrived, Lester and eleven other members, unhappy about irregularities in the election of the Master and ‘the constant consumption of the Lodge funds in suppers’ applied to Grand Lodge for a Warrant to form ..the Tasmanian Operative Lodge.’ [clxx] Murray, as PM, was one of the signatories on the relevant correspondence but I suspect he was more ‘the old man’ called in for the strictness of his ritual guidance and to act as WM of new lodges rather than as the only energising, driving force. A letter signed by the officers of L 326 to L 260 in Sydney thanking it for the Dispensation explained that it had been sought ‘because of irregular behaviour of 326 in overturning unanimous election of Lodge officers and electing as WM (the) owner or member of staff of the tavern in which Lodge was held and because of ‘constant consumption of the Lodge funds in suppers’. [clxxi]

It is unclear just who were the officers of L 326 at this time, no returns have survived, perhaps none were sent. An earlier letter from the WM of L. 33 had explained that because of the scattered nature of the regiment ‘Lodge has not met since 17 July, 1832, “consequently no election of Office bearers took place during that period; indeed the few brethren that remain were apprehensive..that we should be obliged to return the Warrant.’ [clxxii] Rules in the Constitution supported Murray’s predilections which are clear from his letters: ‘Lodge 33 has by my influence been rigidly kept to the Military men. I consider from long experience in Military Masonry in my own regiment, the Royals, that the two cloths, the plain coat and the red coat are better kept distinct and separate.’ [clxxiii] However, Murray told GLI in 1837 that L 33 had suffered such a down turn in numbers that the brethren ‘were forced to seek the assistance of a civil Brother to enable them to open, with the proper numbers, their Lodge, their Chapter and their Encampment.’ [clxxiv] As in the Piper case, above, these last terms, ‘Chapter’ and ‘Encampment’, refer to the related branches of Freemasonry, a Royal Arch Chapter [RAC] and a Knights Templar Encampment [KntsTE]. The general malaise was being blamed on GL, complaints probably led by Stephen who appears to have been the ‘civil brother.’

In 1838 ‘general dissatisfaction among Tasmanian masons’ was being expressed at the ‘total silence preserved towards them by the (Irish) Grand Lodge.’ Stephen, then WM of 313, proposed that allegiance to GLI be repudiated and a ‘Supreme Authority for the Government of the Craft be set up here’. Murray’s name was subsequently put forward for the compromise position of ‘Provincial Grand Master’ [PGM]. The Irish Grand Master was reluctant: ‘I am decidedly of opinion that it would be better for us not to appoint Provincial Grand Masters out of Ireland & leave that to the Grand Lodge of England who are better able to control their lodges than we are. I fear if we grant such to Foreign Lodges it will only create schisms.’ [clxxv] Local opinion, which was being pressured to assist a number of ‘aged and decayed masons’, did not support the alternative of a ‘standing committee’ as had occurred in Sydney in the 1820’s. Stephen’s attitudes are clear in a letter he wrote in 1837 to the ‘Grand Principals of Grand RA Chapter’ in Ireland concerning the ‘much to be regretted fracas’ in RAC 313: ‘(My) near connection to the Attorney-General here (my brother) and to the Under Secretary of State in England, it is supposed will lend some weight to my representations..Companion Maurice Smith [a newspaperman]…is deservedly esteemed, but the Chapter being indebted to him in all the costs and charges of its establishment, he has assumed a species of perpetual dictatorship. The Bye Laws seem to be but secondary to his will and pleasure. (Respectable candidates have been excluded while others) of very doubtful character, some even under assumed names (have been exalted).’ [His emphasis][clxxvi] Reiterating English horror at certain emancipists being admitted to lodge, he was working to have allegiances and thus power shifted to the GLE in London. Murray revelled in the company of ‘old military men’ and was a snob but he wanted no shift away from GLI. He sought unsuccessfully GLI’s help in preventing processions amongst Hobart’s Masons: ‘(In) colonies such as these they are calculated to do much mischief. They tend also…to bring the Order into contempt for a Procession, unless it is both numerous and well got up, is at the best a mawkish concern. I have had hard work to keep the lodges here from following the bad example of those at Sydney, where processions take place on both St John’s Days and on every other occasion.’ [clxxvii]

His 1841 letter had continued:

‘Masonry does not advance much in numbers..we are so extremely nice in admitting any persons to those orders that I have only initiated one since I last wrote to can form no idea of the care which is a society composed as this is where riches do not form respectability. 313 and 326 are rather low in numbers; 345 being composed of a different description of persons (masons in humble life) is by much the most numerous.’

He asked whether GLI would sanction discontinuation of the use of veils in the RA Chapter, since: ‘In the Craft lodges I have exploded all the old annoying ceremonies. So also in the Chapter, I have softened down the asperities of the rugged road. And in the Encampment relieved the weight of the scrip and wallet.’ In response GLI agreed and indicated that it had got rid, in Murray’s words, of ‘all the vulgarities and rudenesses which have so long been a blemish on the Craft’, [ie the Blue Lodges]: ‘In the Blue, cart wheels, chairs, coffins – in the RA, the pullings and Hawlings – in the Encampment, the Pilgrim loadings, rugged roads, etc..I really think that it will be a great benefit to masonry when the costume of a gentleman with the proper jewels and aprons is alone requisite, free from all puppet show mummery.’ [clxxviii]

Having come from lowly beginnings, Murray was now keen to move in the highest circles and to appear to be within the Masonic loop where he could claim to be privy to socially and politically-sensitive information. A certain Thomas Welsh, appointed Attorney-General for Van Diemens Land in 1841 was dismissed in 1844 by the Governor, ostensibly for duelling. The previous year, Murray had observed to Fowler, GS at GLI: ‘(Mr Welsh) is exactly here what Mr Wright describes him to me, as having been in Dublin. If possible worse in the women way, and very low.’ [clxxix] [His emphasis] He pushed for possible preferment as ‘the authorised medium of communication’ between Hobart and GLI in 1843: ‘(I trust GS has received ) my several communications, enclosing the Address to his Grace on the death of the Duke of Sussex, the correspondence & spurious warrant from the Attorney-General Mr Welsh, and the correspondence relative to the unfortunate difference between Lodge 326 and 345.’ [clxxx] He advised that his mail could be sent by the Surgeon Superintendent of any convict ship sailing from Dublin for Hobart, especially ‘if addressed to the care of the Controller General of Convicts (Capt Foster) who is my particular friend.’

In 1844-45, GLI had again ‘to make friendly application to the Grand Lodge of England’ not to interfere with the Irish Lodges in Australia, specifically after ‘The Union’ Lodge was induced to adopt an English Constitution and become ‘Tasmanian Union L, EC’. In continuing his 1990 introduction to the very sparse records for L 326, ‘the Union Lodge’, Rowan summarised what he believed had happened in this case: ‘In 1842 the young and zealous Charles Toby was elected to the Chair (of L 326). (Apparently at his instigation in) 1844 the members of 326 applied to GR Nichols, Deputy PGM (EC) in Sydney for a (Dispensation) under the English Constitution which was duly granted. Although the Lodge seems to have hoped to be able to work under both (Constitutions) simultaneously, this was not a situation which Murray felt should be permitted to continue.’ By the end of 1844 Murray regarded L 326 as ‘virtually defunct’. It had, among other things, lost its then Master in a banking scandal. In December, having imported ‘paraphernalia’ and printed new Rules, Toby told Nichols, PGM of the EC in Sydney, that he wanted a Grand Lodge Charter to: ‘..uphold the dignity of the order, and preserve Freemasonry in this lodge from sinking into that apathy and, I may add, disunion, which so much characterises the Craft in this colony..(Until) we possess the same privileges as the Irish lodges, we shall not be able to complete our arrangements, nor can we expect that accession of strength which is most desirable.’ [clxxxi] In the following year GLI called on L 326 to choose between the two Constitutions. It chose to become L 781 (EC). Rowan again: ‘Early in 1843 application (had been) made to Grand Chapter (Ireland) for a Warrant for a (RA) Chapter attached to 326. In spite of Murray’s (opposition), the request was granted, but by the time the Warrant reached Hobart at the end of 1844, Murray, to whom it had been sent, felt that the status of 326 had become too irregular to permit him to hand it over. In a letter to [Irish] Grand Lodge, Toby gave Murray’s withholding of the (RA) Warrant as one of the reasons why the (Craft) Lodge (No 326) opted to stay with the English Constitution and requested that an investigation into Murray’s conduct be instituted.’ [clxxxii] GLI appointed a local judge, Thomas Thorne, to conduct the enquiry to whom Murray complained about having to explain his Masonic behaviour. No report appears to have resulted and no determination made. The reason may be that Thorne was, at the time, WM of L 313, but more importantly, he was Murray’s friend, something which GLI probably knew.

Back in Sydney

In Sydney in the 1840’s, fraternal ambitions and conflict were beginning a four-decade period where they centred on the rise to prominence of Englishman John Williams in both Freemasonry and the newly-established Odd Fellow Orders. He was neither of the military nor from a wealthy family with Royal connections.

Brother John Williams

A cooper turned marine surveyor, Williams, newly-arrived but a Mason of some years standing, was Junior Warden in L260 in May, 1842,[clxxxiii] when a lodge meeting in the Masonic Hall, York St, blackballed Isaac Moses, and refused him admission. Brother Pashley, who was alleged to have previously said that he would blackball any Jew proposed for 260 was subsequently expelled and another brother suspended. Recriminations continued, a number of meetings were held, one at least described as a ‘scene of uproar, irregularity and unbrotherly feeling’, and a flood of charges and counter charges flowed to GLI in Dublin.[clxxxiv]

One, signed by 42 members of L260, 5 members of L548 (EC) and 5 members of L266, alleged that the suspended brother was only one of a number of brethren across all Sydney lodges ‘who had conspired together’ to deny admission to all Hebrews. These petitioners described George Nichols, appointed PGM by GLE in 1839, as ‘an attorney…in embarrassed circumstances, at present..insolvent’, and detailed a general meeting of Masons in July which he chaired though it had been called by the expelled brother, Pashley, and his supporters Macdermott and Watt. This gathering had voted to bring eleven charges against L260 and to demand that all the colonial lodges be placed ‘under the direction’ of the GLE. These petitioners expressed complete confidence in GLI but offered no support for the executive of L260.

Pashley also wrote, alleging that he had blackballed Isaac Moses because he was an ‘improper character’ who had ‘some years since kept a house of ill fame in this Town’ and because ‘there are very strong reasons’ for believing that Jews were trying to get L260 ‘exclusively into their own hands.’ Nichols wrote asserting that all of Sydney’s lodges except L260 were composed ‘of Gentlemen and tradesmen of respectability’: ‘(L260) has lately degenerated by initiating persons..whose habits of life and standing in society are not calculated to raise masonry in the estimation of the public.’ [clxxxv] He further recommended that the Charter for L260 be withdrawn from its current officers and placed with Henry Macdermott and others. This Macdermott, described as a merchant and an English Freemason, was another excluded by L260. The literary outpourings over this matter include one from ‘John McDermott, merchant’ claiming that ‘Henry Macdermott (is) a man of depraved, vitious and immoral conduct’ whose name is not Macdermott and whose alleged father said that ‘he did not even know this person’s mother’.

The officers of L260, Williams among them, hastened to answer the charges. Their first missive contended that the cause of Sydney’s Masonic problems was that ‘many Masons wishing to open lodges under the English Constitution’ [my emphasis] were standing off in disapproval of Nichols. Although Sydney ‘could boast’ hundreds of Masons, only 42 attended the protest meeting and many of those were only there because they had been misled. In a second letter they asserted that

The whole of the charges originate in the one single cause, with the exception of the first charge, viz making an example of those who had conspired against a Religion, and because the (authority) of the Lodge had passed out of the hands of that Class, who in the words of the notorious Barrington ‘Left their country for their country’s good..[ie, were convicts]

Each of us, they claimed, ‘came free to this colony and have always remained so’:

We cannot say so much for the accusers as Br Watt [the brother suspended] came as a 1811 Sentence for life, Offence robbing the Belfast Bank, thrice transported for various offences to Coal River and now under a conditional pardon;

The DPGM [GR Nichols] although an Attorney is the son of an old convict and his mother an abandoned character of the same kind; he himself being a profligate and at present an Insolvent;

Br Kelly, P Master of an old convict..and was compelled to retire from 260 on account of his drunken conduct..he was transported for the term of 14 years, Crime forgery, and during the time he was a member of 260 he was tried for theft [the Bank robbery, above];

The PM of 548 [Macdermott] is indebted to Br Watt a large sum of money;

Br Ford is also an old convict and a resident of Br Watt’s house;

Br Pashley is also the son of convict parents;

[The letter has similar descriptions of others opposed to these 5 officers of 206]…We have received some of these particulars from the Convicts Office.

After deliberations GLI accepted the recommendations of its Board of General Purposes that the Charter for L260 be withdrawn from October 1843, that Pashley and Watt be reprimanded, then reinstated, but that the five officers, including Williams, be immediately removed and their Masonic status suspended indefinitely. The Board especially deplored the attacks made by the five on the characters of their opponents.

Some participants later argued that these five Lodge officers had been attempting to destroy L260 by wasting its funds ‘in lavish entertainment in the South’.[clxxxvi] As newly-elected ‘Grand Master’ in 1842 of the Odd Fellows’ ‘Australian Grand Lodge’, Williams had displayed what loyalty plus ‘lavish entertainment in the South’ could mean. At its Annual Dinner that year, he proposed nine loyal toasts.


Survival – Passion and Conviviality vs Efficiency

Fraternalism’s safeguarding of insider information for the benefit of initiated members of a trade was clearly in mind when Sydney’s Atlas newspaper in July, 1845 announced the establishment of the Woolstaplers [woolsorters] Society, ‘the principal object (of which was) the protection of the woolgrower against the imposition of pretenders.’ The fact that skills and the ‘sacred knowledge’ of a trade could now be passed on in ways unknown to mediaeval artisans, had intensified the need for recognisable tests of duly ‘made’ craftsmen. In this case ‘a Certificate, graced with a characteristic engraving’ was to be supplied to every member of the Society as ‘a credential, both of their right to the trade, and of their ability to discharge the duties connected therewith.’

Similarly, formal ‘Houses of Call’, which begin to appear in Sydney in the 1830’s and 40’s, reflected very old practices. These ‘Houses’ were usually taverns whose ‘hosts’ kept information about local work possibilities and about the next staging post. This helps to explain why it can be misleading to assume Freemasonry was always a refuge for a region’s elite. The Freemasons’ ‘Lodge of Harmony of South Australia, No 743’ was ‘one of those well known in England as Mechanics and Tradesmens’ Lodges’:

The various expences (sic) are fixed at the lowest rates allowed by the Rules of the Order, and will be exclusively devoted to Masonic purposes.[clxxxvii]

The 1827 letter of Police Magistrate Stephen, already quoted, pointed out that many emigrants were becoming Masons as personal insurance, that is, for legitimate purposes, but not for ones we would today understand as Masonic:

Our population at present is supposed to amount to nearly one hundred thousand souls, and emigration is adding almost daily to the number. The quarter part of the free community have been admitted Masons in England from the prevailing notion of the necessity of being so on becoming travellers. [His emphasis]

Masonic scholar Oliver in the UK was well aware of both the principle and its possible abuse when in 1849 he expounded ‘On the Government of Lodge’ in his Lectures on Freemasonry:

‘(The) fraternity of Masons being everywhere distinguished by their kind reception and friendly assistance of strange brethren on journies or, on their arrival to settle among them, gives rise to another abuse, teeming with evil affects. A man on the point of removing to a distant country, recollects that the certificate of being a Mason, will be a convenient general letter of recommendation. He accordingly gets himself proposed through a second, third or fourth hand, and must be hurried through all the degrees in one evening, because he is to set off early the next morning. Thus, by trusting to a vague recommendation, a lodge prostitutes the institution for a paltry fee; vests an utter stranger with a character he knows nothing of, and furnishes him with a credential, empowering him, should he be basely disposed, to abuse the generous confidence of the brethren wherever he goes, to the injury of worthy men who may afterwards travel the same road.’ [clxxxviii]

It was opportunistic therefore, but quite legitimate in a Masonic sense for Dundee stonemason, Daniel McClaren, to accept password and ‘travelling certificate’ from the executive officers of his Masonic lodge, ‘Camperdown Lodge, Dundee, No 317’ on 18 March, 1837, just 7 days before he and his family sailed on their free passage to New South Wales. The wording was altered to suit the circumstances from that on a similar certificate which he might have used to look for work inside Scotland. Specifically directed ‘to the notice and protection of all regular lodges and worthy brethren round the globe’, it was intended to secure him a job as soon as he arrived in the colony. Simultaneously, it validated his character and his work skills to other Freemasons and to a potential employer by asserting that

  1. he was who he said he was;
  2. he had undergone the necessary tests; and
  3. had proved his reliability under pressure.

His ‘Travelling Certificate’ asserted that he, Daniel McClaren, ‘properly recommended to us, was regularly entered Apprentice, passed that of a Fellowcraft and after having sustained with strength courage and firmness under the most painfull works and wonderful (trials) we have given him a recompence…the sublime degree of Master.’ [clxxxix] The minutes of the first NSW Masonic lodge outside Sydney, Maitland’s ‘Lodge of Unity’, show that in the 1840’s it regularly provided travelling Masons with bed, breakfast and five shillings to continue ‘proceeding up country’ in their search for work. On one occasion, it also covered the legal and other costs of an ill-treated apprentice in a case against his employer.[cxc] The first Friendly Societies in NSW reflect the same approach in their lodge names, viz, the Odd Fellow’s ‘Travellers’ Home’ and ‘Strangers’ Refuge’. Thus, the long-standing secret rites, signs, passwords and regalia continued their centuries-old role as protection against bogus claims on a group’s funds. Over time, in a stable lodge, they were the generator of an inward-looking solidarity defending all on the inside from assaults by those on the outside. ‘A safe place’, into which entry is qualified, in theory allowed ‘insiders’, to speak openly and to collectively achieve decisions. Out of a need to defend the secrets came a sense of familiarity, of belonging and a recognition of the value of rules establishing rights and responsibilities. A sense of common purpose and respect for ‘the Rules’ is then available to spread and strengthen the whole of the surrounding community, where variations on the theme may develop.

The famous but mis-understood 1834 trial of ‘the Tolpuddle Martyrs’ was of Friendly Society members who swore a non-public oath of allegiance to an organisation choosing secrecy over public disclosure. Transportation did not result from their being members of a combination, but from the authorities being concerned about invisible allegiances across distance by way of networks of ‘clubs’ they could not control precisely because they involved insider secrets. Concern about single, stand-alone workers’ combinations was low. The secrecy which had proved itself in long-standing fraternal practice became the basis of ‘modern’ democratic practice. Rites, costume & ceremonial, including the use of masks, swords and particular texts declined over time as fashions and methods of manufacture changed, but the linkages between the principle of ‘a safe place’ and the practicality of hidden, collective decision-making remained. Lodge secrecy, specifically, was only rendered unnecessary in the 19th and 20th centuries by global changes shifting the balance of power away from the local site towards ‘Head Office’ and thereby breaking the nexus between the performance of ritual and decision-making power.

In the process the long-standing emotional attachment to the sharing of secret rites as the heart of fraternalism has been lost and, by later generations, forgotten. As the secrecy, the conviviality, the religious bedrock, and the neighbourhood control have been dismantled by centralising administrations so have the feelings previously essential to the whole. Not all the emotions were positive, in the case of the secret rites they were likely to have included fear and anxiety, but they amounted to a shared experience. In arguing for legal, financial and administrative efficiency, ‘modernism’ has based many of its assertions on the need for cool, emotionless objectivity. It is the erosion, sometimes straight denial, of a brother’s emotional attachment to the reality of what were once called ‘the arts and misteries’, which explains the ultimate decline of individual fraternal societies and fraternalism in general. Australia’s peculiar approach to the idea of mateship is a relic only of that emotional response.

Just before the 1834 trial a Scottish operative printer, Alex Campbell, published an unstamped newspaper The Tradesman, in which was an article entitled ‘Revolution, Equality and Secret Oaths’. At his trial in 1835, he read this piece into the defence record claiming that it showed his strong deprecation of ‘the system of secret oaths’ and that his recommendation that ‘trades unionists’ be open in everything they did had had the effect of

preventing a goodly number from taking oaths, while others who had been previously initiated, have so far changed their proceedings as to dispense with the oath altogether.

His commentary is an early articulation of the need for ‘trade unionists’ to be noble, big-hearted and above all, honourable ‘men’, ie, open and ‘in the light’:

Let the Unions, however, be cautious in their movements, and act like men seeking their rights, and who are determined to have them; let no childish means be resorted to by them – no secret oaths – no paraphernalia of lodges, or passwords be used, but let all their movements be open and honourable.[cxci]

His most telling point was that ‘secrecy’ made ‘combinations’ vulnerable to government action, but he chose not to write of his own fear and anger at the authorities. He used an abstract idea involving passion to achieve a passionless outcome by portraying the rites negatively.

The acknowledged leader of a wool combers’ strike at Bradford in 1829 published letters in 1834 expressing his disillusion with the ‘profuse expenditure and wanton waste, and worse than beastly gluttony’ of ‘Trade Union’ officials:

Of two hundred pounds paid as entrance-money into the Trades’ Union nearly two years ago, I calculated that L.60 were spent in regalia; L.100 in eating, drinking and wages for the Union’s committees; leaving only L.40 for the purposes originally contemplated by the members.

The writer, John Tester, was clearly exercised by the amount spent on lodge ‘furniture’:

Perhaps someone, wiser than myself, will explain to you in what way your condition in life can be improved by the joint possession of swords, death-scenes, gowns, banners, battle-axes, and large empty boxes, like military chests, with a number of devices, of which no-one knows the meaning.

He chided waste, he sought efficient use of lodge funds. Half a world away, there is no reason to suppose that members of the local trade-oriented combinations were any less likely to have ‘secret work’ than their northerly ‘brothers’, nor that the same conflict between passion and efficiency was absent.

The first NSW association known as a ‘friendly society’ was the charitable, but not fraternal ‘Female Friendly Society’, set up in Sydney under vice-regal patronage in 1826. The ‘United Friends Benefit Society’, commonly known as ‘the Shipwrights Club’ was established in 1829.[cxcii] Its Rules, compiled in that year and registered in 1831, make clear that ‘no-one who is not a Shipwright or a Boat Builder will be admitted’, ie it was trade-specific. The Rules begin:

Rules, Orders and Regulations for the Due Government of the United Friends Society, instituted the fourteenth day of December, 1829 at the St Patrick Sydney for the purpose of raising, from time to time, by subscription of the several members, or by voluntary contributions, a stock or fund, for the mutual relief and maintenance of all and every the members thereof, in old age, sickness and infirmity, and for the relief of the widows of deceased members, by virtue, and in pursuance of the directions, powers and authorities contained in a certain Act of Parliament made and passed in the thirty third year of the reign of George the Third entitled an Act for the Relief and Encouragement of Friendly Societies.[cxciii]

Reasonable in tone and law-abiding, the content is very reminiscent of fraternal ‘Orders’ known from mediaeval times. The Preamble to the 18 detailed and well-drafted ‘Articles of Agreement’ making up the bulk of the Rules begins:

That this Society have no other view or intention than raising a stock amongst themselves for succouring, helping and maintaining each other during the continuance of sickness, lameness, blindness, or any other misfortune, casualty or inability of labour…

There are Rules for meeting times, locations and number of members, setting out responsibilities of all members and of each office bearer, and for how ‘beer money’ is to be allocated and accounted for. Trustees and Stewards have the most tasks allotted to them, and there is also a Book Keeper. Separate arrangements are available for members living within five miles of the ‘club house’ who claim benefits and for those further out. There was provision for involvement of a nurse and doctor:

If afflicted so as not to be able to comply with this [meeting attendance requirement], the nurse or some other person must make —- oath to the same purpose; this affidavit must be sent, enclosed in a letter, when he declares on the box, and every fortnight a letter must be sent to the club house, to acquaint the Stewards with the condition of his disorder signed by the Doctor who attends him,..

The term ‘free’ is used to describe a member ‘good on the books’ after 12 months:

Three members who are free of this Society shall be chosen to conduct the business as Stewards, one to be chosen every quarterly night by seniority as they stand on the book to serve instead of the senior one, who goes out, and every member so refusing shall forfeit as in Rule 15…

One would not expect these Rules to include ‘Secret Work’ nor any reference to ritual in use ‘behind the scenes.’[cxciv] In his work on this issue Prescott has referred to a schizophrenia which developed among scholars of ‘fraternal associations’ in England before the Webbs wrote about Trade Unionism in 1890, eg Carlisle and Holyoake in the 1830’s and 1840’s:

Carlisle, following Paine, saw in freemasonry forgotten remnants of ancient truths, whose true meaning he was destined to teach to the world. By contrast,…he strongly denounced similar rituals in trade unions and friendly societies. This kind of schizophrenia was to remain a distinctive feature of English radical thought, a tendency summed up perhaps in the figure of Annie Besant.[cxcv]

Carlisle’s newspaper, The Gauntlet of 1833-34, is useful in that while he opposed ‘trade union’ ritual, he provided chapter and verse for it, including cartoons mocking it.[cxcvi] ‘Benefit Societies’ were apparently being differentiated at the time from ‘Trades Unions’, for example in ‘An Address to All the Benefit Societies in Britain and Ireland’, but the problem is that there weren’t any societies which actually named themselves ‘Trade Union’. The societies to which the collective label ‘Trade Union’ was attached were either ‘Friendly Society of…’ or ‘The Order of…’ as in the huge protest march from Copenhagen Fields in April, 1834. Despite views held by ‘Labour Historians’ later, the title of ‘friendly society’ was not here being adopted as a disguise, nor did the 1834 trial and deportation result in rites and regalia being hurriedly cast off by ‘trade-oriented’ societies. Among others he has researched, Durr pointed out in 1986:

(Both) the Journeymen Steam Engine Makers and the Friendly Society of Operative Masons, and others still maintained their ritual long after 1834..The boilermakers ritual, first written in 1839..was revised in 1852..The blacksmiths introduced a new ‘Initiatory Address’ in 1909. In 1963 the (boilermakers, blacksmiths and shipwrights) issued a new ritual book which is still in use today. From Scotland to the West Country a boilermaker in the shipyards will use the secret sign of placing his left hand on the third button of his coat to show that he is a society man.[cxcvii]

Thus, what Carlisle, the Webbs and later scholars refer to as ‘trade unions’ I call ‘trade-oriented fraternal societies.’ The fundamental changes were that autonomous ‘lodges’ moved towards consolidation into ‘Affiliated Orders’ and towards greater formalisation.[cxcviii] The Tolpuddle transportees were, of course, members of the ‘Agricultural Labourers Friendly Society.’ Its published Rules indicate a local ‘Grand Lodge’ was to be established at Dorchester because at that time a ‘Grand Lodge’ was not necessarily a central authority.

Immediately after the London trial, a circular went to UK Masonic Lodges asking that a return of the name, employment or profession and place of residence of all members be sent to the Clerk of the Peace immediately, ‘in default of which (you) will be declared a secret society.’ But whether agitated UK Freemasons were in danger of being hanged or transported or not, they were safe in the colonies. And as the six Tolpuddle conspirators were being tried, Sydney’s Gazette and the Australian newspapers expressed support for ‘combinations’ intended to ‘cement society, promote the interests of trade and…afford relief…’

In April, 1834 the Gazette enthused that the Carpenters and Joiners were meeting to establish ‘amongst the members of their Trade, a Benefit Society’. The editor advocated ‘Unions’ amongst all trades, especially amongst the poorer labourers:

(If) the different Trades should be found sufficiently numerous to effect an advantageous Union of that description, and if other Trades will ‘go and do likewise’ there will be no harm done; but we fear that that which requires general and extensive combinations will fail under present circumstances from paucity of means and members.

However, the same paper’s excited notice of ‘the Tolpuddle Affair’ in September, 1834, displayed a changed view:

We now just mention an event which will be seen to have produced very serious consequences. The whole of the working classes of all Britain have now formed themselves into what they call Trades Unions. They correspond with each other by means of Delegates holding ‘Lodges’. The whole ‘United Unions’ were stated in Parliament to amount to 7,000,000 of men, all between the ages of fifteen and fifty. It appears that six members of one of the Dorsetshire Unions had been tried for administering the Union oath, and sentenced to be transported for seven years.[cxcix]

The Gazette’s closing comment was that the Government had done the right thing, as

were such proceedings not checked in the beginning, a struggle must be the result, and whichever side was successful, a dreadful and lamentable slaughter must be the consequence.

The incongruity of checking ‘such proceedings’ by sentencing six men out of 7,000,000, and those 6 in Dorset may be left. It seems clear, nevertheless, that the six were instantly seen by some as representing the onset of a new form of militant organisation with a new name, viz ‘Trades Unionism.’

While liberalisation by 19th century governments of the commercial environment involved accepting the right of artisans to bargain with employers, the pre-eminent position of employers was entrenched by a stream of increasingly complex legislation, defining among other things, what various kinds of ‘combinations’ could and could not do. The (UK) Combination Laws Repeal Act of 1824, had removed statutory illegality and the likelihood of common law conspiracy charges against workmen’s ‘combinations’, but, as Sullivan points out, in 1825 an amending Combination of Workman Act circumscribed their range of legal activity:

(All) combinations wider than that of workers actually attending a meeting, or any attempt to deal with matters other than wages, prices and hours, were criminal conspiracies.[cc]

From 1828 this Act applied in NSW, in effect making illegal many activities normally associated with benefit societies. It was rarely if ever applied, possibly because ‘Friendly Societies’ had been singled out from 1793 for positive legislative acknowledgement. The ‘Rose Act ‘protected and encouraged Friendly Societies’ which it defined as

(societies) securing, by voluntary subscription of the members thereof, separate funds for the mutual relief and maintenance of the said members, in sickness, old age and infirmity..

Australian legislation followed the UK Acts closely, and thus until the 1870’s it was possible for ‘servants’ to be threatened with death if their masters believed their demands outrageous, and for the threat to go unpunished. The weight of articulated public opinion remained likely to be racially-inspired, ‘bog trotters’ being a common description of difficult labourers. Treating combinations of employers and employees differently became entrenched:

Whereas the master who broke his contract was only liable in a civil action for damages or wages owing, the servant who broke his contract was punished as a criminal with imprisonment and hard labour for up to three months.[cci]

It was not till 1871 in the UK that an Act specified that ‘trade union’ aims ‘were not analogous’ with those of ‘friendly societies’. No legislative attempts were ever made to define ‘acceptable’ rites, while a complete governmental answer to the problem of secrecy remained elusive. Well before that time, governments had accepted that ‘friendly societies’ were significant and that, therefore, their regulation was required.


In mid-1848, the following Sydney societies were shown to have proffered their Rules for approval under legislation introduced in 1844:

The Scottish Society.

St John’s Lodge, Parramatta, No 668 (Masonic).

Australian Rose, Shamrock & Thistle Friendly Sick Society.

Parramatta Union Benefit Society.

Parramatta Friendly Society.

Australian Union Benefit Society.

Friendly Operative Society of Carpenters & Joiners of Sydney.

Sydney Total Abstinence Society.

Operative Plasterers Benefit Society.

United Watermen’s Birmingham Benefit Society.

St Patrick’s Total Abstinence Benefit Society.

Friendly Brothers Benefit Society.

Brickmakers Friendly Society.

Australian Clerks Provident Society.

Order of Philanthropy No 1 Lodge.

United Friends Society.

Sydney Millwrights & Engineers Benevolent Society.

Sydney Thistle Lodge of Free Gardeners.

Sydney District, Grand United Order of Odd Fellows.

Wesleyan Union Benefit Society.

This list shows only two of what have become known as the Affiliated Orders of Friendly Societies, ultimately the largest and longest running of fraternal, benefit societies, viz, the Free Gardeners and the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows. Absentees from the list of registrants but known to be in Sydney at the time include:

* the ‘Independent Order of Odd Fellows’ [IOOF] which came ashore in 1836,

* the ‘Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Manchester Unity’ [IOOF,MU] 1840[ccii],

* the ‘Australasian Holy Catholic Guild’ [AHCG] 1845,

* the ‘Ancient Order of Foresters’ [AOF] in 1844,

* the ‘Ancient Order of Royal Foresters’ [AORF] 1845, and

* the ‘Independent Order of Rechabites’ [IOR] 1842.

The first attempts to establish lodges of what became the ‘United and Ancient Order of Druids’[UAOD] were also made at this time. In the 6 months after the first list was published, a different approach to the making of social capital appeared, as the following were registered:

Aust Benefit Investment and Building Society.

Aust Mutual Provident Society

Maitland Union Benefit Society.

Melbourne Sawyers Friendly Society.

Melbourne Benefit Building Society.

Australia Felix Benefit, Investment & Building Society.

Victoria Benefit Land & Building Society.[cciii]

Investment, provident and building societies were not fraternal societies but owed their existence to the same heritage. The ‘Australian Mutual Provident Society’ (AMP), begun in 1848-9 to maintain clergy and their families, was registered as a Friendly Society but restrictions on the amounts payable under a new Act in the 1850’s were considered to be an impediment to Company expansion, and it de-registered.

The same pattern was repeated throughout the continent. In Van Dieman’s Land, for example, sawyers, ‘a hardy, useful race’, established a benefit society in 1839, which broadened its admissions policy in 1843 to cover ‘any operatives’. Its 1846 Rules included:

The object of this Society shall be to grant out of the funds hereinafter provided for certain means of relief to Members in case of sickness, except such sickness shall have been brought on by their own misconduct; and for the decent interment of the dead.[cciv]

Outposts of the Affiliated Friendly Societies did not reach the west until the 1858 ‘City of Perth, Lodge No 4702, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Manchester Unity (IOOFMU)’, and the 1864 ‘Swan Lodge’.[ccv] But local variations preceded them. The ‘Sons of Australia Benefit Society’ was established in Perth in 1837 – its principal object being to relieve any members ‘labouring under sickness or infirmity.’ Proposed members were required to be ‘natural born subjects of Great Britain or her Colonies, of good character, of a Mechanical or handicraft trade..’ Article V read:

This Society shall be provided with a box with three locks and keys, the keys different, not to pass each other, for the depositing therein Cash Books and other material of this Society. The three Stewards for the time being hold one key each..[ccvi]

By 1840 it had imported a banner for its annual parades from tavern to church service and back, and had funds enough for a ‘substantial repast’. The trappings attracted general notice and the participation of Governor Hutt: [ccvii]

The whole past off with much decorum, and the emblem of the new banner lately imported from England, was fully realised – ‘a hand touching a heart’ – implying their hands and hearts went together in the promotion of this mutual benefit society.

Governor Hutt’s vice-regal predecessor Sir James Stirling had earlier allotted land to ‘the Sons’ for their own ‘lodge’ room. According to Editor McFaull of the Perth Gazette, the ‘first Club House erected in the colony’ of Swan River was built by the Temperance Benefit Society in 1849, ‘the Sons’ not achieving rooms before 1864. It only expired in the 1890’s.

A less-successful WA example than ‘the Sons’ was the ‘Benefit and Philanthropic Society of Forty Friends’ which advertised its Lodge No 1 in 1837,[ccviii] while the ‘Shepherds Club and Mutual Protection Society’ was established in 1842-43. A Gazette account of the origins of this trade-oriented friendly society read in part:

Many shepherds in this colony will view with feelings of intense anxiety and alarm, the dangerous powers conferred on Magistrates by a late Act of the Legislative Council respecting contracts between masters and servants.

It has therefore been proposed and agreed on, shepherds in the York, Toodyay and Northam districts, to form a Society under the above title for the due protection of their rights, and the mutual benefit of each member, if attacked by sickness, and other casualties; or where dismissed from service by caprice.[ccix]

A different way to look at fraternalism was spelt out by WA Duncan when he introduced himself as editor of a new Sydney paper, The Chronicle in 1839:

…notwithstanding the great number of newspapers published in Sydney, by far the greater part are strongly fettered by party influence, while not one has appeared, expressive of the wishes, or devoted to the interests of the Catholic population.[ccx]

For ‘party interest’ read ‘pro-Protestant/anti-Catholic bias’. Further on in the same ‘Prospectus’:

We will, therefore, oppose the attempts of a party, which under the pretence of a purer descent, would create a perpetual distinction between two classes of settlers.

In its first editorial:

A sufficient proof of the necessity of establishing in this Colony a vehicle for Catholic sentiment is furnished by the fact, that, while we are engaged in getting up our first number, the Editor of one of the Sydney Journals is calling upon his readers to beware of “dealing with Roman Catholic tradesmen, or employing Roman Catholic servants”.

The Protestant journal’s argument had been that the principles of the RC religion asserted that Catholics were at liberty to rob their employers with impunity. That is, because under Roman Catholicism, a theft from an employer may be a venial sin, guilt for which can be expunged by confession to a priest and the saying of a prayer, an illegal act could go unpunished if the perpetrator told, in secret, his or her confessor.

Spurs to Catholic action actually included an attempt by the Right Reverend Bishop of Australia, WG Broughton, to exclude anyone who might dispute his view of ‘deserving poor’ from the executive of the ‘Sydney Association for the Relief of the Poor’ set up at a supposedly public meeting in August, 1839. Broughton was a well-established Protestant warrior. In 1836, he had in the furore over schools for the colony, and against the Governor’s stated preference,

shouted that Protestantism rested upon the principle that holy scripture contained all things necessary to salvation…(and) that if they yielded to an interdict upon the use of the scriptures in one place, the same power might one day prohibit the free use of them at any time and in all places.[ccxi]

The Chronicle’s opening editorial in August, referred to a ‘rumoured secret petition’ and ‘other secret proceedings…commenced by the Protestant Bishop.’ It later surfaced that the petition was a request to Government that one seventh of the continent be given over to the Church of England as the State religion. Duncan, commented:

(We) ought not to conceal our opinion that it is high time that the sense of the Colony should be taken, whether Australia shall become the scene of Orange ascendancy…or an example to all nations of the blessings that flow from just and equal laws, justly and equitably administered.

No direct involvement by Bishop Broughton with Orange activities has yet been established.

Mid-19th century ‘Foresters Fete’.
Mid-19th century ‘Foresters Fete’.

CHAPTER 5: Parades, Grog and Faith-based Conflict

In theory, if lodge members

understood and accepted their place, however temporary, in the lodge hierarchy,

knew the appropriate ritual by heart, and

were conscious of the need not to disgrace themselves or embarrass their co-members,


they were likely to make good ‘lodge’ officers,

the ‘lodge’ was unlikely to have its funds defrauded, its meetings disrupted or its good name blemished.

And therefore,

more members were likely to be attracted,

the benefit/charity funds would grow, and

the Order would be able to carry out its community building activities more effectively.

In practice, the long-standing connections between the ritual and the payment of subscriptions, and thus the benefits, were already under pressure to change at the beginning of the 19th century. The Guild Hall/pub culture had nurtured the harmony, the toasting rituals, the secret theatre and the predominantly masculine good times. While ‘the drink’ was never to be left entirely behind, the previously-bonded elements were increasingly being assessed separately and on their own merits. The annual get-together, a core fraternal activity from mediaeval times, was especially open to being cast as a direct competitor with group discipline, and as a major threat to lodge funds.

With fears of armed governmental harassment behind them, fraternal societies, and by extension individual ‘affiliated’ lodges, appear to have resumed the practice of marking special days, initially by celebrating their collective identity and the lodge’s survival, with an annual dinner, procession and/or church services. Before 1840, NSW parades were almost always displays of military force. There was the odd spontaneous celebration, and from the 1820’s, Masonic brethren had marked the two days of the year designated St John’s days. From 1840, the non-Masonic fraternal societies in particular, vied with one another for public attention. Of the many thousands of street parades which occurred between then and 1940 in Australia, perhaps as high a percentage as 90% were staged by fraternal societies or dominated by them.

Marching banners, another fraternal phenomenon with a long history, were eventually generated in all parts of the continent. Simultaneously advertisements, recruiting devices and expressions of the members’ self-satisfaction, the most-sought after banners were professionally-done, embroidered and hand-painted silk creations, and were, of course, expensive. As fraternalism spread, internal tumult, even schisms divided those who wanted to spend money on celebrations and on ‘paraphernalia’, and those who wanted to conserve funds strictly for benefit payments. Neither internal nor external critics could see what is visible in hindsight, that the social capital generated for a whole community through a public display was dependent on the energising force, the lodge activists, being able to maintain their emotional attachment to the whole project through the ‘secret theatre.’

But in de-emphasising secrecy with public spectacle, by removing lodges from taverns into disengaged halls and single-purpose ‘temples’, and by eroding personal involvement in the name of administrative efficiency, the life-blood of ‘togetherness’ was allowed to seep away. Contests over physical space causing mayhem and the breaking of heads, of course, did not help clear thinking.

In late-1843 when WC Wentworth guided the first legislative enactment specifically concerning ‘friendly societies’ through the NSW Parliament he declared the Act’s objects to be:

‘to regulate and to protect societies, not secret societies such as were known by other honorable members as much as by himself to exist in this colony; but for societies formed for the express purpose of relieving misery, for affording relief to those belonging to them, who might be sick or otherwise prevented from obtaining a subsistence by their own labour.’ [ccxii]

He noted that ‘the two principal societies..of the description contemplated’ were the Australian Union Benefit Society and the Australian Total Abstinence Society and explained that ‘no secret society having signs, countersigns, passwords or members nor any trade society shall be entitled to the benefit’ of the Act.

Clearly, the Freemasons and ‘the Odd Fellows’ were still regarded as secret societies when they let it be known they would like to be at the Governor Burke statue unveiling in April 1842. Their requests precipitated a parade to the site of the statue[ccxiii], almost entirely made up of these two fraternal societies and their ‘trappings’: [ccxiv]

Mounted Police

Military Band

Carriage of Sir John Jamieson, etc

The Officers of the Garrison

The Statue Committee, plus Magistrates and gentry

(then came Free Masons headed by)

Tylers with drawn swords

Deacons with wands

Entered Apprentices

Fellow Craftsmen

Banner of Leinster Marine Lodge, No 266, IC.

Master Masons (not in office)

Banner of Lodge of Australia, No 548, EC.

‘Faith, Hope and Charity’

Second banner for Lodge 548.

The Lodge Secretaries [with insignia]

Lodge Treasurers

Banner of Australian Social Lodge, No 260, EC.

Warrant [ie Charter or Dispensation] Bearers

Junior Wardens, in Collars [regalia]

Royal Arch Masons with Charter

Junior Wardens, in Collars

Senior Wardens, in Collars

Deputation from Parramatta, Windsor and Maitland lodges

An Aged Mason carrying the Sacred Volume [the Bible]

Past Masters

Masters of the Lodges

Tyler with drawn sword

Dep Prov GM of the English Lodges in Australia.

(the Aust Grand Lodge-IOOF headed by)[ccxv]

Grand Janitor with drawn sword

Senior Director – Grand Master – Dep GM

Grand V? and Directors

Large Banner (Odd Fellows Arms)

Outer Guardian with drawn sword

LH Supporter with wand – NG – RH Sup with wand

LH Supporter with wand – VG – RH Sup with wand

Past Vice Grands

Junior Warden with Congratulation – Secretary with Arms

Senior Warden with Dispensation

Ancient Father with Bible

Small Banner (Charity)

Members of Second Degree

Members of First Degree

Junior Members of the Order

Small Banner (Friendship)[ccxvi]

(IOOF-MU headed by)

The Sydney Town Band

Warden with Axe, supported with two Tylers with swords

Dispensation carried by two brethren

Brother – Noble Grand – Brother

Brother – Vice Grand – Brother


Past Grand – Grand Master – Past Grand

L Strangers Refuge Lodge Banner


Crown on crimson velvet cushion carried by two Vice Grands

L Fountain of Refuge Lodge Banner


Small banner

Past & Present Noble Grands & Past Secretaries

District Officers



Australian Total Abstinence Society with banners

Total Abstinence Mutual Benefit Society with banners


St Patricks Total Abstinence Society with banners


Banner of St Patrick

Roman Catholic Clergy

Windsor Total Abstinence Society with banner

Subscribers to the Statue

Further south, in what was still only a rough camp, Melbourne’s Freemasons on 25 July, 1842, showed in a procession to lay the foundation stone of the Court House that they were already extraordinarily well-organised: [ccxvii]

Tyler, with drawn sword

Banner of Faith

Master of Ceremonies with Golden Rods

Terrestrial and Celestial Globes, by brethren

Entered Apprentices, in twos

Fellow Crafts, in twos

Six Junior Masters

Deacons with wands

Secretary with Roll

Treasurer with Bag

Six Masters, in twos

Corinthian Light, borne by brother

Junior Warden, with Insignia

Six Masters, in twos

Doric Light, by brother

Senior Warden, with his Insignia of Office

Banner of Hope

The Lodge, [the Ark of the Covenant?] canopied

in white satin, by brethren

Warrant of Constitution, by brother

Cornucopia, by brother

Pitcher of Wine, by brother

Pitcher of Oil, by brother

Organist and Choir

Stewards with Rods

Architect and Builder

Bible, Square and Compasses, by brother,

on crimson velvet cushion

Banner of Charity


Installed Masters

Ionic Light, by brother

Book of Constitutions, by brother on blue velvet cushion

The Perfect Ashlar, from a Triangle, by brother

Royal Arch Masons, in twos

Knights Templar

The Past Masters

The Worshipful Master

Inner Guard with drawn sword

One Masonic account asserts that it was the Freemasons who were joined by Government and Court Officers, school children, the ‘Independent Order of Odd Fellows’, and a Band, and not the other way around, for the parade to the site where oil, corn and water were ceremonially poured. Another account reports that before the procession, the election of the first Mayor was carried out, and that one of that worthy’s first duties was to pay his respects to the Superintendent of the colony, La Trobe. To mark the occasion, ‘the Councillors wore coats of fine blue cloth, with gilt buttons and skirts lined with white satin.’ The Mayor ‘was robed in a gown of crimson silk borrowed from the Masonic fraternity.’ Perhaps all robes were borrowed as the first municipal election was not due for 6 months. One contemporary also reported:

‘(We) cannot help alluding to the excellent aid afforded by the Society of Odd Fellows in procuring a band of music, and exhibiting all the dread insignia of their order, in full perfection; the axe of justice carried by a sturdy brother of the fraternity had something terrific in its size and emblazonry.’ [ccxviii]

The Freemasons again dominated proceedings in Melbourne on 13 December that year, when the Chief Magistrate was sworn in after the election and another procession.[ccxix] Similarly, in the procession of 20 March, 1846, to lay the foundation stones of Princes Bridge and the Melbourne Hospital, major prayers began with invocations to ‘The Great Architect of the Universe’ and it was Masonic lodge officers who acted as officiating assistants to His Honour Charles Joseph La Trobe, Superintendent of the Colony and James Palmer, Lord Mayor. Among their tasks was to hand a cornucopia containing corn, and silver pitchers of oil and wine to the Worshipful Master who scattered their contents on the stone.[ccxx] Bell adds that ‘Foresters, Druids and Oddfellows’’ also paraded. There were no angry letters to the Press after these parades asking how the Masons came to be so favoured, and there were no overt protests at the ceremonies used. Some in attendance may have guffawed at the ritual, while others no doubt took for granted that after each invocation the assembled brethren would respond ‘So mote it be’. But a close reading indicates that not Freemasonry, but broader customary practice was the basis of the ritual at such events, including the carrying of tools and other symbols and the wearing of regalia, and that exactly the same key practices were carried out whether Freemasons were there officially or not.

A procession on 4 January, 1840 to lay the foundation stone of Sydney’s Christ’s Church by Anglican ‘Bishop of Australia’ Broughton, included ‘operatives’, ie workmen, an architect and a building contractor with ‘tools’, and various secular and church dignitaries with ‘paraphernalia’, including wands, coins, robes and scriptures, but there were no Freemasons.[ccxxi] ‘His Lordship’ spread the mortar, struck the stone with a mallet and intoned the ritualistic words, and asserted that the building was ‘to be set apart for the teaching of the right Catholic faith.’ The Herald further recorded that:

‘The church is to be erected at the apex of the triangular piece of ground in front of the Benevolent Asylum and will form a striking object upon entering the town by the Paramatta Road.’ [ccxxii]

Laying the cathedral stone at West Maitland in October, 1840, Catholic Bishop Polding used words and symbols recognisably similar to those used by Protestants, including:

‘On that stone, an emblem of the new life which you this day commence, deposit all irregular affections; increase in virtue; raise higher the fabric of sanctity, as the walls of this material building come nearer to their termination: and may this edifice, by being ever the habitation of virtuous and pious souls, be a figure of the church triumphant in heaven, where nothing defiled can enter and where the prayers of the saints ascend as a sweet odour before the throne of the Lamb.’ [ccxxiii]

At Wollongong in the same month Polding laid another foundation stone ‘according to the ritual’. The laying of the foundation stone of the Presbyterian Church and School at Sydney’s Paddington in January, 1845 did not involve Freemasons as a body and yet the stone was aligned using a level, square and plummet (plumb line) Three knocks with the mallet were given by Sir Evan McKenzie, who declaimed: ‘..May the Supreme Architect of the Universe pour corn, wine and oil on this colony and city, and afford means of education, and all the necessaries and comforts of life to the inhabitants.’ [ccxxiv] A tantalisingly-brief account of a Catholic stone-laying at the then-Port Phillip has: ‘It was contemplated that the Masonic body should have proceeded in due form, and assisted in the ceremony; but the opinions of others being at variance with this suggestion, it was dropped, to prevent a schism.’ [ccxxv] The stone for the Newcastle Public School in 1878, as just one further example, was laid by School Board Chairman and Port Shipping Master Hannell using a ceremonial trowel and mallet specially made and presented to him on the occasion.[ccxxvi] Far from arguing that the Freemasons were special and unique, the form and content of these parades and ceremonies actually show the reverse.

The lack of any mention of ‘trade societies’ in these early processions may also surprise, as may the strength and primary position of temperance groups. Excluded from pub meetings but seeking the same life protections, Sydney’s temperance societies were among the first fraternals to seek ‘dry’ locations from whence they could engage a lodge doctor and set up their own sick and accident funds. In January, 1842: ‘A grand procession of the Teetotallers took place on the 27th; they subsequently dined together, for three shillings each, in the Market, and in the evening the Sydney College Hall, large as it is, was literally crammed. One circumstance struck me as rather odd; viz, that as soon as they had finished eating their dinner, and drinking lemonade (of which they had ordered one hundred dozen) almost every one of them began to smoke…’ [ccxxvii]

The Temperance Advocate first appeared in October, 1840,[ccxxviii] a result of exertions of a committee which included judges and numerous clerics, but of the town’s newspapers only the Sydney Monitor and the Commercial Journal reported favourably on the tee-totaller’s first parade with banners and music, in December of that year.[ccxxix] The banner of the ‘Sydney Total Abstinence Benefit Society’ carried, beside its name and date of establishment, ‘January 4th, 1840’ in golden letters on a dark ground, a number of familiar illustrations – a ‘colonial’ shield surmounted by the rising sun, the shield quarters showing a bee hive, a horn of plenty, ‘the gospel and the emblems of friendship’, ie, the Bible and the two clasped hands. A gentleman with flag, ‘Sobriety’, and a woman with flag, ‘Domestic Comfort’, enclosed the shield, with a kangaroo and emu, and two children with further inscription. On the reverse of this was a cherub with trumpet over the words ‘Mercy and Truth are Met Together.’ The 1841 report links ‘ornamented aprons’ specifically to the Benefit Society extension of the Sydney Total Abstinence Society.[ccxxx] Four years later, a first hand observer of an assembly of temperance groups in Sydney noted: ‘The turn-out of the Teetotal Societies was such as I have seldom seen in the colonies; the respectable appearance of many of their members – their neat and in some cases elegant sashes, aprons, and other paraphernalia – the regularity and order of the march – with the beautiful music of three distinct bands, each almost equal to any regiment of the line…’ [ccxxxi] [My emphasis] Stifled, it said, ‘from a want of funds’, the Temperance Advocate lasted only 12 months, its rise and fall not only to do with money. In 1840 the Sydney Herald had managed a brief mention of the tee-totallers’ ‘grand day’ but only after it had advised: ‘(We) hope the members will think better of (a parade.) They may be assured it will do them no good, while it may injure them…As strenuous supporters of the Society and well-wishers of the cause, we strongly recommend the Committee to have no procession.’ [ccxxxii] The Herald was not merely irritated when in September, 1842 it described that year’s ‘Total Abstinence’ parade as ‘ridiculous’.

The paper’s proprietors were deeply anti-Irish and anti-Roman Catholic: ‘The Attorney-General [the Catholic Plunkett] has, more than once, even in Council, condemned the universal indignation expressed by a Protestant public against the nefarious importation of Catholic paupers from the south of Ireland in English ships…They are ignorant, turbulent, mentally debased, and totally unqualified for the elective franchise. They have ruined Newfoundland – they are proscribed in America – they are considered as a plague in the metropolis of the British Empire…(etc)’ [ccxxxiii] ‘Empire’ can now be read as ‘Protestant’ but notice the use of ‘English ships’ not ‘British’.[ccxxxiv] The temperance movement was divided along similar lines. The Wesleyan ‘Strangers’ Friend Society’, which claimed that of its first 242 ‘cases’ the large percentage was Catholic, had a severe bias amongst its executive and supporters. A speaker at the 1840 AGM was quoted: ‘Mr [R] Jones observed that it is necessary that great exertions should be made by Protestants at the present time, as there is an evident attempt being made to deluge us with Irish papists..’ [ccxxxv]

House-painter John Garrett, articulate, perceptive and aggressive, announced the arrival of another fraternal temperance contender in the colony in February, 1842, in a new Teetotaller and General Newspaper. Elected the first local ‘District Corresponding Secretary’ he believed strongly in ‘his’ Order’s superiority on financial and organisational grounds: ‘(Should) a Rechabite, either from choice or necessity, change his place of residence, he forfeits neither his privileges nor interest, but continues in the full enjoyment of them.’ [ccxxxvi] The Independent Order of Rechabites, Salford Unity (IOR) was established at Salford, near Manchester, in 1835 as a conscious reaction to widespread social drinking and the all-but-mandatory ‘wet rent’ charged of fraternal members whether they attended a meeting or not. Initial enthusiasm was for a pledge of abstinence, then for a temperance burial society. Members were then strongly advised that they would not be able to compete with societies such as the Odd Fellows unless they formed ‘an Order or a Brotherhood.’ This, note, was after the Tolpuddle trial. Despite tensions around secret oaths at the time, the Order had a ‘making’ ritual when it established its first UK ‘tent’ and its officials with titles such as Chief Ranger, Inside and Outside Guardian and Worthy Levite. Provision was made in the Rules for a ladder of degrees, secret grips and passwords, raps and countersigns, as well as regalia and separate oaths for initiates and for ‘lodge’ officers. Called a covenant, the candidate’s oath was a major sticking point among non-IOR temperance groups since it included the following: ‘…I hereby also pledge myself to keep inviolably the secrets of our honorable Order…’ [ccxxxvii] The obligation for officers included: ‘I also pledge myself that I will not give the grip of our Order or the password to anyone except to those who are duly qualified to receive them.[ccxxxviii] Their first published book of Rules ran to 60 ‘Do’s and Don’ts’. Each member of the Executive Council was to be able to write legibly and to read. When established the Funeral Fund carried a further 32 Rules. Self-consciously ‘a secret Order’,[ccxxxix] the Rechabites sailed even closer to the judicial wind by admitting that ‘if a (brother) come from any part of the Kingdom, if he be in distress, he has an equal claim to our assistance and protection’, that is, it acknowledged that a tramping network and a branch structure came with being an ‘Order’. [ccxl] Its aims were ‘to promote temperance, chastity and every virtue that adorns the human character.’ Lectures to candidates insisted that Rechabites were religiously and politically diverse, therefore no discussion of these topics would be allowed in ‘tent’: ‘neither can we allow any profane or obscene song, toast, or recitation to be sung, given or recited.’ Officers of the first UK tent, having drawn up a Constitution and Ritual, set about establishing other tents, in the manner of a Grand Lodge. Their earliest efforts included Juvenile Tents and a separate ‘United Order of Female Rechabites’. The IOR first paraded publically in Salford on New Year’s Day in 1836, with colour-coded sashes and a painted banner.[ccxli] Although not spelt out, the IOR was strongly Protestant.

The first known antipodean Rechabite came ashore in South Australia in 1839. Interested people thence met at John Nowland’s house on 1 January, 1840, initially to establish an Adelaide Total Abstinence Society and then, on 14 May, the ‘Southern Cross Tent, IOR’. In October, on a hot, dusty day, 30 members joined a 7 mile procession in regalia to Port Adelaide and the first IOR clearance was granted, in February, 1841, for Bro John Everard who wished to join a tent in Launceston. Hard economic times then caused so many defaults that by the end of 1843 there were few members ‘good on the books’ and ‘Southern Cross’ tent was dissolved and the funds divided. [ccxlii] The ‘Star of Australia Tent’, was established in Sydney in April, 1842,[ccxliii] just in time to participate in the Burke-statue parade. Garrett’s announcement of the IOR arrival while also wearing the hat of President of the Total Abstinence Benefit Society, was greeted by Catholic complaints of a conflict of interest. His response was typically un-diplomatic: ‘(IOR) so far supposes the other (Temperance Benefit Society) as the soaring of the eagle does the flight of the wren..(He argued that the IOR derived its status from not being registered)…In the benefits that (those) members respectively receive, in sickness for instance, one serves the subject according to a legal scale, approved by the magistrates in session, (while) the other [IOR] takes into account all the circumstances of the case and that of his family and being freed from legal shackles, their assistance is afforded in such a way that the suffering or needy brother does not feel himself to be a burden.’ Should Sydney’s working classes have to choose, as ‘Catholic’ despaired it would, it would not be between religious affiliations but between ‘a united order, consisting of many thousands of members and seven years standing, [IOR] and one local Benefit Society consisting of one hundred members and one years standing.’ [ccxliv]

The IOR’s ‘unity’ was a problem for local and ‘home’ authorities. Legislation before 1854 prevented any other than separate ‘lodges’ from registering. Attempts to change this situation by the IOR in 1842 in the UK were soundly rebuffed by the House of Lords, by erstwhile reformer Lord Shaftsbury in particular. Thousands of brethren left the Order ‘in a panic.’ [ccxlv] The vertically-organised IOR became the first recognised and registered ‘Order’, in March, 1854. It is noticeable that when a Rechabite emigrated to the USA power was given him or her to ‘form a new and distinct Unity – an American Order, having the whole of its government within itself’. In NSW, this freedom was refused, not by the English IOR executive, but by the brethren in Sydney: ‘(A) separate union…would by no means do for us, owing to the thinness of the population…therefore we hope to continue to be considered an integral part of the (UK) Order as the Sydney District, New South Wales…(Also) a separate union would tend to destroy our all our intercourse we are desirous of strengthening (our) relation.’ [ccxlvi] The issue was not one of independence, per se, but of allegiance – to ‘the Empire’ and Protestantism, or to Rome.

At their first end-of-year Dinner, which ran from 5.0pm to 8, and included the ‘introduction’ of wives, Garrett’s toast to the Governor included UK background: ‘He…spoke at considerable length on the rise of Total Abstinence Societies in Manchester and Liverpool; on their defects as local societies, being confined in their operation to the neighborhood in which they are…He then combated the objections that have been advanced against (IOR) as a secret order..’ [ccxlvii] His approach and the underlying tensions resulted in deep enmities and the rise of further close competitors. A Port Phillip tent of an Order calling itself ‘the Southern Counties Brotherhood of the Honourable Independent Order of Rechabites, St John the Baptist’ was one such.[ccxlviii] The executive of Sydney’s Total Abstinence Society also determined to show its anti-IOR hand. It passed bylaws insisting that members could belong to no other secret society than the Freemasons, and allowing the executive to change benefits and contributions unilaterally. Garrett tested the claims in court but a magistrate found against him.[ccxlix] Garrett later admitted referring to St Patrick’s Total Abstinence Society and, by implication, to all Catholics as ‘sectarian’. When challenged, he defended his assertion by referring to society members giving their pledge while kneeling to a priest, to the Roman cross on society regalia, and to the society’s name. Catholics pointed out that the Society admitted non-Catholics, but critics perceived this as a token gesture. [ccl]

Part of a Rechabite’s pledge involved promoting the Order’s interest ‘wherever he goes.’ In April, 1843, at the official opening of their second Sydney tent, ‘Morning Star’, initiates included a second Launceston man who had travelled north in order to receive the information and accoutrements necessary for opening a tent. A further Sydney tent, the ‘Rose of Australia’ which is either a mis-print or evidence of a split, claimed the privileges of a Grand Lodge and issued the 20 May, 1843 Warrant (or Charter) for it, the ‘Star of Tasmania’.[ccli] Interestingly, a Launceston end-of-1842 temperance parade featured 10 ‘marching’ banners, including ‘a females’ flag’ of white silk, and 3 ‘trade’ banners: ‘The cordwainers’ and St Crispins’ Arms were neatly executed on…pink silk and followed by the shoemakers each wearing a rosette.’ [cclii] A carpenters and joiners’ banner utilised the emu and a kangaroo as supporters of the craft’s ‘arms’ on one side of a green silk banner, while the other side had a large circle ‘in the centre of which were two hands united…surrounded by ‘Unity and Concord.’ The saddlers’ blue silk ‘colour’ had a ‘rich yellow silk fringe’: ‘The design, executed on both sides, consisted of the saddlers’ arms, the supporters to which being two wild horses, had a beautiful effect.’

From 1843, elections in NSW enormously increased the value of public display, and of newspapers. The number of would-be editors suddenly increased as did the power of anyone who, with bombast or erudition, could attract advertisers, a combination bringing its own tensions. Duncan at the Chronicle was attuned more to English Catholicism than the ‘ex-convict parvenu Irish’ who employed him, and in Suttor’s view, represented a Liberal Catholicism which would in time provide a way to amicable co-existence with Protestantism: ‘The Liberal Catholic argued that secular democracy, with every man free (at least within very broad limits) to hold and perpetuate his ideas and customs, was compatible as it stood with Catholic teaching; and he was inclined to argue further that it was the ideal form of political society.’ [ccliii] However, Duncan was removed in February 1843, the local RC clergy insisting: ‘the Chronicle was established to defend Catholic principles, to refute calumny and misrepresentation, and to promote a good understanding among all classes of the community. It was never intended to be a political firebrand or a rock of dissension, especially among Catholics or liberal Protestants.’ [ccliv] To wear ‘colours’ publically was, of course, an invitation to a drink or a fight, or both: ‘I remember the first election held in Australia, in 1843. Andrew Lang and Richard Windeyer candidates, (for the) election at Paterson [HRD]. An Irishman killed a Scotsman named McGillvarey. Open voting them days, everyone knew how you voted, so look out. I remember the uncles going to vote with bows of ribbon on coats and horse-tails.’ [cclv] The banners of Wentworth and Dr Bland, ‘currency blue and mazarine blue’, were utterly destroyed in one fracas, Bland himself being nearly strangled. Green was worn by supporters of ‘big Cooper – the Friend of the People’, known by some as ‘an illiterate and good natured old scoundrel who believed in the abolition of lawyers and law courts.’ [cclvi] Orange colours were not then in evidence but were about to assume major significance.

The Orange Order and the Not-so-Green Catholics

The Loyal Orange Institute [LOI] is neither Masonic, trade-oriented nor a friendly society. It was and is, however, a fraternal society, with regalia, a degree structure and an ideology of support for one’s brothers. Interestingly, it has claimed a work-based heritage: ‘(The LOI) is a politico-religio society; its politics being ‘the husbandman that laboureth shall be first partaker of the fruits’, or, in other words, ‘a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work’, and religiously it means, ‘honour all men, love the brotherhood, fear God and honour the King.’ [cclvii] ‘Its objects have always emphasised religious tolerance and freedom of expression but its concern that the Protestant faith remain dominant in Britain and its dominions has always taken precedence whenever Orangemen have felt threatened.’

It seems a Loyal Orange Association was established at Exeter in 1688 on the landing of William, Prince of Orange, from Holland.[cclviii] In the 1790’s, a re-invented Orangeism was taken via the army from Ireland to England and, possibly, into the navy at a time when the need for military discipline in the war against France was paramount. Doubt about the loyalties of oath-bound Orange brethren was a great source of tension, and unsuccessful government bans were tried, in 1822 and 1829.[cclix] The Order was dissolved in 1825 ‘in consequence of an Act passed for a limited period against political societies’, reformed in 1828 and then further damaged by a parliamentary committee of enquiry in Westminster in 1835 just as the hand-cuffed and manacled Tolpuddle lay-preachers were disembarked half a world away. The House of Commons had not been greatly agitated by the Tolpuddle trial, but it was by Sir William Molesworth proposing that HRH the Duke of Cumberland, Lord Kenyon and the Bishop of Salisbury should suffer the same treatment as the transportees for enrolling Orangemen with oaths by definition as illegal as those prohibited in Dorset. A free pardon for ‘the martyrs’ was forced out of the British executive by this agitation but religion not workers’ rights was a thornier issue. A Commons enquiry, partly into the likelihood of Orange dis-loyalty to the intended Queen, Victoria, produced evidence of ‘talk’ amongst Orangemen of preventing her coronation and replacing her with a ‘real’ monarch, possibly the Duke of Cumberland, George IV’s brother and Orange Grand Master. In the eyes of its supporters, the Order was the only force preventing the loss of Ireland, but the Duke was ordered to completely suppress ‘his’ lodges. The Grand Orange Order of Ireland was ‘requested’ to dissolve itself by Victoria in 1836. [cclx] Sir Edward Codrington warned the House ‘against suffering Orange Lodges to contaminate the Navy.’ The loyalty of Orangemen in 1798 had been eulogised; but in that year a mutiny broke out in the Navy, from the establishment of such a Society as that of the Orange Lodges. [cclxi] This ‘such a Society’ is of interest. We have seen that both ‘masonic’ and ‘Orange’ were rubbery terms in Ireland in the 1790’s. The Masonic literature has long argued that their lodges within the military had been helping Freemasonry to spread around the world for years. The more contentious question is the nature of the ‘Freemasonry’ being transported. In 1979, a rare scholar of Australian ‘Orangeism’, Vertigan, claimed knowledge of unpublished material which located a ‘Military Lodge No 260’ inside the 17th Leicestershire Regiment when it arrived in Sydney in 1830 from Van Dieman’s Land. Its membership he said grew  from 25 to 75 by the following year.[cclxii] Another scholar, Kent, has doubted the accuracy of the 1835 (UK) Enquiry’s finding that ‘New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land appear to be deeply imbued with the system of Orangeism.’ [cclxiii] (Eric) Turner, who has had access to surviving Grand Lodge records in Sydney, has asserted that ‘five regiments which are known to have had Orange Lodges were stationed here between 1827-1847’ but ‘there was as yet no true civilian Australian Lodge.’ [cclxiv] He claimed to have examined relevant documents made available to the UK Enquiry including an 1832 letter from a Corporal Wilson of the 50th Foot (Queens Own) Regiment which held Orange Warrant 53, later re-issued as 1780, and which supposedly became the basis of Sydney’s first regular Orange lodge. In 1833, the ‘Secretary’ reported that it was then meeting regularly in Sydney at the Fox Inn, the Commanding Officer shutting his eyes ‘as long as we conduct ourselves.’ An English researcher appears close to the truth in recently arguing that ‘After the dissolution of the Grand Lodge in February 1836 the Orange lodges had no governing and co-ordinating body, but in various parts of the country groups of lodges began to come together again, and as this process developed, there arose two separate movements – the Loyal Orange Institution of Great Britain, and the Grand Protestant Association of Loyal Orangemen.’ [cclxv] This author claims that Liverpool, transit point for many Irish emigrants, was a stronghold of the resurgence with 56 ‘Orange’ lodges in that town by 1854. In 1836, an anonymous pamphlet appeared in Sydney, claiming Protestantism had been vindicated by the UK Enquiry. It was written to ‘avert the introduction of a system of general education’, such as the Irish system which the author(s) believed to be ‘subversive of the fundamental principle of Protestantism’.[cclxvi] In 1838, the Reverend W McIntyre, a key player in riotous situations in Maitland 30 years later, published the provocative pamphlet ‘Is the Service of Mass Idolatrous?’ and in 1841 JD Lang produced ‘The Question of Questions: Or is This Colony to be Transformed into a Colony of Popedom?’

Official histories of a ‘Protestant Friendly Society’ begin at 1868 in rural Victoria.[cclxvii] But in 1842 in Sydney forty ‘respectable’ persons joined the ‘Australian Protestant Benefit Association’, elected a ‘Mr TW Henery’ President and pledged their endeavours for ‘the relief of distressed members, their widows and orphans.’[cclxviii] The known members of this organisation do not so far reveal an intersection with known ‘Orange’ brothers, and the published Rules make no mention of a lodge or fraternal trappings. However, their Anniversary Dinner in 1844 coincided with 12 July when September was their actual establishment month. A memory recounted in the 1860’s was to the effect that a Warrant held by the 50th Queens Own Regiment and smuggled ashore in 1835 or 6 by a Private Alexander, had been transferred to this civilian lodge, with ‘the Rule Books and Ritual’.[cclxix] Whereas meetings since 1840 had been held above Barr and Kitchen’s printery, a group then met at the ‘Crispin Arms’ where the Grand Orange Lodge of NSW was instituted on 9 May, 1843. The Sentinel’s printers were then asked to print several temporary warrants pending the arrival of ‘proper’ dispensations from the Grand (Orange) Lodge of Ireland.[cclxx] The ambiguous connections glossed over here between Masonic and Orange military lodges was not accidental.

The prevailing veil of secrecy in Australia had suddenly lifted in 1845 when the Sentinel’s Barr and Kitchen admitted they were dyed-in-the-wool Orangemen. The occasion was Sydney’s ‘first Orange lodge’ announcing itself on 13 April, 1845, a fortnight after the Australasian Holy Catholic Guild (see below) was introduced to Sydney’s readers.

Only just avoided in July, 1844[cclxxi], serious disputes between Melbourne’s Catholics and Protestants occurred on the 12 July, 1845, but were more or less contained by the authorities. Tensions again reached flashpoint one year later when even more serious riots occurred, shots were fired and, as a direct result, the colonial administration drew up a ‘Party Processions Bill’ aimed at: ‘any body of persons who shall meet and parade together, or join in procession, or who shall assemble in any public-house, tavern or other place within the colony, for the purpose of celebrating or commemorating any festival, anniversary or political event, relating to or connected with any religious or political distinctions or differences between any classes of Her Majesty’s subjects…and who shall bear, wear, or have among them any firearms or other offensive weapons, or shall have publically exhibited any banner, emblem, flag or symbol, the display whereof may be calculated to provoke animosity…or who shall be accompanied by any music of a like nature or tendency…’ [cclxxii] Before riots on the 12th July and this government intervention, however, Catholic and Orange fires had already flared within lodges of Odd Fellows and Freemasons.

Loyalist vs Catholic in Sydney

– The Odd Fellows

There have been at least 30 separate Orders of Odd Fellows, only some of which extended their activities from the UK to Australia. The 3 largest internationally have also been the most successful in this country, viz the Grand United Order [GUOOF], which has the strongest claim of these three to being the original, the Independent Order [IOOF], and the Independent Order, Manchester Unity [IOOFMU]. The use of ‘Manchester’ indicates where this particular breakaway originated, while the strength, even the existence of a London-based Order throughout the 19th century and perhaps called the ‘Ancient Independent Order’, remains the great unknown. As with the Orange lodges the earliest days of Odd Fellowship in Australia are clouded.[cclxxiii] The current ‘Australian IOOF’ claims 24 Feb, 1836 as its establishment date and as therefore the originating date for all Australian Odd Fellowship. The lodge instituted on that day was from its inception called the ‘Australian Grand Lodge’ [AGL]. Its (unsighted) Charter is said to have come from the ‘United Independent Order of Odd Fellows’[cclxxiv] in the UK, an Order which does not appear on known lists. An early set of by-laws names the 1836 entity ‘a lodge of the Order of Loyal and Independent Odd Fellows’, yet another variation.[cclxxv] A later alliance with US Odd Fellows has led to claims that this original was set up ‘under the auspices of the American Order’.[cclxxvi] As an IOOF scholar wrote in 1915 the known evidence supports the following: ‘The [Australian]Independent Order of Odd Fellows [in 1836]… had no connection with the American society of the same name but was an offshoot from an English society which as late as 1846 possessed only 69 lodges in the Home Land, and 10 in Australia.’ [cclxxvii] The number here given of local and English IOOF lodges, which I believe is accurate, is important in what follows. An 1847 note from The Odd Fellow, printed in Cornhill [Boston?], USA, also appears accurate: ‘We have no positive records of the order, as at present constituted, bearing date earlier than 1800. It is believed that it originated in England between 1790 and 1800. In 1811, the order in England, became divided and worked under two distinct names, the one was called the ‘Independent’, the other the ‘Union Order of Odd Fellows.’ The former has continued to prosper, while the latter, it is believed, has almost entirely ceased to exist.’ [cclxxviii]

George Jilks, apparently at the time a policeman if not Chief Constable, and William Moffitt, printer, both credited as the key founders of the 1836 lodge, did not fully realise the opportunities, financial and other, available to individuals staking out a new fraternal territory. Akin to any new business or franchise, colonial establishment required legitimation from the franchiser. The best strategic choice for an ambitious immigrant into an area with no previous franchisees was to claim allegiance to a well-known ‘Order’ which was NOT in a position to do anything about the format determined upon by the founding members.

Given the distances involved and the time taken for legitimating documents to arrive, one option for a ‘Head Office’ seeking expansion was to prepare documents for ‘brothers’ embarking for a new ‘market’. A ‘Head Office’ was, by definition, already established and legitimated, thus able to set up sub-lodges and to earn monies therefrom as was the case with Masonic ‘Grand Lodges’. Since, upon its capacity to extract fees depended its capacity to pay its personnel, ie itself, it was of course keen to build up subordinate networks. Some ‘franchisers’ were more grasping and less idealistic than others. The same is true of ‘franchisees’.

Importantly, any Head Office in contact with the new area, had options – it could grant autonomy or insist on sovereignty over the franchisee, it might grant the new entity the powers of a Grand Lodge, to wit the power to set up sub-lodges and thus to collect fees, or it might insist all requests for new charters go through it, perhaps to a General Assembly. Held in the ‘home’ country, this was a forum where the distant brethren seeking legitimation rarely had a voice. Where legitimating documents were sought after the event, misunderstandings and disagreements with Head Office were more likely than not. Where there were rivals for ‘Head Office’ status at ‘home’, there was bound to be opportunist manoevering at both ends of the exchange. This appears to have been the case with the establishment of the IOOF-line of odd fellowship in both the USA and NSW.

Being far from home, Jilks, Moffitt and their 3 co-founding ‘brothers’ had the space in which to give their founding lodge Grand Lodge status, which they did, and to set about establishing sub-lodges, which they didn’t. Calling their lodge ‘Australian Grand Lodge’ appears to have been used only to provide Moffitt, the first ‘Noble Grand’ [lodge master], with the more authoritative title ‘Grand Master’.[cclxxix] ‘Manchester Unity’ in Australia dates itself from 9 March, 1840, and claims that from that date ‘Strangers’ Refuge’ was unequivocally part of the IOOFMU in the UK, and not of the IOOF.[cclxxx] However, the newspaper notice calling the initial meeting refers only to ‘Independent Odd Fellows’ and shows that only one out of the 8 initiating members already belonged to the ‘Manchester Unity.’ The others provided only the name of a UK lodge, not any particular Order.[cclxxxi] The 1840 notice calling the initial meetings for what became Melbourne’s first IOOFMU lodge was headed ‘The Unity of Independent Odd Fellows’, while the ad for the first Odd Fellows’ meeting in Newcastle, in May, 1842, again for what became the ‘first IOOFMU lodge in the HRD’, refers, in one place, only to the ‘Independent Order of Odd Fellows’, and in another to the ‘Union Independent Order of Odd Fellows.’’

The conflicted story of the Melbourne lodge, also called ‘Australia Felix’, has been documented. The establishment meetings were called by Thomas Strode, Freemason and like Moffitt, a printer, in June and July, 1840. Minutes and a Strode-memoir show that the initiating group, which included ‘Dr’ Augustus Greeves, later Lord Mayor, sought legitimation from Sydney. They might have written to the UK, as Adelaide (below) did or they might have directed their enquiry to the supposedly IOOFMU lodge already established in Sydney, ‘Strangers’ Refuge’. They did neither of these things, they wrote to the Moffitt/Jilks lodge, the AGL.

In the light of subsequent events, it’s worth noting here that Greeves was also the keeper of the not very salubrious ‘Steam Packet’ tavern in which the lodge met for a time including for the first Anniversary Dinner in 1841, and that he was appointed the first lodge medical attendant. His qualifications for the latter position are not known. Edward Finn, ‘Garryowen’, commented of him: ‘(A) man of considerable ability, and an ardent Oddfellow; indeed a man who, if he had only displayed as much consistency and steadfastness in political life as he did in promoting the cause of Oddfellowship, would have become a most influential public man.’ [cclxxxii] As with many things, ‘consistency and steadfastness’ are in the eye of the beholder. Finn refers to himself as ‘a spectator of almost everything that went on’ when in fact he was much more a participant. A Catholic and a ‘pugnacious little Irishman’, he admits to having been ‘a sort of aide-de-camp’ to one Johnny O’Shanassy who just happened to be ‘General of the Irish battalions’ shortly to be mobilised. Indeed, in 1845, O’Shanassy, later three-time Premier of Victoria and twice-knighted, was elected President of the St Patrick’s Society, with Finn as Secretary. In any event, the 1840 Sydney Secretary of the AGL, Brother Elliott replied in the affirmative to the Melbourne request, and following a further meeting, that group’s secretary and treasurer, Brother Strode travelled to Sydney to obtain the ‘dispensation, regalia and necessary furnishings.’ Again, he dealt with the AGL, not the IOOFMU brethren, in other words this supposedly ‘MU lodge’ in Melbourne was acting like an AGL ‘branch’ lodge. The key appears to be that Strode was or had been himself a member of AGL in Sydney. By 1843, when this Melbourne lodge sought a second dispensation, this time from the ‘Manchester Unity, UK’, his direct influence had waned, he having been north to establish but then to sell the short-lived Hunter River Gazette. Back in Melbourne in late-1842 he regained the proprietorship of the Port Phillip Gazette from George Arden,[cclxxxiii] by which time control of the lodge ‘Australia Felix’ was passing to MU loyalists, including ‘Dr’ Greeves.

An 1890’s version recounted by the IOOF’s then Australasian Grand Secretary Smith,[cclxxxiv] was that members of ‘Australia Felix’ were ‘for some years under the impression’ that their lodge was IOOFMU. He believed that the Melbourne membership only realised its ‘error’ when, in early 1843 someone received revised IOOFMU Rules from England. According to Smith, the original lodge was then broken up and the funds divided amongst the members. Some of the brethren then sought a new charter for a lodge of the same name from MU in England, which request succeeded, an entirely new lodge resulting. It seems, also, that other brethren of ‘Australia Felix’ sought a new charter from Sydney’s IOOF, or AGL, their action resulting in the Melbourne ‘Duke of York Lodge’, the acrimonious story of which comes later in this section.

An Adelaide IOOFMU magazine published from 1843 to 1845 shows that a ‘London Order’ existed and that a choice of ‘Head Office’ was possible for Odd Fellows:

‘In October, 1840, an advertisement appeared in the Adelaide papers calling a meeting of Odd Fellows, at Ephraim Randell’s, then of the Rose Inn, Sturt Street, for the purpose of forming a lodge. This call was responded to by brothers WH Harris, T Jones and J Holmes, between whom a discussion arose, as to whether the lodge they proposed to found should be opened in connexion with the London Order of Odd Fellowship, or with the Manchester Unity. On the question being put to the vote, it was carried in favour of the Manchester Unity – WH Harris being the only one of the meeting who was a member of the London Order.’ [cclxxxv]

In other words, the two IOOFMU members used a strategem to get their way. The official IOOFMU literature published since often insists that the choice of their ‘Unity’ would have been inevitable since IOOFMU was already recognised as the strongest in the world, claiming 150,000 members by 1840. At a further meeting, the by-then 10 Adelaide members resolved to immediately write ‘home’ to Manchester for an IOOFMU Dispensation and in the meantime to open a ‘Lodge of Emergency’. This they called ‘Jones’ Well-Wisher, No 1, Grand Lodge of South Australia’, after the first Noble Grand. [My emphasis] While waiting, a second ‘Lodge of Emergency’ was opened nearby in Thebarton. That this procedure was not followed in the other colonies discloses the degree of discretion available. When the Dispensation was received the No 1 Lodge had been re-named ‘the Adelaide Lodge’ by the UK Grand Lodge and given the MU number of 3014. ‘Mr Harris’ does not appear at any subsequent IOOFMU events.

A letter to Adelaide from Sydney MU’s Corresponding Secretary, Brother Clemesha, two months after the crucial Melbourne events of 1843, told of applications for dispensations from intending brothers in New Zealand and Hobart, and of three dispensations ‘to the value of forty five pounds’ recently arrived for Sydney’s lodges, but makes no reference to a lodge at Melbourne/Port Phillip. Clearly, Sydney and Melbourne ‘MU’s’ did not know about each other, or did not yet consider themselves part of the same organisation.[cclxxxvi] The second dispensation for Melbourne was sent by the UK IOOFMU executive to the AGL in Sydney, not to the MU ‘Strangers’ Refuge’ in Sydney, and had to be re-routed, so it seems it was only in 1845 that the Melbourne Lodge, by then titled ‘Loyal Australia Felix, Independent Order of Odd Fellows’, could consider itself fully legitimated within MU.

Looked at globally, the Odd Fellow situation was extremely unstable. The IOOF Grand Lodge of the United States, having some connection with the English IOOFMU, had recently severed all ties ‘in view of the fact that the Unity had altered the ancient landmarks, violated the principles and changed the work of the order, and attempted to invade our chartered rights, the Grand Lodge of the United States declared itself the only fountain and depository of Independent Odd-Fellowship on the globe.’ [cclxxxvii] A UK historian and MU brother later regretfully concluded: ‘Such was the condition of the Manchester Unity in the year 1843 – a name, without a reality – composed of the discordant elements of pride and poverty, fraud and benevolence, strife and good-will to mankind – attractive in the exterior, rotten in its internal government…the victim of knaves and charlatans…’ [cclxxxviii] The 1844 Annual Movable Conference [AMC] of MU at Newcastle [UK] introduced collegiate representation, thus stopping a long-standing practice of delegate-stacking. Its Grand Secretary at this time was William Ratcliffe, of whom, with the benefit of hindsight, it was later said: ”This gentleman, through his misconduct, very nearly extinguished the Order during the later portion of his holding the office.’ [cclxxxix] Sixty years later, a stalwart member claimed that IOOFMU began its ‘modern’ phase at this point, when ‘insurance principles’ replaced its ‘primitive…purely mutual benevolent character’: ‘It was in 1844 that the first steps were taken to obtain the information (necessary for) financial soundness. So strongly was the action of the Directors resented, that in 1845 lodges comprising some 16,000 members were suspended and subsequently expelled from the Society, in consequence of their refusal to comply…Undeterred by opposition…or adverse criticism.. the Manchester Unity pursued its search after truth.’ [ccxc] This ‘search after truth’ has been the official MU assertion ever since.

In Sydney, the AGL had been forced into defending its claim to priority by the local MU flexing its muscles.[ccxci] Though in name a ‘Grand Lodge’, it had not spawned any subordinate lodges when it found itself confronted by a second Sydney MU lodge, the ‘Loyal Fountain of Refuge’, at the parade in April 1842 to ‘open’ the Bourke statue. MU’s ‘splendid banners and handsome regalias, particularly a..Crown borne on a crimson velvet cushion’ attracted ‘general attention.’ Spurred into action, an October ‘Festival of the Australian Grand Lodge of the Order of Odd Fellows’ burst upon Sydney: ‘(The) Brethren…assembled at the Saracen’s Head Inn, King Street, for the purpose of consecrating and dedicating the new Lodge Room, which has recently been erected for that especial purpose by Mr Titterton, a Brother of the Order..’ [My emphasis] Brother Isaac Titterton, licencee, was also an organiser and office-holder of the Licenced Victuallers Association, another ‘benevolent and protective institution’,[ccxcii] and an aspirant City Councillor. The report continued: ‘(After the ‘accustomed rites’ in the Lodge Room)..the members then walked in procession to St James Church where Divine Service was performed, and a most admirable sermon which the principles of the Order were clearly developed and the practice of the Christian virtues involved therein, was powerfully enjoined…The Benediction was pronounced by the Lord Bishop, and a collection was made, amounting to £32, in aid of the funds of the Benevolent Asylum.’ [ccxciii] Religious alliances were thus becoming clearer, the ‘Lord Bishop’ being WG Broughton, Anglican primate. On this occasion, the evening’s banquet included 25 separate toasts, the band of the 80th Regiment discoursed airs in the intervals, and the evening’s jollification, beginning at seven pm extended past midnight.

Division is also apparent in Tasmania. The first three of four Notices establishing Odd Fellowship in Hobart over just three weeks in 1843, were in the name of MU. The first two of these were for meetings at the ‘Derwent Tavern’, the third was called for ‘the White Horse’. The first Notice for the first lodge of the ‘Independent Order of Odd Fellows’ appeared subsequently, and shows that it, the unusually-named ‘Tasmanian Primitive Lodge’, would henceforth be meeting on Tuesday evenings at the Derwent Tavern. [ccxciv] By September, 1844, the MU lodge, ‘Southern Star’ has all but disappeared, while the Tasmanian Primitive appears to be flourishing and firmly entrenched as part of the AGL network. At its first Anniversary Dinner, ‘Brother Elliott, Grand Secretary’ was toasted ‘three times hand and foot’. By 1845 a membership of one hundred was claimed.[ccxcv]

The Odd Fellows, collectively, were clearly a major consumer and advertising market worth trying to tap. In Hobart, the Colonial Times was very enthusiastic about them, as was the editor of the South Australian Register in Adelaide. The South Australian comparison, where MU initially had the field to itself, is again instructive. Their very creditable South Australian Odd Fellows Magazine had begun in 1843 with a lament taken from the UK: ‘Of the leading metropolitan daily and even weekly press the extraordinary fact may be recorded, that of the existence of a body in this kingdom so numerous, so powerful and so excellent, they seem to be utterly ignorant..’ [ccxcvi] MU’s 3rd Anniversary parade in South Australia, 1 January, 1844, included lodge ‘surgeons’.[ccxcvii] In November, 1845, the IOOFMU Hope Lodge, while consisting chiefly of ‘mechanics and working men’, was nevertheless congratulated by the editor of the SAR for having ‘very many persons of high standing’ who had managed to impart ‘to their more humble brethren much of the true feeling and manners of gentlemen.’ Perhaps this is the reason for an emphasis here on a school, which quickly had 160 pupils, and evening classes. In Sydney, Duncan, in his new editorial chair at The Register, and Mason of The Star and Working Mans Guardian were both supportive, but in December, 1844, a small unsigned paragraph in the SMH[ccxcviii] referred to an alleged new lodge, ‘The Repeal of the Manchester Unity’. Rebutting the suggestion of any internal problem, Sam Clemesha, still Provincial Corresponding Secretary, responded with: ‘The paragraph in question is believed to have emanated from a party excluded from our Order for misconduct.’ The nature of the ‘misconduct’ might be gauged from charges levelled at a member of Strangers’ Refuge in June: ]keeping late and unseasonable hours at night, and at such times singing, dancing and playing a flute or other instrument.’ [ccxcix] In March, 1845 the Chronicle questioned MU about the fairness of Dissenter, Catholic or Jewish brethren being forced either to attend service against their faith in a Protestant Episcopal church, where such marches inevitably went, or to drop out of the processions and be fined. The newspaper commented: ‘To our own knowledge a great number of the brethren are Catholics’.[ccc] The Chronicle editor was more-or-less politely informed that no rule demanded that all brethren enter the designated church against their conscience, but that the fine for non-attendance related to the need to maintain decorum in the procession itself.[ccci] In Adelaide, a similar situation was in play, not with regard to Catholics but with Dissenters unable to participate at all in parades that had flags or music.[cccii] The very-Protestant nature of Adelaide’s MU was apparent at their New Years Dinner. The reponse to a toast to the ‘Health of the Colonial Chaplain and the Ministers of the Gospel in the Province’ included:

‘The Odd Fellows was a Christian institution, attached to the Gospel, but acknowledging no division of sect. It was the base on which the Order was built, and by its agency alone could we hope for heaven. Odd Fellowship had many externals, which needed apology, and he could wish to see some of them altered. The system of marching to church with flags and music was one of them, which to dissenters particularly, was distasteful. If they (MUIOOF) could go to church and to the chapels of the Independents and Wesleyans alternately and in their ordinary dresses..much would be done towards removing the prejudices of the dissenters against them.’

In January, 1844, The Chronicle, again enraged the SMH among others, by detailing the anti-Catholic repression of William III’s reign after he’d defeated James 11 at the Battle of the Boyne in 1690.[ccciii] No mention was made of similar Catholic repression of Protestants in France. In April, 1845, The Chronicle spoke out about the Board of the Maitland [NSW] Hospital organising their Rules to exclude all but Protestant clergy. This particular controversy spread to involve the colonial government, the religious authorities and almost all the colony’s newspapers, [ccciv] but it was only one ‘front’ among many. Towards the end of 1845 The Chronicle took on the military as well by reporting a case where Catholic soldiers at Port Macquarie were allegedly being forced to attend the Protestant Church.[cccv] Noticeably, in Sydney in 1844, Orangeman Barr was ‘Deputy District Ruler’ of the IOR, and in 1846 Orange lodges are shown meeting in the Rechabite Hall. [cccvi] So, unsurprisingly,

A paper to the UK Statistical Society in 1845 argued strongly that the IOR and similar societies could not and would not survive because their benefits were too high and their entry contributions too low.[cccvii] A trenchant criticism of the IOR ‘as unlawful, vicious and worthless’ by Irish Catholic and nationalist campaigner Daniel O’Connor, was re-printed in April, 1845 in the Morning Chronicle. A practising lawyer, O’Connell had been asked to read the articles of the IOR and assess its status. His judgement was that ‘every individual member of the Rechabite Society is guilty of a transportable offence – that is to say, of an offence for which he is liable to be transported for the term of seven years … ..notwithstanding a gloss of useful purposes, this order of Rechabites is calculated to do very great mischief, and to introduce a very bad spirit amongst the working classes…’ [cccviii] He does not spell out an offence, speaking only of ‘orders, tests and associations’ but he implies concern for the oath of secrecy, and urges Irish Catholics to join ‘holy guilds’, ie, charitable societies ‘under the inspection and control of the Catholic clergy.’ Immediately after this letter and a series of articles advocating Catholic ‘guilds’, Archbishop Polding announced the establishment in Sydney of a benefit society, the Australasian Holy Catholic Guild of St Mary and St Joseph, [AHCG] the Rules of which insisted it had ‘no oaths of secrecy, no secret laws, no secret objects, no secret leaders (and) no political discussions.’[cccix] After its first meeting, 11 May, 1845, its founding membership of 18 quickly rose to around 300, a number which included Heydon, Ullathorne, McEncroe and other prominent Catholics.[cccx]

Polding chose the colours and style of the Guild’s regalia – long black cloaks with white collars for ordinary members, capes decorated with brightly coloured ribbons [’piping’] for the executive officers. As with Protestant fraternal practice, the function of the colours was to indicate the particular office held, the Warden’s, for example, was ‘deep blue and gold’, the Bursar’s [Treasurer] ‘yellow edged with crimson’, the Secretary’s ‘scarlet edged with gold’, the Councillors [other Lodge officers] ‘green edged with yellow’.[cccxi] Possibly designed to deliberately upset observers like those at the Sentinel,[cccxii] the regalia attracted notoriety throughout the colonies. A keen sense of public relations was no doubt in play, but was there not also a sense of celebration, designed to send anxious Protestants into a frenzy, especially the Dissenters? The Benedictines, Polding’s Order, were not just an English Order, they were the ‘Black Monks’ of mediaeval times, and Polding seriously thought they could be pre-eminent in Australian Catholicism. St Mary’s Cathedral was, of course, built in the Gothic-revival style, while to the Chronicle, the Guild was a long-awaited triumph over the savagery and injustice of the Reformation: ‘During the last few years…these ancient institutions have revived. As the Catholic religion has spread itself more and more over the land, it has brought back a desire for the institutions of those days…’ [cccxiii] In its first public display, the AHCG marched from a temporary ‘Guild Hall’ in Macquarie Street to the Cathedral for investiture of the newly initiated brothers. The Sentinel abhored the ‘mysterious and indecent exhibitions’ and ‘arrogant displays of assumed superiority’ which could only have been designed ‘to insult the members of all other religious communities’: ‘Spiritual fornication, or the worshipping of beings, persons or things, other than the only living and true God, is the heresy with which the Church of Rome stands charged.’ [cccxiv] The marchers in the St Patrick’s Total Abstinence Society in March, 1845 were, according to this editor, ‘adorned with the emblems of Ribandism’.[cccxv] The ‘Ribbon Society’, was, from 1820 to 1870 in Ireland, ‘a secret oath-bound agrarian confederacy’, described as a ‘constant affliction and recurring terror’ of the landed classes.[cccxvi]

In Sydney, in July, 1845, seeing themselves still behind their competitor, the AGL brethren began a stylish publication – the Australasian Odd Fellows Quarterly Magazine, of which EH Statham, then also the proprietor/editor of the Australian newspaper, was the editor. It described itself as being an initiative of the ‘Independent Order of Odd Fellows’ and claimed a lofty, pro-Australian literature intention. Sydney IOOFMU immediately began to plan an alternative. It appeared not to matter to either camp that a very well run, twice-weekly newspaper was already operating in Sydney with the advocacy of Odd Fellowship a major plank. Begun in April by Richard Thompson, the Commercial Journal, General Advertiser and Odd Fellows Advocate made no headway, however, in the rapidly polarising atmosphere. In September, Sydney MU’s The Odd Fellow appeared for the first time after a ‘blitzkrieg’ of advertising – plastered billboards – throughout ‘the City’. In October, a letter headed ‘Union is Strength’ bemoaned the hypocritical nature of IOOFMU’s Sydney processions in that while Brethren professed diversity of faith, ‘at our annual processions we invariably attend the Protestant place of worship only.’ At recent processions, it was said, a number of members had had to step out at the door of the Church.[cccxvii] In the event, the St Stephen’s Day [Boxing Day] ‘Grand District Procession’ of MU, which by one account had a thousand marchers all in regalia, went, not to a Church, but to hear a lecture on ‘Practical Applications of Phrenology’. Operating in lieu of a Grand Lodge, Sydney District’s ‘Provincial’ MU officers convened a special meeting on the 8th of November, ostensibly to discuss ‘their’ publication, but in reality to curb the editor’s open-door policy. The meeting resolved to convene a committee to run the magazine strictly on behalf of IOOFMU and announced that no contentious material of any kind was to be carried in future. By executive decision, Sydney MU’s Widows and Orphans Fund was thenceforth to be the sole recipient of any profits from the Odd Fellow. On 6 December, 1845, the paper’s masthead appeared in stark relief, drained of its usual decorations of symbols and MU motto. The following issue featured that far-reaching policy decision of 1845’s Annual Conference of MU in the UK: ‘That the fixed amount of the contributions of every lodge should go to a fund exclusively appropriated to paying the sick, funerals, and other donations of the members, and for no other purpose whatever.’ [cccxviii] Towards the end of December, 1845, the gathering pressures within Sydney MU erupted into full public view, and issue No 18 of the Odd Fellow failed to materialise. Issue No 19 appeared with an editorial which included: ‘The present change and future proprietorship taking place in The Odd Fellow paper from this date renders an apology to subscribers and friends absolutely necessary. For the sudden interval and interruption…we can only offer…an extreme regret.’ During the break in its production a decision had been taken by the MU Sydney District Annual Conference to immediately implement the UK directive and to end all contributions to the paper.[cccxix] The proprietor/editor, a Mr Hawe, reverted to an ‘open-door’ policy, whereupon contentious letters flooded in for No 20 of what was now called The Odd Fellow and Independent Citizen, dated 24 January, 1846. The letters fall into two camps – one maintaining that ‘a disloyal, secret and strictly religious assemblage – not religious in the better sense of the word, but violent fanatics and incurable bigots’, had attempted to hijack IOOFMU and the Magazine but were repulsed, in fact were expelled from the Sydney District. The brethren involved, from ‘Loyal United Brothers Lodge’, had formed ‘Loyal United Brothers, No 2’, and thus were still in IOOFMU but owed no allegiance to MU’s District Officers. The second version built a conspiracy on the basis of ‘a petty defalcation’ by an officer of ‘L United Brothers’, which, it is alleged, was used to change the delegate voting strength at the annual gathering. Both versions involve accusations that the other side was after the Widows and Orphans funds. One very long letter summarised this second alleged conspiracy without once mentioning religion. It is an attack on ‘T—-y’, ie, Thomas McGee, and ‘J—y’, James Palmer, who, after January, 1846, were ‘Provincial Grand Master’ and ‘Deputy PGM’ respectively, and who thus may be considered the victors in this struggle for MU in Sydney. McGee being an Irish Catholic we can assume those forced out of, or seceding from IOOFMU were Protestant hard liners.

Any chance of easy money will always attract free-loaders and opportunists, and the difficulty historians often have, as in this case, is in distinguishing motivations. At the 2nd Anniversary Dinner of the (AGL) ‘Tasmanian Primitive Lodge’ in October 1845 certain past ‘difficulties and insults’ were discussed: ‘In its infancy the lodge fell into the hands of wolves in lambs’ clothing, who, because they could not make a fortune out of the society in a week, literally turned (the five originals) out of doors. These difficulties are overcome; we have eighty members, have paid off our debt and have £40 in hand.’ [cccxx] The Tasmanian Primitive was, by early 1846, describing itself as operating ‘in connexion with the Supreme Grand Lodge of Australia’, [ASGL](my emphasis) which turns out to be evidence of a further schism. In February, when Adelaide MU Odd Fellows were feting Charles Sturt, ‘our gallant explorer’,[cccxxi] two Sydney gatherings held on the same night claimed to be celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the establishment of the IOOF in Australia. One was held under the auspices of the ‘Australian Grand Lodge’, while the other announced itself as being of the ‘Australian Supreme Grand Lodge’. An editorial in the Odd Fellow and Independent Citizen described one as a Banquet and the other as a carousal where participants were ‘slobbering all over with tobacco juice.’ Given the available evidence, we can assume the editor, Hawe, was a Protestant and blamed the Irish Catholic element, now in command of Sydney’s MU and probably of the AGL, for the withdrawal of his subsidy. For its part, the Catholic Morning Chronicle failed to mention ‘the banquet’ but reported the AGL ‘carousal’ in glowing terms. Its Chairman, Brother Hayes, with McGee in attendance, spoke warmly of ‘the absent Grand Master’, ie, Williams the man who was elsewhere chairing the ‘banquet’, and proposed a toast to ‘The Australian Independent Order of Odd Fellows’ [AIOOF].[cccxxii] The ‘respectable’ gathering, ie the one for the ASGL, included the parliamentary members WC Wentworth and Dr Bland[cccxxiii], the Lord Mayor, and the Commissioner of Police, Captain Innes. Wentworth announced the next Legislative Council election at this OF gathering, and, with Bland, was subsequently initiated into the ASGL.[cccxxiv] Innes was later appointed (Masonic) Provincial Grand Master, English Constitution. His fellow Freemason, Brother Williams, Chairperson at the Odd Fellow ‘banquet’, happily reported that Prince Albert had agreed to become an Odd Fellow and formally announced the name change of the ‘AGL’, at least that part under his control, to the ‘ASGL’. He repeated statistics which appear specious, to the effect that while the IOOFMU’s global membership exceeded 300,000, that of the ‘Grand Metropolitan Order’, the London Order, was nearing 400,000. He also referred to the ‘Reform Lodge of York’ and the ‘Reform Body of Odd Fellows’, none of which appear in any overseas OF histories of which I’m aware.

At the dinner, Williams rhetorically extended a hand of friendship to IOOFMU, presumably the Protestant rump, saying that there was no need for discord and enmity. He asserted that two members of the original AGL had established the lodge which became ‘Strangers Refuge’ and that strictly speaking therefore, MU in Australia should be seen as an off-shoot of AGL. He also said he wished IOOFMU regarded ASGL with the same affection ASGL had for IOOFMU, ‘a spirit which had been evinced when by the treacherous conduct of some (IOOFMU) members, an offer was made to give up certain Dispensations, then daily expected by the lodges of the Sydney District, but which offer was rejected with scorn and contempt.’ [cccxxv] This can only mean that some lodges were ‘invited’ to change sides.

In 1846, Masonic Lodge 260 was restored by the Grand Lodge of Ireland but re-affirmed the original suspension of the five.[cccxxvi] In that same year, Williams discarded the Odd Fellows and left Masonic Lodge Leinster Marine, No 266, Irish Constitution, for Lodge of Australia, EC, of which he was made Master in 1847. When back in full operation, Lodge 260 found that Lodge Leinster Marine and the Lodge of Australia, EC, were calling themselves ‘The Grand Lodge of Botany Bay of Australia’ and claiming that Lodge 260 had forfeited its right to pre-eminence. Lodges 260 & 267 refused to weaken, resulting in, among other things, Lodge Harmony which Williams had also joined, determining that no brother under an Irish Constitution would be admitted.

When Hawe, announced that the 7 March, 1846 issue of The Odd Fellow and Independent Citizen would be the last as he could no longer continue paying for it, he was clearly saying ads and editorial matter had dried up, driven away by the ructions. In March, the Morning Chronicle defended McGee,[cccxxvii] against continuing ‘bigotry’ and, like other papers, reported a number of incidents requiring police and court intervention in IOOFMU affairs. Assault charges had been brought by a Brother Hinchey, a member of St Patrick’s Total Abstinence Society, ie a Catholic, against a Brother Walmsley:

The latter was charged with assaulting the former in the lodge room of Mr Gray’s Lighthouse Hotel; and although it was proved that great provocation had been given, and that after the first assault Walmsley was assaulted by some half dozen of Hinchey’s friends, he was fined ten shillings, with six shillings expenses.

The Lighthouse was known as ‘Odd Fellows’ Hall’ from 1842 to 1859. It stood at the corner of Sussex and Bathurst Streets and was later the venue for Sydney’s first 8-Hour Day and Loyal Orange lodge meetings. Accounts of the ‘general row’ between the Hinchey and the Walmsley factions mention cutlasses and attempts to turn off the lights. And later:

On Wednesday night several scenes of violence took place in and about public houses connected with the order, which must inevitably lose the countenance of all peaceably disposed men, if the spirit of Sectarian hatred, which is at the root of the squabble is not speedily quelled.[cccxxviii]

Brother Clemesha, still IOOFMU’s Corresponding Secretary, denied most of the insinuations – the cutlasses mentioned were part of the lodge paraphernalia, there was an incursion by one group which believed they had a right to be there, and any breaches of lodge rules would be dealt with internally. The SMH reiterated its original claims, the reporter saying that he personally saw 20 or more Odd Fellows in the street exchanging ‘sectarian epithets’ and challenging each other to fight.[cccxxix]

The Sentinel’s contribution at this juncture involved two editorials both headed ‘Popery and Odd Fellowship’ and both claiming that ‘mendacious priestcraft’ was the sole cause of the problem, which was to be put right by a Protestant-only Manchester Unity being cleansed once and for all of ‘the trash and scum of the Holy Catholic Guild.’

The Guild was having its own internal problems, centring on finances and clerical interference. According to Diamond, Jabez Heydon, by now Sydney agent for Holloway’s Pills and a successful businessman, ‘was the ringleader of the faction’ opposing Vicar-General Gregory standing-in for the absent Polding:

Essentially, the Guild had too many conflicting functions. As a religious society, it was obliged to accept any Catholic man for membership, but this was financially disastrous, for sick and older men made a disproportionate number of claims on its support. The Guild had no pretensions to actuarial skill, and was unable to meet its obligations from the agreed subscription rate. Yet, its other role, as representative of the Catholic church militant, required a proper outward and visible display, and a large sum of money was committed to the purchase of uniforms for the officers and members, even while the bills of the Guild Clerk and Guild Surgeon remained unpaid.[cccxxx]

In May, 1846, John Holman, proprietor of the White Horse Inn and Noble Grand of the IOOFMU Loyal Fountain of Refuge lodge, appeared in court to lay charges of theft against James Palmer, DPGM. What had been stolen by Palmer from its place of safe-keeping in the White Horse Inn lodge room was nothing less than the ‘Grand Charter of the Society’, the very permission to act as a Unity in New South Wales.

In July, the Sentinel’s editor, Robert Kitchen, was in court to defend charges of libel against a Mr Curtayne once of the Irish constabulary, and now of the Limerick Arms in ‘the Rocks’, (Sydney). Kitchen had suggested in June that a projected Hurling Match on the Race Course ‘between the four counties’ for a prize of £100 set to coincide with Orange celebrations was mere disguise for a plan by ‘low, ignorant blood thirsty papists’ to murder ‘their Protestant brethren.’ He further suggested the plan had been hatched in an ‘infamous pot-house on the Rocks, within sound of the choral symphonies of an idolatrous house of worship.’ Mr Justice Windeyer found him guilty as charged.[cccxxxi] On the day of Orange celebration, heavy rain postponed all festivities but the congregated hurlers, perhaps seething with frustration and clutching their murderous-looking ‘hurlbats’ had to be calmed and dispersed by Catholic clergy. In Melbourne, serious disturbances did occur. A Melbourne Argus editorial had it:

a furious onslaught (was) made upon a very small number of Orangemen who were quietly and peaceably engaged in making the necessary arrangements for their Anniversary Banquet at the Pastoral Hotel, by an armed rabble of the lowest description of..Irish papists…

Armed with fowling pieces and muskets the Catholics broke into the hotel, were repulsed, a prolonged shoot-out took place, until

(eventually), the military were called out, the Riot Act read and the mob dispersed.[cccxxxii]

The Argus correspondent was particularly exercised that not only did the local magistracy not prevent the assault, but police had arrested armed Orangemen but not armed Catholics, and had then proceeded to close the besieged hotel preventing the dinner from occurring. His anger increased the following day when, according to him, the Superintendent, Mayor and various other worthies insisted that all Orangemen gathered in the ‘Bird-in-Hand Hotel’ disperse to their homes, when a much larger, armed Catholic ‘mob’ marched up and down outside, prepared to continue its aggression. Later, continuing to describe Catholics as ‘greeks’, the Melbourne Argus asserted:

There were no Orange lodges established in Melbourne or even proposed to be established until after the public declaration of Mr Edward Curr, who acknowledged himself as occupying ‘the bad eminence’ of being the leader of the Greek mob, that the Protestants of Melbourne owed it to him that they were not shorn of their ears, and that it required but the wag of his finger to have laid the Town in ashes.[cccxxxiii]

This is the voice of William Kerr, Scottish-born and anti-Catholic, indeed rabidly Orange. In an intolerant and litigious society which had suffered crimes of religious passion since its first days, he stood out as an extremist. Crippled in one arm by gout and inclined to the ribald and boisterous, his intrigues were the head and centre of a mini-maelstrom where venality met idealism head on. His editing of The (Melbourne) Argus was not the first nor the final stage of his controversial career.

Loyalist vs Catholic in Port Phillip

– JD Lang and Brother William Kerr

Though both were Masons, Kerr and Strode had been rivals since 1840 for the Port Phillip newspaper-reading public’s attention and for their small change. While initiating the Odd Fellow lodge, ‘Australia Felix’, Strode, an Irish-born, Protestant-educated, liberal democrat, was also Secretary of the Masonic ‘Lodge Australia Felix, No 474 EC’, when its room was broken into and flooded with beer just after regalia arrived from Sydney.[cccxxxiv] When he returned from his six month sojourn in the Hunter Valley in late-1842 to edit the Port Phillip Gazette (PPG), he found Kerr attempting domination of the newly-established municipal corporation, and manipulating local Freemasonry as one means to that end.

A founding member in 1841 with Strode and the relocated John Stephen, of ‘Australian Kilwinning Lodge, No 337, SC’, and editor of the Port Phillip Patriot, (PPP) Kerr was acting out an agenda shaped by his Protestantism and personal ambition. He desperately wanted to be Lord Mayor, a post which carried substantial remuneration and perks of office such as the power attendant on also being Magistrate. Elected a Councillor in late-1842, Kerr had to settle at that time for the subsidiary position of ‘Alderman’ and suffer a fellow Protestant and lodge brother, Henry Condell, being elevated to the ermine robes. The Port Phillip Herald’s editor Cavanagh set out the situation, as he saw it when Stephen stood again, and this time successfully, for the single councillor position in January, 1843:

‘MUNICIPAL CORRUPTION …The prime mover in the disgraceful measures which it is now our painful duty severely to probe and expose, has repeatedly been charged with acts of conspiracy and commission against the good of the state which he falsely represents, and every item of the impeachments against him has been verified within a reason of doubt…’ [cccxxxv]

Cavanagh named Kerr and pointed to his ‘clinging with a true appreciation of his own interests to the skirts of Dr Lang’ and his, Kerr’s, numerous underhand stratagems:

‘Mr William Kerr persuaded (Stephen) to resign his pretensions to the election for the north west ward in favour of himself, under the assurance that the office of Town Clerk should be secured to the resigning candidate, but upon being returned he both voted against Mr Stephen and got Mr King in.’

Kerr’s motives, according to Cavanagh, included getting all the Corporation’s printing directed to his works:

‘…Mr Kerr not being himself able to obtain the Mayoralty, so arranged the affair with Mssrs Mortimer and Russell, that by a trick Dr Patterson was kept out of the office as Mayor, and Mr Condell returned in his stead – a gentleman whom, he has openly declared, he holds in leading strings. By another trick played in conjunction with Mr [J P] Fawkner, Mr Kerr…obtained a transfer of (a) vote to himself as Alderman for their joint ward…’ The PPH was, however, premature in its celebrations:

‘After the overwhelming disgrace which has fallen upon Mr Editor and Alderman Kerr, it might appear a work of unnecessary severity again to ply that lash under which his party influence has crumbled into dust.’ [cccxxxvi]

The ‘disgrace’ stemmed from his corruption but also from the‘grave and serious charges’ Kerr had published about Stephen in 1842, and the subsequent Masonic vote backing Stephen, within ‘Australia Felix’. Although they had also both worked to establish this lodge, Kerr received only one vote, his own, out of 41, and was expelled.[cccxxxvii]

Cavanagh, Protestant and a liberal, had reprinted in the Port Phillip Herald in May, 1841, a lengthy piece about sawyers from The Times headed ‘Trade Union Murders – the Combination Oath’, which included:

       ‘(The) mode of induction to the secrets and blasphemous formularies of such societies (and) an oath being first administered by a person disguised in a         mask, and the party being led in blindfold for the purpose of taking it…

       “I do, before Almighty God and this loyal lodge, most solemnly swear that I will not work for any master that is not in the union, nor will I work with  any illegal man or men, but will do my best for the support of wages; and most solemnly swear to keep inviolate all the secrets of this order; nor will I ever consent to have any money for any purpose but for the use of the lodge and the support of the trade;..and I further promise to do my best to bring all legal men that I am connected with into this order; and if I ever reveal any of the rules, may what is before me [apparently a sword directed at the initiate’s breast] plunge my soul into eternity.”[cccxxxviii]

In June, 1841 he had emphasised the dangers inherent in a ‘conspiracy’ by Melbourne sawyers to raise their wages, but in July he was full of praise for the Carpenters Benefit Society in particular and trade ‘societies’ in general:

‘It is certainly gratifying to perceive the number of similar societies at present in existence in Melbourne, as tradesmen when in work can contribute a few shillings weekly to the common fund, without any inconvenience, and will reap the benefit should any calamity befall themselves or families.’ [cccxxxix]

Even the editor of the Portland Mercury who also wanted to support Kerr, could see that the Corporation remained split between those favouring Kerr and those not, but expressed outrage that Stephen’s success in the municipal election had been partly because he had been supported by the St Patrick’s Society. Stephen had apparently convinced enough Irish Catholics that he had some Irish blood. He rode his horse at the head of a St Pat’s procession to his first Corporation meeting which ended in uproar.[cccxl] The paper feared a member of one of Kerr’s power bases, the St Andrews Society, would retaliate to an assault on Kerr with a shillelagh.[cccxli]

In mid-1843, when the almost-illiterate brewer-become-Mayor, Condell, was campaigning to be Port Phillip’s representative on the colony’s new Legislative Council he was assisted by anonymously-printed, inflammatory placards:

Protestant Electors of Melbourne

Remember what your fathers have suffered from Popery,

and will you again give it the ascendancy by returning

A Popish Member for Melbourne

You are three to one in number, and so down with

The Rabble,

And No Surrender.

Protestant reverend and activist John Dunmore Lang was later revealed as the writer of Condell’s campaign material and as living in Kerr’s house when in Melbourne. These two were obviously close. The ‘Popish’ political aspirant was Edward Curr, conservative land owner and apparent spokesperson for squatters south of the Murray, the fabled ‘Australia Felix’. He was for some time the sole candidate. It was only in his last speech to the electors that Curr recognised a changed situation, and made two points: firstly, that control of the Corporation could give ‘the clique’ the power to make themselves magistrates, whereupon they would have ‘unfettered control of the police fund, the result of which would be that the newspaper alderman [Kerr] would be Lord Paramount of Melbourne’ and secondly, that the last-minute intervention by the Reverend Lang on Condell’s behalf into Melbourne’s politics had transformed the campaign into a bitter religious plebiscite.

Kerr took to carrying a dagger and to warning Lang, via his editorials, to beware lest he be assaulted, even murdered. After the June poll was declared and found to favour Condell over Curr by 295 to 261, hundreds of ‘ruffians’ rampaged the streets taking out their fury on certain houses and shops.[cccxlii] The Riot Act was read, a number of shots fired and arrests made after a troop of native police restored order.[cccxliii] Lang later wrote:

‘There was quite a riot in Melbourne the night after the election; and the Tipperary boys, who had been brought out in hundreds with the Protestant funds of the colony, under the system of Bounty Immigration I have (described), actually threatened to burn down the town in revenge for the defeat of their champion.’ [cccxliv]

Strode at the time was supportive of the settlement’s Judge Willis, whom he thought even-handed and thorough if irascible and bombastic, but was not able to prevent that gentleman’s summary sacking by the Colonial Government in 1843, without published reasons and with no opportunity to argue his case.[cccxlv] Kerr who had initially attacked Willis, subsequently found common Protestant ground to the extent that the judge lent him substantial amounts to stay afloat. Willis had been on borrowed time almost from his arrival in April, 1841, his attacks on the settlements’ public officers, including Administrator La Trobe, making his exclusion inevitable.[cccxlvi]

When the judge’s removal was announced, the Odd Fellows of ‘Australia Felix’ publically presented Willis with a glowing address, and secretly asked him to take ‘home’ its request for the second MU Dispensation, already mentioned. Greeves, now PGM of this lodge, chaired a further protest meeting where Kerr and fellow-Councillor and fellow-Scot JP Fawkner attempted to move supportive resolutions, but all decorum was lost in the uproar from other citizens happy to see Willis gone. It is this series of events which marks the stirring of Australian Orangeism into public life.[cccxlvii]

Kerr’s grip was, again, said to have been broken when Condell’s replacement at the Corporation and as Acting Mayor came from another faction but Kerr was far from finished. He had himself elected as ‘Mayor pro tem’ for one meeting in September, which allowed him to ‘rigorously examine’ the electoral rolls. Despite this, his ticket was once more defeated at elections for the full Corporation in November.[cccxlviii]

Early in 1844, he published further libels against Stephen as Master of the (Masonic) Lodge Australia Felix EC and newly-appointed ‘Provincial Grand Master for Southern Australasia’. In court to ask magistrates to rule a felony had occurred when Lodge Secretary McDonald refused to hand over significant documents supposedly because of an unpaid bill owing to The Gazette, Stephen found the defendant’s barrister, also a member of Australia Felix, directly contradicting his claim to the documents and even to be Worshipful Master:

‘You are the self-styled Master of the Lodge, but hold the position by no other claim.’

Stephen responded that the documents were being withheld by McDonald at the behest of ‘another person’ to prevent ‘our legally meeting on St John’s Day and for no other reason.’[cccxlix] Kerr, still angling to replace Stephen in Lodge Australia Felix, had miscued again. His personal attacks on a fellow Freemason again resulted in his, Kerr’s expulsion from this lodge in a vote where, again, Kerr received only one vote. But neither this nor his almost-continual court-appearances deterred him from further savaging Stephen in print, or from further scheming. Stephen resigned from the position of Secretary of the Mechanics Institute, which he’d financed in return for space for a lodge room, when its finances proved inadequate to pay his salary, but continued to camp there until bodily turned out by bailiffs breaking down the doors with an axe.[cccl]

Strode reported these 1844 ‘masonic doings’ in The Gazette. Secretary by then of the Irish Constitution’s ‘Australia Felix Lodge of Hiram’ chartered in 1843, he was subsequently set upon in the street by one ‘Richard Capper, tragedian, comedian, scene shifter and candle-snuffer.’ Strode had this gent arrested for ‘blasphemous and insulting language’ which Strode claimed had been for the purpose of causing him to ‘commit a breach of the peace.’ Capper was bound over but Strode, strained by the constant turmoil and the mounting costs of litigation, was forced to hand the Port Phillip Gazette on to Thomas McCombie, for whom he continued to work as reporter.[cccli]

Scottish Presbyterian and non-Mason McCombie, while supportive of Kerr’s attempts to establish Scot-based societies in the colonies, despised his politics. The two men were particularly at odds on labour questions. Kerr’s support for ‘loyal’ labourers and operatives ran up against McCombie’s view that any agitation amongst workers, whether distressed or not, was ‘extortion’.[ccclii] Agitation amongst the unemployed at this time of economic downturn was regularly erupting into street battles and assaults.[cccliii] McCombie’s good and bad were easily identified, apparently the ‘blackguards’ were the idle ‘dancers and fiddlers’ inside the various taverns, or the skittles players outside, engaging in ‘tossing’ and other gambling activities.[cccliv]

According to Thornley, peace returned to Victorian Freemasonry in 1844 as Stephen, Kerr and another sensitive soul, John Thomas Smith, had by then a lodge to themselves, the various ructions and the economic downturn having greatly depleted numbers.[ccclv]

Cavanagh employed Irish Catholic reporter and sub-editor Edward Finn (later ‘Garryowen’) and allowed him to take Kerr’s predilections head-on. His paper in January, 1844 exposed the establishment of ‘The Grand Protestant Confederation of Australia Felix’ and published a letter which included:

‘It is very well known that, for some time past, there has been a secret, illegal and “dark” society formed and in full operation in this town, known as the Orange Society…’ [ccclvi]

Strode had printed the Public Laws of the Grand Protestant Confederation, compiled to introduce ‘Lodge No 1’ when it was established on 12 May, 1843. But far from being for all Orangeman in Port Phillip, it had split immediately it was formed, just after the 1843 Curr-Condell election.[ccclvii] It was then that Kerr attempted to influence both the Freemasons and the Odd Fellows and was rebuffed in both cases:

‘ODDFELLOWS: – A terrible rumpus, we have heard it whispered, has been lately got up among this numerous and hitherto harmonious body, in consequence of some of the fraternity being induced to propose as a member of the order an individual lately expelled from the Australian Masonic Lodge. The name of the individual was ultimately withdrawn, his over-zealous friends not choosing to risk the further disgrace of seeing him blackballed.’ [ccclviii]

Perhaps in a rebound from these three events, the ‘Grand Loyal Orange Institution’ was publically announced in June, 1844 in The Patriot.[ccclix] A long response in The Herald, made out the argument of disloyalty and illegality, asserting that Orangeism’s divisive tactics would only work to delay the more important goal of Port Phillip’s separation from New South Wales, and, as the writer put it, its emancipation ‘from the iron hoofs of Governor Sir George Gipps’.[ccclx]

On 12 July, an expected clash failed to materialise when the brethren of two Orange lodges did not meet to parade, perhaps unable to agree and perhaps deterred by the presence of 60 special constables and 200 or so other persons, ‘each carrying a shillalegh of formidable dimensions’, ostensibly gathered for the annual game of hurling.[ccclxi] Cavanagh’s paper (Finn) asserted:

‘Accident led to the discovery of an Orange Lodge being established in Melbourne and enquiries have since placed the merit of its establishment upon a portion of the Town Council…It appears that in a small dark room in the upper floor of Yarra House the mighty orgies of this ‘ruffian band’ are held, a ‘worthy’ Alderman being the chairman, as ‘most supreme and noble grand’, or holding office under some such absurd title; two of the (Corporation’s rate) collectors…being vice-presidents, and the town auctioneer the secretary..’ [ccclxii]

The paper later claimed that it was only because it ‘broke’ the story, that the Orange parade was cancelled. It may have been because Kerr was in Sydney setting up a Grand Lodge.[ccclxiii] In the Corporation’s debate of the expose, all Councillors denied their personal involvement, JP Fawkner allowing:

‘He had been applied to by certain parties to allow them to hold meetings, of the nature of which he was entirely ignorant, in the Yarra House, which he granted. Soon afterwards it was communicated to him what the object of such assemblies was, and he was at the same time solicited to become a member, which he not only declined doing, but gave orders not to allow the house to be used for any such purpose in future…’ [ccclxiv]

This assertion produced further debate, if only because Fawkner was known to be the Patriot’s owner and therefore Kerr’s employer. Minor street conflicts continued.[ccclxv] Kerr unsuccessfully contested the November Mayoral election of 1844 and failed to get any of his minions elected Councillor. He also failed in a ballot against fellow-Councillor Moore, for Worshipful Master of Lodge Kilwinning, but was elected Chairman in January, 1845, for an upcoming Robbie Burns Society Dinner.[ccclxvi] Energetic debate over the Orange Society continued, one letter writer weighing in with a long piece:

‘..I am forced into these observations by the disgraceful conduct of a pack of Orangemen enacted through the streets of Melbourne on last Monday evening. One hundred and twenty of them dressed in black – a colour too truly emblematic of their dark villainous designs – marched through Collins Street in military array, to use the phraseology of the Irish Attorney General, and thence proceeded to a house where the corpse of a young Orangemen was waiting to receive the rights (sic) of internment..’ [ccclxvii]

The writer thought that whatever the purpose of the procession – it was clearly a funeral – the society itself was still illegal, and went on to insist that the appropriate authorities examine a second procession, this time by military personnel who, harassed residents insisted, had been drunk, side-armed and ‘repeatedly calling out for a bloody papist.’ Alleged assaults by Orange lodge members in March caused some members to resign, but when the defendants were released because of inconclusive evidence ‘partizans of the accused immediately..(indulged) in a peal of that peculiar sort of exultation known in Orange phraseology as ‘Kentish Fire.’[ccclxviii]

At a subsequent Corporation meeting, Lord Mayor Moore acknowledged that, though a ‘warm’ Protestant himself, he had specifically excluded Orangemen when appointing collectors for the electoral roll.[ccclxix]

Kerr suddenly left The Patriot to go to Sydney, ostensibly to organise another newspaper, but not before the installation of officers of a 3rd Orange Lodge was announced by ‘the Provincial Grand Lodge of Port Phillip’ to the ‘Loyal Orange Brotherhood of Australia Felix’. And not before he caused great embarrassment at the farewell dinner to Judge Jephcott, who had replaced Willis, in February. Drunk, he persisted in orating for over half an hour when not called by the Chairman, the resulting uproar destroying any remaining formality. After Jephcott and Superintendent La Trobe had left, Kerr was thrown out, The Herald’s scathing comments the next day including an indictment of Kerr’s policies should he ever become Chief Magistrate:

‘(So) brutal is his obstinacy, that he would burn Melbourne to the ground, to be Mayor of its ashes.’ [ccclxx]

‘Garryowen’, ie Finn, wrote later that Kerr, declared insolvent, had been fired from the PPP by John Fawkner, Snr, and replaced as editor by John Fawkner, Jnr. While in Sydney, Kerr was reportedly twice arrested for dancing the highland fling in the streets, ‘with a kilt on so alarmingly short, that it was scarcely delicate’. He was also noted turning off the gas in church, offering to fight the whole of a barrack guard of a sergeant and 16 men, for not allowing him to walk on the grass, ‘taking a sight’ (aimed his pistol?) at a constable on duty, climbing a number of lamp-posts to sit on the lamplighter’s ‘rest’, and otherwise entertaining the street by keeping ‘four half-crowns up in the air at once’, thereby emulating a well-known Indian juggler.[ccclxxi]

Ireland’s national day was so well executed by the St Patricks Society of Australia Felix on the last day of March, 1845, that the next day’s Police-Office Sheet showed no incidents of drunkenness.[ccclxxii] Public attention then turned, with trepidation, to the next anniversary of the Battle of the Boyne.[ccclxxiii]

Cavanagh (Finn) appeared to have stumbled when his paper published an advertisement for a Hurling Match on Batman’s Hill on the 12th July, 1845. The Patriot pounced, arguing that since ‘the Orange remained quiet’, it hoped that ‘the Green’ would do likewise, but that if any upsets occurred it would be down to the promoters of the game and The Herald. Cavanagh calmly reprinted his opponent’s column and, when the 12th passed off without any problem, crowed that it had again been the advertisement and subsequent publicity which had caused ‘the Orange’ to refrain from assembling:

‘…The Orangemen, we have been given to understand did intend to march (as they did by night last year) and even went to the trouble and expense of getting some five score of orange and blue sashes…’ [ccclxxiv]

Vertigan insists the Orangemen were bitterly disappointed at having to remain indoors for their celebration, but did so only after a ‘Paddy’s Telegraph’ or ‘line of observers’, was put in place from Batman’s Hill all the way down to the ‘Bird-in-Hand Hotel’, Orange headquarters.[ccclxxv]

Greeves, now Provincial Grand Master of the Port Phillip District of IOOFMU, was wined and dined by some of his co-brethren in Sydney in September. Shortly after, back in Melbourne, the signs of division in MU ranks were again made public:

‘..disagreement..has taken place through the overbearing manner of one or two disagreeable persons who by some unaccountable accident have contrived to get their names enrolled as members of this excellent society; their conduct has resulted in a division of the members, and a new lodge is about being formed…’ [ccclxxvi]

Some commentators again opine that Kerr, bankrupt and perhaps worn down by defeat and constant litigation, now ceased stoking the fires of religious discord. The Herald pointed to members allegedly deserting one Orange Lodge and ‘the Brotherhood’s’ apparent inability to pay for a banner done by Mr Whittaker of Little Collins Street. Another par pointed to a possible fracture of the Orange community into 3 distinct entities upon the arrival of the all-important charter:

‘a fierce contention having sprung up in the consideration of the future steps to be taken by the Lodge, which ended in a schism and the expulsion of one of its most rancorous members.’ [ccclxxvii]

A few saw in the Foundation Stone parade to the Flinders Bridge and Melbourne Hospital in March 1846 a general atmosphere of harmony and co-operation. They were wrong, too.

Initial Tensions Released – Parades Banned

In 1846, Melbourne’s 12 July celebrations, as already noted, featured exchanges of gun-fire, one death, the imposition of a militia-enforced curfew, unprecedented street mayhem and spectacular charges and counter-charges. O’Shanassy, very nearly among the deceased, was certainly among those arrested for assault, and was the only person fined – 6d with five shillings and 4d costs.[ccclxxviii] McCombie wrote of the events:

‘It is our painful duty to chronicle this day, one of the most alarming riots which has occurred since the formation of the colony, and which has kept the town in a state of feverish excitement since Monday morning.’

He was satisfied he knew where the troubles began.[ccclxxix] Cavanagh agreed, also describing the display of three Orange banners from the hotel windows which created ‘considerable dissatisfaction’ amongst the Catholic community. His initial outburst carried the coda:

‘The whole of this disgraceful affair may be readily traced to one man, who has done more to disturb the peace of Port Phillip than any united body of men no matter what might be their creed or country.’ (His emphasis)[ccclxxx]

Ensconced by then in the editor’s chair of The Argus, Kerr wrote vigorously and at length about the ‘Popish Riots’, which the Orangemen of Melbourne, in his view, had done absolutely nothing to provoke. In private, he boasted of having been responsible for the first Orange banner flown in Australia, and of being the last to obey the police instructions to leave the besieged hotel.[ccclxxxi] The ‘Provincial Grand (Orange) Lodge of Australia Felix’ met on the 16th and issued a minuted resolution via The Argus. Rightly defending its members’ actions as totally irrelevant to anyone else if conducted behind closed doors, and the display of banners as ‘sanctioned by immemorial usage, and being moreover in perfect accordance with the practice even of the St Patrick’s Society’, the most disquieting aspect it noted was:

‘the conduct of the magistrates in aiding and abetting a lawless mob…as well as withholding protection from the Orangemen..(This was) in the highest degree unworthy, unjust and unconstitutional. The Grand Lodge cannot, therefore in future repose any faith in (these) magistrates..(who have) unlimited powers…in the regulation of public houses..’

It ‘was forced therefore’ to request private lodges to gather funds for a Loyal Orange Hall and School house intended to be ‘free from all interference, but such as the members are well able to repel.’ On Friday the 17th, following further ‘popish riots’ around a reconvened dinner, it roared further disapproval and berated the civil authorities for their ‘crouching and cringing before a mob of armed (Catholic) rioters’ not one of which they were prepared to arrest.

That same day, as those arrested faced court, a long piece by JP Fawkner in The Herald, ‘The Origin and Purpose of Orangeism in Australia Felix’, attracted considerable attention. Speaking of 1844, it began:

‘The Orange Lodge of Melbourne was begot between a degenerate Irishman and an unworthy Scot, and I trust that I shall be able to show that these two begat this murderous brat, merely for their own political advancement…’

Fawkner named the key originator as ‘Mr JC King, Town Clerk…salary of £240 a year’ who first proposed the formation of ‘a Protestant Association’ to him, Fawkner, and to Kerr:

‘(King) frequently implored me to assist in forming such an Association, stating that my influence and Mr William Kerr’s would soon achieve all that was required. This I constantly refused..’

Fawkner claims he assisted meetings in Yarra House to happen but refused to attend himself or to join up, while King kept him informed of the Society’s formation and membership numbers which, allegedly, quickly topped 200:

‘But as regards Mr William Kerr; I declare solemnly, that on my canvass (of votes) a man named Lane, a cooper, told one of my Committee that he could not vote for me, and Mr William Kerr told me “he shall vote for you, he is an Orangeman, and I can make him vote as I like..”’

Letter writers the following day to The Gazette were scathing of the actions of the civil authorities, while King denied absolutely Fawkner’s claims, even to having no knowledge of an Orange Society until well after the event.[ccclxxxii] Fawkner later withdrew all his assertions about King and abjectly apologised.[ccclxxxiii] Other close observers supported his initial claim. An anonymous author, claiming to have been present, says Kerr presided and was elected Treasurer, King was made Secretary pro tem and Adolphus Quinn was elected President.[ccclxxxiv]

Ex-Judge Willis, now in London, was another nominated as the originator of Orangeism in Melbourne. Because he appealed his 1843 dismissal to British authorities, his case dragged on, generating numerous documents. In October 1846, The Herald reprinted from The Times Governor Fitzroy’s reasons for his dismissal making great play of the relationship between Kerr and Willis. The Governor emphasised the dissatisfaction that this relationship caused amongst Sydney’s judges, because Willis was hearing libel charges brought against Kerr and The Port Phillip Patriot, to whom and to which Willis had admitted having lent £1200.[ccclxxxv]

The Argus, again under the heading ‘Popish Riots’, felt further need to explain the nature of the Institution:

‘The [Loyal Orange] Society…is a secret one – that is to say, it has, like Freemasonry and Odd Fellowism, its secret signs and pass-words, but its objects are public and publically known,..

These objects, apart from the ordinary social duties of all brotherly societies, are – the preservation of the Protestant religion, the maintenance of the British constitution as established in 1690, the observance of peace and good order in the community and mutual protection against all aggressions.’ [ccclxxxvi]

Funds for an Orange Hall came in quickly enough to make celebration of November Guy Fawkes’ festival a possibility.[ccclxxxvii] The issue dominated The Herald’s pages.[ccclxxxviii] Seemingly from personal knowledge, since they are not in the published material, one author referred to the Lodge’s use of Inside and Outside Tylers armed with drawn swords.

Discussion within the Corporation again turned to the role of certain constables who, it seemed were sworn Orangemen and who had carefully absented themselves from the scene outside the Pastoral Hotel on the 13th.[ccclxxxix] Mayor Palmer, in attempting to retrieve his own political position took it upon himself to interview the entire police force one by one, and demand of them their country of origin, their religion and whether they were members of any society.

The St Patrick’s Society convened a members’ meeting to, among other things, repudiate the charges of ‘antagonism and distinctiveness’ made against it by Palmer in a subsequent report to Superintendent LaTrobe.[cccxc] Accompanying documents show Chief Constable Sugden asserting that he could not place any reliance on any of his men in the case of disturbance, ‘they almost to a man belong either to one party or the other now at this time disturbing the peaceable inhabitants in the town of Melbourne.’ Sydney’s SMH responded editorially to the ‘riots’ with a piece headed ‘Secret Political Societies’, by which it meant the Holy Catholic Guild and the Loyal Orange Institution. By then there were five Orange lodges in Sydney, 3 opened that year.[cccxci] The paper argued the case for even handed treatment by the authorities of processions and public displays,[cccxcii] whereupon the government introduced the Party Processions Bill.

The AHCG’s Warden and Orange spokespeople were among the first to organise petitions in response: ‘The Guild or confraternity, of which your Petitioners are the members is an Association based upon the principles of the old Catholic Guilds of England, having for its objects the mutual benefit and Religious improvement of the Brethren, and no other object whatever…’ The Orangemen, declaring the Guild’s processions ‘offensive’ and tending to bring ‘the Holy Religion of our Saviour into contempt’, hoped that the Bill would become law so that ‘all public processions of this nature, whether under the pretext of funerals, or laying the foundation-stone of a place of worship, or any other excuse, might be prohibited.’ Orangemen, incidentally, had been prohibited from having loaded firearms with them in their parades since 1832 when the first ‘Party Processions Act’ had been passed in the UK.[cccxciii]

Nearly a thousand signatories representing total abstinence societies agreed with the Bill’s basic principle, of preventing religious and party dissension, but were alarmed that their own ‘harmless’ processions would be prevented. Of the two societies exempted from the Bill’s attention, the Freemasons and the Odd Fellows, this third petition said:

‘Of the first named association, they knew nothing except that it was a secret society, and as such but little deserving of confidence or support, and of the Oddfellows the best feature of the Order was that it was a benefit society, although the tavern revels of the members and the police records of the colony were not in its favour.’ [cccxciv]

They thought it best if all benefit societies were exempted. The SMH agreed the Bill went too far, its wording also likely to stop Sunday School and wedding parades.[cccxcv] During the parliamentary debate members heard the Colonial Secretary accept that the Bill would not apply ‘to the Societies of Gardeners, Freemasons, Odd Fellows or Temperance – all such societies might proceed as usual’.[cccxcvi] An amended Party Processions Bill, to apply for two years only, was rushed through to prevent disturbances thought likely during the Orange Order’s commemorative celebration of Guy Fawkes on 5 November, 1846. It declared ‘unlawful’ any ‘assemblies of persons gathered together…who were carrying firearms or other offensive weapons, or banners likely to provoke dissension, or who were playing music likely to have that effect.’ [cccxcvii] While some funeral processions went ahead as usual and there were other ‘exceptions’[cccxcviii] brethren of Newcastle’s IOOFMU Loyal Union Lodge decided ‘that there be no procession or regalia on the occasion’ of meeting the Governor on the wharf in January 1847.[cccxcix]

Late in 1846, Melbourne’s Provincial Grand Orange Lodge, uncertain, it said, of the final form of the legislation, but perhaps more because their new building was not yet ready, had announced there would be no 5 November celebration. Assuring the authorities of their principled obedience and ready willingness to assist the keeping of public order, the announcement carried the proviso that should the new law prove to be of ‘an arbitrary and unconstitutional nature’ Grand Lodge would not hesitate ‘in pointing out to the Brethren the means by which it may be set at nought.’ The day after 5 November, Guy Fawkes Day, the Argus reported that the police had confiscated ‘a cart load of effigies of the famous Popish conspirator’.

Melbourne’s Odd Fellows Split, Again

In September, 1846 an anonymous par claimed that once again: ‘A rumpus has recently made its appearance amongst the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in consequence of certain defamatory expressions used towards a brother by a member high in office.’ [cd] This time, a new lodge was the result,[cdi] its self-description in November repeating the alignment of the title ‘Ancient’ with Sydney’s Protestant Odd Fellows: ‘The Melbourne Duke of York Lodge of the Ancient and Independent Order of Odd Fellows, acting under and in compliance with the Australian Supreme Grand Lodge, who hold their Supreme Dispensation from the Grand Metropolitan Order of England.’ [cdii] The ‘Duke of York’ notices do not mention the IOOFMU, not even as a fraternal family member.[cdiii] One, in August 1846, mentioned an ASGL memorial for Governor Gipp’s patronage, and his positive reply. This provoked IOOFMU, Melbourne into a very angry response:

‘(The) Lodges of the UNITY acting under Dispensation of the Parent Lodge at Manchester, DO NOT IN THE MOST REMOTE MANNER, ACKNOWLEDGE OR RECOGNISE any other Society using the name of Odd Fellows, NOR ALLOW ANY SUCH PARTIES TO PARTICIPATE IN ANY OF THE BENEFITS OR ADVANTAGES of Lodges belonging to the Manchester Unity.’ [cdiv] (Emphasis in original)

How MU could restrict use of the title ‘odd fellows’ to MU-aligned lodges is unclear. The role and number of Catholic Odd Fellows in Melbourne is also unknown. This new lodge appears to have resulted from divisions amongst Protestants, as the second major schism in Sydney had. Of the five acknowledged founders of the first Melbourne OF lodge in October, 1840, all of whom were Protestants – Greeves, Strode, Sugden, Graham and Hays – Strode has by 1846 dropped from public view but Greeves, Graham and Sugden have adopted firm IOOFMU stances. The ‘Duke of York’ alignment with the ASGL and the fact that all the ASGL notices appear in The Argus implies that Williams and Kerr were working together. Truth was certainly proving a casualty of the war. The notices continue the claim that the ‘Grand Metropolitan Order of England’, an Order that has thus far eluded all research, was first in numbers of lodges, members and honorary members among those ‘branches’ which make up ‘our Institution’.

In November, 1846, Protestant Editor Statham of The Australian in Sydney denied any problem within the ‘Independent Odd Fellows’, and claimed total separation of the IOOFMU from the IOOF: ‘Our contemporary is wrongly impressed if he thinks there has been a ‘split’ in the Institution denominated “The Australian Supreme Grand Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows”. The Order in New South Wales and elsewhere, under the direction of the Manchester Unity authorities, has no connexion whatever with the ‘Australian Independent Order’, whose branches extend to the most remote parts of the habitable globe.’ [Emphasis in original] [cdv] MU’s lodges[cdvi] subsequently posted a number of notices, one of which was a reward of £10 for information leading to the arrest of the person who assaulted IOOFMU’s Port Phillip Grand Master [Greeves?]in April 1847 and left him for dead. The alleged assailant was arrested but released when insufficient evidence could be found. The killer of another Protestant in rural Victoria, a self-proclaimed Papist, was reported as saying, before his execution in December, 1846, that ‘he should never be satisfied until he had the blood of an Orangeman on his soul.’

On the night on which the Duke of York Dispensation was welcomed from the ASGL in Sydney, Melbourne’s new Mayor, Henry Moore, and George Cavanagh were both named as candidates for initiation but neither attended. Though McCombie was there to see the lodge officials ‘(perform) their duties in an admirable manner’ he does not name any and no author is given for the following significant disclosure: ‘A history of the foundation of the lodge in Sydney [the ASGL] was…given, and of Mr Williams, its founder.’ [cdvii] A celebratory procession was not held on this occasion, but in February, 1847, a funeral in the name of the ‘Ancient and Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Lodge No 10’ wended its way to Melbourne cemetery, the brethren wearing the mourning regalia for Odd Fellows of ‘white aprons bound with black ribbon, and scarves’. The deceased was a Protestant.[cdviii] In January, 1847, an anti-Popery pamphlet from the UK appeared, claiming among other things that ‘Popery (was) the master-piece of Satan, the corruption of Christianity, the deceiver of nations.’[cdix] No procession occurred before Kerr’s laying of the foundation stone of the Protestant Hall in Melbourne in April, 1847, in his capacity as Provincial Grand Master of Port Phillip’s Orangemen. The ceremony included ‘the customary formalities’, hymns, the National Anthem and ‘a round of Kentish Fires.’ When opened in April, 1848, the ‘extensive and elegant edifice’ was decorated with patriotic banners, ‘the mystic device of the five-pointed star’ and a large silk banner with the motto ‘Maintain the Truth and Fear Not.’

Low-key 12 July, celebrations passed without incident in 1847, but in October, Mayor Moore was forced from office when it was revealed a ‘compromise’ with St Patrick’s Total Abstinence Society six months earlier had resulted from his private approach to the Catholic administrators before they had even applied for permission to parade. This came out when he attempted to pressure ‘his’ lodge, the Duke of York Odd Fellows, from parading on their first anniversary and they, who included Kerr, insisted the Act did not apply to them: ‘Not having the fear of the Mayor before their eyes the members walked in procession from the Lodge Room, Waterman’s Arms, displaying their colours and insignia.’ [cdx]

Ecstatic Orangemen escorted Kerr when he defeated O’Shanassy at the November Corporation elections but were downcast when he was roundly defeated in the contest for Mayor by Russell who was immediately feted by No 2 Lodge of IOOFMU. Kerr also lost the ballot for MWM of Lodge Kilwinning. In January 1848, a representative of Kerr’s Ward, Councillor Cashmore resigned and election ferment was once more rampant: ‘The resignation of Councillor Cashmore will, most likely, once more bring forth those evil passions of the human mind, that too frequently detract from the usefulness of popular elections…The ward elections (have been) turned into arenas for the display of the worst passions, under the name of religious partizanship..’ [cdxi]

In April, 1848, Kerr’s house was raided by bailiffs and any saleable items taken, including pots and pans, as a result of his having been successfully sued by ex-Mayor Moore for libel. Nevertheless, he continued his support for ‘Trades Benefit Societies’ such as the ‘Melbourne Cordwainers’ Society’, over 200 brethren of whom, ‘all respectably attired in the sable garb of woe’, had followed the remains of a young boot maker to his graveside:

‘Other trades who are without such societies as that which the Cordwainers have would do well to follow the example of that body, for who can question their utility when their operations include the providing of physicians for the sick, and a respectable interment to the dead.’ [cdxii]

The Argus returned to its ‘Popery vs Odd-Fellowship’ theme early in 1848 by referring to a priestly intervention into the funeral service of a ‘Romish’ Duke of York Lodge member, the cleric insisting that the brethren not wear their regalia.[cdxiii] For its part, the Duke of York Lodge was faced with competition from yet another source:

‘..Until lately they were not aware such an Order was in existence. They further beg to say that they should have treated the notice with silence, had it not emanated from parties who were originally made Odd Fellows in the Duke of York Lodge, and who now fill (self-elected) the principal offices in the Lodge under the title of the (UNKNOWN) ‘Grand United Order of Odd Fellows’. [cdxiv] (Emphasis in original)

The Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, [GUOOF] celebrated its Australian Sesquicentenary in 1998.[cdxv] Although it was known that GUOOF had set up its first local lodge in 1844[cdxvi], in 1908 it was determined that as 1848 was the year a dispensation was granted by the UK administration to form a Committee of Management, that that was the year the Society ‘could claim to have been established in Australia.’[cdxvii] ‘A dark horse’ which apparently preferred the shadows to public disputes for pelf and power, Grand United in Australia was just beginning a steady increase in lodge and membership numbers which took it into all other mainland States and to the position of NSW’s strongest Friendly Society in the early 20th century.

Also in 1848, the ‘ASGL, IOOF’, according to a lengthy account in The Port Phillip Herald, had recently received from the ‘Grand Lodge of England of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows’ a Dispensation dated 22 January, 1846, legitimating the ASGL in all its powers to create or cancel lodges in ‘New South Wales and its Dependencies.’ The accompanying text claims the ASGL was ‘Established 24th February, 1836.’ All mention of the ‘Ancient and Independent Order of Odd Fellows’ has again disappeared.[cdxviii] This may be because an ‘Apollo and Hercules Lodge No 1, AIOOF’ having set up in Adelaide in 1847 had begun extending into Melbourne.[cdxix] The ASGL now claimed eleven lodges, including ‘Loyal Brisbane’, two in Hobart and ‘Worthy Brothers’ in Adelaide.[cdxx] Two others, the ‘Fitzroy’ in Melbourne, and the ‘Loyal Brothers’ in Geelong quickly followed in 1849.[cdxxi]

In August, 1849, a Report of a Committee of the Legislative Council which concluded that Sydney’s Corporation should be sacked because of councillors’ concentration on their own interests and because of the formation of a very strong clique among its members was reflected upon in Melbourne for obvious reasons. A letter writer to the Melbourne Morning Herald in October set out claims of electoral roll malfeasance centred on Kerr, Orangeism and the Protestant Hall, recently opened. A second letter writer defended the current Mayor, Bell, against a charge of stealing 300 pounds:

His worship has been urgently solicited by the upper classes and Magistrates, to occupy the civic chair for another year, and thus save the citizens the disgrace, and the Police Bench the contamination of having for their Chief Magistrate one of the low demagogues who preside over the waning destinies of the Argus.[cdxxii]

Bell had consented, the letter writer opined, convinced that if he did not, either Kerr or a crony called Johnston would have been elected Mayor ‘by the ruling clique of our city.’ The Argus struck back but was immediately given return fire in the MMH:

The Argus, of this morning, having taken a turn at everything else and been foiled, has commenced an outpouring of its wrath upon the Odd Fellows of Gipps Ward, as respectable, loyal body of citizens as can be found in Melbourne. The object of the Argus is two-fold, to avenge his recent defeat, (and) to satisfy the petty spleen of one…who has on some dozen occasions endeavoured to obtain admission into the Lodges of Odd Fellowship..(The) Odd Fellows would have no Fellowship whatsoever with such a person.[cdxxiii]

The ‘defeat’ was the election of ‘Dr’ Greeves’ as Mayor and again huzzahs went up:

‘..The great curse of the Melbourne Corporation from its commencement up to the present hour has been improper combination; the clique appeared so strong that no person would come forward…The spell is broken; the hallucination of clique power has been dispelled…’ [cdxxiv]

Faith-based politics were by no means finished, nor were resorts to violence. Fighting marred the result of the 1850 municipal election when O’Shanassy was defeated by one vote.[cdxxv] With the Party Processions Act in limbo, the pending separation from NSW brought the societies out for shared celebrations and as long as blatant Orange/Irish Catholic politics were not apparent therein, the authorities acted with circumspection. They were clearly prepared to accept, as their UK counterparts were doing, public display by societies still formally illegal.[cdxxvi] Tolerance was not, however, always practised by those societies espousing it.

Melbourne’s Benevolent Asylum stone-laying procession in June of 1850 was exuberant and colourful, but Catholic representation was nil when Bishop Goold declared the Freemasons’ decision to have prayers from a Protestant clergyman ‘an insult to the Catholic community.’ The two Rechabite Orders marched with their symbolic paraphernalia, and the various Odd Fellows carried wands, swords, axes, dispensations and banners.[cdxxvii] In November, at the opening of Princes Bridge the same societies were joined by Journeymen Butchers in ‘blue frocks [aprons?], white trousers, straw hats (and) emblems of their trade.’ The German Union of Melbourne and the Printers Society also paraded, the latter with an operating press on a wagon.[cdxxviii] Albeit clearly divided, fraternalism was now well on its way. Wherever the flow of humanity went, it, and conflict, was spreading as naturally as the clothes in which miners, rouseabouts, shepherds and commerce-minded ‘gents’ stood.

Exactly what was behind a struggle for control of the ‘Hobart Town Total Abstinence Society’ is not known at this stage, but in August, 1849, and again in August, 1850, notices ‘To the Public’ appeared damning ‘a party of men, belonging to a sect or club, who denominated themselves Rebeccaites or Rechabites’ for a ‘gross and riotous’ intervention into meetings in July and August, 1849. Twelve months later this group was being accused of having as their object

‘not..the diffusion of the principles of Temperance, but merely to be provided, at the public expense, with a convenient place in which to hold their secret meetings; solicit subscriptions from the public, alleging it to be for the purpose of paying off the debt on ‘Temperance Hall’..[cdxxix]

When, in 1848, Hobart’s Protestants had determined on an Orange Lodge, they had sought a Charter from Sydney, not Melbourne. Although denying membership himself, the man regarded as its sponsor, John Morgan, publisher at the time of The Britannia and Trades Advocate, announced the lodge ‘is held under warrant received from the Grand Master of the Orange Lodges of New South Wales…’[cdxxx] In August, 1847, this particular herald had begun an offensive against Roman Catholics with an article based around the refusal of the settlement’s Vicar-General to marry a tradesman, who was a Catholic and a Freemason, even to another Catholic. The two subsequently married at the Protestant St David’s Cathedral.[cdxxxi]

Morgan was an assiduous advocate of Odd Fellows, Freemasonry, trade unions and improved health and cultural facilities. First designated the ‘Operative Lodge of Free Mechanics, etc’ and a ‘House of Call’, what became the important ‘Free Labour Movement’ to protect the interests of non-convict tradesmen against the pro-transportation policies of the then-Governor Denison stemmed from his agitations.

This ‘Movement’ had, in May, 1847, argued for houses of call for ‘every description of free labour’ and a plan of opposition to stop free mechanics being driven out of the colony by ‘the probationers’ or emancipated convicts.[cdxxxii] In August, spokesmen complained that amongst the wrongs faced by ‘free mechanics’ was use of convict police to drive farm labourers out of the interior, and pressures on ‘all descriptions of free labour’ to leave the colony altogether.[cdxxxiii] Later that same year Morgan publicised a membership card for the ‘Trades Union’ showing an open hand surrounded by branches of wattle and gum and the slogan, ‘United we Stand, Divided We Fall’:

‘We repeat that such free tradesmen’s Unions as are founded in Hobart ought to be established in every district. Could we spare the time and the necessary resources, it is the object to which we would individually devote ourselves, as it would be spreading the seeds of rational liberty throughout the land.’ [cdxxxiv]

Under similar auspices, popular agitation against transportation continued into the next decade, an effigy of Earl Grey being burnt in Hobart in August, 1851 as part of the ‘grandest spectacle ever seen in this hemisphere’, at least its supporters thought so:

‘..Every measure was resorted to, to awe the people from their purpose, and to show the sons of the soil that they had no business here. But the transportationists were defeated. About seven o’clock a few people commenced to arrive in front of the Treasury; in a short space of time the few had gathered to an immense multitude.’ [cdxxxv]

‘The Trades Union’ members were joined by ‘all the most respectable citizens of the town’ and ‘the Native born’ to make the point:

‘Then came the band down Macquarie-street, followed by the Native-born and the Trades Union; five stalwart men of the former carrying the star-spangled banner of the Australasian League, which shone beautifully in the torch-light.’

‘Three cheers’ were given for the founder and President of the Australasian League, ‘Mr West’ and ‘Mr Cowper’, three for native lasses and native youths and various political candidates, for ‘Mr Kemp the Father of the people’ and, lastly, for ‘Mr Jeffery, the President of the Trades Union.’ Evidence suggests that the ‘Australasian League’ began life in JD Lang’s hands as the ‘Australian League’, and that a hectic travel schedule early in 1851 was partly to establish ‘Branch Councils’ of it and the ‘Anti-Transportation Council’. The Victorian Council of the League, meeting in March in Melbourne, and at which Lang announced he was en route to Tasmania, was dominated by Kerr and his local cronies, Johnston, Annand, Bell, Westgarth, and others.[cdxxxvi] The Empire observed on the pending election for a League delegate from this ‘Branch’ to be paid to go to England to lobby government that Lang and Kerr had nominated but that ‘Mr JC King, Town Clerk of Melbourne’ was most likely to be successful.

I return to this when discussing Henry Parkes, MP.

Melbourne United Operative Masons of Melbourne, 1857.
Melbourne United Operative Masons of Melbourne, 1857.

CHAPTER 6: Creating Social Capital

Fraternalism’s public showings are not the forgotten background to Australia’s emerging social infrastructure – railways, health facilities, schools – up to the 1st World War and beyond. They are essential elements of it and investigation of them is essential to an understanding of the whole. Despite being in at the beginning, Freemasonry did not prosper in Australia in its first 100 years, and it is not to that Order that we must particularly look in this period, however, but to ‘the friendlies.’

As in other frontier situations, ‘our’ hopeful communities wished to celebrate each advance, each step in their ‘progress’. After their initial hiccups, the affiliated benefit society lodges were the pre-eminent, often the only groups which could muster the numbers and the necessary ‘colour’ and movement. In Sydney, at rail’s very beginning:

There were thousands present…There was no grumbling at the rain. Everyone seemed joyous. Neighbours shook hands with neighbour, and all congratulated each other that this was a great occasion…The countless flags flying, the bands of the different orders of Odd Fellows and Foresters playing – the members of each in full costume with their regalia – the galaxy of Beauty, and the cheers of the populace formed a toute ensemble any nation might have been proud of.[cdxxxvii]

When the line reached polyglot Geelong, west of Melbourne, in 1853 the celebratory parade featured fraternal societies including ‘The Order of Independent Bachelors’, about whom I know nothing, and, perhaps for the first time, a Chinese contingent.[cdxxxviii] In many cases, so ubiquitous were these parades over the next 80 to 100 years, a newspaper report often gave only basic details:

* In 1853 an Odd Fellows’ procession ‘in regalia’ to a visiting circus resulted in the performance proceeds being donated to the Newcastle Hospital.[cdxxxix]

* In 1861, at Mudgee, ‘about sixty gentlemen’ sat down to a banquet chaired by the Mayor to celebrate the fourth anniversary of the Loyal Sovereign Lodge of IOOFMU. The toasts, numbering over 20, began with the Queen and various other Royals, included the Freemasons and the Mudgee Union Benefit Society and ended with ‘the Press’ and ‘the Stewards’.[cdxl]

Of the fraternal societies registered in 1848 (above) only about half survived their first 12 months. However, the editor of Hobart’s Mercury wrote in 1854:

Odd Fellowship is making rapid strides throughout the colony, and we look forward with hopes that a time will arrive when we may be enabled to hail Tasmania as one vast community of Odd Fellows.[cdxli]

From their research Green and Cromwell concluded:

By the 1860’s the [friendly] societies were a major presence in every Australian town.[cdxlii]

Indeed, the Illustrated Australian News of 1866 complained:

Odd Fellows, Foresters, Druids, and Rechabites are over-running the land.[cdxliii]

Incomplete statistics for NSW show that in the period 1788 to 1869, major spurts in creation of friendly society lodges occur in the 1840’s and in the 1860’s:

Established Before 1839

Sydney 14

Parramatta 3

Pt Phillip 1

Hobart 4

In ‘Strands’:

Speculative Freemasons 7

Friendly Societies 7

Trade Oriented ?

Other 7

‘Lodges’ Established in Years 1840 – 1849

Speculative Freemasons 6

Friendly Societies 83

Trade Oriented 17

Other 2

Lodges Established 1850 – 1859

Speculative Freemasons 9

Friendly Societies 24

Trade Oriented ?

Other 1

Lodges Established 1860 – 1869

Speculative Freemasons 16

Friendly Societies 101

Trade Oriented 3

Other ?

Current, incomplete reckoning for Victoria to 1899 shows an even more startling disparity between numbers of friendly society lodges and the other strands:


Friendly Societies 1840-1849 (incl) 12

Masonic 5

Trade-oriented 10 approx


Friendly Societies 1850-1859 (incl) 59

Masonic 35

Trade-oriented ?


Friendly Societies 1860-1869 (incl) 479

Masonic 44

Other, incl trade-oriented 39


Friendly Societies 1870-1879 (incl) 573

Masonic 21

Other, incl 136 IOGT lodges 138


Friendly Societies 1880-1889 (incl) 332

Masonic 75

Other, incl 26 WCTU branches 28


Friendly Societies 1890-1899 (incl) 177 (incomplete)

Masonic 1

Other, incl 46 WCTU 47


Even these figures for friendly societies are under-estimates. They do not include a number believed to have existed but not entered on the State’s register. The ‘IOOF’ in Victoria claimed 6 lodges in 1859, 11 in 1861 and 38 in 1867. Against this, the Registrar has 4 in 1859, 6 in 1861 and 19 by end 1867. To a Royal Commission into Friendly Societies in 1875, the then-Registrar admitted that nearly 50%, 400 out of 1,000, of the States’ friendly societies were not registered.[cdxliv]

The authors of the only published attempt (1984) in 200 years to canvas a range of Friendly Societies in Australia believed:[cdxlv]

It was thought [in the 1890’s] that throughout Australia eighty to ninety percent of manual workers were members of friendly societies.

English writer, Inglis, when in Newcastle (NSW) in the 1870’s thought 80% to 90% of manual workers were so protected:

One characteristic feature of the social economy of our Australian cousins is the system of mutual assurance, which so largely prevails in all the towns, and, which, under the guise of friendly benefit societies, supplies all the real benefits of the poor-law system at home, without its cumbrous and expensive machinery.[cdxlvi]

Other estimates for similar locations are over 90%. For example, Broken Hill in the early 1900’s had 100% membership.

In 1892, in NSW alone there were 72,218 registered members of friendly societies, in 1913, 168,438, in 1930, 252,086, and despite the depredations of the Depression, 212,136 in 1938.[cdxlvii] Nationally, their numbers had increased as Australia’s population increased ‘except for a stable period during and immediately after World War I, and during the period 1931-34’:

This generally favourable long-term trend received a severe check soon after World War II when secessions amounting to 20% and more…were not uncommon.[cdxlviii]

While total ‘Full Benefit’ numbers peaked in 1947-48 at 636,283, some societies, for example, the ANA in Victoria, were able to increase memberships again after a decline from 1949 to 1955.[cdxlix] This is further discussed below.

So successful did the fraternal Orders become at representing communities on public, festive occasions a perambulating ‘town’ band inviting the populace to ‘come and see’ or heading up the annual gala was likely as not a lodge band, eg, the Wallaroo (SA) Town Band in 1890 was actually the Rechabite Band, in Dalby (Qld) in the 1900’s the town bandsmen were Hibernians. In Bathurst, on the colony’s ‘Anniversary Day’, 26 January, 1871:

..the appearance of our Volunteer Band, who marched around the town, in front of the Odd Fellows, playing various lively airs was a sign that the day’s amusements had commenced.[cdl]

Each year after GUOOF’s ‘Loyal Miners’ Home’ lodge at Currawang, near Goulburn was established in August, 1872 ‘a large social function was held to which hundreds attended from all over the district’:

(In) those days the Oddfellow Picnics were something to remember. It was a public holiday, and with miners dressed in their white moleskin trousers, crimean shirts and cabbage tree hats, with a band in front and banners flying, marching in pairs. To my boyish mind they appeared Gods…

In Tumut (NSW), combined ‘galas’ involving the Sons and Daughters of Temperance and the IOOFMU began in 1871. ‘Athletic sports’, an evening tea and concert brought crowds from Gundagai, Tumut, Adelong and Upper Adelong. The 1884 Anniversary of the Cobar Grand United Lodge was also the centre of community celebration:

About 11 o’clock the procession formed, the members of the Order appearing in full regalia, headed by the Cobar brass band, and after marching down the principal streets, wended their way to the ground chosen for the holding of the sports…between 400 and 500 people (present).

Public events were a way for Chinese residents to achieve acknowledgement if not always acceptance. Whereas in 1862 one of their number, perceived as too close to an Odd Fellows’ lodge room, was grabbed, and manhandled quite cruelly, for the 1872 Beechworth (Vic) ‘Fete and Carnival’ their teams of artists and assemblers went to extraordinary lengths to impress their fellow residents:

Nearly the whole of one of the principal buildings in the (Chinese) Camp near Nam Sing’s Store is taken up with the various costly, and magnificently embroidered ornaments which will be displayed in the procession…[cdli]

Among notable articles on this occasion were long, silken banners, swords, pikes, and spears, ‘of peculiar form and very truculent appearance’, what looked like ‘massive tea pots’, sedan chairs, highly decorated screens and umbrellas, and others ‘quivering with gorgeous butterflies.’

In the context, it is remarkable that even one aboriginal, ‘Thomas Bungeleen’, was, on the occasion of his death in 1865, reported to have been, very recently, ‘admitted to the Society of Odd Fellows’. Son of the ‘chief of the Gipps Land tribes’, but ‘in his language, manners and appearance – except of course, his colour’ indistinguishable ‘from an English youth of the same age’, he was said to have defied attempts to turn him into ‘a good citizen’ through an unwillingness to conform to white standards of ‘obedience and industry.’[cdlii] Whether this ‘failure’ contributed to his death was not reported.

For ‘Celtic’ Orders, ‘Royal Days’ meant extra recruitment and self-promotion possibilities. On a Prince of Wales’ birthday in Newcastle:

In the morning the Druids, as they marched through the town with their banner aloft, the band at their head, and each ancient Briton with his staff of office, attracted much attention. Each member of the file was clad in as much calico as would make a calico ball, and each had on a venerable beard, white as snow, reaching down to his waist, and of prodigious dimensions…What seemed to be the rank of the Druids – the very high priests – wore blue dresses indicative of the woad with which the Ancient Britons, on great occasions, stained themselves.[cdliii]

By their very ubiquity, fraternal ‘Orders’ were in the forefront of most community developments. Friendly Societies even headed Spiritualist funerals[cdliv], female members laid foundation stones with ritual, and there is evidence of volunteer regiments of militia maintaining their own ‘lodges’.

The role and status of what were still secret societies had been formalised in the colony when a Wentworth-sponsored Bill in 1848 to amend 7th Vic 10, the Friendly Society Act, had only one clause, to allow any surplus funds held to be invested in savings banks, government or corporate securities, or in real estate. In January 1849, the Colonial Secretary made known that he required Friendly Societies to transmit by 31 March ‘a return of the rate of sickness and mortality’ amongst their membership.[cdlv]

In the UK, the mid-1849 Report of a Select Committee lobbied for by IOOFMU, recommended that ‘a new class (of Society) should be formed, to whom the Registrar shall be authorised to give a certificate of registration’:

so long as they satisfy Parliament that they banish from their meetings whatever may offend against religion, morality, good order, and the laws and constitution of the country.[cdlvi]

The chief sticking point for the Committee had been the secrecy of ‘secret societies’:

A large body of Friendly Societies employ secret signs at their meetings, for the avowed purpose of guarding against imposition, and are..illegal.

..(In) regard to the secret signs, however objectionable they may be, if they really attain the object they desire, provided the society that uses them is founded for charitable and benevolent purposes only, your committee see no reason why the exemption from the operations of the Corresponding Societies Act should not be extended..

The limbo land between being illegal yet exempted, as were the Freemasons, remained for the ‘benefit societies’ until legislation in the 1860’s and 70’s extracted yet more conformity as the price for further legal safeguards. That their very success could result in their continuing to be slowly strangled may have already been apparent, but only to a few.


Lodge Doctors and the Health System

In Australia, the ‘lodge doctor’ system began with naval surgeons who came ashore from convict and emigrant ships to compete for work at the military hospital, in the charitable ‘infirmaries’ first established for the aged and/or destitute, and at the bedsides of wealthy patrons. As ‘benefit societies’ spread, and ‘lodges’ were set up, calls went out for ‘medical attendants’ to attend the memberships, and when there were doctors, other health services accumulated. No doctor meant no hospital or nurses and less reliable alternatives. The population brought the lodge system which brought the health care.

Walter Scott, Edinburgh-trained ‘Surgeon Superintendent’ on the convict transport, The Regalia, during its 8-month voyage in 1825-26, became the first to act ‘in the capacity of a surgeon’ in Queensland when appointed Commissariat General at the military outpost of Moreton Bay.[cdlvii] In the November 1829 Gazette, ‘respectable persons’ of the ‘Benevolent Society of New South Wales’, established in 1813 and therefore the colony’s oldest charity, restated their lack of concern for ‘common beggars’ or ‘mendicants’, for which read ‘tramps’, though its stated ‘Objects’ claimed to be:

to relieve the poor, the distressed, and the aged, and thereby to discountenance as much as possible mendicity and vagrancy, and to encourage industrious habits among the indigent, as well as to afford them religious instruction and consolation in their distress..[cdlviii]

In that same Gazette is a notice calling for tenders for the supply of medicine, ‘agreeably to the prescriptions of the Surgeons’ to the Benevolent Asylum. ‘Asylum’ or ‘Dispensary’ was the title given to the first hospitals other than the Government-run military and ‘distressed poor’ infirmaries. The first ‘Sydney Dispensary’ was set up in 1826 by Dr Bland and others as a charitable institution. In 1845 it was merged with the ‘General Hospital’ to form the ‘Sydney Infirmary and Dispensary’, later known as ‘Sydney Hospital’. What are now called ‘public hospitals’ were initially sustained by fraternal societies, church groups and private individuals. In the gaining or losing of a medical ‘billet’, networks of fraternal patronage counted at least as much as medical qualifications or social position. In the convict-free environs of Adelaide, A Guide to the Preservation of Health in South Australia was published within four years of settlement by a ‘Dr AU Fitzpatrick’ who made no mention of any training but claimed in his CV to have been:

Late Physician-in-Chief to the Polish Army

Physician-in-Chief to the Foreign Legion of Belgium

Surgeon of the French 6th Hussars

Member of the Academy of Science of Paris, and

Knight of the Order of Military Virtue.

The status of doctors was not yet very high. The experienced Superintendent of Sydney’s Police, WA Miles, asserted to the 1842 Enquiry into Immigration that

..improper persons have come out in authority on board of Emigrant ships; in one case, a notorious housebreaker and bank robber came here as a Surgeon..[cdlix]

Colonial hospitals, whoever they were for, were not cheery sites, for one might find:

Cart-loads of broken bottles, old yellow and grey worn-out jackets and trousers, ..other symptoms of filth, and neglect.’[cdlx]

The Launceston Hospital, in 1848,

in spite of all Dr Benson’s exertions, is still the same tumble-down refuge for those who are compelled to take shelter within its old, (dilapidated) walls. Free, and bond, soldiers and sailors, all under the same roof, with not a yard of garden ground or green thing to cheer the heart or mind of the convalescent.[cdlxi]

In 1848, the initial attempt at a Brisbane Hospital was closed by order of the British Government. According to Stevenson, quoting the Moreton Bay Courier, the luckless patients were

turned out…to seek refuge in their distress wherever they could..some of the poor creatures could scarcely crawl, and it was really pitiable to observe their sufferings.[cdlxii]

Well into the 19th century any average citizen’s hold on good health depended mostly on good luck. Consistent and hygienic disposal of kitchen rubbish, human waste or animal carcasses was non-existent, rivers, gutters and other water courses regularly being used to carry offensive items out of sight.[cdlxiii] In such a situation, Stevenson observes, ‘the funeral industry was kept solvent’. Whether a settler or a settlement was successful or not, death remained a constant and the societies a fixture in a member’s final ceremonial.[cdlxiv] And despite widespread concern for a ‘decent burial’ and the existence of ‘a complicated set of mourning customs’, the burial act, itself, could be hazardous, even ramshackle. At the Milton cemetery, near Brisbane:

(Any) shallow hole…suffices for a grave, and coffins are piled one upon another and covered with only a few inches of earth, in a manner revolting to humanity.[cdlxv]

The support of ‘Benevolent Asylums’ by a fraternal was first noted in Sydney in 1842,[cdlxvi] widow and orphan funds coming later, as we have seen. An 1845 Odd Fellows anniversary celebration in Newcastle (NSW) showed the trend:

After the sermon a collection was taken at the door, for the purpose of establishing a Benevolent Asylum in this town…(On the following day one) half the proceeds taken at this lecture have been devoted to the same praiseworthy object with the collection at Church on the previous day – viz, the establishment of a Benevolent Asylum for the sick and indigent in Newcastle and District.[cdlxvii] [My emphasis]

Similarly at Penrith:

On Wednesday, the 15th day of July, 1846, the (members, of all AGL-IOOF lodges) will assemble at Brother Perry’s Hotel, Penrith…and proceed to dedicate and form…the Loyal West Cumberland Lodge, after which the Officers and Brethren will form a procession [to St Stephens for sermon, etc] and (make) a collection…for the purpose of forming a Dispensary for the poor of this town and district.[cdlxviii] [My emphasis]

The Polding-created Catholic Guild had from its inception in 1845 a ‘lodge surgeon’ to verify the health of an intending member. Candidates needed to complete a form which began:

Sir, Please to certify if…be in good health and free from any bodily complaint that would render him liable to become a burden on the funds of the society.

Alderman, later Lord Mayor McDermott was the stated patron of ‘The Friendly Brothers’ Benefit Society’ which while small in 1844 had its own ‘lodge doctor’:

(The) object of (this Society) is to grant out of its funds certain relief to its members in case of sickness or death. (The Society) differs from the other societies now in Sydney, in allowing to its members at the end of the year, a Dividend of ninepence out of every shilling subscribed by them weekly…Mr T Vaughan has been appointed medical attendant.[cdlxix] (Emphasis in original)

The ‘Odd Fellows’ Medical Institute’, believed the first in the colony, was set up in 1847 by Sydney Protestants after they managed to unseat the Irish Catholics briefly in control of Sydney’s IOOFMU. The Institute’s Annual Reports contain useful social information,[cdlxx] while its Laws are detailed and very prescriptive. A physician, a surgeon, and a ‘dispenser’ were to be available, to members only. Enormous power was vested in the Patron, who was at the time the Speaker of the Legislative Council Nicholson, and in the Vice-Patron, Dr Bland, MP.

The foundation stone for what was broadly reported as the ‘Maitland Hospital’ records that it, actually the ‘Maitland Benevolent Asylum’, was ceremonially established in 1846 by the District Warden with the major assistance of the local Union Benefit Society and the ‘Good Design Lodge’ of the IOOFMU.[cdlxxi] In 1865, Grand United’s ‘Odd Fellows Fete’ in Melbourne, had a specific purpose:

The almost bankrupt state of the charitable institutions of Melbourne has, for some time, been painfully evident, and the question of their future management has become a serious problem which has remained unsolved, notwithstanding the many suggestions made by the press, and emanating from the various benevolent societies.

Without presuming to pronounce authoritatively as to the best of the numerous theories advanced for maintaining and working the Melbourne Hospital, the Benevolent Asylum, and the orphanages, the idea presented itself to several members of (GUOOF) that practical aid might be afforded by getting up a fete on the occasion of the anniversary of the birthday of the Prince of Wales, and devoting the proceeds for the benefit of these institutions..The patronage of the various members of the Ministry, the Mayor of Melbourne, and the civic dignitaries of the suburban boroughs was obtained.. [cdlxxii]

The Macleay Chronicle of 1880 acknowledged the central role members of the GUOOF ‘Star of Macleay’ Lodge played in the design, lobbying for, funding and construction of the Kempsey (NSW) Hospital.[cdlxxiii] The Adelong Gold Miners’ Mutual Aid Society (NSW) was formed on October 10, 1857, with the intention of providing medical attention and funds to its members in the event of an accident. For a fee of 5/- and payments of 1/- per week, the member if injured was entitled to a weekly allowance of £1 and free medical attention. The Society appointed its own medical officers to attend to its members. Laying the foundation stone of the Adelong Hospital took place on 26 Jan, 1861:

Punctual to time the friends and officers of the Institution began to assemble on the Camp, and by the advertised hour of starting all were ready…At the head (of the procession) marched the indefatigable marshallers…followed by the Brass Band of the Adelong Hotel, whose services had been generously presented by host Murphy for the occasion; two improvised banners bearing the royal arms appeared next; then the members of the Adelong Mutual Aid Society walking two abreast, followed in the same order by the trustees, the committee and general body of subscribers; the undistinguished public closing up the rear.[cdlxxiv]

In November, 1876, this Society asked for and received a dispensation from the ‘Independent Order of Odd Fellows’. When this was granted all members were granted the privilege of becoming Odd Fellows without further fee irrespective of their age.

The commitment of the early benefit societies to the provision of health services has been disguised by virtue of the fact that a Committee member’s lodge membership was rarely spelt out. When a Committee was formed to co-ordinate the building and equipping of the Penrith ‘Dispensary’, it was not stated that its Secretary, Mr Alex Fraser was also Secretary of Loyal West Cumberland Lodge of IOOFMU.[cdlxxv] Similarly, when older Government facilities were handed to ‘the community’ to manage, it just happened to be the fraternal societies which provided the bulk of the committee, as at Windsor in March, 1846.[cdlxxvi]

Lodges used competition between aspirants for the position of ‘medical attendant’ to reduce rates. The 1848 minutes of the IOOFMU Loyal Strangers’ Lodge, Goulburn, record a Special Meeting delegating

the NG [Noble Grand] and VG [Vice Grand] of this lodge (to) visit on Dr Gerard to know whether he would except [accept] 5/6d member (each quarter) for his attendance to themselves, their wives and families.[cdlxxvii]

AOF’s Court Hunter not only employed its own Doctor in 1867 but set his hours:

Resolved that the hours for attendance on the doctor be from 9am till 11am in the morning and from 6pm to 8pm in the evening.[cdlxxviii]

The Manning River News, in March the same year recorded the Noble Grand’s speech to the Anniversary dinner of the Manning River GUOOFs:

..At this moment the principle difficulty with which the Lodge had to contend was its inability to secure the services of an acceptable medical practitioner…if a suitable arrangement could be made…he had no doubt the Lodge would enter upon a new, and he hoped a long, career of prosperity and usefulness…[cdlxxix]

The 10-pages of ‘Rules of the Mutual Benefit Society of the Australian Agricultural Company’s Colliery Establishment at Newcastle NSW’ document a society which has gone down in labour history as the first ‘trade union’ in Newcastle.[cdlxxx] Dated 1858, the agreement concludes with:

  1. That the society advertise for a doctor to attend all the men and boys, including wives and families of members – excepting midwifery cases; and that the Secretary guarantee one hundred and fifty pounds per year, to be paid quarterly, for such (needful) medical attendance and medicines as may be required.[cdlxxxi]

The process of doctors applying, being interviewed and being accepted as lodge doctors on terms set by the lodge membership continued throughout the 19th century. Binding contracts were drawn up, setting out terms and conditions under which the duties and responsibilities of the position would be met. The formal contract drawn up between ‘Aubrey JC Crawley and the Miners of Minmi’ in 1897, which contains many ‘conflict resolution’ clauses, begins:


Rule 1. That the said Colliery Doctor does agree to reside in Minmi and to employ a duly qualified assistant who is also to reside in Minmi.

There are many variations on the same theme. The 1897 ‘Rules of the Buladelah [very small NSW township] Guarantors’ Medical Fund’ include:

  1. Patients who may receive Instruments, Splints, and Leeches from the Medical Officer shall see that they are properly cleaned before returning to the Medical Officer, and any member neglecting to do so shall be charged with the cost thereof…
  2. The Medical Officer may be called out at any hour of the day or night..
  3. The objects of the Society shall be to raise a Fund, by quarterly subscriptions, for the purpose of inducing or securing a Medical Practitioner to reside in the district, and paying a sum at death of a member.

Rules about acceptable and non-acceptable behaviour reflected the realities of society membership and continued to evolve along lines begun in mediaeval times. Lodge standards applied to the physician:

An amendment was made by Bro Hagger That in consequence of the Lodge Surgeon not having discharged the duties of his office, and his not having provided a competent substitute to professionally act for him in his capacity of Surgeon to the Lodge when he, Dr Keiran, was in jail that he Dr Keiran be discharged from the office of Lodge Surgeon forthwith.[cdlxxxii]

While lodges gave many doctors their start and a chance to build careers, medicos unhappy with having to depend for a livelihood on persons regarded as their social inferiors became increasingly incensed as their social position grew. An 1862 letter to The Argus records a special meeting of the Medical Society of Victoria at Melbourne Hospital considering the resolution:

That the system of tendering for medical attendance to benefit societies is injurious alike to the medical profession and the suffering public.[cdlxxxiii]


Lodge finances were zealously guarded and claimants for ‘sick pay’ rigorously scrutinised. The rules were taken seriously, and applied strictly, in most cases. An affected member would inform the lodge secretary in writing, the lodge as a whole would consider the situation and make a determination. A ‘sick visitor’ would monitor members ‘on the lodge’ and pay benefits. Malingering was not uncommon, and members exercised ‘espionage’ on one another. Fraudsters could be expelled, as could wife deserters and adulterers. Surviving spouses received a cash payment.

Small loans were possible to members ‘in special circumstances’, which was code for changes in job availability or trade cycles. Housing needs assumed greater significance over time and were being treated separately by some societies by the end of the 19th century. Cromwell and Green have commented: ‘Loans (made) friendly societies Australia’s first credit unions.’[cdlxxxiv]

Rates of contributions and of benefits were changed only by Grand Lodge and district delegates in session. It was here that internal argument reflected broader changes. Earliest issues were with the age and health status of intending members. Initially, a new member, whatever ‘his’ age, paid the same entry fee and contributed at the same rate. Over time Orders introduced variants of graduated or sliding scales, not necessarily in line with either logic or common sense. Disputes were constant, and a shift from one Order to another sometimes the result.

Before funds were consolidated towards the end of the 19th century, contributions towards sick, funeral and other benefits were treated separately and rose or fell separately. The actuarial efficiencies of lodge officers then became contentious but greatest and longest-running controversy surrounded the question of whether rates of contributions should vary depending on a candidate’s age at entry or on how ‘brethren’ earned their living. Some occupations, being especially hazardous could render a lodge bankrupt, literally in a puff of smoke or a sudden cave-in. Personal safety was at increased risk along lawless frontiers, a situation highlighted by the gold-rushes:

From every quarter we hear of robberies – stores, tents, and the wayfaring, are alike laid under tribute by lawless hordes who set the authorities at defiance. If you chance to have too much money, you are robbed, if it is but too little it is taken, and you are shamefully beaten for being so poor..[cdlxxxv]

Surviving an accident, an assault or an illness could be more damaging than death, as doctor’s bills could mean the piling up of debt. The regular contributions made before income was interrupted might provide a weekly allowance and medicines and consultations. But fund ‘schedules’ rarely kept pace with population movements, domestic trauma such as drink-induced violence, or accounted specifically for the dangerous situations into which individuals put themselves in order to earn a living. Green and Cromwell canvassed the quality of the earliest chemists and the medicines dispensed. A Dr Moran described a dispensary run by two doctors ‘in a mining district of NSW’:

Behind the waiting room was the dispensary, and there a dispenser with two or three assistants sweated to keep up with the doctors. A patient had to provide his own bottle and cork – for these cost more than the ingredients which the dispensers poured in from great demi-johns of stock mixtures. The stock-mixtures were of different colours. One contained nothing else than burnt sugar in solution.[cdlxxxvi]

Witnesses to government enquiries of the time asserted that dispensers issued ‘stock bottles’ to all friendly society patients regardless of illness. Others expressed the opinion that:

We cannot rely so much upon the quality of medicines supplied by a druggist under the contract system as we could upon the quality of medicines supplied from a dispensary under the control of the Clubs, where the element of profit would not enter so much into the transaction.[cdlxxxvii]

Out of need, came both sharp competition and joint efforts. The first united friendly societies’ dispensary providing medical supplies seems to have been that opened in South Melbourne in 1869.[cdlxxxviii] Pressure for the societies to extend these reached a first peak in the last decades of the 19th century. When the first NSW ‘Amalgamated Dispensary’ opened in Balmain (Sydney) in 1886, President of the Board was Mr George Bretnall of Grand United. Delegates meeting at the Royal Foresters’ Hall represented the UAOD, PAFS, GUOOF, the Order of Royal Foresters, AOF, IOOF, Son’s of Temperance, the Hebrew Mutual Benefit Society, the Evening News and Town and Country Journal Benefit Society, ‘and other lodges.’[cdlxxxix] Later, Catholic societies were accepted. Similar pharmacies were opened at Redfern, Paddington, Mascot and Waverly. In 1899 the Sydney United Friendly Societies Dispensary reported that 86 societies, which must have included trade-oriented societies, were affiliated to it, servicing a membership of over 7,000.[cdxc] The other States reported similar successes, in country towns as well as city locations.

The relationship between lodge patients and ‘their’ medico is one of the most fascinating, but again most complex aspects of the fraternal story. Benefit society brethren originally had recourse to lodge doctors in their rooms, not because they were wealthy but because that was the point of being ‘in lodge’. Working people’s dread of doctors meant only reluctantly did home visits develop. Despite the potential for, and the existence of actual friction, there is anecdotal evidence of close bonds and close working relations between a lodge membership and ‘its’ doctor, some of whom were either members or were made ‘honorary’ members with especially-made regalia. In Hobart, in 1846, the ‘Southern Star’ MU lodge farewelled its ‘Medical Adviser’ Henry Jeanneret with a medal and ‘warmest wishes’ for his ‘zealous and disinterested efforts to promote the interests of our Order’.[cdxci]

In time, however, as the range of medical services offered by ‘hospitals’ was enhanced, collisions occurred between the differing needs of members, and between doctors and ‘his’ society, over what services were covered by contributions. By the 1890’s, one medico achieved notoriety by insisting his profession was being ‘sweated’ by lodge demands:

(A) large proportion of the suburbs (of Australian cities) belong to Friendly Societies, the members of which include many well-to-do people, such as shopkeepers, manufacturers, members of Parliament, officials and others who joined the lodges when they were in more straightened circumstances.[cdxcii]

Bruck gave statistics he said showed ‘one important suburb on the western slopes of Sydney’s Darling Harbour’ had 2/3ds of its population in Friendly Societies. A Dr Belgrave, ‘honorary medical officer’ at Sydney Hospital and medico to a number of inner-city lodges, asserted a need for ‘providential insurance’ to be made compulsory in order that the beneficial aspects of the ‘Friendly Societies’ be brought to bear more universally,[cdxciii] perhaps the first airing of a seemingly good idea which would ultimately break the friendlies. Belgrave was no lover of local ‘club customs’ which he believed led to exhaustion of funds. He argued that ‘no extraneous subject, nor religious, nor political topics’ should be permitted in a lodge, and amongst a parcel of recommendations, asserted that the position of ‘Lodge Treasurer’ was worse than useless. Lodge finances should be handled at ‘Head Office’ level if not entirely within the Office of the Registrar. He argued that lodge practice was incompatible with a ‘pecuniarily successful private practice’ and impacted negatively on a doctor’s efficiency as well.

A rise in the perceived social value of health and health professionals aided the BMA’s strengthening industrial ‘muscle’, and by the second decade of the 20th century had made it possible for doctors to negotiate themselves into a situation where they set the terms, and forced lodges to compete for their services. Fraternal literature continued to show advertisements from doctors seeking ‘lodge work’, however, until at least 1927.[cdxciv]

The same factors operated when it came to chemists and pharmaceuticals. ‘United Dispensaries’ proved they could organise effective production and distribution of cheaper, purer forms of medicinal drugs than were otherwise available, thereby attracting the wrath of the BMA and commercial pharmacists. The same turn-of-the-century spokesman, Bruck appealed to ‘legitimate chemists’ for support in crushing their opposition. He projected a plan to ‘weaken if not ruin the existing dispensaries carried on by lodges on the co-operative principle’, and to prevent the establishment of new branches, with the result that the expenses of commercial pharmacists ‘would be reduced and their profits increased.’

In brief, the evidence shows that the ‘friendlies’ lacked self-understanding, failed to consistently co-operate with one another and, consequently, proved to be far weaker organisationally than their opponents. The doctors had ruthlessness and collegial strength on their side and gathered political strength in a way the friendlies simply did not understand. The power imbalance then made it very difficult for even well-meaning politicians to assist.

Other Costs of the Lodge System

Opening a lodge cost money, money which came directly from the pockets of intending members or indirectly by way of a ‘Head Office’ budget. Besides a Charter and ritual books charged for by Grand Lodge, furniture and fittings, rent, food and lighting had to be provided. To cover the immediate travel costs of whomever was doing the ceremonial installation and initiations, the refreshments for all concerned, the hire of pub or hall, meant a member’s first fee came at initiation until complaints induced change late in the 19th century. Depending on how well set up a new lodge membership wanted to be, a set of regalia was normally another early purchase. Such trappings, annual dinners and parade banners were major expenses and all could attract heated discussion, internally and amongst a keenly observant public.

Even members would have had little idea of the sacrifices involved in ‘working up’ a country lodge by Grand Masters and District Officers making what were at the time heroic journeys to far-flung locales. Nor would city brethren have had much idea of what life was like for ‘bush’ members. ‘An Old Oddfellow’ recounted the early trials of Rose of Australia Lodge at Waratah, ‘in those days a small coal-mining village, about four miles from Newcastle’:

(After establishment in 1864, for) the first four years the number of names on the roll did not at any time exceed 21, and most of those were miners who had to take their turn at nightwork, so that for a long time brothers from the old Junction Lodge at Merewether and elsewhere helped to fill the offices.[cdxcv]

The writer told how set-backs ate into the sick fund but more fortunate members refused to allow the lodge to close and, for four years, determined on paying extra to keep struggling ‘brothers’ good on the books.

The Rose of Australia Lodge…is now in a very prosperous position, having something like 100 members on the roll, with a good balance to its credit.

Nil Desperandum members, IOOFMU, often remarked the circuitous route taken by their Charter when in 1863 it was handed to a stage coach driver going their way from Sydney:

The driver…did not know where Wagga was and he took the charter to Albury where he made enquiries, with the result that no-one there knew where Wagga was. They consulted the schoolmaster and after searching all over the map he pointed out a spot which he said must be Wagga. The coachdriver said he had seen that spot on his map, but thought it was only a bit of fly dirt. The charter, however, was recovered, the Wagga lodge formed and it had made such good progress that it now numbered nearly 500 members.[cdxcvi]

In 1880, getting to Lefroy, inland from Launceston, (Tas) involved a four hour boat trip, then

(tramping for three hours) across the country in its natural state, over hills and through scrub, etc, there being no road of any kind, only a blazed mark the way.[cdxcvii]

Having met the waiting members and having had supper, at 2.00am the visiting Grand Lodge officers began installing the new lodge’s officers and instructing them in record keeping. Between 3.00 and 6.00am they rested but then had to set out on the return trek. Arriving at the landing place by 10.00am they, ‘as arranged, lit a fire, as a signal for the steamer’ and waited without food or drink till 3.00pm, the boat having been delayed by a mud-bank. The account concludes:

Owing to the lodge being outside of Victoria the Sub-Committee were unable to vote any of the expenses.

That is, the Grand Master, Grand Secretary and Past Grand Master who had made the journey paid from their own pocket for the privilege of extending the Order. The reception of visitors could not be guaranteed to be benign, or even to happen at all, and neither could consistency with an Order’s principles, interpretation of which varied with the personnel. In one case,

a person of the best moral character, a staunch supporter of the cause, and having many years experience in the Friendly Societies, but unfortunately not attached to any orthodox Church, was proposed as chairman: this shocked many of the members, who combined to keep him out, others formed an opposing party.[cdxcviii]

A Masonic source recounts the creation of lodges by railway navvies prior to the creation of the settlement to be served by the rail head, which in some cases, meant lodge and lodge hall had to keep moving:

Comet Lodge No 1680 (EC) [Qld] followed the Central Railway westward, dismantling and re-assembling its Masonic Hall no fewer than six times before it came to rest..The old Hall moved 300 miles in sections..on railway wagons.[cdxcix]

Over time, the ‘Head Office’ experience came to be so different from the life-conditions of many lodge members, that an excessively text-book approach could mar executive decisions in matters which amounted to life and death to a member.[d] On the other hand, personal experience could result in an enhanced spirit of unity. In the early 20th century, the Victorian OST’s Grand Worthy Patriarch recounted his difficulties visiting ‘divisions’ on his bicycle – ’23 miles into a headwind on one occasion, Melbourne to Winchelsea’. A 1903 GUOOF delegate argued in support of a Perth-based Grand Lodge initiative, a home for orphans:

Although his lodge was nearly 1000 miles from Kalgoorlie, and almost outside the pale of civilisation, the members tried to be Odd Fellows just the same as those living under more favourable circumstances.[di]

The delegate said he could speak with some authority on this issue as both he and his wife had been ‘inmates’ of orphanages. In the more outback parts, difficult conditions were endured longer than elsewhere. During the Second World War, Masonic brethren at Broome (WA) were reported continuing to meet despite Japanese bombings and despite some members having to ride one hundred and twenty miles to be present.[dii]

In the 19th century, paid travelling organisers were financed by some ‘friendly’ Orders on a commission basis or by way of a stipend, as did the largest labour organisations, the AWU, the AMA (miners) and, later, State Labour Councils. Madame Presidents of the Womans Christian Temperance Unions [WCTU] also took on this role, traversing huge areas to urge women into their ‘unions’. It is not accidental that the insurer, AMP employed travelling agents, some of whom had honed their skills as evangelists.[diii]

Fraternal associations, especially benefit societies, suffered every time there was an economic downturn, indeed any time the flow of contributions was interfered with or suspended for any reason. Extreme breaks in the chain, such as a mining disaster, war or closure of a workplace, could bring ruin. Braidwood GUOOF claimed to have lost £1100 in 1884 when ‘The Oriental Bank’ crashed. Goulburn’s IOOFMU Grand Master Cornford recalled a similar loss:

No 21 had passed through some strange vicissitudes. The meeting used to be held in a garret, and the masters’ table was a box and his seat a gin case. The next trouble that overtook them was that they lost nearly all their funds in the Oriental Bank (crash)..[div]

Members could be levied to support striking colleagues, impoverished co-lodges or total strangers ‘on the tramp.’ A letter to the Protestant Banner, protesting a bill for an unsought advertisement, asserted that previous ads had brought the society several begging letters every month

which we tried to assist until one brother after another left the lodge until our lodge got very small and especially as most of the Brethren could not stand the strain on their pockets…This…showed us we were killing our lodge by draining the Brethren…The members…are paying £6.0.0 per year interest on their Protestant Hall and that is quite enough.[dv]


The Importance of Miners

Societies offering benefits were especially popular with ‘mining operatives’ whether ‘on gold’, tin, lead, mica or stone. Where a lode justified it, larger populations collected, the holes went deeper, corporations took over as owners and worker survival became contingent on more distant agendas. While the rules for discussions between employers and employees over wages and working conditions took time to formalise, ‘industrial’ organisation grew out of miners’ basic needs. Their first organisations were benefit societies, the Rules of which saw no reason to distinguish a special agenda called ‘industrial politics’.[dvi] It was only after these ‘clubs’ had been in operation for a few years, that employers and managers realised they had to decide ‘whether the union-clubs should be tolerated or put down.’ Out of this situation grew ‘the labour movement’ and its opponents.

A strike at the South Australian Burra Burra copper mine in 1848 is perhaps the first to illustrate the convergence of the three key elements – miners in combination, fraternalism and newspaper influence. The Mine Directors, who were enjoying 200% profit per quarter on their shares, were not honouring their agreed-upon levies which included imposts for ‘a Club’ and provision of its doctor. When informed of the situation, the South Australian Register [SAR] gave strong support to the miners. Initially the Directors insisted they would not deal with any miners ‘in an association’ and sought to reduce wages and to have all ‘rebellious’ families removed from the company cottages at the site.[dvii] Sense eventually prevailed and the miners’ club was reconstituted on sounder footings.

In the Hunter River District [HRD], the first miners’ organisation was the 1857 ‘Mutual Benefit Society of the AA Company’s Colliery Establishment’, in Lithgow the first miners’ ‘lodge’ was given the name of ‘The Lily of the Vale.’ Many country lodges were nothing but mining camps, with benefits being the only insurance against accidents or death. If the mine failed, and the camp moved on, the lodge either disappeared or moved to another site. In a precarious existence, the same lodge might close and re-appear a number of times, disguising the similarity of the nomadic miner, shearer and rouseabout situation with the tramping and lodge networks of the northern hemisphere. Travelling cards, along with ‘travelling passwords’, allowed members to gain a clearance from one lodge and join another in a different place.

At Eaglehawk (Victoria) 16 of the ‘Contributing’ members of the Masonic Lodge, No 1203, in its first six years, from 1865 to 1871 were miners, out of a total of 44. The next largest, self-described groups were ‘storekeeper’ and ‘publican’ with 4 each. The IOOFMU lodge, ‘Loyal Heart and Hand’ at what became the town of Nundle (NSW) in 1866 had 8 miners out of its 14 founders. In 1874, the lodge’s peak year, 45 from 81 members were miners.[dviii] An 1876 Report by Grand Secretary Bibb of the PAFS in NSW, which Order is treated below, included the reality check:

..During 1874, 5 lodges were opened in Queensland, and at the end of the year New South Wales had 35 lodges, with 2154 members, paying away for sick allowances ₤761 for that year, and leaving a clear balance of ₤2829. The year 1875 closed with 37 lodges..and 2091 members. This falling off was owing to the great number of members in the mining lodges of the Order, during the mining depression, becoming bad on the books.

Tambaroora Lodge 23 of the PAFS lost 26 members in that one depression year, 1875, due to their simply having to move on to find other work, No 27 at Mudgee lost 12. City lodges could, of course, be equally affected by down-turns – No 25 at Woolloomooloo (Sydney wharves) lost 90 at one time.

Losses in one place could mean enormous expansion elsewhere. In 1871, the year that the Australian Natives Association [ANA] first officially appeared, the IOOFMU in Victoria alone opened 4 new lodges, GUOOF opened 3, PAFS opened 7, the Order of St Andrew opened 8, the Hibernians opened 11, and the Rechabites opened 20. The following year, GUOOF opened another 3, the Hibernians another 4, the MU and the PAFS opened 6 each, the Rechabites another 16, while the Independent Order of Good Templars [IOGT] opened 82. In 1873, ‘the Templars’ opened another 54 out of a total of 100 new lodges in Victoria, while in 1874 the State total of new ‘lodges’ was 133. By 1889, 73 ‘friendly’ lodges had opened in the immediate Bendigo township area, that is, 73 ‘friendly lodges’, and not counting those which were Masonic or trade-oriented.[dix]

Whether ritual was always correct, or used at all in remote camps, is moot. Before he died in 1853, Bishop Broughton travelled to the gold diggings, as did Polding and Methodist lay preachers,[dx] so we can assume visitations by fraternal ‘executives’. Minutes of the IOOFMU Garibaldi Lodge, at Tarnagulla, a tiny village near Castlemaine, Victoria, for August, 1874, include:

..The NG [Noble Grand] gave notice that Thursday August 7th would be Lecture Night – when the undermentioned brothers gave notice to take degrees – Gold Degree, Bros Whittaker, Griffith and Scorer; Scarlet, Bros Hood, Joseph; No notice was given for the Blue Degree. The NG declared he would hold the lecture of the Gold Degree, at 8 o’clock, Scarlet, 8.30.[dxi]

In the numerous fluid situations being created, fraternal principles inevitably outran lodge administration, a situation exploited by fraudsters. ‘A cartload of the greatest scamps that ever got into a vehicle’ was observed by one wagon driver. They were accepting engagements for work ‘up country’, receiving food, lodging and money for the journey, and then reneging on the arrangement, and repeating the trick elsewhere:

I do not know any country where travellers are better treated than in South Australia. It is quite common with publicans along our main roads to give gratis, to every person in search of employment a good supper, bed and breakfast, with in most cases a glass of grog.[dxii]

An 1865 letter to the Australian Masonic News from the St John’s Tradesmens Lodge (Masonic, IC) at Forest Creek, Victoria, warned that a fraudulent traveller with wife and child was abroad, levying contributions from his ‘brothers’ using well-worn ‘begging testimonials’.[dxiii] There are many such references.

In embryonic settlemts, the ‘pub’ was among the first structures put up, the first to get substantial extension or replacement, and among the last to be re-located if a seam ran out. Publicans fighting to get their rooms adopted as ‘lodge’, found it easier to achieve if they were already a member or prepared to purpose-build a lodge room. ‘The Oddfellows Arms’ and the ‘Fountain of Friendship’, both substantial stone and brick pubs at Braidwood (NSW) by 1859, were exceptions architecturally, and loud assertions of fraternalism’s strength.[dxiv]

The formal language in contemporary newspapers can disconnect readers from the reality of settlement life, which was that most ‘buildings’ were of canvas, or wattle-and-daub. Licensee, ‘Charles (Charlie) Welch’ of the fine-sounding ‘Oddfellows Arms Hotel’ in 1870 at Traralgon (Vic) was actually in ‘one of the earliest erected shacks’ in the district, a shack that was ‘a store of a sort, a bakery and a beer shop’.[dxv] The Charlie Napier Hotel in Ballarat’s Main Road from 1854 was ‘a low bark hut’ advertised as being ‘fitted up with every regard to comfort and economy’. As Ballarat’s prosperity grew, the owners added ‘a Bagatelle Room’, a ‘Superior Bowling Saloon’ and a ‘simple wood and canvas Concert Room’, all before 1856 when ‘a spacious, theatre’ became the only ‘gas-lit entertainment venue’ in the village.[dxvi]

The fraternal Orders merged with other sources of community energy to also produce schools, halls, chapels and churches. Large ‘Temples’ could spring up anywhere, that at Bendigo for the Freemasons being just one of the more spectacular examples. Araluen’s Temperance Hall was built with subscriptions from ‘Diggers and other residents’, while the ‘Odd Fellows Hall’ at Paterson (HRD) had a stage and proscenium built into it in 1879 to cater for the local Dramatic Club.[dxvii] Goulburn’s Oddfellows Hall, designed by Blackett in 1880, was locally known as ‘THE Goulburn public hall’ and, at times, as the ‘Academy of Music.’ From 1914 it became the Empire Picture Theatre.[dxviii] In ‘fussy’ Mudgee (NSW), fraternal subscriptions produced a Philharmonic Society to boost community spirit.

A major focus of mining ‘towns’ was drinking. Inevitably, temperance societies experienced waves of popularity, but the spectacular rise and fall on three continents of the IOGT was not the norm. Begun in New York in 1851-52, its first lodges had existed for a decade or so before the Order suddenly experienced prodigious growth. At the end of 1868 it claimed more than 500,000 members in the United States and Canada. In the three years to 1872 the English membership went from 100 to over 100,000, with Glasgow claiming over 100 lodges on its own.

It arrived in Australia from California in late-1871 and had Grand Lodges in Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania within two years. The Order’s principles began with total abstinence and encouraged political intervention to further that cause. While claiming not to be either a life insurance or a benefit society, committees met regularly to assist brethren. And while claiming not to be a ‘secret society in the ordinary acceptation’ yet:

The ceremonies of the Order are kept secret, to make them more impressive to the convert…The Order has also its regalia which are worn in the various degrees…In our secrecy, no oaths are used, and the passwords and signs are little more than substitutions for tickets of admission and certificates of membership…[dxix]

An Australian Grand Lodge was set up in 1874, in which a combined Friendly Societies Easter Fete crowd in Melbourne voted, at IOGT urgings, for an alcohol-free day. A ‘Good Templar’ delegate from South Australia was seated at the twenty-second annual session of the Right Worthy Grand Lodge in Kentucky in 1876, the year a Grand Lodge was set up in West Australia.[dxx] The effects of a split between the English and the USA memberships over a prohibition on negro candidates in the southern American states[dxxi] reached into the southern hemisphere where, adding to the hubbub, both Orders sought to reach even the smallest settlements.

Temperance societies did not shy from directly opposing brewing industry representatives in elections,[dxxii] or parliamentary candidacies not considered sympathetic, whether discussion of political topics was abjured in lodge or not:

From reports to hand it would seem that the harmony of the (Good Templars’) order has lately been somewhat ruffled by diverse views held concerning the coming elections and the rival candidates.[dxxiii]

In this case, the junior member for Hartley, near Lithgow (NSW), was so worried that the Good Templars were thinking of deserting him in favour of another temperance candidate that he talked in his lodge only of his advantages to the Order as one of its political representatives.

Representatives of 13 Sydney IOGT lodges in 1878 travelled by steamer to Newcastle where they joined locals to publically celebrate the birthday of the Prince of Wales with a parade, sports and dinner:

..The well-known Lambton brass band was in..the centre of the procession which with the banner, flags, regalia, medals and scarfs worn by the members of the various lodges, formed quite an attractive and interesting appearance. Upwards of a hundred lady members of the societies also walked in procession, which was without doubt one of the largest in connection with the temperance cause that has ever traversed the streets of Newcastle..[dxxiv]

Women were strongly represented in temperance fraternal societies, especially those originating in the US of A, and some, such as the Daughters of Temperance, had constitutions reflective of an almost totally female membership.[dxxv] However, key executive positions were retained by and for men, in this case, the Rules stipulating that the ‘Worthy Patriarch’ (WP), or lodge master, be a man. Interestingly, this internal compromise produced unexpected benefits for women:

Article XVI – A travelling card shall not be granted for more than one year…Before a sister is entitled to a travelling card, she shall pay one half of her dues in advance for the time she requires the card, and she shall pay one shilling for the card.

Article XX – Giving Password to Travelling Sisters – Any WP shall be authorised to give the travelling password and explanation to a travelling sister, when requested to do so…

Historians of female social activism in Australia highlighting temperance and ‘moral purity’ as the two issues which most galvanised women into further causes such as suffrage[dxxvi], will need to make room for female fraternalism.

The experience of Thomas George Cottome, gold miner at Grenfell, NSW, was a common one though the relevant memoirs are too conflict-free to be the full story. The Grenfell IOOFMU Lodge was formed on 15 September, 1867, with 10 members. By the end of 1869, it had 69, adding another 30 in 1870:

Henry Cambridge, the second Headmaster of Grenfell’s public school which had also begun in 1867, was at that time a leading official of the lodge and was one of the witnesses of Cottome’s birth declaration.[dxxvii]

The editor of Cottome’s letters ‘home’ later observed:

And there is no doubt that in the four years since Cottome had joined, the lodge had not only become a significant association of Grenfell citizens, but Cottome had advanced as a distinguished member of it..

..Cottome took a leading part in the events which led to the establishment of Grenfell’s Progress Committee, an embryo town council which discussed the major problems of the district and made representations to the colonial authorities for their solution.

At least some of the conflict experienced by the good folk of Charters Towers in northern Queensland has been recorded since one newspaper editor was in the thick of it. While not the only community space, the Odd Fellows Hall, built by the IOOFMU, was a major focal point for this community if the year 1877 is any guide. From March to September, it was the venue for visiting theatricals, complimentary ‘Benefit Shows’, ‘Ilustrated Lectures on the American Civil War’, Church of England ‘Musical Soirees’, and ‘Dr Carr’s Seances and Phreno-Mesmeric Entertainments.’[dxxviii] The editor of the Northern Miner newspaper, when not reporting news from the gold diggings, municipal and other related matters, gave ‘the Oddfellows’ extensive column space for their anniversary banquet and congratulated their celebration of the Queen’s Birthday with a community-wide Sports Day.[dxxix] He also gave great coverage to the Anniversary Celebrations of the local Good Templars branch, the ‘Ark of Hope’,[dxxx] and talked up the potential of the ‘Friendly Societies Act’ which had come into operation at the beginning of the year.

In comparison with costs of operation of the ‘Companies Act’ and drawbacks associated with the ‘No-Liability Act’, this new Act had a cheap registration charge as the only cost. Moreover:

(It) embraces every form of industrial combination, (except banking) mining, quarrying, building, farming, stores, cattle, insurance on life and fire, reading rooms, every form of business in fact having for its object the lawful acquisition of money, the social, moral or intellectual progress of the community..We see in this Act a means to..a concentration of the scattered energies and capital of (this) field into a concrete power of wide application. (My emphasis)[dxxxi]

The editor, however, ran into problems with certain interest groups which, in the period 1877 to 1880 totally destroyed his enterprise and forced him out of town. It seems he first argued against the strongly prohibitionist stance of the bevy of reverends in the Good Templars:

(We) hold the Good Templars have not made out their case for Government interference to prevent the sale of intoxicating drink.[dxxxii]

He then vented very strongly against anyone dwelling on the significance of Protestantism on 12 July:

..Neither Orangeism nor Fenianism deserves public recognition..We are casting out the devils of our old civilisation, and this age has already cast out the devil of Orangeism. Great roarer as Parson Carson is, he cannot roar back that corpse to life. Let its bones rot.[dxxxiii]

He then accused local Orangemen of attempting to take over a second Good Templars branch and of manipulating a rival newspaper, the Towers Herald. He initially exempted the Freemasons from his anger:

Masonry is a universal brotherhood, embracing all sects and all men without distinction of race or color..Will Masonry admit an Orangeman within its ranks? No..There are establishments in this town which contain Orange employees who have already driven Catholic customers from their counters..A great push is being made to turn that innocent journal [the Towers Herald] into an ‘engine’ for the dissemination of Orange principles..[dxxxiv]

He then took aim at the ‘hoodlums’ running the local Jockey Club for perceived corruption and incompetence.

Unfortunately, not only had he antagonised too many potential advertisers by the end of 1877, the different local interests were run by the same people, or at least, they were inter-connected. The ‘Worthy Chief Templar’ of the ‘Ark of Hope Lodge’ of the IOGT, H Wyndham Palmer, was also Secretary of the Masonic Hall Company and the Masonic Club, he was a Protestant but ‘not an Orangeman’, and connected socially with horse owners on whom he relied for support at municipal elections. When the Jockey Club directed its advertisements elsewhere, the editor’s response included:

What right has (the) Vice-President of a club whose funds are subscribed by the public to show his little animus against the Northern Miner by patronising the ‘noodlum’ journal exclusively. We know he is very thick with that crowd..We have subscribed to the Club as well as he has, and we protest against his narrow-minded exclusiveness. We observe the Masonic Hall Company and the Masonic Club, or at least their secretary, HW Palmer, is going to try the same game. See the folly of touching up public men..If that confounded Northern Miner only kept itself quiet and never said a word about anybody, how it would get on..Come down on him at once. Masons and Templars march and walk over the Northern Miner.[dxxxv] (My emphasis)

Loyal Orange Institution Member’s Certificate, 1958.
Loyal Orange Institution Member’s Certificate, 1958.

CHAPTER 7: Protestant Fear and Loathing

The level of community in-fighting apparent in this brief account from northern Queensland is similar to that already shown in 1840’s Sydney and Melbourne, but anxiety levels among Protestants appear to have greatly increased, not diminished.

Superficially, the key date is 1868 when an attempt was made on the life of a Royal visitor, the Duke of Edinburgh. (Eric) Turner has insisted that before 1868 Orangeism in NSW, the only State he studied in detail, was quite different to that in Victoria. Using Grand Lodge minute books, he has concluded that NSW Orangemen were ‘less aggressive and overt’, that ‘anti-Catholicism was hardly mentioned and politics not at all.’[dxxxvi]

Although there had been some prefigurement of change during the mid-1860’s, the second stage began the day after the assassination attempt. The incident caused great outrage amongst the great mass of colonists, and the Order was swamped with applications to join.[dxxxvii]

Scholars who appear not to have used such primary sources have yet found raised levels of anxiety behind the mid-19th century struggle over State-aid for education, Irish emigration and in the opportunism of certain administrations. Campbell has suggested that before 1860:

Across much of south-eastern Australia, the formation and ‘working-out’ of new communities, and the inter-dependence of those who settled in them, produced striking levels of religious tolerance and inter-denominational cooperation.[dxxxviii]

He suggests that it was the arrival of a small but hand-picked group of Irish Catholic bishops in Brisbane (1859), Bathurst (1866), Hobart (1866), Goulburn (1867) and Armidale (1869) which ‘promoted a highly visible fission’ and ‘fanned the sectarian embers’ back to life.

Just what levels of tolerance are indicated by ‘striking’ I’m not sure, but it would seem unlikely that the faith-based passion apparent in the decades before the Gold Rushes simply evaporated and that it was only renewed when that mania calmed. It would seem more likely that, whether reconstructed for individuals, families, regions or the nation as a whole, better histories will resemble that just briefly recounted for Charters Towers. If organised appropriately, even the known evidence throws light enough to show up what has previously been invisible – the existence of fraternalism and its ‘re-invention’, especially that section involved with sectarian struggle.

On the one hand, the secret rites and regalia were, from the mid-19th century, in combat with the claimed requirements of ‘modern’ society and, on the other, with dissenting churches. The fraternals, and more importantly their ‘trappings’, for a number of decades, not only survived these conflicts but became ubiquitous, their burgeoning administrations repeatedly referencing the importance of advancing their various causes, not through hurling matches and street fights, but by way of picnics, processions, balls and sports meetings. For example, the Hibernians by the 1880’s could say:

In its processions the Society maintained a vibrantly nationalistic image; it was an age of sectarian bitterness and many attempts were made to discredit the Irish Catholics. The antagonism of the Orange Lodge was reflected in rival..demonstrations.[dxxxix]

When establishing the AHCG much earlier, Catholics had noted the value of re-inventing their societies as a key part of their resurgence. By the 1880’s, under a reinvigorated centralised hierarchy the global RC church had implemented a single strategy which then sent it exploding towards the 20th century. The Protestant societies, for their part, continued socially competitive and politically rancorous with one another, their claimed ‘natural superiority’ making them collectively vulnerable to more subtle operators who opportunistically turned their ‘faith-based politics’ to personal advantage.[dxl]

Through both the strategy of Catholic re-invention and the considerable amounts of Protestant rhetoric run fraternal metaphors, especially of ‘the Light’ and ‘the Temple’. Henry Parkes, editing The Empire in 1851, asked: DARKNESS OR LIGHT – WHICH IS TO CONQUER?, and argued that behind the era’s apparent peace and tranquillity, ‘there is nevertheless even now’ a struggle raging ‘on the issue of which the fate of civilisation itself depends.’[dxli] The same images will feature strongly in the narratives around Federation and mateship, as they were already doing in the ‘marching’ banners, and as they would subsequently in self-serving histories produced by and for the various fraternal societies.

The attempted assassination in 1868, did have extraordinary consequences both in Australia and in England, but already of consequence to Parkes twenty years earlier were the schisms within Protestantism. Perhaps he sensed that behind the Catholic threat was anger but his columns show little sign that he cared that the human situation in Ireland was going from bad to very much worse.[dxlii]


The Irish Crisis Deepens and Intensifies

I began this account with the ‘troubles’ in Ireland coincident with the arrival of a white population in Botany Bay. While that northern crisis persisted, Irishness, Protestant ascendancy and Catholic determination remained issues to be fought over throughout the southern diaspora.

At the seat of the fire, official policy towards Ireland continued to be to blame the victims. As the first deaths from the infamous 1840’s famine had occurred, the relevant Minister had announced:

The great evil with which we have to contend is not the physical evil of the famine, but the moral evil of the selfish, perverse and turbulent character of the people.[dxliii]

Though the true situation was pointed out to them, the British Cabinet decided not to supply seed for the planting of food, and not to supply loans which might have allowed tenant farmers to eat something other than their seed stock while preparing their fields for the next harvest. These policies, part of an ideological position designed, among other things, to protect private grain speculators, brought hunger and destitution on an unimaginable scale:

I entered some of the hovels…In the first, six famished and ghastly skeletons, to all appearances dead, were huddled in a corner on some filthy straw, their sole covering what seemed a ragged horsecloth..I approached with horror, and found by a low moaning they were alive – they were in fever, four children, a woman and what had once been a man..

There was plenty of food in the devastated areas. The Irish poor had no money to purchase it, however, and were thus dependent on either the potato harvest, or some welfare system. Both failed them. Irish patriots, inspired by revolutions in mainland Europe, attempted an uprising around Kilkenny City in 1848-9. Put down by police and military, the surviving conspirators added to the wave of Irish flowing to Australia, where their communities were long places where ‘the name of Britain was accursed’.

Rivalry between Catholics and Protestants, then, continued to affect social cohesion and political outcomes, and in more and more parts of Australia. In the 1850’s a number of Protestant spokespeople noted a new confidence amongst local Catholics. Puseyism, ‘that system of ill-concealed Romanism’,[dxliv] was but part of the problem Parkes perceived:

The over-sanguine zealots of the Church of Rome, have, however, attached far too much significancy to the clerical secession from the Church of England…they have too readily mistaken a partial for a general movement…To carry out (their opposition to the national schools) the Romish clergy of this colony have of late been devoting all their energies, and the election just over has witnessed the deep importance which they attached to it.

Lang, Parkes’ ally and secret partner, attacked Caroline Chisholm and the allegedly supine Whig Government in Whitehall over their involvement in her emigrant support scheme:

For Mrs Chisholm is a Roman Catholic, a Roman Catholic of the highest caste, a perfect devotee of the Virgin Mary and the Papacy who would go through fire and water to advance the interests of Romanism in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere; and this measure, of pure benevolence forsooth, is nothing more nor less than an artful Jesuitical device to supply Irish Roman Catholic wives for the English and Scottish Protestant shepherds and stockmen, farm servants and mechanics..[dxlv]

These two men had had at least one eye each on the main chance. Lang survived attacks on his past record when he successfully stood for the legislature in July, 1850, inviting Irish and Catholic voters to support him. Some undoubtedly did, but emergent mine sites and entrepots were gathering reputations as predominantly ‘Orange’ or ‘Green’. Determined missionaries for both sides, at times funded from overseas, reached through mining populations as far as the Chinese component.[dxlvi] Amos has picked up some of the early Orange trail after 1845 in NSW:

Within three years at least four lodges were operating in Sydney, and others at Gladesville, the North Shore (of Sydney), Parramatta, Windsor and Kiama, supported by a total membership of 500 to 700.[dxlvii]

A coal-mining settlement, Kiama is particularly interesting as the village to which Barr decamped from Sydney after ‘the troubles’ there, and which became famous in the 1860’s as the electorate of Henry Parkes and the site of that Fenian figment, ‘the Ghost.’

Port townships did not become totally bereft of fraternal developments when the trickle of new arrivals became a gold-obsessed flood seemingly intent on flowing uphill, into the interior. Nevertheless, Orange pioneer McGuffin reported later that the gold rushes left few of the original lodges operating. An 1853 petition for a Provincial Grand Master for Victoria’s Freemasons [EC] told the London Grand Lodge that:

During the extraordinary excitement which prevailed here in consequence of the discovery of Gold, Free Masonry, in common with other institutions, was subjected to great temporary depression.[dxlviii]

But by October, 1853, this petitioner was able to add:

..but the resumption of their usual avocation by the brethren first engaged in the search for the precious metal and the immense influx of others amongst the new arrivals, many of which brethren have obtained Masonic experience and distinction in the Mother Country…

Edward Hargreaves, successful prospector in both California and Bathurst, NSW where he is credited with the major strike of 1851, was initiated into Leinster Marine, IC, in Sydney in 1854. In a lodge which suffered from very low numbers on occasion, he was subsequently minuted as being amongst the lodge’s ‘hardest workers.’[dxlix]


The Eureka Stockade, 1854

It’s not often remarked in accounts of the Eureka Stockade that the first agitation for an eight hour working day came immediately after this famous confrontation, nor that Dr Lang was in Ballarat village the morning of the key Bakery Hill meeting, nor that the populations of Ballarat and Ballarat East were determinedly separated by religion, the one Protestant, the other Catholic. Of course, Lang may have been attracted to the field because his son was in custody on a charge of defrauding ₤20,000 from the Bank of NSW, he being the manager of the local branch.[dl]

Though few, if any Ballarat records have survived from the 1850’s, it’s possible to see the importance of fraternalism in the immediate area in simple terms – it had over 40 lodges by 1865-66. Of significance too, is that this township saw the birth of both the Protestant Alliance Friendly Society and the Hibernians in their ‘modern’ form, and that it was one of three primary centres of Orange Lodge membership in Victoria in the 19th century, the others being Melbourne and Geelong.

Nevertheless, Bate, local historian, has found no Protestants among the leaders of the miners’ reform movement, just that ‘three of them at least were known chartists and two were Roman Catholics’.[dli] The words ‘Freemasonry’ and ‘sectarianism’ only get into his influential text once each, both on page 260, ‘Hibernians’ once, on p.261, and ‘friendly societies’ not at all. The LOI receives some coverage through notable personalities, such as CE Jones, but not as an institution.

There’ve been many attempts to make Eureka the source of Australian political democracy, and of radical/larrikin values including ‘mateship’, but this has been done by replacing detail with generalisations. Usage among these original ‘diggers’ of the term ‘mate’ includes a story of its ambivalence:

About four months ago, one of my mates in a party of four sold me his shares for ten pounds..(later) my mates all turned against me..[dlii]

The Parliamentary annotation to this evidence shows the same usage: viz, ‘all his mates were against him.’ In other words, having ‘mates’ did not necessarily mean a man had friends. On the other hand, the Ballarat Times reported:

More than one party whose mates have been slaughtered in the late disturbance, is about to demand an exhumation and inquest.[dliii]

The conflict itself would seem to have been extensively analysed, but only the most basic facts have been established. Leadership of the rebellion has been attributed to various national groupings, including ‘the Irish’, but, importantly, it has been attached to all ‘foreigners’, by which, it is necessary to note, was meant anyone who was not an Englishman, as in:

What deserves especial notice in these accounts is that the foreigners [writer’s emphasis] were at the head of these [Eureka] disturbances. It was they who were foremost in the fray, and who chiefly were shot. This is as might be expected..and marks the low red-republican foreigners as a very bad element in the diggings – a class of men far below the lowest English in a knowledge of the principles of moral reform and progress..[dliv]

O’Brien has interpreted contemporary newspaper reports from diggings further north:

Miners divided into and identified with local groupings based on nationality, their mining district and mining methods..(They) paraded in uniforms of moleskins, sashes, boots or similar flash apparel, carried knives and guns.[dlv]

Seeing these groupings as merely nationalistic would seem at best simplistic. The sashes were clearly to distinguish one group from another, but on what basis? Nationality is one but not the only possibility. The relations between the groups have not, as far as I know, been studied. The SMH’s ‘Special Correspondent’ in July, 1853 had reported from Bendigo:

The extensive immigration from California of ‘Statesmen’ will not improve things, and it must be borne in mind too that among these gold fields are scattered many hundreds of malcontents, from Canada, from France, Austria, Poland, Hungary, and the German States, men who have left their country because they made that country ‘too hot to hold them’, in fact expatriated politicians, full of the dogmas of the ultra-radical schools of Continental Europe.[dlvi]

This report, a full 18 months before the Stockade, was in the context of a ‘Bill of Rights’ drawn up at a diggers’ protest meeting for presentation to the State Governor, Hotham. This has been taken by the democracy-advocates to mean that any incipient organisation must have been formal, legal and transparent. On the other hand, Blee notes that after troopers had stormed the Stockade very early Sunday morning, 3 December, 1854, indignation meetings were held in Melbourne, twenty miles away on the coast, and rumours spread that ‘angry diggers’ were marching there to uproot the ‘despotic’ lieutenant governor and his ‘murderous bullies’. Hotham, the despot in question, according to Blee

by January 1855…had convinced himself of the existence of secret societies..plotting to overthrow the government. He wrote to the Colonial Office [London] asking for additional funds to counteract French Red Republicans, the German Political Metaphysicians, the American Lone Star members and the British Chartists.. Surprisingly, he made no mention of Irish secret societies..[dlvii]

JP Fawkner had been appointed to a Committee to examine grievances on the (Victorian) gold-fields and a Bill to give the miners certain electoral rights had already been voted on and sent to London for official approval when the ‘uprising’ occurred.

Fingers of blame directed at any of the national groupings would appear to have been equally under-researched:

* Peter Lalor was Irish and brother to a leading Young Irelander active in the 1848-9 rising, but just who and what organisation was behind the green Irish flag, complete with harp and shamrock, which led a welcoming parade for delegates returning to the southern diggings from Melbourne in August, 1854 is not known.[dlviii] A letter to Freeman’s Journal on ‘a contemptible and profligate Government’ resulted in that paper being censured in September in the NSW parliament, and in The Empire, as a ‘libellous publication’. The first resolution at the confused, riotous meeting on Bakery Hill [Ballarat] on 28 November was:

That this meeting views with the hottest indignation the daring calumny of His Honor, the Acting Chief Justice [of Victoria]…of the brave and struggling sufferers of Clare, Tipperary, Bristol and other districts…[my emphasis][dlix]

* Scotchmen, supposedly incensed at their countryman Scobie’s death going unpunished because of corrupt relations between local officials and hoteliers one of whom was, allegedly, Scobie’s killer, were credited at the time with being the prime movers;

* Testimony to public enquiries afterwards pointed to a group of German inn-keepers being at the centre of a corrupt network of local officials and sly-grog dealers, the ultimate source of much miner dissatisfaction; and then there are

* the ‘Americans’.

In the early 1850’s a mood, merging on a mania for things ‘American’ had swept eastern Australia. Passions roused by the Californian ‘rush’ accelerated with discoveries in NSW and Victoria and suddenly a lot of talk was of connections, two-way emigration and of comparisons. The famed Cobb & Co coach line was founded by Freeman Cobb and some countrymen in 1853, the year after the British Consul at Philadelphia had made known his fear that ‘many Americans going to Australia, ostensibly to dig for gold’ were actually revolutionaries and members of the fraternal ‘Order of the Lone Star’ intent on spreading ‘freedom’, ie American-style republicanism. Exploring what was by the 1850’s a veritable invasion, Daniel and Potts have concluded that the number of ‘Americans’ known to have been involved in the conflict was relatively small, perhaps 25 out of 1,347 believed on the fields, and that evidence as to motives was scarce. They concluded that none of the leaders was ‘American’ and that there had been very little discussion of Australian independence, whether as a republic or not.[dlx]

Churchward, one of the very small number of scholars to have explored their involvement, wrote in the 1970’s that he believed that slightly over half of the ‘Americans’ in Australia in 1854 were on the gold fields. Public criticism of Californian lawlessness and a search by some for examples of similar ‘mob rule’ on the local fields, vied with appreciation of ‘American’ energy, and inventiveness, and in some circles for its republicanism. When Australian chests puffed out, it was sometimes with thoughts that ‘we’ could be as great:

The fact is as clear to our apprehension as the existence of Australia, that in her aspects of society, commerce and individual characteristics, she is – unconsciously it may be, but yet most surely – assimilating herself to an American model.[dlxi]

Victorian Parliamentary records dated after the event show two things:

1) a message in cypher from Governor Hotham to his Gold Fields’ Commissioner insisting that ‘a certain person’ was not to be arrested, despite Colonel Rede, the Commissioner, being sure the man was implicated, indeed that he was ‘very active in the affair’;

2) a letter from Governor Hotham’s Private Secretary the day after the shootout to the Melbourne-based US Consul, informing him that a participant eye witness who, interestingly had reported directly to Hotham and not to the local authorities, had asserted ‘the leader of this movement is a young American..their most active leader.’[dlxii]

The Argus asserted in January, 1855, that one of four ‘Americans’ arrested after an initial skirmish in November had been allowed to go free due to ‘half American, half Masonic influence.’ In a long piece, the writer listed the four ‘Americans’ who had received special treatment as Hurd, Carey, Ferguson and McGill. The last, McGill, was supposedly the Stockade’s ‘chief in command’ at the time of the trooper attack, as well as Commander of the 200-strong, variously-named ‘Independent Californian Rangers Revolver Brigade’. Allegedly warned off very soon after his arrival on the 2nd, he and his corps had left very late the same night. The newspaper commented:[dlxiii]

It is a most singular position for the governor of a British colony to be placed in – currying favour from any power under the sun, to enable him to ride roughshod over the rights of British-born subjects..

Shortly before the Stockade incident Hotham had been feted with a grand procession and huge community welcome to Geelong. Immediately behind the banners and bands of the friendly societies and fire brigade, and immediately in front of the carriages of local dignitaries, was that of ‘the American Consul’.[dlxiv] In a little-known memoir by a Catholic, self-styled ‘lieutenant of Peter Lalor’, Joseph Lynch verified the poor regard diggers held for ‘orators’ Carboni and Vern and the doubts about McGill:

When I joined I was told off to the Californian Independent Rifle Brigade, commanded by James McGill, captain and drill-instructor. He appeared to be a smart, intelligent young fellow..Whatever may have been his prestige before the battle, his behaviour during the contest and afterwards did not add to his lustre. He was absent without leave and had a large body of men away with him..when their presence was most needed. He tried to explain, but failed to convince, and the shadow of suspicion hung over him through life.[dlxv]

The ‘American Consul’ was again feted at a dinner at the Victoria Saloon, Ballarat a few days before ‘the riot’, all press being deliberately excluded. So, not surprisingly, it has been suggested that ‘American Freemasons’, mounted, armed and organised into a recognisable and substantial corps had been warned off by their consul and were nowhere to be seen when the Stockade was breached.[dlxvi] A local historian, Bell, refers to a fifth ‘American’ Freemason, one Brother Kenworthy[dlxvii], who, living inside the Stockade boundary, also absented himself on the fatal night.

The Immediate Aftermath 1854-1868

Almost as the event was occurring, Cr Annand, a Protestant and a Kerr-crony, in a meeting of the Melbourne Council, sought leave to bring about ‘the erection of Victoria into a sovereignty’ with a ‘Prince of the royal family of England as King’ while, just hours before the troopers’ attack, The Age had chosen bombast and rhetoric over analysis to fulminate on ‘The Bayonet Policy of Victoria’:

…Rest, and repose, and security, will be no more amongst us, until the last vestige of the old and worn-out despotism has been swept away. The old leaven is rotten. A new life now animates the people. Intimidation and corruption have fulfilled their fatal mission, and the magnates of the gold fields, and the officials of Downing-street, have had their last warning…[dlxviii]

After the event, The Empire, while claiming to sympathise with ‘the miners’, chose to correct their understanding of an earlier conflict, at Bristol in 1831, and concluded a long editorial, ‘The Riots at Ballaarat’ with:

..and if it unfortunately happens that such affairs as that of Bristol have been remotely connected with political events, a too eager desire is shown to seize the occasion for party purposes. It is on this very ground that we deplore the riots at Ballaarat. If the diggers have any claims for justice to put forth, they will have caused the suspension of those claims to an unknown day..[dlxix]

Impoverishment suffered by US miners after the gold frenzies cooled resulted from their being miners rather than because they were from the USA. Working conditions on the Victorian gold fields in the 1850’s were similar to those at other major mining locations, all of which were increasingly subject to market forces. Unsurprisingly, the first parliamentary representative, from 1860, of the HRD’s coal miners, Tom Lewis, was financed by his ‘brothers’ specifically to insist government fix underground sanitary conditions, or that this move coincided with their first attempt at a ‘Trades Hall Council’. Or that the ‘stentorian carpenter’, Angus Cameron, remained an influential member of GUOOF while his MP’s salary from 1874 was also paid by Hunter miners’ subscriptions.[dlxx]

As at Burra, Newcastle and elsewhere, a mutual aid fraternity not an armed rebellion came out of the miners’ discontent at Bendigo:

Discontent simmered on both fields over police arrogance and inefficiency. It flared openly at Mount Alexander in September. There, at Lever Flat, on 30 September, 1852, a meeting of diggers voted the formation of a Mutual Protection Society..

The diggers..were in militant mood. They proceeded to draw up their own code of laws to protect themselves. If the authorities continued incapable of maintaining law and order, the Society would do so after its own fashion..licence fees would be withheld and instead, used to finance the Society’s own patrols. They were fighting words.[dlxxi] (My emphasis)

And as in the Hunter’s coal townships, various fraternal combinations were tried over the next 40 years at Bendigo, and while in 1882 a resuscitated ‘Miners’ Association’ [AMA] quickly had 2,000 members overall, the local branch

had fewer members than the Pride of Marong Branch of the Ancient Order of Foresters, numerically the smallest of the forty-odd friendly societies in Sandhurst [Bendigo].[dlxxii]

So, in the longer context, Ballarat’s combination of frustrated miners into an armed stockade was an aberration. Less surprisingly, the first agitations for an eight hour working day were organised by Sydney’s operative stonemasons in 1855. Victorian miners, given the right to vote in 1855, boosted Lalor and another of the Stockade leaders, Humfray, into the Victorian Assembly, but neither the claim that Eureka was ‘the birth of democracy in Australia’ nor that it brought about ‘the first secret ballot in the world’, an innovation introduced into the Victorian Parliament in 1856, is tenable. Secret ballots had been standard lodge practice for years, as had been the central democratic notion that those affected by a decision must be able to vote on the decision.

‘Americans’ were prominent on his hate-list, but in 1855 the still influential JP Fawkner actually feared every race but ‘Englishmen’:

I begin to fear for this country – that it is to be given up by Englishmen to be ruled and dealt with by a Sett of Wild Americans..and the Americanised Irish Celts – and even worse – and these two classes will I fear humbug or mislead John Bull – but not if I can help it.[dlxxiii]

That year, Irish nationalist leader and émigré to Victoria, Charles Gavan Duffy was met by thousands of Melbourne’s Irishmen led by O’Shanassy. Such was the level of fear and loathing among Protestants, that O’Shanassy’s leadership of a short-term government the following year, 1856, was regaled by major Melbourne dailies as ‘Rule from Rome’. There were only two Catholics in his centrist Cabinet which included ‘the notoriously shifty..storekeeper’ and very Protestant Odd Fellow Augustus Greeves. Yet, candidate Fawkner could tell his soapbox audience:

Fellow colonists! Reject the overbearing Romanist O’Shannassy [sic]..Protestants.. vote for no bigoted Romanist, for all such men would rob you..of your right to read the Word of God, and of all liberty of action, except the liberty to act as they bid you, and pay money to support the immense mass of idling monks, nuns, etc, the police of Rome.[dlxxiv]

Whether or not any ‘American’ diggers were representing the Order of the Lone Star or Freemasonry, it is certain there would have been Odd Fellows, specifically members of the ‘Independent Order of Odd Fellows’, sometimes referred to as ‘the American Order’.[dlxxv]


As we have seen already, an ‘Independent Order’, which is not the IOOFMU, appears to have made considerable advances in southern Australia during the 1840’s and ‘50’s, but it was also not conflict-free. An 1851 par in the Melbourne Herald noted that three State governors, of NSW, South Australia and Victoria, had agreed to become patrons of the ‘Australian Independent Order of Odd Fellows’.[dlxxvi] In 1854, a Tasmanian Grand Lodge of the ‘Ancient and Independent Order’ claimed to have been delegated by Sydney’s ASGL (see previous chapters) 12 months before to act as a self-governing Grand Lodge for Tasmania. Within that 12 months, four new lodges were opened to join the ‘Tasmanian Primitive’, the ‘Loyal United Brothers’ and the ‘Loyal Kemp Town’ lodges. In December of 1854, just before leaving the island and his Governorship, Sir William Denison, Hobart’s Venerable Archdeacon Davies and His Worship the Mayor were all initiated into this Order, the ‘AIOOF’. The Governor also acceded to a request for land for a suitable Hall, the Order announcing scholarships and schools for the sons of Odd Fellows.[dlxxvii]

US records show that desultory correspondence between Boston and the ‘AIOOF’ in Australia had occurred since the 1840’s. At the September, 1867 ‘Fourteenth Annual Meeting of the Grand Lodge of the Ancient Independent Order of Odd Fellows Friendly Society’ at Geelong, delegates complained that entrance fees were holding back the Order, being higher than all others excepting only Manchester Unity. Seven new lodges had been opened in the previous 12 months, taking them ostensibly to 49, but the Grand Secretary had doubts about the health of some:

With reference to (four new lodges in Gippsland) I regret to say I have very little confidence in their stability; the only one I consider has anything like a healthy appearance is the Loyal Mountaineer Lodge, numbering 24 members; they are now…moving the Lodge to the Copper Mines, as the greater number of the population seem to be getting that way.[dlxxviii]

The Grand Master agreed:

..The Mount Useful Lodge, at Donnelly’s Creek, promised to be a very important branch, but the reverses in the mining interest there having caused a great portion of the population to leave, it has not succeeded as I could have wished.[dlxxix]

In 1868, the ‘American’ IOOF accepted the affiliation of this Victorian ‘AIOOF’ and declared that State’s Grand Lodge to be the ‘Australian Grand Lodge of the IOOF’ and from Boston imposed three conditions – membership would be restricted to ‘free, white males of good moral standing’ who were at least 21 years old, and who believed in God. For years thereafter, the Australian jurisdiction sought to have the colour bar lifted by the US Grand Lodge.[dlxxx] Rules set out at the time for Victoria, did not include the qualification anyway, but even its consideration at the time of affiliation caused two Victorian lodges to refuse to sign the necessary documents. After disassociating from the ‘Australian Grand Lodge’ and attempting to stand alone,[dlxxxi] all 16 South Australian IOOF lodges joined GUOOF in NSW in 1873 rather than accept US overlordship.

Another specific society of interest was a local variant on ‘the Buffaloes’. The ‘Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes’ are alleged to have been introduced into Australia, at Ballarat, in 1854 by George Coppin who later became very influential in Victorian Masonry. Bye-laws of the ‘Loyal OAB for the Ballarat District, No 1 Mother Lodge’ were printed in 1860.[dlxxxii] Held in the first instance at ‘Primo WM Brown’s Sir Henry Barkly Hotel, Humffray Street, Bakery Hill’, a lodge was shown to consist of

A presiding Primo, a City Marshall, a City Constable, a City Taster, a City Physician, a City Tyler, a City Barber, and aldermen of Juniper, Lunacy, Poverty, and Suicide..(etc).

These were all positions invented in London in the 1820’s. ‘Missionary Primos’ were to have the power to convene camp meetings ‘at any time or place, in house, or town, or under tree.’ In formal lodge meetings, the Primo was ‘to cause strict examination’ of all parties intending to participate and after the lodge was opened, ‘the City Tyler shall receive the word or sign from every person.’ (My emphasis)


Air-Brushed Masonic History

Explanations of Freemasonry’s dismal Australian showing in its first century begin with the earliest conflict and bickering between jurisdictions but must continue with the need for renewal and re-invention which appeared from at least the mid-century but which administrations ignored. As with the Friendly Societies and the trade-oriented ‘unions’, structural answers – amalgamation and consolidation under fewer ‘heads’ – appeared easiest to achieve. However, Provincial (or District) GM’s were, at-best conflicted, faced as they were with an oath-bound duty to protect a specific Constitution at a time when Freemasonry, the idea and the institution was rapidly evolving with many contending views of ‘correct’ procedure. It is fair to say that local Masonic communities were equally uncertain.

Not long after the ‘Eureka’ defeat, the first Masonic lodge in the sudden community that was Ballarat proved disruptive, and, elsewhere, the first attempts at Masonic independence in Australia were made. Both of these have ‘American’ elements.

Many prominent citizens had already joined the ‘Branch of Gold of Eleusis Lodge’ when reports appeared that it was an outpost of a French Constitution dedicated to the Goddess Demeter, in other words, the Grand Loge des Philadelphes ‘working’ the Rite of Memphis. It was therefore ‘irregular’, and to be shunned, despite it having been apparently acceptable since its establishment in 1853.[dlxxxiii]

This Rite and Order was just one of a number in the northern hemisphere attempting to follow London’s Grand Lodge on its path to legitimacy. Supposedly first established in 1805, it had suffered a split in 1839, and whereas some of its supporters justified the later version as a Masonry for poorer men, it remained ‘strongly suspected’ by English Masonry that having been founded by ‘French political refugees’, politics remained its ‘primary aim’. In 1859, an apparently ‘regular’ Masonic lodge was instituted in Victoria by ‘American brethren’, and in 1864, the Worshipful Master of the Washington Lodge, IC, in Melbourne was accused of creating turmoil by arbitrarily introducing ‘peculiar’ ritual described as ‘a jumble of all’.[dlxxxiv] None of this has been satisfactorially researched.

Even more curious is the fact that the banner announcing the ‘Order of Masons’ at the stone-laying ceremonies in 1859 for the Ballarat Benevolent Asylum and again in 1861 for the Ballarat East Town Hall featured the Eureka or Southern Cross motif, white stars in a blue cross on a white background, which to this day features in official Masonic coats of Arms.

The United States was, of course, developing its own fraternal networks at this time, suffering its own successes and failures, and developing its own mythologies. In the 1850’s and ‘60’s a debate occurred in the northern hemisphere about the relative merits of ‘American’ and ‘British’ Masonry, or at least the practices carried on by the average Freemason. There appears to be evidence to support claims made on both sides of the Atlantic that English and Irish brethren suffered from ‘a woeful lack of Masonic knowledge’ whereas many ‘Americans’ were using fraternal efficiency and ability to recall the actual words used in ceremonies to advance personal and, they seemed to believe, their national prestige.[dlxxxv]

One attempt of English brethren to redirect Craft Masonry priorities resulted, in mid-century, in a totally new ‘branch’ of Masonry. Reformist anger directed at the metropole-centric nature of ‘the Craft’ succeeded in getting the ‘Mark Degrees’ recognised but failed to weaken the English capital’s hold on power, the first ‘Mark Grand Lodge’ being established there.

Lodges representing Mark Masonry appeared in Sydney in 1858, in Melbourne in 1859 and Brisbane in 1869.[dlxxxvi] These ‘advances’ provided further opportunities for personal aggrandisement, and therefore suspicions of fraud[dlxxxvii] or special treatment, not to mention bitter competition.

A strong demand for local Masonic independence is visible in the pages of The Melbourne Masonic Journal and the Australian Masonic News published in Melbourne from the early-1860’s:

..Our brethren, residing in either England, Ireland or Scotland cannot imagine the dissatisfaction which arises here on account of there being three Provincial Grand Lodges; each having its own mode of working, its own code of laws, and its own officers..Victoria seems to be a kind of no man’s land, and each Grand Lodge grants as many warrants as it feels disposed to issue, and the consequence is that a rivalry exists that ought never to be known among Masons; and the Craft is not in as prosperous a position as its friends would desire.[dlxxxviii]

In 1860 a local correspondent asserted that the ritual being used in South Australia was ‘the most worthless of the lot’, precipitating, in 1861, a major walk-out from South Australia’s Provincial GL and Installation meeting because, as one complainant put it:

..The only lodge in the colony visited by the (PGM) from (May to October) is the Lodge of Friendship (No 613) which, in the opinion of all others in the province, works under a ritual believed to be a copy of one of the systems worked in America..(and which) every other lodge refuses to have anything do with..[dlxxxix]

In 1864, England’s United Grand Lodge insisted that it had no financial interest in refusing to hand control to its antipodean lodges. Over the preceding 22 years contributions from Victoria’s EC lodges to London had averaged only ₤63, it asserted, and argued that only 20 out of all 65 lodges in the State and only seven of the 41 EC lodges were seeking change. The UGL correspondent admitted that the ‘three separate jurisdictions and three modes of working’ in Victoria was ‘a grave difficulty’, but argued:

The Grand Lodges of England, of Ireland, and of Scotland would look with great jealousy upon a proposal to give up any of their privileges..(The) difficulty would not be mitigated by founding another and a fourth jurisdiction, as it could not be supposed that all English lodges would join this proposed new body.[dxc]

The English sense of Masonic pre-eminence was now sheltering behind a Masons’ oath of obedience to constituted authority to inhibit a shift in decision-making power. The Provisional Grand Secretary for Victoria’s Irish lodges claimed not to be unhappy with their distant GL, but said they were seeking a local, joint GL because of the refusal by the GL of England to recognise the Masonic rank of those rising in Irish lodges:

(The) unnecessary and illiberal, if not un-Masonic enactments of the Constitution under which English Masons act, and the interpretation of which by the GL of England is even more illiberal and narrow-minded, [fails] the broad principle of universal brotherhood towards all Masons which should guide its decisions.[dxci]

Reports in May, 1864, of a Masonic ceremony to lay the stone for the Brisbane Town Hall and of the installation of the first Master of a German-language lodge in Victoria, accompanied accounts of the removal of the Masonic element in the laying of the stone of the Hobart Town Hall. That State’s Governor had first invited Freemasons to play a central role and then reneged when the Catholic Bishop wrote to say that it ‘would be inconsistent’ for his parishioners to attend any ceremonies performed by Freemasons. The Freemasons thereupon withdrew altogether saying they weren’t prepared merely ‘to form part of the procession.’[dxcii]

Continuing tension within South Australia’s ‘English’ lodges resulted in a number petitioning London in 1865 to complain of the insistence by ‘their’ PGM that he alone had Masonic decision-making power in the State, ie,

..that (District GL) cannot meet except by his sanction; that it has no power to fix the times for holding its meetings; that it ceases to exist on his death or resignation; that it cannot control the mode of working in the lodges, or enforce uniformity; that it cannot hear or determine Masonic complaints..[dxciii]

O’Brien[dxciv] has concluded from his research into rural Victoria, that by 1859 ‘an intense political and Protestant conservatism’ amongst ‘the Beechworth elite’ had united ‘via the Masonic Lodge’ into a formidable coalition to exclude the miners from ‘achieving even one representative’[dxcv]:

Examination of the Ovens poll clerks and returning officers in the (1859) election revealed that of 17 men out of 36 identified, none were Catholic, five were Beechworth councillors, 11 were members of the (Masonic) Lodge of St John, and 12 were committeemen for either JD Wood or Keefer (the conservative candidates) or both, and one was a candidate’s employee.[dxcvi]

He accepts at face value an 1859 ‘Notice’ in the Ovens and Murray Advertiser supposedly from the Beechworth Masonic Lodge endorsing ‘Brother Keefer and Mr Reid’ as ‘proper persons to represent the order in the Legislative Assembly.’ Although not necessarily a fake, the advertisement is not entirely convincing, but where else might direct fraternal influence be found?

By 1859 the Victorian Parliament was unworkable, ‘a mere rabble of political desperadoes’. The O’Shanassy Government fell and the Victorian 1861 election was, according to Serle, sectarian-free, land having become THE cause over which allegiances were forged and dismantled. But, again, the faith-based anxieties and suspicions had clearly not gone away, indeed, they had increased as the population and fraternalism continued to spread. A writer to the Perth Gazette in 1864 was horrified that the first executive of the ‘Perth Workingman’s Association’ contained a ‘strong Popish element.’[dxcvii]

Historians of the gold field around Bathurst have asserted that every election outcome after 1859, by which year secret ballots had been introduced into all eastern States and South Australia, turned on whether Orange or Catholic votes could be delivered in a bloc. Sofala, in particular, was known as a Protestant stronghold.[dxcviii] Holtermann, ‘the ambitious German Jew who had made his fortune in Hill End’ came last of 3 candidates at the 1873 election, and blamed his getting only 25 of the miners’ votes on the existence of ‘a secret society.’ The local correspondent for The Empire agreed: ‘Cooper [Parkes supporter] polled 242 votes at Wattle Flat and Sofala. The Orangemen were to a man in his favour.’ [dxcix]

Further north, pitched battles known as ‘the McIntyre riots’ occurred at Maitland in 1860 when his opponents confronted the Scottish-born, Presbyterian author of ‘The Heathenism of Popery’:

The arrival, on the day fixed for the lecture, of an unusual number of people from a radius of ten or fifteen miles beyond Maitland, led to the apprehension that some disturbance would take place, which was increased as the hour approached, by a crowd of some four or five hundred persons assembling in front of the house adjoining the church.[dc]

A body of constables broke up the subsequent conflict and rescued McIntyre and his brother. Whereupon:

Mr Day, the Police Magistrate, having informed the rioters that the lecture announced would not take place, they were so far pacified that they shortly after left the spot without committing any further violence than smashing all the windows of the church, and breaking the fences as they passed.

Again, no ‘rioter’ appears to have been arrested, and no compensation paid by those responsible for property damage. Lang later denounced McIntyre but admitted that he

was one of the honestest men in New South Wales..although dogmatical and fond of power to an inordinate degree, Mr McIntyre was nevertheless apt to become the dupe of lesser men.[dci]

Leading Ballarat citizens and Freemasons, Dyte, WC Smith and Humffray, the last a prominent Chartist and Stockader, have been indicted by historian Bate for ‘irregularities’ in land dealings in the 1860’s, but Charles Edwin Jones is of singular interest:

(One) of the most blatant adventurers and gifted demagogues ever to operate in Victoria, (Jones) loved notoriety and intrigue. Big and strong, he seems to have had no fear.[dcii]

‘The son of a Welshman’, Jones brought ‘deep anti-Catholic and temperance prejudices’ to the task of breaking the grip of a ‘dominant Irish publican group on the Melbourne City Council’ in 1861. Financially embarrassed from neglecting his tailoring business, he happily moved to Ballarat in 1862 when asked by his ‘Orange Lodge temperance cronies’ to engage ‘the enemy’ there. Bate again:

There was money on the side to reward him for his trouble..Ballarat East was ripe for Jones to harvest. To give spice to his Orangeism, it had a Roman Catholic minority, many of whom were concentrated on smallholdings at Bungaree, an outlying agricultural area, or were carters, splitters and charcoal burners living in primitive conditions in the Bullarook Forest near by.

Jones began his political campaign in the newly-opened Ballarat East Town Hall with the memorable:

Gentlemen and savages, men of Ballarat and FELLOWS from Bungaree..(I) would be strongly in favour of missionaries being sent into Bungaree – under a strong police escort to distribute Protestant bibles to teach the ignorant crowd there to read them.

In this Victorian, allegedly sectarian-free situation, I must now speak specifically of Scottish-born David Syme, himself an experienced miner and engineer. Managing from 1856, and assuming editorship of the newly-established Age newspaper from 1860, he built great personal influence and a large fortune fighting for modest land ownership and rural communities against land monopolies and import merchants. Arguing for protective tariffs to enable Australia to become more than a producer of raw materials, in those days, gold, wool and other minerals, Syme also agitated on behalf of popular suffrage. What goes unmentioned is that he was severely Protestant.

As in the Charters Towers’ and The Empire examples, newspapers were increasingly critical in socio-political struggles. David Syme and his Age newspaper [dciii] appear well-studied, but rarely has it been noted that the paper’s masthead motto was the well-known Protestant call-to-arms ‘No Surrender.’ Future national leader Deakin has contributed to just what this might have meant in the context of, among other major political disputes, the well-known 1879 crisis in Victorian politics:

Mr David Syme was a commanding personality physically and mentally, liable to fits of passionate resentment and indignation, either at what he conceived to be public abuses or at any crossing of his own imperious will.

For the earlier period, Pawsey’s The Popish Plot: Culture Clashes in Victoria 1860-1863, an account of wide-spread anti-Catholic bigotry, is an exception. It is based ‘largely on newspaper sources’ rather than lodge records, not even mentioning the LOI or Catholic societies. Even so, she points out that The Age was ‘openly and avowedly anti-Catholic’. Being politically opposed to the likes of O’Shanassy, Syme could pursue his religious and nationalist prejudices while, like Parkes, appearing to be in pursuit of liberal political goals. His message, nominally democratic, was in reality the need to ensure that the imperial banner floated secure in its new home, and that its readers should actively pursue the creation of ‘an imperial bastion of Protestant civilisation in a heathen sea.’[dciv]

Sadly for all those attempting to keep the issue out of sight, in 1868 a gunman of faith stepped forward and attempted to blow away the British Crown in Australia.


Fenianism, Ned Kelly and the 1868 Attempted Assassination

The attempt by an unstable, alleged Fenian to kill the young Prince Alfred in Sydney early in 1868 was akin to an Australian 9/11 or a Bali Bombing today, if we consider its emotional impact and its short and long term consequences. Its effect was heightened by the near-hysteria surrounding the first visit to the colonies of a ‘scion of Royalty’. Grand Master Fergie of IOOFMU’s Victorian District described Melbourne’s welcome:

We are in the midst of rejoicings to welcome the first scion of Royalty who has honoured Australia with a visit – the Duke of Edinburgh – the like of which has certainly never been equalled at the Antipodes..I enjoyed it amazingly. He landed on Monday, and was received by the various notabilities, Corporations, public bodies, etc, etc; when a procession was formed to escort him to the Treasury of the Colony, I as the chief of the various Friendly Societies, leading the whole, consisting of more than 12,000 persons.[dcv]

Phair, the highest-ranked Orangeman in Victoria, had warned in 1866 that:

It would be folly to deny that the emissaries of Rome are making great efforts to gain power in this colony. Their open aggression cannot but be regarded with alarm by every Orangeman and true Protestant.[dcvi]

Late in 1867, another street disturbance had occurred, ‘the bloodiest Melbourne had known’ and Travis has noted that in Australia the shooting inspired

hundreds of pages of newspaper reporting, dozens of eye-witness accounts, countless words expounded in parliamentary outrage, column after column of indignation expressed in letters, public meetings and petitions, several books, many memoirs and a veritable library of truly awful verse.[dcvii]

Yet, apparently, the ‘terror, confusion and raging passion’ which erupted after the event, had no organised trigger.[dcviii] Amos has agreed with Travis that:

A spirit of Fenianism was widespread but does not appear to have taken any organisational form.[dcix]

By ‘Fenianism’ Amos and Travis both mean anti-British attitudes among the Irish, but why must any organisational form for such attitudes be labelled ‘Fenian’?

The Ned Kelly reality, a decade later, fits neatly into this conflicted fraternal context. His correspondence makes abundantly clear his concern, perhaps his obsession, with Ireland’s sufferings under ‘the tyranny of the English yoke’, while in their slab hut and their grinding poverty he and his family were merely a variant on the Bullerook Forest ‘savages’. The Age described the gang and its supporters as ‘a tribe of hardened criminals’ and an ‘extensive criminal community’ which defied not only the police and the Defence Corps but also ‘our rapid progress in…education and other primary factors of a nation’s welfare’.[dcx]

Neither Ned nor his mates could expect to be invited to join St John’s Masonic Lodge in Beechworth. And yet, the iconic ‘cummerbund’ presented to Ned as a boy and apparently worn by him at Glenrowan is actually a sash denoting fraternal society membership, a fact apparently unrealised by anyone in the ‘Kelly industry’. While one usually has to read the fine print to discover that Aaron Sherritt’s family had Orange connections and while the neglect of records makes it very difficult to pin-point specific memberships, the sash, almost certainly of the HACBS, heightens the likelihood that local rivalries had crystallised into opposed lodges.

Considered important enough to wear at what Kelly knew was likely to be his last, certainly a climactic shoot out, the sash was so naturally an element of the overall 1870’s context neither he nor his opponents thought it required any explanation. Today, it languishes in Benalla Museum, unacknowledged as a key link in the chain running from Ireland’s Vinegar Hill battle of 1798 to Australia’s republican dilemmas of 2009.

‘The new view’ of the episode set out by Jones approaches the reality, involving as it does, Irish Catholic land-hunger, harassment by Protestant Irish police and masculine vanities. His 1968 version included:

The Irishman in (the police) uniform was a hated figure. Police alliance with the squatters alienated them from selectors, as a class. But the antagonism of Irish selectors to Irish policemen reached a level that might best be described as religious war.[dcxi]

In 2003, his focus was on Joe Byrne, gang member, and the mate he murdered, Aaron Sherritt, believing him to be a police spy:

The roots of this story lie in Ireland..(where) two families had their beginnings. The Byrnes sprang from Catholic, nationalistic stock..The Sherrits, descended from French Huguenots who had fled Catholic persecution, were Anglo-Irish farmers, four square for the Crown and the established Church, strongly anti-Catholic.[dcxii]

‘At the most simplistic level’, Jones has argued, ‘Ned and Joe had to offer their supporters..something more than the proceeds of a bank robbery.’

They offered them some hope of relief from the black list, from the hated confederacy between squatter and trooper, from police retribution for loyalty to the Gang. They offered rebellion, and with it the lodestar of those who rebelled against the British Crown. The evergreen rebel dream. A republic.[dcxiii]

Again, one can only wonder what Jones might have done with the story if he’d known all of the truth. He seems not to have known that Sergeant Steele, the most assiduous of the police hunting the gang, was a Freemason.[dcxiv] Nor that the 484 entries in Shennan’s Biographical Dictionary of the Ovens and Townsmen of Beechworth, the title taken from ‘a collection of portraits compiled by photographer Henry Hansen in 1899’, imply that only around 4% of the area’s notables were Catholic.[dcxv] His frustration is clear:

In fact, the militantly opposed Orange and Green allegiances of the two families create a new mystery.

The mystery he was referring to is the two-faced nature of ‘mateship’, exploited so brilliantly yet so cynically by PR flacks in such later ‘entertainments’ as the ‘hate-against-hate, mate-against-mate’ chants of the State of Origin Rugby League matches and the ‘Anzac-against-Anzac’ Bledisloe Cup. But that’s in the future. Here, Jones is struggling with the mateship-gone-bad between two youths who grew up in a despised ‘poor white trash’ community.

Syme’s ‘liberal credentials’ also struggled with these, ‘the Kellys, Guians, Wrights, Baumgartens and numbers of others who pollute the surrounding country’,[dcxvi] and the apparently more upright version of Irish intransigence. Sir John O’Shanassy, insisting that State-run schools ‘persecuted’ Catholics, must be a liar and an unprincipled political strategist intent only on making ‘quite sure of (an) undivided Catholic vote’ at the forthcoming election:

..Of the 200,000 children now attending the State schools, 35,000, according to Sir John O’Shanassy, are Catholics, and the probability is that the number is much larger, for he would most probably understate the case…[dcxvii]

Everyone knew, Syme argued, that Victorian educators treated ‘all children matter what the religious belief’ of their parents. Those readers who agreed with The Age editorials were, of course, the un-qualified ‘public’, those who did not must be motivated by spite, or greed or worse. In 1868, before the attempted assassination, Catholic voters were at best ‘ignorant’, Gavan Duffy was at best ‘a rogue’:

When rogues fall out honest men come by their own. There is a terrible quarrel just now between Mr Duffy and certain of his quondam friends, and the reviling and the cursing is appalling. We always set down the late proprietor of The Nation as a very untrustworthy man..We have always thought that Irish patriotism was very nearly allied with Irish scoundrelism..He is accused of having urged his ignorant and infuriated countrymen to violence, in order to make his paper sell; of having duped and betrayed his party for his personal ends..and of procuring his pension here by deception and fraud. All these things were possibly true, but they would not have been uttered but for the rogues falling out..[dcxviii]

In 1870, the paper railed against Catholic picnics, since ‘(those) who are familiar with contemporary history’ know to what extremes ‘religious zeal forces sensible people’[dcxix]:

The enthusiast in religion when excited becomes a fanatic…Amongst the Easter festivities there was a Catholic picnic, no doubt intended as…harmless and innocent…There can be no objection to that save one.

‘What would happen’ the editorialist asked, if other sects determined to also have a picnic? If there were next year an “Orange” picnic or a “Protestant” picnic would not the result be ‘a counterpart of the Belfast riots?’ The only conclusion must be that:

(Since) the party that would most regret (the results) would be the Catholics themselves..we put it to the more sensible of them, why provoke it? What object can be gained by separating..from the rest of the community for a picnic?..No other class of our citizens adopt such a course..

In the teeth of the full-blown parliamentary crisis of 1878, the expression of any political opinion invoking religion must stop.[dcxx] Any suggestion that religion may have played a part in an election must indicate the presence of ‘the meanest cant and the most transparent hypocrisy’, at least when ‘our side’ won:

It is pretended now that that there was all sorts of foul play in the [recent municipal] contest. The returning officer and the electors are accused..(The Argus) has discovered that “the Roman Catholic vote had great influence”..It is impossible to account for this assertion by any known process of reasoning..(The) offenders who threw stones at The Argus and Telegraph offices [breaking windows] “were a lot of boys and larrikins in no way connected with the election.”[dcxxi]

When there was a chance Catholics would not vote ‘for us’ it was a different matter:

(Sir) John O’Shanassy’s hatred of the Liberal party is very pronounced…(A) general election is looming…and, in order to make quite sure of the undivided Catholic was necessary to parade a Catholic grievance beforehand. Hence the introduction of the Education Act Amendment Bill..[dcxxii]

Unfortunately, the Symesian-solutions to his two problems of Catholicism and the Kellys, were in conflict with one another. On the one hand, the rational ‘State’ would provide all-comers with the same, value-free Education, while on the other:

..Careful enquiry reveals..that six or seven years ago the district now given over to the bushrangers was under complete control..From that period dates the introduction of a system of red-tapeism, and a curtailment of local authority..the local officers gradually became apathetic and disheartened (until) the criminal classes..gained the upper hand..That is the result of the centralisation of authority..[dcxxiii]


Orangemen and the Protestant Alliance:

Protestant-based societies of the second half of the century, faced like the Catholics with a need for ‘re-invention’, appear to have had the easier problem to solve. They could claim to have had a glorious past culminating in the Empire and that it, and therefore Protestantism, was on the brink of an even greater future. But Protestantism was a much more diffuse beast than Catholicism, with many more ‘heads’. And it was, by definition, a religious movement at the heart of non-religious agendas, one of which, material progress, was seeking to deny it, and its passions.

Collectively, Protestants had two further distractions the Roman Church did not have. There was the question of ‘ritualism’ in their churches and in their fraternities, while notions of democracy were making it necessary for memberships to ask: was a new, motivating myth to be about the King or the spear carrier? ‘Head Office’ or ‘the neighborhood’? the centre or the circle? What was a ‘modern’ reinvented fraternalism to abandon of its past and what was it to retain?

Evangelical Christians were enraged by the use of ‘ecclesiastical ornaments and haberdashery’, the so-called ‘Puseyism’, which, making a comeback with High Anglicanism, implied that the officials had a special relationship with God. The non-displayers wanted nothing between themselves and their Creator, and certainly no reminders of Romish rites. Some Methodist clerics refused to officiate at fraternal graves, unless all ‘paraphenalia’ was removed. It was no comfort to know that Catholic clerics were refusing to officiate if funeral paraphernalia wasn’t of the Order they favored.[dcxxiv]

So heated were the internal Protestant exchanges, the Church of England was itself declared to be not-Protestant by anti-ritualists in 1866. The editor of the Standard’s (PS) forerunner, the Australian Protestant Banner(APB), revealed where he stood on the issue in 1868:

We read that in 1866, at the Cork Church Conference, that the Ritualists showed their colours, there was a costly exhibition of vestments and other necessary accessories of a full-blown ceremonial…Ritualism is therefore the danger, or rather this modern Popery WITHIN our body; it is the cancer which has been for some time striking its roots unperceived into the Body, and nothing but extirpation can save the Body itself…[dcxxv]

This was not just a theological issue, fought out between dry and dusty scholars with time on their hands. This touched the faithful everywhere, and had political overtones. In an isolated southern NSW mining village, Araluen, a furore went on for months in 1869 over whether a single monogram on an Anglican altar cloth was ‘the first step towards Ritualism.’[dcxxvi] Three decades later a letter writer to the Wingham Chronicle, the local paper for a mountain hamlet north of Newcastle, NSW, demanded the local C/E cleric be removed because he’d placed ‘heavy maroon curtains’ at the back of the communion table where the Bible stated the Ten Commandments ought to be. A further letter insisted on the upholding of ‘reformation principles’ against the intentions of some C/E parishioners ‘to paganise the British people and bring them again under the feet of the priests and into the house of bondage.’ The Bishop was forced to intervene, whereupon the curtains were removed.[dcxxvii]

In the UK, no less than a Royal Commission into ‘Ritualism’ was set up. A Bishop Hooper was quoted as saying:

..Beware of Ritualism, no less than Popery. Resist it in little things; resist strange dresses, processions, banners, incense, candles and church decorations. Resist them manfully..all are stepping stones to the Church of Rome.[dcxxviii]

Twelve months later, the Standard’s editor pointed to the ‘Brotherhoods, Confraternities, Societies of the Love of Jesus, Guilds of St Peter, and Sisterhoods of Mercy of the Holy Trinity’ all now in full operation within the Church of England so that ‘the reader may understand whither we are drifting.’[dcxxix]

A welcome parade for the Prince in Sydney in January, 1868 included members of the ‘Protestant Friendly Alliance’ and lodges of the IOOFMU, GUOOF, AOF and the Sons of Temperance [OST].[dcxxx] Rules of a ‘Protestant Alliance Friendly Society’ show it was established early in 1868 with ‘Samuel Kippax, Treasurer’, while issues of the 1868 Australasian Protestant Banner shows ‘S Kippax’ as President of ‘The British Association’, later re-named the ‘NSW Protestant Association’.

In NSW alone, Orange lodges had 2,500 active members sometime in 1869.[dcxxxi] Grand Lodge executive meetings increased sharply in number after the shooting and sub-committees were created, including a ‘Political Committee’. Newspapers, such as The Australasian Protestant Banner quickly expanded to 16 pages each week:

Popery, rejected and dying out within her strong citadel of Italy, Spain, Austria, etc, is now making one grand assault on the fortress of Protestant England. She is corrupting by Ritualistic ceremonies and false teaching the Church of our English martyrs…[dcxxxii] (My emphasis)

This newspaper’s header featured a ‘Holy Bible’ and a quote attributed to Queen Victoria: ‘This is the source of England’s greatness, England’s Glory.’ (My emphasis) It serialised ‘Derry’ a ‘tale of the Revolution of 1690’, and asserted that Protestants should not assist in any way the completion of St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney, firstly, ‘because it is a Romish institution’, and secondly, because ‘the management is secret as well as exclusive’:

They will not do as the managers of the Sydney Infirmary do, submit their annual accounts to public meetings for public criticism and public approval.[dcxxxiii]

Its editorial writer complained, rightly, that while Orangemen were prohibited from parading in 1869, the Holy Catholic Guild was permitted to display a ‘popish’ cross and unlit candles at the funeral of JH Plunkett, long-time NSW State Public Servant. Authorities had warned that more elaborate regalia would not be allowed.[dcxxxiv]

As was his PAFS President, Davies, Kippax was an Orange activist.[dcxxxv] He defended the Political Association (my emphasis) in July, 1868 against charges that it had introduced ‘party societies’ into electoral struggles, along with ‘Orange, Protestant Alliance, Sons of Temperance (and other) Temperance Societies’, by asking what the ‘Celtic Association, the Irish League, St Patrick’s Regatta Committee, and the Association for raising funds for “Irish Patriots”, not to mention the Holy Catholic Guild were’ if not ‘party societies’:

As with the rise of Popery in Christendom, so with the rise of Ritualism in England. Along with it has come the worship of images. The deities of our Popish ancestors are stealing back among us, and setting up their shrines anew, and the land, cleansed from this abomination three hundred years ago, is beginning to suffer a second pollution.[dcxxxvi]

An autonomous Victorian Orange Grand Lodge was confirmed in 1865 and the State’s two ‘branches’ of Orangeism, separated since the ructions of the 1840’s, amalgamated early in 1867 to form the Loyal Orange Institute of Victoria. The shooting produced a flurry of new lodges, including in Tasmania when a visit of the Victorian Grand Orange Chaplain in July, 1868 led to the opening of the Hearts of Oak Lodge, in Hobart as No 11 on the Victorian register.[dcxxxvii] A newspaper, The Leader, supported the LOI and a parallel society, the Tasmanian Protestant Alliance. Orange scholar Davis has noted:

Other lodges appeared at regular intervals, especially in mining areas like Beaconsfield and the West Coast. Royal Black Preceptories of the Institution of Ireland, superior versions of Orangeism whose members were accorded the title Sir Knight, also sprang up in Launceston, Hobart, Zeehan and Beaconsfield ..Tasmania acquired its own Grand Lodge in 1890.

In May, 1868, a meeting established ‘The Protestant Friendly Society of Victoria’ (PFS).[dcxxxviii] The first lodge, eventually known as ‘Loyal Perseverance No 1’ quickly appointed a lodge doctor but it remained, for a time, a doubtful financial proposition. It was a genuine friendly society with provisions for widows and orphans funds, provision of medicines and medical attendance to members, but it had been called into being by John Phair, the first Grand Master of the LOI in Victoria, and few of the first initiates would have disagreed with Henry Knapp, another early member who was determined ‘to crush the Fenian menace’:

It is time the loyal portion of us were up and doing – not by banding together in Orange lodges or societies of that sort, but by joining together in one firm body, irrespective of creed or country, but united in one thing, and that a firm and devoted loyalty to our most gracious sovereign.[dcxxxix]

Ballarat miners in late 1870 appear to have consolidated the PFS and a number of similar initiatives in other locations, in a particularly significant way. Originally named the ‘St Patrick’s Protestant Friendly Society’, the new ‘Order’ emerged from Ballarat deliberations as ‘The Order of Knights of St Patrick Friendly Benefit Society.’ Anyone in agreement with the objects, viz ‘to unite Irishmen generally, and to promote and defend nationality in particular’, aged between 15 and 40 could join, on a sliding scale. Regalia was to be a ‘purple scarf bordered with orange and green, ornamented with a cross of St Patrick’.

No Catholics joined in the first year, and sometime after their first ‘inaugurative ceremony’ in 1871, the Order split into factions of Irish and English-born members, whereupon a grouping calling itself the ‘Protestant Alliance Friendly Society’ appeared and aligned itself with similarly named lodges in other towns.[dcxl] It was immediately labelled an Orange ‘front’, which it was.

Ballarat’s first miners’ ‘trade union’, an accident fund, began to meet in 1870. Its convenor, Richard Baker, was the first Worshipful Grand Master of the PAFS of Victoria, as was its first president, James Vallins, subsequently. It is not surprising, then, that what became the Amalgamated Miners’ Association (AMA) proudly wore fraternal regalia well into the 20th century.

For a time, Ballarat had the largest concentration of PAFS members in Victoria. Its three lodges had over one third of the State’s membership, and in mid-1872, Loyal Britannia was by far the largest lodge of all, having initiated 242 out of 1236. Despite numerous mishaps and triumphs during the next century the grips and signs relating to their ‘secret work’ were never repudiated by PAFS here or in other States.

Reflecting on claims by a member of the Victorian government about bigotry being the child of the assassination-attempt, the editor of the once very-Orange newspaper, The Argus, wrote in May, 1869:

It is only when the Orange lodges of Ballarat pass over from the Ministerial camp to that of an opponent, and ‘better the instruction’ of their former teachers, that these [Ministerials] seem capable of discerning the iniquity of the agency with which they were so recently and reprehensibly allied..The Ministry has been scourged with its own rod, and humiliated by its own disciples.

Further north, as it ‘grew to become a formidable electioneering and parliamentary movement’ with somewhere near 10,000 members, the NSW Loyal Orange Institute consolidated operation of its 3-Degree structure, each level of which required separate, colourful regalia. The flow of ‘new signs and passwords’ continued unabated from all Orange Grand Lodges to outlying lodges. An emigre ‘brother’ from Ireland arriving in Hinton (NSW’s HRD) in 1873 was accepted immediately into the lodge because he

had given the password and the Great and Grand Password of a purpleman and who in other respects had given proof of being an Orangeman.[dcxli]

The even more discreet, multi-degree off-shoots of Orangeism such as the Royal Black Preceptory, and the Scarlet Knights were introduced at this time. The 1874 minutes of Orange lodge, ‘Purple Star’ at Hinton, reflected a related escalation in activism:

The advisability of this lodge taking united action at the approaching election was mentioned by the Secretary. The matter was freely ventilated amongst the brethren finally (moved and seconded) that this lodge pledge itself to use all legitimate means in its power to secure the return of Robert Wisdom, Esquire – carried.[dcxlii]

In 1876, a letter from the Grand Secretary referred to the ‘necessity of looking after the proper revisions of the electoral roll’, and minutes of a subsequent meeting record:

..Bro J McPhie explained that according to instructions the Secretary and himself had attended at Brother Munson’s and with the Morpeth deputation had [gone] over the electoral roll which had been found pretty correct only one or two names being omitted. Sergeant Gordon had promised to have the omissions rectified.[dcxliii]

Two meetings later:

..letter read from Grand Lodge in reference to a closer combination for political purposes and containing advice for future guidance to watch over the political events of the district to guard the Protestant interests.[dcxliv]

An Orange brother from a nearby village kept notes on the 1880 election:

At this time there was a dissolution of Parliament and it was decided by our party that the sitting member must go for the following reasons. First he was a Roman Catholic, second, he was allied to the publicans and had assisted to pack the licencing branch in Sydney in order to obtain a licence for a brother Roman Catholic who built a public house almost adjoining a Presbyterian Church whose Minister at the time..was a red-hot orange-man.[dcxlv]

A newspaper ad appeared in Newcastle in 1880 calling ‘a Mass Meeting’ of all Orange Lodges for the purpose ‘of taking into consideration matters of importance’ in connection ‘with the forthcoming elections’. ‘Every Member’ was ‘expected to attend’. It was signed ‘By Order of the Political Committee.’[dcxlvi] The Hinton ‘Purple Star’ minutes record a visit by the State WGM in May, 1880:

(He) wished to tell of the rapid spread of our Order all over the Colony, especially since the appearance of the joint pastorals of the Roman bishops. At that time our lodges numbered 150, now we numbered 175, and in addition to this the lodges had very largely increased in numbers, very many of them having nearly doubled.[dcxlvii]

In the following month, close attention was paid to the ritual, a Reverend Yarrington writing that he was declining an invitation to attend the 12 July celebration because ‘of the rough and unseemly manner in which Candidates were treated while going through the Second Degree.’ As a staunch Orangeman he urged the WM to use his influence to have the degree ‘conferred in a milder form.’ The same record mentions a

Circular from Grand Lodge in reference to a rumour..that Romanists had gained admission to some lodges and thereby a knowledge of the signs and passwords..(Discussion led to appointment of an) Inner Tyler who should not give admittance to anyone who could not give the passwords and otherwise satisfy him he was an Orangeman.[dcxlviii]

In August, a number of members undertook, at the WM’s urging, to visit the homes of proposed candidates to determine their bona fides. During the 1883 elections, ‘an incident’ was noted at one of the voting booths. Wisdom was re-elected but probably only because Brother Pearse and others had determined on the day not ‘to show the white feather’ to Papists.[dcxlix]

The same minutes show close co-operation with the local ‘Good Templars’ (IOGT) throughout the 1880’s and ‘90’s. One alarmed elector to the Singleton Argus in 1881 thought

Archbishop Vaughan is secretly flooding this country with Jesuits and other sworn enemies of liberty and loyalty. A vessel has just landed about fifty of these black sheep, one of whom has already located himself on the fat pastures of Patrick’s Plains.[dcl]

A remarkable case played itself out the same year in the Maitland court. A local solicitor acting for his wife sought the return of an eleven year old servant from the girl’s Catholic father who had objected to her being brought up as a Protestant and so had ‘kidnapped’ her.[dcli]

Celebrations of July 12 and other ‘sacred’ dates continued behind closed and curtained doors in Protestant Halls around Australia. The Melbourne Protestant Hall, first opened in April, 1848, was replaced with a larger structure in 1883, enabling the faithful, according to Vertigan, ‘to expand in numbers and influence’. Reflecting Low Church influence, such celebrations were likely to be based around tea and coffee.

The Halls meant sponsored lecture tours could be arranged for a variety of anti-Catholic speakers. Pastor Allen, a Sydney Baptist preacher, and former Catholic priest Chiniquy from Canada both travelled extensively in the 1877-79 period. In 1886 in Lismore, NSW, blows were struck and ‘fifty of the district’s best citizens’ arrested as a result of a riot over the visit by an alleged ‘Escaped Nun’ who lectured about malpractices in the Catholic Church.[dclii] Many of the participants were believed to have come from nearby mining villages. In 1878, a Coroner at Palmer’s Island, not far away, heard evidence of a murderous attack by one Patrick Doyle on William Bain, apparently because he was an Orangemen.[dcliii]

The Chairman of the United Methodist Free Churches of Australia, the Reverend Porteus, was famous for his impassioned telling of the ‘Siege of Derry’. On one occasion in the Minmi (HRD) Free Methodist Church to a largely coal-mining audience with all Orange members in full regalia:

Without a scrap of paper he went exhaustedly and vividly into details, showing what gave rise to the siege and defence of Londonderry..(Reaching) the bright climax the audience gave vent to their admiration by loud and continued applause.[dcliv]

The LOI, Fenianism and Henry Parkes

When defeated in the 1874 election, Newcastle power-broker James Hannell claimed bitter disappointment ‘that the Orangemen of the District had let him down.’ He had only joined the local Orange Lodge in 1868. A more successful candidate for a Victorian country seat at the 1877 election was viewed sceptically by a local police observer:

To the Protestant folk on one side (of the river) Mr Graves was a strict Orangeman – no Popery for him. On the Roman Catholic side, he would not deny he was a Protestant (but only because of his forebears) and Protestant bigotry was most contemptible..

..At Jamieson, [further down the Ovens River] where Gleeson the local political boss, was a Roman and rather shy of Freemasonry, the candidate would have nothing to do with secret societies; he was a plain man who always spoke the truth. At Woods Point he was a leading light among the Masons..[dclv]

Questions about both possible Fenian and Orange conspiracies in the 1868 shooting were asked in State Parliaments,[dclvi] and while The Age attempted to blame the local priesthood, in NSW, it was the era’s dominant politician, Henry Parkes, who most conspicuously played upon faith-based passions. After the ‘hotly and bitterly’ contested 1872 NSW election, he boasted to his sister that

the extreme men of the Irish Catholic faction and the extreme among the Orangemen opposed him, the ex-Ministers exploiting “those unruly elements in their wild endeavours” to defeat him. At the nomination I challenged them to do their worst.[dclvii]

In 1874, after a 12 July parade by the Parramatta Company of Volunteer Rifles to St Johns Church, Parramatta, correspondence whistled between a Mr Reynolds, Parkes, Lieutenant-Colonel Richardson and the Bishop of Sydney. Reynolds, complaining of the use of troops to mark an Orange commemoration, asked Parkes, as Colonial Secretary, what he was going to do about this breach of the Party Processions Act. Reynolds wished the Government to satisfy itself

that no oath, or other obligation in the nature of an oath (was) administered or received, or taken individually or collectively, whereby they bound themselves to secrecy and (promised) subjection to the authority and obedience to the orders of the ringleaders of the head centres of Orangemen in NSW.[dclviii]

Before the election Parkes had promised:

to take immediate and effective measures to put down Orangeism and the societies and meetings of Orangemen, whether secret or otherwise, in this colony.

but clearly did nothing. Reynolds complained in the same terms about a further parade of the Volunteers to celebrate Guy Fawkes Day in November, and about an ‘Orange Demonstration’ mooted for St Pauls Public School, Pennant Hills, an event advertised in the Cumberland Mercury.

It is rarely appreciated that precisely because of Parkes’ manipulation of the situation for political gain, police investigation of the 1868 shooting was amateurish and easily deflected, nor that later understanding, including of whether there were any organised Fenians in Australia, was impeded then and has been impeded since by concentration on Parkes’ motivation. Without a deeper understanding, questions regarding the old schemer’s inner heart have remained unresolved.

In Henry Parkes: Father of Federation, Travers described his subject as wily, dishonest and pragmatic. Others have not been quite so severe, generally believing that ‘pragmatic’ sufficiently covered his sins. Coghlan, a Catholic, thought the word explained why Parkes ‘closely aligned himself with the Anti-Irish Party’:

(Several) general elections were fought in which the real issue was the exclusion of Roman Catholics from public life.. (Nearly) the whole of the Irish Roman Catholic influence was arrayed against (Parkes). The immediate effect of this condition of affairs was to benumb political action..[dclix]

Most have noted his anti-Catholic strategies, but none, as far as I know, has tied together even all the available evidence and drawn the logical conclusion – that however Parkes appeared to twist and turn, there was a non-negotiable core from which he would not stray. His consistent opposition to Catholics and to Catholicism throughout his political career shows his view of the benefits of democracy stemmed from his cultural/religious inclinations, ie his English Protestantism, and was not separate from them.[dclx] As with JD Lang and David Syme, a trumpeted belief in responsible government and universal suffrage for a new Australian nation is not evidence against bigotry. To illustrate: Lang’s celebratory speeches to his supporters include coded anti-Irish assertions, not ‘progressive liberalism’:

He held that a common language, a common literature, a common law, and a common religion, constituted an infinitely stronger and more binding tie than those which kept them now under the domination of Downing Street.[dclxi]

Similarly, Parkes denied charges of sectarianism hurled at him and proclaimed

(In) this free and enlightened British colony there is a spirit abroad among the people, superior to every species of domination – hating tyranny in all its shapes and under every disguise – and detesting sectarian intolerance above all things.[dclxii]

Wrong in fact, such fine-sounding rhetoric is precisely what an editor keen to sell papers, to advance a political career and to disguise his own biases would say. His inter-changing of ‘English’ and ‘British’ is apparent in many editorials, including this one:

..We are sufficiently matured as a people to be entrusted with the highest franchises of Englishmen, and with a local legislature competent to limit or extend our constitutional rights…We shall be for extending the franchise, so long as there remains an honest-and sane-minded British subject without its limits…[dclxiii]

Freeman’s Journal editorials repeated Lang’s published rabid advocacy which he never mentioned when campaigning, and denounced Parkes’ and The Empire’s attacks on McEncroe as worse than any seen in Ireland ‘(in) the worst days of rampant bigotry and Orange ascendancy.’[dclxiv]

Martin notes in his substantial biography that the breakthrough event for Parkes, his launching of The Empire newspaper in Sydney in 1850, involved Robert Barr as his ‘contract printer’,[dclxv] but does not note Barr’s strong Orange allegiance. In June, 1850, Parkes was Lang’s campaign manager. Almost immediately came the Australian League, ostensibly to advance independence from Britain with a planned membership of ‘eight or ten thousand resolute British Australians’ described as ‘men of the right stamp’ – clearly Irish Catholics need not apply.[dclxvi] They appear to have fallen out at this time, Lang accusing ‘Mr P’ of having betrayed him by launching his new publishing venture when he, Parkes, knew that Lang was working up what was his third, ‘The Press’, and was contemplating a daily to be called The Morning Star.[dclxvii] By reporting English reception to ‘The League’, Parkes made sure that his readers were aware of a separation:

The news of Dr Lang’s proposal for the formation of an Australian League…appears to have created a considerable ‘sensation’…we hereby caution all English journalists. He will not merely fail in originating an organisation for the purpose of severing our connection with Great Britain, but he will pass through many years of life…before he witnesses the first step seriously taken towards the accomplishment of that ‘coming event’.[dclxviii]

Parkes reflected on Lang’s personality then and the following week:

…With the gifts which God has showered upon him, he ought to be the plain, generous, noble Lang of Australia; not as he is now, with the meanest suspicions, jealousies, and antipathies, choking up his heart like unwholesome weeds – the abusive editor of a catch-penny paper…

Parkes then reprinted a piece from the London Daily News which he may have written himself:

..Dr Lang is a man who has scarcely any friends, he never yet came into contact with any man with whom he did not contrive to quarrel, and that bitterly, before six months had elapsed..He has been elected, not account of a personal liking, but in spite of a strong personal distaste.[dclxix]

But while continuing to remind his readers of fraud charges hanging over Lang, Parkes then appeared to change his mind again. He repeatedly features Lang, and, in the process, burnishes his self-proclaimed ‘liberal democrat’ image:

…England will be taught a grand lesson by this election [of Dr Lang]. New ideas will be diffused through her literature, for her emigrants; and a new spirit will pervade and animate her legislation for her colonies. It is the true beginning of a great end…[dclxx]

Since, at this time, Parkes also quotes a letter from Kerr whom he appears to know well and who will soon be made Town Clerk to replace King:

Not many persons who know Mr Kerr will be inclined to regard him as a gentleman to be readily imposed upon…[dclxxi]

it is perhaps not too speculative to suggest a reconciliation with Lang has been effected by close Orange ‘associates’ allowing Parkes’ boosting of Lang to return. During the 1851 campaign, extended to nearly six months because of the turmoil created by the rush for gold, Lang , though in gaol from May to August for libel, has no stronger advocate than The Empire. And WC Wentworth has no stronger opponent:

MR WENTWORTH AND THE CITIZENS OF SYDNEY Among the perversities which afflict this unfortunate colony, there are some…for which we have to thank nobody but ourselves. The second election of Mr Wentworth for Sydney was the result of an infatuation inexplicable, and almost unpardonable.[dclxxii]

Wentworth had taken to describing advocates of an extended franchise as ‘socialists’ and voters who thought to criticise him as ‘rabble’, ‘a mob’ and worse. Parkes affected outrage:

SYDNEY SOCIALISM…No! to claim justice and political enfranchisement for every free-born citizen of Britain is not Socialism. To protest against the despotism which tramples men…as if they never bore the Maker’s glorious image…this is not Socialism: it is Truth, and Right, and Christianity. And this is the creed of the genuine democrat.

Parkes also took to reporting meetings and manifestoes of the supporters of a Catholic candidate as though by highlighting their claims that a representative of their interests was needed he would be showing their political perfidy, which amounted ultimately, he said, to a conspiracy to have Wentworth elected. At least 14 major editorials are directed to these themes, including this which finishes with a direct association of the Catholic candidate, Longmore, dubbed by Parkes both an unfortunate dupe, and ‘a monster of sectarianism’, with Wentworth:

THE ELECTIONEERING MOVEMENT OF THE CATHOLICS…The floodgates of sectarian bitterness are to be opened upon us…If the Catholics of Sydney have no man among them worthy of the distinguished honour now sought, that may be their misfortune, but it is certainly not the fault of any other section of our community…[dclxxiii]

In addition to the attention directed at his group’s opponents, there are, within this short period, at least seven major editorials and many minor items boosting Lang. In August, after attacking McEncroe and Heydon in particular as the arch-conspirators, Parkes was forced into what must have been a humiliating reversal of strategy. In March, 1851, THE TOPIC OF THE HOUR, ‘which so violently agitates the public mind in England just now’, was ‘Papal Aggression.’ Parkes then claimed to be above ‘the bigot-cry of ‘No Popery’ yet blamed Catholics for creating ‘the point at issue’ by confusing ‘the spiritual with the temporal.’ Throughout the long electoral campaign his most savage taunt and charge was that to assert that Longmore was needed because his religion was wrong and viciously mendacious. In August, the paper had to plead:

OUR PAPAL AGGRESSION…To the Protestant portion of the constituency, therefore we do now appeal…to resist the attempted aggression with which we are threatened…(To) the friends of National Education we especially address ourselves…This eminently wise and virtuous system of public instruction, (Longmore) has opposed with as much vigour as some of his brethren have opposed the establishment of additional colleges in Ireland.[dclxxiv]

The Catholic threat was an ‘imperium in imperio’, and both the Irish Synod of Thurles and the Conclave of St Mary’s in Sydney were ‘created by a foreign power and subject to alien direction.’ This was a return to the history of recent centuries, not recent months or even years. The well-known advocate for the indigenes, Rev Threlkeld, thought it necessary at this time to confront ‘the Anti-Christ’ with ‘The New South Wales Christian Conference for promoting the Religious Principles of the Reformation in Accordance with the Word of God.’ [dclxxv] In September, Lang headed the poll, Wentworth was the third elected and Longmore was 4th of five, and thus was not elected.

Alert politicos, including Wentworth, Lang and Parkes, had already realised that the discovery of large and widespread pockets of gold had made miners a key audience. Accompanying his ‘Darkness or Light?’ editorial in October 1851, in which he wrote:

(The) struggle is…between the expansion of that glorious intellect which God has given us, and its extinction – between that grovelling superstition which seeks to fetter and degrade, and that pure religion which tends to liberate and exalt.

was a homily from Parkes on ‘The Search for Gold and its Moral Evils’:

The lust for gold is criminal, essentially, and in all its tendencies…We are at a loss to discover what else (than a spirit-canker) could impel respectable tradesmen, surrounded with domestic comforts, attached to religious abandon all…

Robbery, murder, drunkenness and debauchery, gambling, blasphemy and prize-fighting were ‘making deplorable inroads on the English character’ of the miners, [my emphasis] and where once had been a ‘degree of order and harmony’ there was now ‘serious violation of the peace’ and ‘marked manifestations of vice.’ Viciousness was of course, foreign and alien, and ‘English’ inter-changeable with ‘British’:

Perhaps no other people…could have preserved the same degree of order and harmony…maintained…by that fidelity to the law and that love of justice which are pre-eminently the characteristics of the British race.

Whatever the question, Parkes put Lang above all others:

In connection with these social movements and events, one sees more strikingly the importance of the measures taken, and so far accomplished by Dr Lang, towards planting a free colony in North Australia…[dclxxvi]

His ‘own correspondent’ on the Turon Diggings (perhaps Lang himself) was equally selective:

In a former communication I mentioned that his Grace the Archbishop [Broughton] had visited us. His Grace was received with every demonstration of passive respect…but for him no ringing ‘huzzas’…How differently (fared Dr Lang). ..The Rev. John Dunmore Lang was no sooner recognised at the first crossing place than..a burst of acclamation poured upon the ear..(etc)[dclxxvii]

The miners supposedly penned and presented an address, beginning:

We, the gold miners, in public meeting assembled, most respectfully and cordially beg to congratulate you on your first visit to the Turon diggings…

Unlike any of the hypocritical leaders of that base and grovelling faction of obstructionists (now fast falling into decay) your name will henceforth be associated with human progress – it will be a watchword for liberty…

To your immortal honour, you have been the first to promulgate the principles of self-government…You are the apostle of the independence of Australia…[and so on]

to which Lang gratefully replied:

Gentlemen – I cannot but feel exceedingly gratified…(etc)

I have simply obtain Political Justice for my fellow-colonists…(etc)

(While) I thank you most cordially for your kind wishes on my behalf, as well as for the specimen of the produce of your district with which you have favored me…(‘Great cheering’)

Not surprisingly, then, during the 1872 election, in Traver’s opinion:

(Parkes) scarcely had need to campaign, the Gulgong miners and the Mudgee Protestants forming a sufficient majority to make his return inevitable.[dclxxviii]

Mudgee, in 1874, was the location of the first attempt to establish a ‘Ladies Only’ Orange Lodge.

Though correctly castigated by Dalley[dclxxix] and others for his treatment of the 1868 shooter and for his manipulation of ‘sectarian hatreds’, Parkes remained unapologetic throughout. Indeed, whereas Prince Alfred had refused a month before the shooting to meet with a delegation from the Victorian Loyal Orange Grand Lodge, Parkes, throughout his career, was happy to meet with and to accept the public adulation of NSW Orangemen. He was first thanked by the Orangemen of NSW with a Testimonial in 1869[dclxxx], when publicity about his claims that the shooter, O’Farrell, was part of a Fenian conspiracy was at its height. He managed to win the East Sydney seat that year, despite many of ‘his faction’ being defeated, only, according to The Freeman’s Journal, because the Orange Order circulated rumours of a secret Catholic society:

The Catholic organisation, which these political scoundrels asserted to exist…proved to be as complete a myth as ‘the Kiama Ghost’ and the well-organised Orange faction triumphed accordingly in the rejection of Mr Cowper and the return of Parkes and Buchanan.[dclxxxi]

He received another testimonial from the NSW Orange Order for his ‘championship of the Orange Cause’ in April, 1883[dclxxxii], and in September, 1884 was welcomed back from overseas by the same society with an ‘illuminated address’ presented at ‘a very large public meeting convened for the purpose’. The gathered Orange multitude specifically thanked him for the Public Schools Act and for his steadfastness:

The members of the body which we represent have additional special reason to welcome you to our midst again because while you have ever contended for the just and equal rights and liberties – civil, political and religious – of all classes you have on several memorable occasions in the teeth of bitter opposition and contumely resisted to the utmost those who while they claimed and asserted those liberties for themselves sought to wrest them from others.[dclxxxiii]

Although ostensibly Premier, Parkes had almost lost his position in Parliament altogether in the 1880 election, finishing 4th out of 4 candidates for East Sydney. Travers commented:

Parkes blamed the Catholics and he was very likely right…It was just as well, perhaps, that he [Parkes] had not stood in a small town constituency for even in sober, Protestant East Sydney there were enough of Irish blood to vote down the man who hanged O’Farrell and insulted their prelate.[dclxxxiv]

A little later, as McMinn has written:

The Premier [Parkes] was concerned to do something – anything perhaps – to conciliate the ‘wowser’ vote, an important political consideration now he had earned the almost universal enmity of the Roman Catholics; a gesture in the direction of ‘local option’ was an obvious move.[dclxxxv]

In 1887, as (Eric) Turner has established, the NSW Orange Order had 28 members as MPs out of 124, nearly 23% of the total, plus another 21 allies or ‘clients’. By 1895, he has claimed, Orangeism in NSW was a spent force. ‘It revived later, but never to its previous strength.’ Parkes died in 1896.

The simple number of subscribing Orangemen does not explain the electoral successes, and loss of numbers does not necessarily mean a loss of Protestant vigour. Rather, the pressures for re-invention were bringing about a diffusion of effort across many fronts, at the same time as a loss of focus, internal disunity and the Protestant’s own creed of tolerance kept insisting that Roman Catholicism should at least be allowed to co-exist. Turner quoted the markedly liberal oration of newly-installed Orange Grand Master, Neild, to the NSW brethren in 1893:

It is your duty to remember and to show by your conduct that Orangemen have no other feelings than goodwill for their fellowmen no matter what religious faith they may profess; that Orangemen are not narrow minded bigots..but are lovers of liberty, soldiers of freedom, ever on the alert..fighting and suffering under the banner of Protestantism.[dclxxxvi]

This statement was not new. In that year, a financial committee analysed the previous 10 years’ figures and concluded State membership had peaked in 1883, that from 1887 to 1892 2,000 members had discontinued, and that total numbers of operating lodges had declined by approx 25% in the same period. Even more critically:

During the years of prosperity viz, 1882 to 1887, the general working expenses would seem to have been economised whereas during the years from 1888 to 1892 while the institution is suffering in strength and finance the expenditure is more lavish.[dclxxxvii]

All of the Committee’s reforms were challenged and Turner contends this division between the leaders and the members was a measure of the fraternity’s weakness. The Orange-leaning Protestant Standard newspaper ceased in 1895. But as he also points out, it was during the 1880’s that simple anti-Catholicism – regard for the Sabbath, hostility towards nunneries and irritation over ‘party processions’ – expanded into less-obviously faith-based concerns. He doesn’t note that politicians such as Neild continued their LOI membership, and presumably their views, when later campaigning for such concerns as old-age pensions.

In 1889, Parkes again raised for electoral effect ‘the Kiama Ghost’, ie a Fenian he alleged had been shot by his own group in 1868. In June, 1890 Parkes was once more presented with an illuminated address by the Loyal Orange Institute of NSW:

..As in time past, so in the future, they [ie the petitioners] believe you will ever be found on the side of Protestantism, Liberty and Loyalty.[dclxxxviii]

Separately, these testimonials might be interpreted as minor items in a long list of rewards he received over time and not indicative of a close connection with Orangeism. The response has to be that pragmatism alone would require the changing of sides at some stage, rather than consistent advocacy of just one. For public consumption, Parkes insisted in 1884:

As many of you know I am not an Orangemen. I have never belonged to any sectarian society of any kind..

Neither he nor the Orange Grand Lodge disclosed that he had been listed as its ‘client’ since 1865, the year he became Member for Kiama. He was still being endorsed and actively supported at the hustings in 1894 the year of his last election campaign.[dclxxxix]

There are no records of Catholic spokespeople thanking him for his help over the 5 decades of his career.

Catholic Re-Invention

Of the two ageing bishops who had bumped heads in the 1840’s, Polding remained in place the longer and, in (Naomi) Turner’s analysis, continued to direct Catholic attitudes on major social issues, in favour of State aid, towards the squattocracy and against Robertson’s Land Bills.[dcxc] McEncroe, a Polding-supporter, remained vigilant and active, issuing circulars and chairing electoral meetings at which Catholics were told who to support. Some Catholic newspapers objected to blatant attempts at direction but their opposition was selective and directed at detail rather than broad issues.

Neither entirely free of internal conflict nor external enemies, global institutional Catholicism in the last decades of the century gathered itself and leaped forward, devising and implementing an extraordinary, two pronged strategy of re-invention. In Australia the outcomes were massive. Firstly, the Church applied itself assiduously to building a physical presence in schools, colleges, cathedrals and churches, so that by the end of the century ‘triumphalism’ was not inappropriately applied by friends and foes alike to describe the results.

Simultaneously, such an extensive network of guilds, confraternities, sodalities and brotherhoods was established the local hierarchy could justly claim that there was a society ‘suitable to every age and locality’. An 1886 ‘Pastoral Letter of the Archbishops and Bishops of Australasia’ made it plain that after just 100 years, in (Naomi) Turner’s words, Roman Catholicism felt ‘it was a church on the march’:

At a date, so recent as to be quite within the life-time of men still moving amongst us, there was not one priest, not one single altar, in all these Southern lands..(Now) the priests in the colonies number several hundreds; the churches are among the most beautiful in Christendom..Every town has its convent and Catholic schools..Such a contrast between the beginning and the close of a century is unexampled in history..[dcxci]

The emphasis on materialism is marked. The bricks and mortar identified a presence which could not thereafter be denied, and as both cause of the ‘blessings of fruitfulness’ and the result, the faithful were urged to further multiply and apply themselves to the getting of wealth. The increasing number of Catholic societies, newly-confident in themselves, provided individual members with the necessary identity to ensure continuing support.(Naomi) Turner has the best, albeit still incomplete, audit of these societies. After the Total Abstinence Society and the Holy Catholic Guild established in the 1840’s came a multitude of groups, purpose-built and mostly modest, for picnics, sports days, balls and concerts, local lending libraries, spiritual advice and sustenance services, investment and building loans, self-improvement, hospitals, asylums and refuges. A partial list includes:

St Josephs Investment and Building Society

Boys Altar Association

Young Mens and Young Womens Societies

Associations of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

The Apostolate of Prayer

The Association of the Perpetual Adoration

The Purgatorial Society

The Society of the Holy Childhood

The Christian Doctrine Confraternity

The St Vincent de Paul Society

The Sacred Heart Society

The St Francis Guild Brothers of Temperance

The Women of Nazareth

The Theresian Club.

There were two other new societies, deliberately fraternal and deliberately national in scope, which initially experienced the same ‘growing pains’ as their Protestant counterparts.


The Hibernians and the Irish National Foresters

Whether the second, explicitly Catholic benefit society which 1868 brought to prominence, ‘the Hibernians’, was directly connected to its contemporary and very controversial ‘Ancient Order of Hibernians’ in the United States of America, is uncertain. Both used green regalia but the collars and sashes have quite different styles. The ‘official’ history has only that Hibernian Benefit Societies in Launceston and Hobart in 1854 published Rules adapted ‘chiefly’ from Sydney’s St Patrick’s Benefit Society. Subsequently, in the period 1869-72, Ballarat and Melbourne Hibernian Societies assisted New Zealand ‘lodges’ into existence before combining with the Irish Australian Catholic Benefit Society and the Albury Catholic Benefit Society to produce the ‘Hibernian Australasian Catholic Benefit Society’ [HACBS], an association centred on Melbourne but with national aspirations.[dcxcii]

A more interesting account has a committee-man of the Ballarat Benevolent Society in 1866 visiting needy families and finding a number who were not members of any friendly society, because they said of the antipathy of Melbourne’s Bishop Goold towards any society which bound members to a form of secrecy. The committee-man, Mark Young, was himself a member of Grand United Odd Fellows, but recognising a need he set about organising what by 1870 was recognisably the HACBS.[dcxciii] One version has the ‘Ballarat Hibernian Society’, reacting to the long-running debate over education, and operating by St Patricks Day in 1867, bringing about the temporary crippling of local Foresters’ and Odd Fellows’ lodges as Catholic members switched allegiances.[dcxciv]

The Ballarat Hibernians were certainly strong enough to hold an 1870 St Patrick’s Day parade, sports day and concert, and to be accused by local IOOFMU lodges of swamping a later, joint Boxing Day event. In February, 1871, they attempted to explain to the visiting ArchBishops of Victoria and NSW that their use of passwords was to distinguish paying from non-paying members, but were told there was no place for secret signs or passwords of any kind, and that the Church would never recognise them. They adopted subscription cards instead,[dcxcv] their 1871 Rules insisting that:

The question of passwords and signs has been definitely settled in the Society and their absence has been one of its fundamental principles…The ecclesiastical authorities have prohibited all such matters, and the HACBS…is bound to conform…[dcxcvi]

Claiming 110 branches in Victoria, NSW, Queensland, South Australia and New Zealand by 1875, the HACBS was unable to prevent autonomous jurisdictions from forming, the NSW Society dating its independence from 1880.[dcxcvii] The ‘South Australian Benefit Society’ appears to have been autonomous from its inception which it claimed to have been as early as 1863. Certainly, by 1871 it had branches throughout settled areas of that State.[dcxcviii] The Catholic editor of The Irish Harp noted the more general mood:

Provident institutions are becoming so numerous as to mark the era. A large proportion of the working men of our time are in some way or other connected with benefit or economical societies, and it will not be long ere the habits formed by mutual association and co-operation will tell upon the general tone of society.[dcxcix]

This same editor used the catch-cry ‘Union is Strength’ to urge Catholics into yet-more associations to oppose ‘the secret, and anti-Catholic societies’ such as the Freemasons which were clearly on the increase, especially in Europe. Garibaldi’s entry into Rome had resulted in the Pope being confined and Catholics world-wide were extremely agitated. Published objects of the ‘South Australian Catholic Association’, established in October, 1870 show that it intended to be a lobby group on all political, civil and religious issues affecting Catholics.[dcc]

According to leading Catholic scholar, O’Farrell, the Holy Catholic Guild was not at all sanguine about its most threatening rival:

(Sydney’s Archbishop Polding) urged that Propaganda [Vatican theology inspectorate], as a matter of the highest importance, ‘should write to the Irish Bishops regarding the so-called Hibernian Australian Catholic Benefit Society, which is nothing but Fenianism, and to say it bluntly, Freemasonry under another name. In a colony made up of a mixed population, such a Society does nothing else than create controversy, animosity and party splits.’

The concern of the affronted clergy seems to have been with secrecy and sedition, not with ritual or regalia. But there were definitional issues compounded by conceptual confusion. Hibernian Branch Rules were being rejected by Melbourne’s ‘Lord Bishop’ if they did not contain a section ‘defining who is a Catholic and who is not.’ Irishness, yes or no, was a clearable hurdle but ‘a living Catholic’ must be attending Holy Communion ‘regularly’. Certain clergy also wanted to insist that:

…members of secret societies are not members of the Catholic Church.

The Bishop’s correspondence with a branch-officer shows him asserting, presumably on the basis of secretly-gathered intelligence:

I am to point out that at least, in some places, members of secret societies have found their way into the Hibernian Australian Benefit Society, and that it has reached His Lordship that at a funeral on last Sunday, several members, wearing the green sash, and walking in the procession, wore also the apron of a secret society.

Melbourne’s ‘Lord Bishop’ insisted that the Rules stated any members of secret societies would be disqualified. The branch officer’s response allowed that Odd Fellows were in the funeral procession, being friends of the deceased, but ‘not one…was a Catholic’ and they wore ‘black sashes and aprons’. He said it was already clear to members that any Catholic who wore any other regalia than that authorised by ‘our’ laws would be heavily fined. One branch, which was perhaps unique when it began in 1871, is noted in Warwick, inland Queensland. A Catholic medical doctor and two Protestant friends set it up ‘after an Ulster-style riot in which supporters of an Orange candidate had attacked an all-too-triumphal’ Catholic procession.[dcci]

The Irish National Foresters (INF), an 1877 breakaway from the AOF ‘for political reasons’, quickly became the largest friendly society in Ireland on the basis of its support for Irish nationalism. It also spread abroad. Its Constitution called for: ‘Government for Ireland by the Irish people in accordance with Irish ideas and Irish aspiration’, though an 1896 editorial about a newly-established ‘Charles Parnell’ Lodge at Kalgoorlie (WA) placed its financial benefits first, before politics and religion:

The motto of the Order was ‘Unity, Nationality and Benevolence’. They were banded together in a noble brotherhood for the purpose of relieving one another in times of distress and affliction. They were national inasmuch as all its members must be Irish or of Irish descent. The principle of Home Rule dominated the working of the Order and all were anxious to see Ireland take her place among the nations of the earth. The Society embraced Irishmen without distinction of creed…[dccii]

Kalgoorlie’s miners, incidentally, showed the same belief in fraternal benefit societies as their counterparts elsewhere. Only three years after gold had been discovered in 1893, the Kanowna and District Miners’ Sick and Accident Association had 402 members in funeral, sick and accident tables, was employing a doctor and a matron and had found a site for and erected a hospital.[dcciii] Setting up ‘lodges’ there alongside the Miners’ Association and the INF, were the ANA, HACBS, Druids, AOF, and IOOF, and others, a number having female-only lodges.

These were no flashes in pans, successful early then quickly dropping away – the Kalgoorlie branch of the IOOF boasted that at its usual fortnightly meeting in January, 1900, it had 25 members awaiting initiation and six others proposed. Competition was severe – Brother Dowd of the INF’s ‘Charles Parnell Lodge’ was awarded a gold medal in the same month for introducing the most new members in 1899.

In hindsight, it’s possible to see that the Roman Church had recognised the need for re-invention, had not dithered about its heritage, and had embraced not renounced it. The results did not achieve Suttor’s ‘rediscovery of the mediaeval city tradition’ nor a re-invention of the ‘Temple of Civil Rights’ as McEncroe urged in the first issue of the Freemans Journal in 1850, but an integration of its past with its future. As a result, it prospered and was enabled to maintain a combative edge into the 20th century.

Suttor’s is a sometimes entertaining, always partisan account of the struggle for Australian Catholicism during what he saw as the critical period:

(The generation-long crisis..between 1840 and 1865) was the critical period, not only in the formation of Australian Catholicism, but in the formation of Australian civilisation as a whole..[dcciv] (My emphasis)

Pre-empting Gascoigne’s effort in 2005, he located the hierarchically-inclined Benedictines of Polding, and the more locally focused Irish priests and laity such as Duncan and Heydon, in a much longer sweep:

In the century or so beginning 1776, European communities..were politically recast in the mould of Enlightenment thought..(This) democratic development was congenial to Catholic thinking..In 1800 however, the Catholic West had to rediscover the mediaeval city tradition – the diffusion of responsibility under the aegis of natural law – after the centuries of practical and theoretical authoritarianism introduced by, and in response to, the Protestant revolt.[dccv]

‘Rediscovering the mediaeval city tradition’ is a very big claim, and remained a still-born idea at least in Australia, but it is neither an accidental nor an arbitrary metaphor. It appropriately connects the original fraternal societies with their rapid and widespread expansion in the 19th century. It also helps to explain one further consequence of the post-1868 debate, the elevation of ‘this sunny Australia’ as a metaphor above the failed idealism and murderous realities of Europe, and the re-shaping of the myth of ‘Britishness’ into a new, nicer form. Done on the back of a claimed antipathy for an outmoded, secretive model of fraternalism for which societies associated with Ireland could be made to stand, it was an extension rather than a denial of the old jingoism.

‘This sunny Australia’ was but the latest version of the old fraternal metaphor. In this case it made possible a melding of ‘the light’ with deliberately fanciful, air-brushed colonial history, such as in ‘the light on the hill.’

Trade-oriented certificate of mid-19th century.
Trade-oriented certificate of mid-19th century.

CHAPTER 8: Concrete and Symbolic Temples

Almost every ‘lodge’ mentioned in this text thus far has had the word ‘Star’ in its title. This was another of the more popular 19th century versions of ‘the light’.

The Lawson poem most-regularly quoted by commentators in their search for his essential ‘message’ is ‘The Star of Australasia.’ This is not a coincidence. Neither is it accidental that his ‘mateship’ is fanciful, and his ‘Bush’ a vision, not a real place. Roderick, Lawson’s biographer, wrote in 1972:

The Bush..symbolises the Australia of his vision: a world where “‘Brotherhood and Love and Honour!’ is the motto for the world”.. That visionary world..must rise from victory on the violent battlefields of the mind..The Star of the South – the symbol of his ideal republic – will rise from the lurid clouds of war.[dccvi]


Nineteenth century critics, the Australians particularly, could not perceive that Lawson’s notion of mateship was a substantive representation of the ethic that should govern the conduct of this ideal world.


Brereton [a contemporary writer] thought of Lawson’s proclamation of it as a gospel that was the hope of the living world. Lawson’s contemporaries deceived themselves into believing that it was something peculiarly Australian.[dccvii]

In context, there is nothing surprising about these assertions, nor that Lawson, himself, had no mates of the kind he sought, and experienced no mateship of the kind he imagined.[dccviii] Frances Yates, writing about the 16th century’s Hermetic tradition in the 20th, would have immediately understood his quest and its context. Reflecting a lifetime’s study she wrote:

It is perhaps fanciful to end this study [on Shakespeare] with an allusion to Tennyson’s Idylls of the King. Yet, after immersing ourselves in the historical situation surrounding Elizabeth of Bohemia, the Victorian age looms as her very distant and transformed successor.[dccix]

Noting that The Idylls were dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria’s late German husband, ‘an ideal knight’ who had organised the mid-century Crystal Palace Exhibition glorifying the marvels of modern science, she went on:

(With) calm confidence the Victorian seer contemplates the advance of science, and celebrates the Monarch and Empress in terms of Arthurian romance. The Elizabethan chivalric Puritanism survives to become the vehicle of Victorian ethic, the millennial vision of an ampler day continues the Rosicrucian dream…For pious Victorians, the Bible and Shakespeare were the props of British character..

Consistent with its ladder of internal achievement, ie, its degree structure, fraternal societies employed a complex, inter-related range of artefacts, colours, ceremonies and allusions. These were mainly Biblical, as might be expected, but they could also be trade-oriented, astrological, or organic, as in flora and fauna.

Collectively, in the 19th century, they all fed into a single idea which had begun its journey many centuries before – that an integrated human and spiritual context merges at its highest level into ‘the One’, the Creator.

Conceptually, and at its simplest, this is a hierarchy, broad at the base and narrow, very narrow at the top.

Symbolically and visually, a triangle best conveys the effect.

Historically, the temple form – massive columns topped by a (triangular) pediment where is found representations of ‘the Light’, ie the Saviour, ‘the Great Architect of the Universe’ – has been most commonly used.

The essential points for an historian are:

* This synthesis of physical and conceptual hierarchies has proved extremely fertile for the communication of ideals, eg, in Judaeo-Christianity.

* The synthesised ‘building’ metaphors are common to all fraternal societies because of their common history and ideology.

* In the real world, throughout the social evolution from the ‘Divine’ to the ‘Managerial’, the hierarchical arrangement of decision-making power has remained in place. ‘God’ may have been replaced by ‘the Pope’, ‘Grand Master’ or even ‘the Secretary’, but the organisational structure has remained hierarchical.

Over the lifetime of fraternal societies the symbolised light source has transposed from ‘God’ as an old, bearded man to a star, a flame or the sun to a generalised ‘sunniness’ but the essential idea has remained – the nearer one is to the top, or the more strongly one expresses a belief in the idea, then the closer one is presumed to be to an embodiment of, if not divinity, then the valued human characteristics – truth, wisdom, tolerance, and ultimately, enlightenment.

From their first known illustrated examples in the 19th century, trade-oriented societies in particular were keen to display themselves as a Temple in which humans fill the base, angels and the Divine the heights, and female muses the middle levels. In this way, the social and the sacred hierarchies were depicted simultaneously. Other well-known symbols used by trade-oriented societies similarly have had much earlier origins. Mackey’s Encyclopaedia of Freemasonry includes in its entry for ‘Eight’ the claims that the name of Jesus in Greek numerals corresponding to Greek letters was 888, and that a single eight had special significance among the Pythagoreans. It signified friendship, prudence, counsel and justice, and referred to ‘the primitive law of nature which supposes all men to be equal.’ Perrot was moved in her article on ‘modern’ European May Days to remark:

(The) famous ‘Three Eights’…expressed both a quasi-structural representation of the world and the projection into the future of a harmonious and balanced society.[dccx]

Commentators have acknowledged a range of influences on the symbolism of the supposedly radical and secular May Day, one asserting ‘Perhaps most used of all images in the art-work of the early May Days was the sun…’. In the contemporary words of labour-supporting newspaper editor Whitelocke at Broken Hill in 1890:

(The) freeman’s golden sun will rise up and…kiss the majestic figure of Freedom which holds aloft the flaming torch to light a world to liberty.

The minimal amount of Australianised fraternal iconography at the turn of the 19th century is a marker of just how entrenched the traditional symbols were in the minds of local ‘brothers and sisters’. Society-wide celebrations, such as those for Federation, were conducted under the influence of the fraternals, and of a generalised fraternalism which together assisted the creation of a mythic atmosphere around that event. Achieving critical mass in 1914-18, a romanticised ‘mateship’ growing out of this collective myth-making has remained a potent, if petrified, cultural force ever since, shaping among other things, the fanciful history constructed and maintained by all fraternals to the present time.

Australian Freemasonry was drawn along by, and belatedly, almost at the last minute, was able to add its weight to this collective schizophrenia. Although a London observer had thought in 1863 that it was likely that ‘a large number of the Australian lodges will shortly secede from the English rule’[dccxi] autonomy was not achieved in any State for another two decades. South Australia first achieved a self-ruling ‘United Grand Lodge’, in 1884, NSW managed a similar result in 1888, Victoria in 1889, Tasmania in 1890, WA in 1900, and Queensland after much tribulation, in 1921. None of these amalgamations was pretty. In all cases, lodges shattered or totally refused to comply, at least for a time, and numerous brethren walked away altogether.[dccxii]

In NSW the delay in the movement for independence was due almost entirely to the loyalty to English Freemasonry of the same John Williams we’ve already met.[dccxiii] In 1878 and again in the early 1880’s he was censured by London for his language toward his opponents but not for his recalcitrance. Today, he’d be seen as an impossible ‘Colonel Blimp’ figure, repeatedly extolling his own virtues as a reluctant ‘District Grand Master’ forced ‘to come to the aid of NSW’, and beset by opponents fortified only with ‘un-masonic, Communistic, Home Ruleism’. He wrote to his ‘Head Office’ in December, 1881:

(No) man or body of men will ever make me forget (my) heartfelt pledge and..solemn obligation (to be faithful and true to the Grand Master in London and the GLE).

His local opponents repeatedly appealed to their ‘Head Office’ that not only was Williams incompetent but he’d engineered his return as DGM with some very doubtful manoeuvres, including nominating Sir Hercules Robinson, the then-State Governor who he, Williams, knew was both unqualified and uninterested. Williams was certainly not above cancelling the Charter of any lodge such as Braidwood (NSW) which ‘failed in its allegiance’, in his terms, by joining ‘the seceders’.

Williams had to be ‘counselled’ in 1887-8 by senior diplomat and Freemason Lord Carnarvon who was then in the country partly at the direct request of the head of the English Constitution, the Prince of Wales, that ‘the problem’ be sorted. Before Union of the three constitutions was attained on St John’s Day, 1888, the then-Governor of NSW, Lord Carrington, also wrote ‘Home’, ie to the English Grand Lodge, asking for instructions about his nomination as Grand Master of the ‘United’ body, commenting:

If the Union is effected we shall be very strong in this Colony. If the proposal fails, I fear that the English Constitution will be broken up and will cease to exist altogether.

As it is, many prominent English Masons under present circumstances never go near a lodge and the District Grand Lodge cannot be said to be very flourishing. [dccxiv]

Williams died in June 1889, shortly after resigning as DGM which made possible the ceremonial consolidation of the new (Craft) Grand Lodge. It also gave impetus to Masons’ need to celebrate, eg, in Cootamundra (NSW) where they marked the opening of their new lodge hall in 1890 with a procession wherein were borne wands, swords, and other insignia of office, while one of the founders of the lodge carried the Bible on a ‘very handsome cushion’. Seven guineas were given during proceedings to the Hospital.[dccxv]

Williams had also resigned as Grand Superintendent of Royal Arch (RA) Masonry, EC,[dccxvi], in New South Wales, a post he’d held for 27 years. Officers of the eight RA Chapters operating under the English Constitution immediately attempted a coup. Their opening shot was the statement:

With his retirement comes the necessity of speedily organising a Grand Chapter under the prerogative of the United Grand Lodge.

What was intended by most RA Chapters was a GL for all. The English Chapters sought to control its role and function, whether or not the nine Scottish Chapters and the one Irish Chapter agreed or not. The subsequent discontent rumbled on for decades. When in 1933 records showed that the number of RA Chapters in NSW had grown to 216 of which 139 expressed allegiance to the RA Chapter of Scotland rather than a locally-organised body, a Memorandum prepared in Edinburgh refused to countenance the continued push by the minority English for control. It pointed out:

That…the designation Supreme Grand Chapter of Royal Arch Masons of New South Wales in circumstances which ignored a subsisting serious local difference, of itself neither created nor accomplished anything.[dccxvii]

Asked to make recommendations, the Foreign and Colonial Sub-Committee of the Scottish Grand Chapter recommended to its 1933 Executive that ‘in the circumstances there can be no departure’ from the exercise of sovereign rights by the Scottish body in NSW.

‘Spurious’ was one word used by West Australia’s ‘District Grand Lodge of the English Constitution’ when complaining to London about the ‘Grand Lodge of Western Australia’ in 1898-99, that State’s attempt to gain its Masonic independence. Among other things, the reformers claimed in response that their GL of WA was formed:

to rescue masonry from the maladministration which had long prevailed, particularly under the English Constitution..The District Grand Master [of the English Constitution] has now issued invitations to ‘his’ lodges to participate in the formation of a ‘Sovereign Grand Lodge’ which the GL of WA would then have to denounce as ‘a pseudo Grand Lodge’, ‘bastard’ and ‘spurious.’


Australian Myth-Making

McEncroe’s first issue of the (Catholic) Freeman’s Journal in 1850 combined an image of temples with forward-looking civil rights, as in:

(Manhood suffrage as) the broad and safe path whereby the people can advance on their way to the Temple of Civil and Religious Freedom.[dccxviii] (My emphasis)

At the opening of the Catholic Guild Hall in Sydney, in 1876, Archbishop Vaughan boldly turned other well known fraternal metaphors – the Eye of Providence (God), the stone block or ashlar, the compass and circle, ‘God’ as Chief or Commander – back on Freemasonry and all secret sects ‘where oaths to communist atheism are explicit.’ He looked down through 2,000 years of struggle between the Catholic Church and the ‘foul monsters of the dark regions’ and saw that these had threatened ‘Supernaturalism’, the rule of the ‘Supreme Governor’, in two historical waves – a past ‘Paganism’ and a developing ‘Materialism’.[dccxix] As Franklin has pointed out, Vaughan’s targeting of Freemasonry as the ‘hidden spring’ ceaselessly topping up the ‘international Communist conspiracy’, was paranoia of the keenest kind, and reflected no understanding of local Masonic weaknesses.[dccxx]

Suttor has seen a search for ‘the Light’ in the aspirations of both sides of the religious/education debates of the time.[dccxxi] In asserting that Protestantism was the reason for and the source of all that was great and good, spokespeople beckoned constituents to a physical and moral health within ‘the Light’. In 1873, at Bathurst (NSW) one pleaded:

Come to the light, to liberty, to manliness, in the enjoyment of the blessing which God holds out to you.[dccxxii]

Another at the same ‘Orange Celebration’, organised, incidentally, by the ‘American’ company Cobb and Co, spoke of ‘England’, not ‘Britain’, as the enemy of tyrants and oppression. A third maintained that ‘the light’ was ‘Orangeism’:

(It) was nevertheless a fact that the (Orange) Society had for its aims the enlightenment of the world and the proper government of the country, and this was why he intended to adhere to Orangeism so long as God gave him light and reason.

Masonic lodge rooms were, of course, known as ‘Temples’. Most other fraternals had their own versions, many deliberately built in that form, with columns, a portico and ‘light’ finials if not a triangular pediment. Bringing the sun and the Temple[dccxxiii] together is doubly significant. The Grand Master’s Chair in NSW’s Masonic Grand Lodge Room has a pediment in the canopy over the seat. At the three corners of the triangle are three stylised ‘divine flames’, or sources of life and salvation, and thus God. The same three flames on a temple mark the peak of the Worker newspaper building, built in Sydney in 1905. A stylised sun, as appropriated for use on a digger’s slouch hat, adorns the facade of this Sydney Worker building just below the central ‘flame’. Such a sun also appears just below the highest flame on the Grand Masters Chair, similarly enclosed within the pediment.

Lord Carrington’s chain of office, when he was installed as the first Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of NSW in 1888 and when he officiated at the opening of Sydney Trades Hall the same year, incorporated linked ‘8’s’ in the form of numerous serpents swallowing their tails. This is the form in which buckle clasps on all fraternal aprons have been made. It represents immortality, or a belief in an endless ‘infinity’ greater than human effort, unknowable.

The very Greek Temple in form, Melbourne Trades Hall was intended to have at its top a cluster of female-angelic figures similar to those on various AMP office-buildings of the same era, and to the female groupings specially prominent on ‘Friendly’ and trade-oriented literature.[dccxxiv] This group stood in some places for ‘the Divine’, but in general, angels as supporters to God in the divine hierarchy were evolving into the more-secular but romanticised ‘protectors’ in the sense of providing insurance and relief to the family unit.

The Temple forms proliferated throughout supposedly secular society and by the end of the century the same symbolic message was being used in tableaux where, standing in for a tiered representation of the divine and the secular society simultaneously, there were chivalric males, comrades in arms, succoured in battle by a virginal but strong female. The whole was effectively keeping in place prevailing power relations by maintaining the male’s supposedly superior role as the Divine/the breadwinner, and the female’s supposedly inferior role as Angel/nourisher, albeit on a pedestal.

The single female figure in a protective role, and there are many throughout the fraternal literature in the 19th and 20th centuries, is so strong and so common an image that, on its own, it almost can be taken as exemplar of the whole ethos.[dccxxv]

Catholic re-invention happily shared references to Knights and the military since the mediaeval world was that Church’s domain. Demonstrating its resurgence after centuries of repression and disorder as we have seen, its strategists gleefully named their new associations ‘league’, ‘sodality’ ‘guild’ or ‘fraternity’, and renewed exhortations for chastity and fidelity. For exactly that reason, mediaevalism contained traps for Protestantism, but the period’s powers of visual and emotional seduction could not be denied.

Female lodges, female ‘Orders’ and female membership of mixed ‘lodges’ became more prominent at this time. The temperance fraternals had always been driven as much by female desperation as by male ambitions and had had large ‘sisterly’ memberships from their inceptions. A Female Rechabite Order does not appear to have reached Australia, but IOR and some other Orders had up to 40 female-only ‘lodges’ each, the IOOF ‘Rebekahs’ being perhaps the best known. The Melbourne-based ‘Daughters of the Court’ was a very apposite example.[dccxxvi]

The exception, here, has been Freemasonry. ‘Clandestine and irregular’ has been the cry consistently hurled at any ‘masonic-like’ body having women as members while numerous brothers have been expelled or cautioned for ‘unmasonic behaviour’, ie, attending such a society:

No woman can be a Freemason according to the original Plan of Freemasonry to which English Freemasons have from time immemorial adhered..(UGL) will continue to exercise its disciplinary powers towards any member working under the English Constitution who violates his Obligation by being present at or assisting in assemblies professing to be Masonic which are attended by women.[dccxxvii] (My emphasis)

Although they had marched on their own a century before, by Federation female fraternal members were appearing as decorations on floats in parades, not as women who held equivalent membership.[dccxxviii] The relevant conclusion is that precisely because they were claiming solidarity and pride in their manhood, the male marchers in the late-19th century Hospital Sundays, Eight Hour Day and other fraternal demonstrations were consciously attempting to protect the borders separating ‘correct’ behaviour from dangerous transgression, in other words keeping women, and themselves, in check.

The romanticised fraternal images of both males and females simmer with confused, suppressed sexuality. The Federated Clothing Trades Union of Australia banner features a naked Adam and an almost-naked Eve.[dccxxix] The Classically-draped female figure, so common on fraternal ‘naming’ banners, was sometimes Muse, sometimes Britannia,[dccxxx] and thus was both the Protestant-claimed attributes of the British/English race, Reason, Justice, Mercy, but also a soft, safe haven.

During the debate over the Soudan contingent going to war in 1888, Australians were urged to show they had come from ‘infancy to manhood’, that they knew how to be ‘a living sacrifice at the ceremony of maturity’ but also to show ‘a daughter’s obligation of loyalty to her august Mother’ by asserting ‘the wonderful birth of a new fighting power.’’ In the interests of Imperial and nationalist patriotism, both males and females were being excited but suppressed, aroused only to be disappointed.

When on 1 May 1891 central Queensland striking shearers and bush workers rode out to celebrate ‘labour’s chief festival’ they were led by a ‘(Goddess of) Freedom’, an un-named woman. This, Australia’s first ever May Day procession had as its only other ‘carnival’ elements an Odd Fellows band and a bandmaster, wearing a Forester’s feather in his hat. [dccxxxi]

The tableaux on the backs of trucks for Eight Hour Day and May Day and other demonstrations express the male view of women in Britain/England and its white outposts – virginal but seductive, aloof but alluring, pure but available. Thus the combination of gentleness and militarism, the sword and the erotic pose, the combination of all the virtues and strengths in one God-Head, the complete Other. Here are clear signs of the insecure male in a changing world. Indeed, these images are as much about men as they are about women. For, in this particular universe, ‘She’ cannot really be God. ‘She’ can only be the means in building the Temple, the stepping stone to the ‘real’ Deity, the male of the Old Testament, Jehovah. In the Temple ‘She’ is the Pillar, as well as the entrance or gate.

At the peak of Queen Victoria’s popularity and of the Elizabethan ‘Virgin-Queen’ myth reincarnated as the ‘Benign Empress’, female forms were ‘permitted’ to be vigorously presented. This ‘window of opportunity’ lasted until the 1914-18 War strengthened the male self-image sufficiently for the vigorous ‘hero’ figure to once-again supplant the female. The muscle-bound ‘proletarian’ of industry then replaced the earlier ‘mediaeval knight’ figure, as it, earlier still, had replaced the (male) Divine.

When Australian fraternal members claimed, along with their UK contemporaries, a line of heritage for their Orders back through the mediaeval craft guilds to Classical times, Jesus of Nazareth and the Old Testament, they were not stepping outside their own experience to ‘borrow’, for pragmatic reasons, from a culture they wished to join. They were already inside the relevant cultural flow, generalised and reduced to basics no doubt, but securely committed to the Judaeo-Christian ideas of Nation, Church and Family. At the turn of the century, that culture was ‘British/English’.

In order to later celebrate the supposedly more militant and riskier May Day, Australian workers had to replace the already-established Eight Hour Days event. Since the replacement was being imported from the northern hemisphere, its advocates had to argue that May Day was politically more radical, and therefore more meaningful to an ‘industrial’ workers’ movement. The fact that in Australia, May Day and Spring did not coincide did not faze local activists intent on using the momentum generated in Europe by the ‘springtime/rebirth/new beginnings’ rhetoric.

The advent of the springtime imagery coincided with the end of the period of mediaeval nostalgia. After a brief flowering in the 1890-1900 period, both succumbed to a resurgent Bible, and the imperatives of a war-driven economy which set the tone for the new century.[dccxxxii] Only the second was a threat to a continued fraternalism.

Australia’s variation of the mediaeval/springtime fantasy was a ‘mythic continent for a mythic man’ – Nation as Man, Man as Nation – conjoined, melded, inseparable, with women as necessary but secondary handmaidens. It reached a peak in publicity for the 1901 celebrations. Here, were combined female ‘muses’ wearing Grecian robes in a rural idyll with male/military power signifiers, in this case, State and Federal Coats of Arms. The more baroque decorative elements of this dropped away fairly quickly, but Australian identity, the country’s sense of itself, has been stuck in this fanciful construct ever since, unable to move forward.

Examples of romanticised Australian ‘mates’ were put up to rival the British/English version but the local variety could not prevail until ‘Home’ had lost its allure, which was not to happen until well into the 20th century. And the confusion was not just sexual. On the one hand was the image of the young, proud vigorous ‘Cornstalk’, on the other the beaten down ‘faces in the street.’ Although associated with radicalism, the late-19th century ‘mateship’ did not contain the threat or potency for the mainstream that the maturing of the ‘coloured races’ image did, and still does today.[dccxxxiii]

Until Gallipoli, British/English men bonding in British/English wars were preferred over local experience. British/English victories were well known and required no embellishing – Waterloo, Trafalgar, Battle of the Nile. The heroes were household names, and they were always the leaders – Nelson, Wellington, and latterly in Africa, General Gordon at Mafeking and Lord Kitchener. Hadn’t good always triumphed, and weren’t ‘the good’ always white, male, British/English and Protestant?..St George, Robin Hood, Richard the Lion Heart, or King Hal at Agincourt. Along with many ‘Suns of..’ and ‘Stars of..’, Australian lodges took names from the Royal and military pantheon, not ‘Eureka’, ‘Digger’ or ‘Ned Kelly’.

The ‘Ned Kelly legend’ has been skewed in the heroic direction, but mateship rarely features in the Kelly literature, presumably because of the Irishness of the protagonists and widespread uncertainty about just how an emerging national identity should deal with a gang of desperadoes who had died so badly.

Federation optimism might perhaps have produced a ‘mateship’, even a fraternalism, to match the rhetoric by forging a rational, progressive way forward. Real men, and women might have imagined and depicted triumph over all real enemies – poverty, oppression or ignorance – and been used educationally to advance Australia as, for example, Richard Carlile had suggested in 1834 in response to the Tolpuddle trial.

Carlile had assumed that the function and the significance of secrecy in fraternalism were already being lost on insiders, and that anything covert had only negative connotations for outsiders. In the wake of the Tolpuddle Trial he had opposed any principle or device that did not entail honesty and straightforwardness, and argued that trade societies should

be wise and do without secrets; and then they will be approaching a more respectable situation.’[dccxxxiv]

After 10 years in jail on various charges relating to political reform, he published an important expose of Masonic ritual, in which he asserted that, like Christianity and Judaism, Freemason’s adherents had fallen victim to a preference for a cloak of mystery. Like those faiths, the value of Freemasonry should, in the future be, not in mysterious ritual, but in its revelation by allegory of the potential in humanity for enlightenment, for peaceful coexistence and for rational problem-solving:

The true secret of universal brotherhood must be in equality of knowledge, and honesty of its application…Let the Synagogue, the Church and the Masonic Lodge, become schools for that purpose.[dccxxxv]

In Carlile’s mind the struggles against evil, superstition and ignorance were one and the same, and ‘the Messiah’, of whatever religion, was never a real person but a symbol of ‘the Logos’ or ‘the principle of reason’. ‘His’ cross, in whatever form, was ‘the great symbol of science.’

In the 1830’s, fraternalism could not jettison its historical basis in, and dependence on the Bible. Neither could members of the Protestant societies, people of the Bible, abandon the secretive, ritualistic trappings of fraternalism. His suggestions were never going to be taken up later, and not just because he was regarded as a radical and a ‘Freethinker’. Such an ‘alternative fraternalism’ would have had to use real-time stories rather than Biblical parables to exemplify fraternal principles such as ‘friendship, love and truth’. In order to work, adherents would have had to openly discuss the relationships between the moral principles and the here-and-now, especially whether the reality of Australian life bore out the slogans.

The Secular or Freethought Movement did spread to Australia in the 1880’s, but only in a minor way. Even so, it took up the same fraternal trappings. ‘Court True Freedom’, an unregistered Newcastle (NSW) ‘lodge’ for the ‘Independent Order of Free Thinkers’, seems from newspaper reports to have followed fraternal procedures for initiations and ranks based on degrees.[dccxxxvi] Their temple, a ‘Hall of Science’, for which a foundation stone was laid with trowel and mallet in 1890,[dccxxxvii] accommodated up to 1,500 people. In such places around the country, travelling lecturers spoke on a broad range of literary, economic, social and historical topics, close to what Carlile had had in mind:

Solomon’s a figurative allusion to the building up of the temple of the human mind..Another meaning signifies a temple to be a convenient building, containing all the necessary implements, both as to men and things, for the culture of the human mind.[dccxxxviii]

At the end of the 19th century, self-styled Australian ‘radicals’ assisted in the construction of precisely the sort of popular but shallow, fanciful history which made Carlile’s vision impossible. As labour-oriented ‘chancers’ began in the late-19th century to seek legitimation and a State payroll to support their individual dreams of getting beyond poverty and limited opportunities, they found a very useful vehicle, the idea in which Marx sought the Holy Grail and found salvation. They found that Socialism could be glossed with Imperialism to conjure up cheerful, honest and clean living Australians who would build a sun-filled workers’ utopia, where at least there would be paid billets for forceful phrase makers.


The Role of The Bulletin

The Bulletin played a crucial role in the making of the era’s romantic myths and in then leading labour‘s search for the fanciful ‘Promised Land’. Early on it appeared open-eyed and critical, but any genuine scepticism soon evaporated. When ‘the jingoes’ attacked Queensland’s Jennings government in April, 1886, over the annexation of Papua and the New Hebrides, during debates over Home Rule for Ireland, when a statue to JD Lang was mooted, and each time Protestant or Catholic reverends manipulated history, The Bulletin roared, or appeared to roar.[dccxxxix] Over time, the rage became more rhetorical, done for show and for profit.

In its very first issue, 31 January, 1880, it recorded the fact that at Burrowa, rural NSW, collections for yet another ‘Irish Famine Relief Fund’ could not be carried out due to ‘sectarian differences.’[dccxl] Over the next two decades it strenuously pilloried and satirised the advocates of both ‘Orangeism’ and ‘Hibernianism’ and their carrying on of quarrels from a past ‘barbarous age.’ It saw a serious, political side in what it might have dismissed merely as frustrating and absurd. The foisting of faith-based candidacies on duped electors, it believed, prevented honest and progressive candidates being successful and therefore reforming policies being introduced. The Bulletin named public figures it thought corrupted, and especially excoriated Parkes, its frustration increasing as that politician’s stratagems continued to work. In 1885, for example:

It may be safely said that the ballot box influence possessed by the Orange lodges of New South Wales is a standing proof of the unfitness of a section of the electors to hold and exercise the franchise…

Orange puppets in Parliament agree upon no one point save their aggressive and often assumed hatred of the Romanists, and their devotion to Sir Henry Parkes, to whom the idiotic jealousy of various sects has been the secret of power in the years past. He has been most powerful when best able to work any point for the oppression of the Irish or the Romanists..

By raising a religious cry Sir Henry was able to pass the Education Act by a large majority and to retain power throughout that Parliament..[dccxli]

In 1890, a ‘Hop’ cartoon objected via the front page when the Loyal Orange Institute lobbied to have the Party Processions Act removed, and the magazine predicted that street fighting would result if the campaign was successful. In 1896 and ’97 when rioting did break out, its ‘I-told-you-so’ assertions benefited the bottom line by being in the form of another ‘Hop’ cartoon on its front page.[dccxlii]

Early on, The Bulletin declared Freemasonry ‘a sham’ and, among other things, complicit in the British massacres in the Soudan and Egypt to which war local troops had been sent,[dccxliii] but it was bemused by the Australian Natives Association, upon which it also expended much space and ink:

If the Australian Natives Association be simply what its enemies allege it is, viz, a crowd of high-toned young men with haughty social and political convictions, who endeavour to give their society an air of magnificence and distinction…by a sonorous and reverberant title, we should be amongst those who would be first to condemn it..

On one point we do join with the [Daily Telegraph) in asking the (ANA) for an explanation..In its constitution it announces that it is not a political society, yet it attempts to discuss “Federation, New Guinea, the New Hebrides, New Caledonia, the Recidiviste Question, and National Defence.” If not political, what is it?[dccxliv]

The Bulletin did not appear to realise that the ANA had to claim to be a-political because it was actually a benefit society, a concept seemingly beyond it. A long critique of the Directors of the Randwick Orphan Asylum in 1880 included:

(A) coterie which lives and gets fat on ‘honorary billets’ (they) belong to every friendly society and to every other association..They are of various religions and lose no opportunity of insidiously stirring up and fomenting sectarian disputes, which, indirectly and directly, are the chief means whereby their odious names are kept before the public.[dccxlv]

By January, 1888, The Bulletin was trumpeting a ‘Centennial Oration’ to coincide with what it referred to as the official celebrations of ‘the (colony’s) first gaol and its first gallows’. Ranting against the ‘loathsome tyranny’ which had been established on the 26 January, 1788, it sought a celebration of Eureka instead:

..Whilst New South Wales was hanging boys and flogging virtue into the hides of hardened criminals, its young southern neighbour was springing forward with a wonderful nascent vigour in a race for first place..Victoria enjoyed a respite (from convicts) for 30 years. Then came a race of hardy adventurers, steady, sturdy men with strong arms and a free look of liberty in their eyes.[dccxlvi]

Fanciful, militaristic ‘history’ is here being read back into the past to create a sense of something-never-done-before by bands of vigorous new-men intent upon winning liberty or finding nobility in death:

Revolt is the parent of reform, and though Eureka Stockade fades into insignificance when placed beside Bunker’s Hill, the meaning and the impulse in each case of armed resistance is the same.

In both the USA and Australia, ‘the editor’ (Archibald?) claimed to see a slipping back from earlier idealism, and a need for a new beginning:

In America of the past, heroes, patriots, farmers. In America of the present, capitalists and their human property. In Australia of yesterday, pioneers, diggers, Democrats. In Australia of today, toadies, grovellers, lick-spittles.

And so, stirring but fanciful, masculist ‘history:

The people of Australia – the true, the genuine Democrats, the AUSTRALIANS – refuse to celebrate the landing of PHILLIP; they look across the Murray for the one representative act of their nationality; they look across the ocean for the one representative utterance which foretells their future, and they find their exemplars in the rebellious miner, LALOR, and the irritable parson, LANG. (Bulletin emphasis)

Six months later, as another burst of ‘Boyne’ music stirred the pot, the un-named editorialist retrospectively detailed JD Lang’s character and exploits, concluding:

LANG was one of the most deeply and rankly prejudiced men that ever came to this refuge of bigots that we have established in Australia. His outlook was narrow. The squabbles of religious sects were of more importance to him than the welfare or the future of a nation..[dccxlvii]

Yet, there are no Catholic or Irish heroes in The Bulletin, its yardsticks for good or ill are Protestant, just as they are male, white and British/English. When the paper lamented the deaths and destruction visited on Aborigines by whites, as (Sylvia) Lawson notes, it was only to assert that whatever fate was to befall the remnants of the ancient civilisation it would be decided by their conquerors.[dccxlviii]

Labour rhetoricians – contemporaries and drinking mates of Archibald – spoke from ‘inside’ the same heritage and used the same imagery to express the same attitudes. This is not to say that labour’s ‘modern’ image makers did not see themselves as innovators,[dccxlix] nor that they did not arouse or were not involved in controversy, but that their harking back to mediaeval/fraternal themes, their emphasis on craft skills and their evaluation of the place of labour was neither an outlaw position nor new.

Archibald and his co-writers first announced in May, 1885, that to replace the ‘spurious loyalty’ of the ‘yelping bigots’ the paper was seeking a successful outcome to the ‘Revolt of Labour’. Already, in stirring military terms, its flowery rhetoric was emphasising newness, inevitability and the universal nature of the endeavour, while insisting that success was contingent upon applications of discipline and unity. In April, 1890, its leading article, on the ‘Eight Hours Campaign’ began:

There needs no soothsayer to interpret the signs of the times. The struggle of the future – the strife which cannot cease until victory shall have been won by the predestined cause – has commenced in downright earnest..

In Great Britain, in Germany, in France, in Austria, and in the United States of America, Labour, with menacing simultaneousness, makes a uniform demand upon Capital…The eight hours movement is merely an advance upon an outwork of the enemy. That gained it will be used as a point of vantage for further and more comprehensive operations, until the very citadel of Capital is stormed..(etc)[dccl]

And not surprisingly, given Archibald’s own marriage, women, too, were almost entirely absent from the pages of The Bulletin. In (Sylvia) Lawson’s sad, evocative prose:

It was not only that (the roles of Archibald and his wife, Rosa) and spheres were separate, and not only that the childless wife who was not equipped for good works had hardly a role at all. A chasm of sensibility divided them, as it divided many others.[dccli]


The Knights of Labor and other Secret Societies

One of the more forthright Australian protagonists, the Church of England Association claimed near the end of the century that its church remained:

honeycombed with secret societies, guilds and brotherhoods, some under episcopal patronage, yet all secretly instilling the false doctrine of soul-destroying error that underlies Romish ritualism…Ritualists were un-anglican, un-english, anti-Reformationist and Anti-Christ.[dcclii]

At this key moment, this Association leafleted and campaigned for help from like-minded Protestants to oppose ‘the present ritualistic wave..overflowing the Colony.’ Clearly, the fraternal trappings had not died. In addition to that being celebrated in churches, the gathering evidence insists that there was, in fact, a lot of Australian ‘secret work’ going on, in the bush and in many cities.

It’s well known that Irish nationalism achieved a potent symbolic and practical success when the Yankee whaler Catalpa, funded, not through Fenian circles, but through Clan na Gael (‘The Irish Race’) and the Irish Republican Brotherhood [IRB], snatched six prisoners from Fremantle authorities and returned them to the northern hemisphere in 1875. Also known as ‘the United Brotherhood’ this Clan was organised in clubs or numbered branches, with public names, in the fraternal fashion. Originally the result of a secession from New York Fenian networks and known as the ‘Knights of the Inner Circle’, the Clan/United Brotherhood strictly enforced secrecy to guard against infiltration:

Both the IRB and the Fenian Brotherhood were organised in small, well-disciplined circles..Each circle was designed for up to eight hundred members and was commanded by men identified not by title but by letters. At the head of each circle was a centre, referred to as ..A; assisting the centre were nine captains, or B’s, who in turn had a staff of sergeants, or C’s.[dccliii]

Its elaborate initiation ceremonies involved blindfolds, tied hands and an oath:

..(We) are Irishmen, banded together for the purpose of freeing Ireland, and elevating the position of the Irish race. The lamp of the bitter past plainly points out our path, and the first step on the road to Freedom is Secrecy…(etc)[dccliv]

After the 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin, Irishmen happily acknowledged the thread of organisational connection from the Clan, the Irish Republican Brotherhood, and the (US) Ancient Order of Hibernians back to the ‘Circles’ and ‘Centres’ of 18th century fraternities.[dcclv]

That the very old, shared fraternal heritage was being maintained is clear. In 1885, the Newcastle, NSW, branch of the Operative Stonemasons Society was still ‘making’, ie initiating, new members. When branches of the Progressive Society of Carpenters and Joiners were being established in regional NSW, a list of intending members and their initiation fees were being collected and forwarded to Sydney.[dcclvi] Tylers, or Door Guardians operated at meetings of the Sydney Coal Lumpers, which was not established until 1882, of the United General Laborers’ Association of Newcastle and of the United Laborers Protective Society of NSW in 1892. This last body included in its assets for 1892: banner boxes, books, regalia and other lodge property to the value of £110 out of a total of £146/12/-.

Laffan has recently shown that the Orange affiliations of labour activists in the Hunter Valley from the 1860’s on is ‘quite remarkable in number and variety’ and that it remained so well into the 20th century. As he rightly says, this finding runs ‘contrary to a number of well-established assumptions about the Australian labour movement.’[dcclvii]

For the period before the emergence of the Labour Electoral Leagues in 1891, many labour activists were Orangemen. Amongst the region’s largest union, that of the coal miners, many of the elected positions both at a lodge and district level, were filled by Orangemen.

Newcastle’s 1891 8-Hour Day ‘Sports’ were held under ‘Wallsend Rules’. This strongly-fraternal, mining community was the home of ‘Miners’ Home Refuge’, thought to be the largest GUOOF lodge in the colony, perhaps the world at the time. Not too many years before it had been insolvent but under hard-headed leadership its membership passed 500 in the early 1890’s. It fostered a branch for juvenile members from 1876 and instituted a Ladies Temple, the ‘Southern Cross’, in 1891, before the Order officially admitted women.

Francis ‘Frank’ Craig was at the heart of all these developments. He had been involved with ‘Miners’ Home’ since its founding in 1868, and its officers included his brother, Robert Fergus Craig. Wallsend Lodge appears to have had no banner or to have been very keen on spending money on processions, making exceptions for funerals, but just after ‘Frank’ Craig died in 1893, two banners were procured.

In 1895, ‘Miners’ Home Refuge’ refused to adhere to directions issued by Hunter River District officers, and with a neighbouring miner-based branch, Lambton’s the ‘Rose of Australia’, was expelled from GUOOF altogether. The following year, after thirty years of experience in GUOOF, and specifically over a detail of benefit conditions seen as ‘not being in accordance with their requirements nor the spirit of Odd Fellowship’, these two branches established a totally-new Order, the ‘Australian Odd Fellows’ Union’ [AOU]. It followed the usual fraternal form, in structure and in its Rules, until its lodges re-joined Grand United in 1905.[dcclviii]

While Archibald was absent in the UK in 1884, ‘the editor’ of The Bulletin (Traill?) was made a founding member of the ‘Fraternity of Mutual Imps’. [dcclix] This secret society was founded in the early 1880’s, under the motto, ‘Friendship and Hospitality’ by HT Towle, conductor of the orchestra at the Theatre Royal in Sydney using the nom-de-plume, ‘HW Harrison.’ It was formed for the purpose of

promoting intercourse and cementing the bonds of friendship between members of the Dramatic, Lyric, Musical and Literary Professions.[dcclx]

Lodges of Imps were established throughout New Zealand – in Christchurch, Wellington, Dunedin and Aukland, in 1881-2, and shortly after in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Hobart, Broken Hill and Adelaide. Some boasted their own neatly furnished rooms where members could meet to chat, reminisce, read the papers, or use the writing materials and other conveniences, as in many another ‘City Club.’ Paying members numbered between 350 and 400, making them financially sound. Melbourne Lodge, No 3 on the Grand Lodge Roll, opened in September, 1882, and still claimed 350 members in 1927.

The Installation and Investiture of the ‘Arch Fiend’ [Lodge Master] was ‘a most imposing spectacle, never to be erased from one’s memory.’ Officers, members of the Council ‘with all their war paint on’, were installed to specially-composed music rendered by the conductors and players from professional theatres with vocals contributed by ‘artists associated with the Opera Companies in town.’ Some of the earliest concert programmes were reviewed in detail in The Bulletin, but as for ritual:

(Unless) you have nerves of steel and a head harder than a billy-goat don’t you seek for admission, for the initiation ceremony isn’t a bit funny, and the candidate is bound to imagine that he is in hades or the next door to it before he’s halfway through the ordeal.[dcclxi]

The General Rules of the Imps show other executive positions as ‘Past Arch Fiend, Steward, Tyler, Hon Treasurer and Secretary.’ They also show four classes of membership and that ‘the emblems, regalia, paraphernalia, etc,’ were to be returned ‘into safe keeping at the rising of the lodge.’[dcclxii]

It is not accidental nor a sign of a personal quirk that labour leader and preacher at the time of the great Maritime Strike, WG Spence, saw trade unionism as ‘a new religion’, that he saw organisation as ‘the first step essential to Society’s salvation’, or that he sent out ‘missionaries’ to ‘convert’ non-believers. Neither was it accidental that he used coercion and violence to back up his disciplined, hierarchical attitudes.[dcclxiii]

Spence and many other labour notables were initiated into the ‘Knights of Labor’ at the height of the 1890’s confrontation with capital. Imported from the USA in 1889 this fraternal society caught the imagination of dreamers, pragmatists and revolutionaries alike. Hand-written records show that during the most disturbed and turbulent months of 1892-3, the Knight’s ‘Inner Guardian’ had led William Lane, Henry Lawson, George Black, Ernie Lane, Spence, and many others, past the Tyler, through Outer and Inner Veils to the ‘Master Workman’ seated inside ‘Adelphon Kryptos’ or the ‘Assembly of the Secret Brotherhood.’ There they were given passwords, one each for the Inner Veil and the Outer Veil, Travelling Cards, with another password, and were lectured on relations the Divine Creator and certain geometrical shapes had with justice, wisdom, truth, industry and economy. The Knight’s motto, ‘That is the most perfect government in which an injury to one is an injury to all’ was increasingly popular on trade union banners. A brief guide for initiates, ‘Secret Work and Instructions’, describes the use of passwords, hand signs and response signals and insists that:

If there is any sign or portion of a sign, words or symbols, in use in your local different from what you find laid down here, discard the same at once.[dcclxiv]

A published ‘Preamble’ declared:

TO THE PUBLIC: The alarming development and aggressiveness of great capitalists and corporations, unless checked, will inevitably lead to pauperisation and hopeless degradation of the toiling masses.

It is imperative, if we desire to enjoy the full blessings of life, that a check be placed upon unjust accumulation, and the power for evil of aggregated wealth..Therefore we have formed the Order of the Knights of Labor..[dcclxv]

Mary Gilmour was not a member but her coolness under pressure may have been among the reasons Lawson was attracted to her. She, apparently, kept watch on one occasion while Arthur Rae and other ‘Knights’ worked feverishly to remove a bomb allegedly planted by their enemies at Circular Quay in Sydney.[dcclxvi]

The US ‘Grand Master Workman’ of this brotherhood, Terence Powderley was a Freemason and an initiate of other societies. Larry Petrie, arrested in July, 1893 for attempting to bomb the SS Aramac in Brisbane Harbour, is shown in the Sydney Assembly’s records as Member No 59. A hand-written memo dated 25 October, 1893, to ‘the Master Workman of Freedom Assembly’ and signed by Frank Cotton, Thomas Bavister and Arthur Rae, among others, received the following as response to its request for a meeting:

This requisition was only handed to me practically on Oct 30th the day named therein so of course the meeting could not be called for that day..[Peter] McNaught is away and the others either resigned or left the country some for ‘New Australia’..(For) a special meeting for the purpose named no doubt you will kindly do the needful.[dcclxvii]

‘Billy’ Lane had spoken glowingly, without naming him, of McNaught in April, 1892, in the Brisbane Worker, the paper he, Lane edited before leading the New Australia movement to Paraguay:

The ex-editor of a North Queensland paper, the Master Workman of a southern Knights of Labour Assembly, one of the most popular of Australian lecturers and other prominent persons in and out of the Australian Labour movement are known to their friends as enthusiastic Anarchists.[dcclxviii]

Anarchism, theoretical and practical, is another of the many aspects of real-time labour history which have been left severely alone by Labor’s spokespeople. Globally blighted by the controversy around an 1886 explosion in Chicago and its aftermath known as ‘the Haymarket Affair’, anarchism in all its variations nevertheless achieved substantial credibility. The Knights in the USA received a substantial influx of self-described anarchists in the late 1880’s and early 1890’s. Lane, himself, equated anarchism with ‘mateship’ and put it at the centre of the vigorous debates then occurring over labour members of parliament and revolutionary action in his 1892 novel, Working Man’s Paradise:

The Anarchist ideal is the highest and noblest of all human ideals. I cannot conceive of a good man who does not recognise that, when he once understands it..Anarchical Communism, that is, men working as mates and sharing with one another of their own free will is the highest conceivable form of Socialism in industry.

In another place, also under his pseudonym ‘John Miller’ he wrote:

..Just how this co-operation of the workers is to come about is a matter on which Socialists argue considerably..For myself, I think that voluntary co-operation will show the people at large how to do it, that legislation will then bring about some form or other of state control which will remove the pressure that now makes us hustle one another for a job, and that as we become accustomed to being mates, and our children are born and bred into the same atmosphere, all need for legislation or for state-force of any kind will pass away, and we shall evolve a truly socialistic method of co-operation which we shall uphold without law because we shall all love being mates and all hate the very notion of competing with each other as we do now. Just what this final system will be I do not know.[dcclxix]

Naïve and overly optimistic about human frailties as this shows Lane to have been, the fact remains that at the very time ‘mateship’ was being idealised by Lawson in verse, it was being closely associated by some influential labour activists with a social and political utopia, and being displayed in concrete physical terms of ancient heritage, as at Broken Hill to which I return below.

In much more splendid surroundings than tradesman cottages energies at this time were also being mobilised for a federated nation-state. A wall plaque in the Canberra Federation Exhibition quotes Alfred Deakin, regarded today as ‘the architect of Federation’:

(Federation) must always appear to have been secured by a series of miracles.

What did Deakin mean? In 1891 the International President of the Theosophical Society, Colonel HS Olcott, visited Australia. Although cut short by his having to return to Europe suddenly following the death of the Order’s founder, Mme Blavatsky in London, Olcott’s sojourn was remarkable for the depth of his contacts with this country’s political elite. A highly respected diplomat, he later wrote:

I was fortunate enough to meet some of the leading statesmen of different colonies whose names have figured largely in the recent Federation movement, such as Sir Samuel Griffith, Hon Mr Barton, Sir George R Dibbs, Alfred Deakin, Hon John Woods, and others. Two or three of them occupied the chair at my lectures, and my conversations with them, both upon occult and political matters, were highly interesting: they have enabled me to follow recent events with intelligent understanding of the undercurrent of colonial feeling.[dcclxx]

Edmund Barton, the soon-to-be first Prime Minister, chaired Olcott’s Sydney lecture. Deakin did likewise in Melbourne, when the visitor spoke on ‘Buddhism.’ A founder of the Ibis Lodge of Theosophy in the 1890’s, Deakin, post-1901, maintained contact with Olcott and with Annie Besant, former labour and women’s rights activist, who succeeded Blavatsky as ‘commander’ of Theosophy world-wide and helped establish Co-Masonry.[dcclxxi] From a young age Deakin had been interested in mysticism and spirituality, authoring in 1887 a book entitled Temple and Tomb in India. Describing him as ‘a visionary whose ‘practical’ mysticism has left an enduring legacy in the institutions and the political processes of his beloved nation’, Gabay’s study of Deakin’s inner life and politics concluded with the following:

Like Cardinal Newman, Arthur Balfour, Josiah Royce and other Idealist intellectuals of his time, Deakin was reacting against the current ‘materialism’…in the manner and with the presuppositions at hand, being especially keen to defend immortality as the basis of true morality…What marks Deakin out…were his own remarkable private experiences, and the great authority they were to assume towards the end of his life…His faith was sustained by prophecy and ‘signs’…[dcclxxii]

As theosophist Kynaston has pointed out, just as the work of Freemasons in creating the political structure of the USA was followed by a Masonic design of that nation’s capital city, so the ‘fathering’ of the Australian nation state by a man heavily influenced by theosophy was followed by the designing of this nation’s capital by a husband and wife team who, if not formally members, had very strong theosophical connections.[dcclxxiii] There are other indicators. The founder in 1869 of the Victorian Association of Progressive Spiritualists for which Deakin was a conductor, ie, was involved in the ritual, before entering politics was WH Terry. The ‘WH Terry Lodge’ was one of two which formed the ‘Practical Brotherhood of Spiritualistic Sociologists’ when it was established by JR Davies in Melbourne around 1900. This organisation’s Preamble is very closely modelled on that of the ‘Australasian Knights of Labor’ for which Davies was previously ‘PMW’ or ‘Past Master Workman’, serving on the executive with Federal MP Dr Maloney. JA Andrews and two anarchist comrades established a Theosophical Lodge in Sydney in 1894, the same year that Deakin met Annie Besant there and became a theosophist, suggesting quite a range of admirers at her lectures.

It was in that same year that a Corps of St John’s Ambulance Brigade was ‘initiated’ in Lithgow. Revealing the fraternal heritage of what became in the 20th century a ubiquitous presence at working class sporting and community events, ‘the Zambuks’, the reporter wrote:

the St John’s Ambulance Association was established in England in 1877 by the chapter of the order of St John of Jerusalem, an order which was incorporated by His RH the Prince of Wales as Grand Prior.[dcclxxiv]

If they had not been secret, Sydney’s Cardinal Moran may have recognised the biblical allusions in the rites of the Knights of Labour and the Theosophists in his efforts to emulate the mediating role played by (the Catholic) Bishop Manning in London’s Dock Strike and later labour disputes. Appointed Archbishop of Sydney in 1884, Moran had shown his rigid hand while still a bishop in Ireland. In 1876, the Irish National Foresters indicated they were prepared to change their rules to ‘meet objections against certain affectations of mystery’ to obtain his approval but even this was insufficient ‘flexibility’. In 1877 he refused to endorse the Leinster United Trades Association on the grounds that ‘the rules offer scope for intrigue and subterfuge’, and that the name ‘United Trades’ was

borne by many associations that have proved themselves hotbeds of secret organisations and every social disorder, and have brought ruin to thousands in England.[dcclxxv]

According to Ford, Moran gave his approval when the Association changed its name to the Kilkenny Artisans Association, appointed an honorary chaplain, and arranged for quarterly reception of ‘the sacraments’ by members. Charles Dilke, English MP who made a fact-finding tour in the 1880’s wrote later that Moran’s prohibition on Australian Catholics receiving any of the sacraments while they were enrolled in any ‘secret society’ was a more rigorous ban than any that applied elsewhere.[dcclxxvi]

Ford’s study of the ‘encounter between Moran and Socialism’ in NSW between 1890 and 1907 is strongly partisan. He conflates communism and anarchism with state socialism, and NSW with Australia, and argues that Moran’s was the key role in the ‘deflection’ of the State Labor Party into moderate ‘trade union’ policies, thereby supposedly making possible the 20th century mass entry of Catholics into the ALP. Ford argues that as a result of Moran’s influence over Catholic voters in NSW, Australian democracy was defended and bigotry defeated:

This influence and (his insistence on a plurality of political parties) were, both, a contribution to his ideal of a free society – and the more significant for coming at a time when Australia’s new democracy was emerging.[dcclxxvii]

Ford added:

Of no less value, however, was his repeated assertion of the necessity of promoting ancillary social institutions (‘the intermediate institutions’ of Pope John XXIII) such as benefit societies and housing co-operatives, as basic to a free society.

The Cardinal’s dogma that Catholics could not be socialists, which effectively narrowed the possible ‘plurality’, was matched by his further assertion that only Catholic societies were acceptable. He often used meetings of the HACBS, the INF’s and the AHCG to speak his mind on social issues. Ford does allow that Moran’s pronouncements and his candidature for the Federation Convention in 1897, resulted in his clashing violently ‘with extreme Protestants’:

The bitterness which resulted was severe and may explain a tendency to sectarian hyper-sensitiveness in Australia that does not seem to exist in England.[dcclxxviii]

Local anxieties were again intensifying about the degree to which a growing personal independence fitted, on the one hand, with the asserted alignment of ‘the Crown’ and the Church of England, and with Catholic claims to be ‘the one true faith’, on the other. Anti-Catholics asserted ‘papists’ were voting for Protection candidates en masse because they were ordered to by the Church, a consideration much debated by historians since. The Catholic response included assertions that the Lord Mayor of Sydney in 1889 was expelled from the Orange Order because he attended a Ball held for St Vincent’s Hospital. Two MPs were expelled at the same time, one of whom put this minor furore in the context of land reform, the Sudan Contingent and the likelihood of defeating the Stuart Government:

Mr Stuart was denounced and made to feel the constant opposition of prominent members of the Orange Institution because he had the talented and liberal-minded Dalley as his Attorney-General; but they do not denounce Sir H Parkes for having Mr D O‘Connor as a colleague. Oh, no, this is fiscal, not popery.[dcclxxix]

With Federation looming, the ‘Brunswick Riots’ of 1896 and ‘97 were a severe test of will. The first was a direct result of forces unwilling to allow Orange celebrations:

The intention was originally that the members of the LOI and Protestant Alliance should hold a parade, and then march to the Wesleyan church, where a service was to be held..As the procession was abandoned, the brethren to the number of over 200, including many representatives from other suburbs, assembled in regalia in the enclosure surrounding the church, and marched into the church preceded by an officer bearing a cushion, on which lay a copy of an open Bible.[dcclxxx]

The packed congregation, assembled around the Orange brethren sitting on a raised platform, continued to be assailed and ‘boo-hooed’ by crowds outside during the ‘impressive’ service and afterwards. Despite having the necessary permits, the LOI leaders were informed by the police that under the ‘Unlawful Assemblies Act’ they would be responsible for any disturbance of the peace brought on by the ‘mob’ of ‘not fewer than 15,000’ thronging the streets:

The contagion of riot soon spread, and scrimmages developed in all directions. Boys perched on hoardings took a devilish delight in pointing out where specks of orange appeared in the crowd, and gloating over the scenes that followed.[dcclxxxi]

Discussions in parliament and elsewhere between that and the next July produced conflicting legal opinions about police powers when common wisdom said trouble was bound to re-occur. They also produced the Melbourne Post Office Inquiry and a book compiled by a Catholic priest, which quickly ran to eleven editions.[dcclxxxii] During the Inquiry of 1896, where charges against a Catholic postal employee were heard and dismissed, the chaplain of the Queen’s Own Lodge in Melbourne, composed entirely of Public Servants, claimed it to be the ‘largest Orange lodge in the world.’[dcclxxxiii] Crowds in Brunswick streets in July, 1897 have been estimated at twice the previous year’s total:

..A few wild spirits, led by a woman, broke into incipient riot; but they were arrested, incontinently bundled into cabs and taken to the lock-up…(But) for the heavy restraining hand of the police the demonstration must have ended in disaster..A dozen arrests and a head slightly injured by a policeman’s baton represent the whole known results of the lawlessness of the day.[dcclxxxiv]

Coolgardie, in the west was rocked by similar conflict in 1897[dcclxxxv], as was Southern Cross (WA) in 1901. These outbursts were exceptions to the rule of administrative conformity, centralisation and selective tolerance spreading across the continent, but were not the only exceptions. As anxiety battled optimism and the century drew to a close, Amy Castles, a shy Catholic girl from Bendigo thrust too quickly towards national and international stardom as ‘the new Melba’, became a tragic casualty of the faith-based wars. Nellie Melba, of course, was Protestant, and living the high life of a diva in the northern hemisphere. The showman-priest, Robinson, the girl’s mentor and the person partly responsible for what became ‘the Castles’ boom’, no doubt applauded when The Catholic Press wrote:

It is remarkable that all Australian singers of note are Catholic.[dcclxxxvi]

There have been far too many Catholic sodalities, fraternities and like organisations to track in detail examples of their discrimination against non-Catholics, and it is probably unnecessary to point out the proscriptions the RC Church has effected against mixed-marriages and other forms of consorting with the alleged enemy.[dcclxxxvii] The Catholic Press in 1899 did manage to recount how a Catholic chemist in Sydney had been boycotted by members of the St Davids Lodge No 35 of the PAFS because, after five years of service, he had ‘suddenly discovered’ his religion.[dcclxxxviii] In Queensland, also at the end of the century, attacks on Catholic agendas and an ‘unnatural Protestant ascendancy’ led some of the faithful to argue that a growing Masonic movement had taken over the Orange agenda:

Freemasonry stood for a concerted aggression against every claim of the Church as a supernatural polity – this, Pius IX’s excommunication of all (Masons) made clear on both sides.[dcclxxxix]

There appears to be plenty of fire among the smoke which, in the new century, was to feed into the conscription and later the ‘Catholic Action’ debates, but it also has to be said, that, on both sides, to obtain a reaction it was only sufficient that members of one group believed that ‘they’ were out to get ‘us’. Fear remained a potent weapon, whatever the realities, well into the 20th century. Fear of Jesuits, in particular, was a strong emotional trigger for the Australian Protestant Defence Association begun in Sydney in 1902 by the Reverend Dill-Mackey and designed “to draw the Orange Lodges and the wider membership of the Churches into ‘union in political action.’”[dccxc] The APDA quickly spread numbered ‘lodges’ throughout NSW.


Chinese Fraternalism

Chinese ‘Freemasonry’, as it has come to be known, stems from very old benefit societies probably introduced here when immigrants from China came to the gold rush settlements of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland in the 1850’s. In ritual details and in format completely unlike Freemasonry of either the British or the mainland European varieties, these brethren, nevertheless, swore an oath of secrecy and allegiance to ‘the brotherhood’ and lived by rules which exhorted them to observe a similar philosophy of mutual aid and ‘mateship’. Lepper has provided a valuable, concise summary of the 36 rules of the Heaven and Earth Brotherhood, for example:

If a brother be poor, you must help him; otherwise may you die on the road;

A brother must nourish another brother; if you have food you must share it with him; if you do not may a tiger devour you;

He who commits adultery with a brother’s wife, let him be run through with a sword;

He who mentions the thirty-six oaths of the brotherhood must have two hundred and sixteen strokes of the red wood.[dccxci]

In one version, the movement’s adherents fled from mainland China as political refugees known as Hung Mun to offshore havens including to Australia from where reports of ‘a new gold mountain’ were circulating. More recent scholarship disputes this claim, asserting that the bulk of migrants were deliberately brought by agents established in Australia and that this was a major function of the ‘lodges’.

It has been estimated that about 20 million Chinese migrated overseas during and since the 19th century. Most worked as labourers in mining, on road construction and as farm hands. In contrast to extensive material published on these societies in South East Asia and North America, very little has been made available with regard to their history in this country, partly because of few known primary resources.

In 1992, the Bendigo Chinese Association found a ‘Hongmen cabalistic tract’. This has now been translated. With work on gravestones, other records and surviving temple artifacts comparisons, have been able to begin. Any Hongmen member possessing such a manuscript could propogate the association, so whether a tract was a transcribed copy or had been purchased or inherited, whoever possessed it ‘could disseminate the society and become a headman.’[dccxcii]

Not that Bendigo was a naturally receptive environment. Holdsworth, curator and researcher at the Goldfields Research Centre, Bendigo in 2006, believed that Bendigo was unusual amongst Victorian towns with Chinese ‘lodges.’ Being an extremely ‘unionised’ town, for example, the original source of the Amalgamated Miners’ Association, Bendigo was the last amongst Victorian towns to accept Chinese involvement in cultural life. It was also the home base of the architect of legislation disenfranchising Chinese residents, the man who later became Sir John Quick.

John Fitzgerald, now at La Trobe University, disputes much of this, also pointing to recent research.[dccxciii] He argues that this shows that in Bendigo the white community leadership worked closely with the Chinese community to ensure continuous participation in local affairs, though not always without tension. Holdsworth argues that members of friendly societies withdrew their support in the late 1880’s when local authorities gave money to the Chinese ‘lodge’ to participate in community events but none to them.[dccxciv]

Fitzgerald believes there is no evidence that Chinese ‘lodges’ subsequently started calling themselves ‘Masonic’ to ward off racist attacks. The newly-opened archives of NSW’s United Grand Lodge are providing insights into connections between Freemasonry and the Yee Hing networks in late 19th and early 20th century Sydney.[dccxcv] However, the label ‘Masonic’ remains problematic. Fitzgerald suggests it was more likely a case of ‘uneducated country folk’ attempting to attain a cloak of greater respectability by adopting the name, with no attempt made to formalize a connection with official Freemasonry.

This is possibly the case with Quong Tart who died a respected Sydney businessman widely regarded as the first Australian Chinese member of a regular Masonic lodge. He had earlier been a member of ‘the Foresters’ and the IOOFMU, his wife later claiming him to have been the first Chinese man elected to an Odd Fellows lodge in NSW. Naturalised in 1871, he joined MU’s Unity Lodge No 46 at Araluen, a small mining camp near Braidwood, NSW. When that closed he must have transferred to Miners’ Refuge, No 73, at Major’s Creek, his ‘brothers’ presenting him with an Illuminated Address in March, 1881. At his death in 1903, the Professional Musicians Association Brass Band played, the Presbyterian Archdeacon spoke and the Very Worthy Brother FR Bretnall, Past Grand Registrar and Secretary of the Lodge of Tranquility read the Masonic burial service attended by forty other brethren.[dccxcvi]

The Hongmen Tiandihui was more accurately a fraternal mutual benefit society utilizing the distinguishing features of oaths, secret ritual and regalia, all directed at obligating members to help one another especially at times of hardship and calamity. I am tempted to refer to it as a Friendly Society of the ANA kind, because it had explicitly political objectives. As Cai Shaoqing has it:

The numerous Chinese labourers were away from home, helpless and isolated. They joined the Hongmen as sworn brothers for mutual support to protect their livelihood and mutual interests, and to counter racist discrimination and mistreatment by the colonial government and the white colonialists.[dccxcvii]

This author describes three stages in the society’s development. The first, from 1851 to 1875, was, roughly, the period of arrival, establishment and expansion. Cai Shaoqing deduces around half the Chinese population in the country were members. From 1875 to 1900, all Chinese were harshly treated by non-Chinese and the Society was inactive or very circumspect. Many Chinese moved to the cities and took up other occupations. The third stage, 1901 to 1921 was marked by rising Chinese nationalism and transformation of the Society into a social and political force. Its organisation actively opposed the ‘White Australia’ policy, set up a newspaper and agitated for the establishment of a Chinese Consulate in Sydney. It was in this period that Clubs were established and the title ‘Masonic’ adopted.

Price quotes Oddie’s MA thesis to the effect that an Anti-Chinese League, revived by the United Furniture Trade Society in Victoria in 1887-89

received considerable support from the (ANA), a combined benevolent and political association for professional men, business men and small farmers (with) branches in many suburbs and country towns, most of whom wished to keep the Australian continent free for a predominantly Anglo-Saxon race and society, and for other Europeans willing and able to conform to British-Australian ways.[dccxcviii]

The Anti-Chinese League, in Price’s paraphrase of Oddie, sought to convince

every voter and member that Chinese were socially undesirable and economically dangerous, that all future immigration should be prohibited, that Chinese residents should pay an annual residence tax of 20 (Pound), that no further Chinese should be naturalized, and that any naturalized Chinese leaving the colony, even for a short trip, should at once lose his citizenship.

The League apparently won ‘support from many other Unions’, organized numerous meetings in suburbs and country towns, and sent deputations to Parliament in July and August, 1887. Similar activities occurred in NSW and Queensland, where, as in Victoria, emotions had been roused by an economic recession which lasted well into the 1890’s.

Another disputed assertion is that unlike their countrymen in other countries, the Chinese in Australia were culturally homogeneous and that inter-racial battles between ‘lodges’ were rare. One widely acknowledged exception was a fierce armed conflict in Melbourne in 1904 between Hongmen and the Bao Liang Society over opium and gambling interests, after which the Bao Liang lost credibility and dissolved around 1912.[dccxcix] There was also a period of ‘faction fights’ in Sydney’s George Street in 1892. Quong Tart, with others, convened a conciliating committee and though abused by some Chinese for opportunism succeeded in apparently easing tensions between a Loon-Ye-Tong group and a Dwoon Goon group.[dccc]

In his recent book, Chinese Lodges in Australia, the Bendigo tract’s translator, Kok Hu Jin has concluded:

firstly, that the overseas pursuit of gold had to be a group enterprise, involving mutual dependency and support; second, that lodges generally reflected pre-migration bonds and associations, and thirdly, that each lodge maintained its own temple for the local membership, and was directly involved in sponsorship of more immigrants. The temple was therefore, ‘office, headquarters, meeting place and ceremonial centre.’

His research approach exposes clear similarities to fraternals drawn from Europe, and thus suggests paths not yet pursued by scholars of ‘our’ lodges. For example:

Many artefacts…identify the lodges with which the temple followers who donated them were affiliated. In turn, one may then trace links, whether of common geographic origin, ancestry, clan or language, between groups of immigrants scattered far and wide around the Australian continent.[dccci]

Dr Kok Hu Jin sets out the various names under which the Hung League family of brotherhood associations have been known – ‘the Heaven and Earth Society’, ‘the Heaven-Earth-League’, ‘the Three United Society (Heaven, Earth, Man)’ and the ‘Triad Society of Heaven and Earth Society.’ After the British Government ordered the breaking up of the Society on the Malay Peninsular in the late 19th century, some surviving factions went underground and degenerated into gangsterism, the now dreaded ‘triads’.

He believes that it was Sun Yat Sen, 20th century nationalist and republican, who undertook from mainland China the reorganization of the Hungmen which resulted in the adoption of the label ‘Masonic’ in Australia, and presumably elsewhere. Fitzgerald finds this connection unlikely, especially for Australia. Interestingly, Dr Sun’s emblem, adopted by the Nationalists in China, was a 12-rayed rising sun. In the North American case, researchers have claimed that:

At the turn of the century Sun Yat-Sen obtained considerable financial support from chapters of the Chih-kung T’ang in North America. In San Francisco over 2,000,000 dollars in revolutionary currency was printed. In British Columbia the chapters mortgaged their buildings to raise money for the republican cause. [dcccii]

All of which suggests there is much more to be learnt about these organisations here.


The Example of Broken Hill

In this remote region, far away from the charms and fascinations of civilisation, plodding into the bowels of the earth, extracting its silvery ore, Ireland’s exiled sons are to be found building up a mighty association, not alone for their mutual protection, but, quickened by the spirit of freedom they so appreciably enjoy, to record the sufferings, the trials, the exploits and triumphs of their ancestors; and, above all, to celebrate with due honour and solemnity the national festival of Ireland, St Patrick’s Day. Surely we have reason to feel proud of our brethren at Broken Hill..

HACBS Annual Report, 1890, p.9.


Thought to have seen more parades than any other town in Australia up to the 1st World War, Broken Hill exemplifies, perhaps in extremis, conditions under which mining communities fought to survive against both internal and external forces insistent that autonomy and local independence would not. From the beginning of mining there in the 1880’s:

The destruction of the vegetation around the town increased the severity of naturally-occurring dust storms, and the town itself was treeless and dusty. Domestic life was spartan. The luckier families lived in small iron cottages that became furnaces during the summers, and single men stayed in poorly-ventilated, over-crowded lodging houses…

The generally-trying conditions and the shortage of fresh food decreased resistance to sickness, while

drought increased the prevalence of contaminated drinking water; flies breeding around open, cesspit toilets spread disease…A typhoid epidemic took 123 lives during 1888…(The) death rate was twice the State’s average…Local welfare issues dominated the election of the first council..

Alcohol consumption was enormous and spin off effects widespread. Nevertheless, and despite the wealth which flowed to the State, shareholders and directors:

Government neglect of Broken Hill’s welfare was matched by the companies’ apathy and in particular by the negligence of the BHP..A few mine managers took an interest in the men’s lives, but most were transients who contributed little to the town. Others displayed an almost contemptuous disinterest. WH Patton, BHP’s manager from 1888-1890 rarely donated any of his opulent salary to local causes and in 1889 he refused to open the new hospital.[dccciii]

‘The Hill’s’ collective experience documents the blood, the sweat and the tears of the live human beings who created ‘the lodges’ and the lodge movement to satisfy, not whims, but basic needs. It also highlights how different people, for different reasons have sanitised the story to foster various mythologies.

A branch of the Amalgamated Miners’ Association [AMA] was formed in 1886, membership reaching 1,000 in 1888. Its first Secretary, Griffin, was forced out in that year for being too aggressive, lacking tact and capacity to negotiate. The new President, O’Neil, introduced ‘stewards’, a very old fraternal position, one for every 25 members. This close, personal attention induced many to join. In July, the following year, an assertive, charismatic leader, Richard Sleath, was elected President, and it was he who determined upon a push for compulsory unionism of the AMA.

The AMA had been established at Bendigo in 1874 using as guidelines rules of the National Miners Association of Britain. When the Hill’s branch was set up, WG Spence, the AMA’s secretary, wrote suggesting that the mine managements be advised that the AMA ‘did not believe in strikes’ and that all conciliatory approaches would have to be exhausted before ‘such extreme action’ would be taken.[dccciv]

During the 1880’s boom times ‘the Hill’ was administered and organised more by the rich and influential than by the working people or their organisations. There were, for example, sufficient professionals for an annual football match to be staged between the lawyers and bankers on one side and ‘the brokers’ on the other.[dcccv] This meant, among other things, that numerous entertainments were advertised as being ‘for the elite’ and that an SF lodge was initiated at Silverton (then still called Umberumberka and the precursor of Broken Hill proper, about 25kms distant) before even a makeshift ‘hospital’ was functioning there, and long before there was any rail-line into or out of the Barrier Ranges area.[dcccvi] Subsequent notices indicate the continuing strength of this lodge, and, while it was open to all comers, show its executive dominated by the first doctors in the area.

However, before the Masonic fraternity had found a home, and before the AMA arrived, a ‘Barrier Ranges Miners Association’ was set up at Silverton as a ‘friendly society’:

At a meeting held on Saturday evening last to receive the report of the committee appointed on September 27th to prepare a programme for the formation of a miners’ association on this field, it was resolved that the proposed association should take the form of a friendly society, to afford succour to members who may sustain personal injury through any mining accident.[dcccvii]

This is no soft, a-political group, in need of replacement by more ‘modern’ organisation:

A motion was carried to the effect that the standard rate of wages to be recognised by the society shall be 10s per day of eight hours.

Similarly, at a nearby mining camp, Purnamoota, a separate ‘Miners’ Protective Society’ was mooted, ‘to guard against the reduction of wages, to regulate the hours of labour, and to assist miners in case of strikes.’

In early 1884, the first attempt at ‘an institution for the sick’ was a large tent, a ‘doubtful improvement’ on the oven-like humpy from which the patient had been removed. This, ‘Silverton Hospital’ was in financial trouble within 3 months. The greater number of its 28 cases resulted from ‘intemperance’. So great was the influx of miners at this time and so great their thirst and that of their families, that Reschs’ Brewery had re-located from Wilcannia, and extended its operations into cordial manufacture.

The Miners’ Association made a priority of helping the Hospital, donating 5 guineas at the 20 December, 1884 meeting which confirmed the Association’s President and Secretary and which received a letter from the Hospital Committee ‘intimating that five admission tickets’ would be placed at the Association’s disposal.[dcccviii]

The Hospital’s ‘chief surgeon’ in 1885, Dr Thompson, was forced to respond to newspaper claims of poor management, patients able to go and come as they pleased, even to the pub, and able to harass other patients or staff, the chief wardsman being often absent because of his own drunkenness. Little wonder, the editor opined, that the hospital had little public support.[dcccix]

The ‘Bonanza Lodge’ of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows opened soon after with Dr Thompson as its lodge ‘attendant’. Organisers of the ‘Odd Fellows Ball’ in 1885 sought to ensure the event was ‘select’, no doubt a euphemism for sober, by securing prior ticket sales and monitoring admissions.

With an enlarging population already moving from Silverton to the new settlement at Broken Hill where a site for a ‘temporary’ hospital was being sought, arrangements were put in place whereby each miner was to contribute 6d per week to the Silverton ‘hospital’. The Barrier Miners Association initially opposed the Hospital Committee’s claim early in 1886 for a further 6d/week from each subscriber. Just established, the Committee asserted itself by declaring that unless the BMA’s opposition was withdrawn forthwith the miners would cease payments altogether and call for new tenders for medical attendance and drugs provision.

The inevitability of the full fraternal context is clear from the language being used, eg, the AMA’s Barrier Branch brethren were informed by their ‘Grand Lodge’ in Victoria, which no doubt included Spence, that their dispensation, or ‘lodge charter’, would be forwarded as soon as it was signed.[dcccx] In the same vein, boundary-rider and finder of the original mine lode, Charles Rasp, donated a site for the Umberumberka SF Lodge building, and Silverton businesses observed a half-holiday for St Patrick celebrations in March.

In April, 1886 the Odd Fellows held their first Annual Sports and the AMA met to consider applications for the position of its ‘lodge medical officer.’ Dr Thompson’s tender was the lowest and therefore accepted. He undertook to attend a member, his wife and family for 6 1/2d a week and to visit the region’s mines at least once a week, and in all cases of sickness or accident. Many of the populace, especially Irish Catholics and Cornish Wesleyans, remained keen to avoid being treated ‘in hospital’.

In 1887, a wooden building housing six beds was erected. It was managed by a Committee who, in 1888, appointed a Matron and the first nurse and ‘medico’. The state of that second ‘hospital’ can be imagined by the fact that it also was replaced in 1889 with a building accommodating 76 beds. Though a vast improvement, in July, 1889 the new Hospital still required a complete floor, while drainage and the removal of nightsoil remained problems. In this month, a letter writer to the Silver Age put a new spin on old complaints about ‘friendly societies’:

Sir – I notice there is a movement on foot among the Broken Hill benefit societies to boycott the local medical faculty, rather than adopt their recommendations to raise the weekly subscription to a sum proportioned to the serious character of the work in a new place like Broken Hill…

Leaving out of consideration the Holy Hibernian Society, which has a method quite its own in meeting the difficulty, the subscriptions paid by the ordinary Oddfellows, Druids, Foresters and similar societies amount on an average to what would hardly provide 6d for each visit and not 6d for medicine, and it is this pittance it is now proposed to reduce…

Three or four of our medical men have already left us through sheer inadequacy of payments received. A little less money spent on banners and flummery and a penny or twopence a week more on the first necessity for life in a place like this would do much to raise the character and usefulness of these societies…

…Assuredly all who sympathise with the many trials of the working classes…most devoutly hope that the legislation promised since the publication of the report of the royal commission on the state of the friendly societies of the colony will not be much longer delayed.[dcccxi] (My emphasis)

Other anecdotal evidence indicates some doctors believed that, since the typhoid epidemic the previous year, Broken Hill had become ‘too healthy’ to support the number of medicos in the region.[dcccxii]

The then editor of the Silver Age provided column space for Catholic events and for Presbyterian Temperance festivities but the societies named by the letter writer, Oddfellows, Druids, Foresters, rarely if ever ‘speak out’ here or in the rival Barrier Miner. The few mentions are not complimentary:

Only a very meagre attendance rewarded the efforts of the promoters of the Oddfellows Sports yesterday. Those who did not witness them lost very little amusement as the arrangements were in a very incomplete state. [dcccxiii]

Even when provoked, the ‘friendlies’ managed nary a peep, either in their own defence, or for the collective good. No statements appear from them on the various hospital crises or medical situations which directly affected them. This lack of assertion outside ‘lodge’ may have stemmed from a perceived prohibition on getting involved in public ‘issues’ or from their having a captive audience. In any event it was, in 1889 and has often been since, a major contributor to their lack of profile when a public presence would have been useful, even necessary. Perhaps this was why the Silver Age editor trumpeted a need for expressions of popular passion:

Today being the Fourth of July and the anniversary of the greatest event of modern history – the declaration of American Independence – will not be observed as a holiday in Broken Hill, though many lesser events are so marked.(Even) Americans on the field seem not to care since last year.[dcccxiv]

More generally he asserted:

On various occasions we have pointed…to the fact that the dwellers in Broken Hill and district are not a united family. Every man appears to be so absorbed in his own particular form of worship of the Golden Calf that he has neither ears nor eyes for anything that does not directly and immediately affect his pocket…[dcccxv]

By the time of this editorial, sufficient mass had been achieved to make it worthwhile for individuals to wrestle for control of municipal affairs and for fraternities to compete with one another. The Rechabites, Sons and Daughters of Temperance, the IOOF and the ‘Manchester Unity’ were now in place and competing with the Grand United Odd Fellows. In March, 1889, just before the ‘Mutual Imps’ and ‘the Buffaloes’ set up lodges, the Federated Engine Drivers and Firemen established theirs. The ANA’s first Broken Hill lodge, set up in July, 1889 and determined to affiliate with South Australia, was initially perceived as being more concerned with dances and social events than with the grind of a push for Federation. A Women’s Christian Temperance lecturess visited the area in July sparking a local branch, and the LOI’s Silver Star Lodge celebrated its first 12th of July.

There are very few public signs of faith-based conflict in Broken Hill, not because all energies were going into ‘industrial’ matters, but perhaps because this remote and almost self-contained community was not kept agitated by overseas events as those in the capital cities were. Catholics were the second-largest denomination by number, after Methodists, and had a designated church from 1887, a convent school from 1889, and later an orphanage and a cathedral.[dcccxvi] Perhaps the overall domination by Protestantism rendered Catholicism mute in its own interest.

A Medical and Accident Fund set up originally by mine owners and managers but run by the AMA from March, 1889 and healthy enough to pay its Secretary, WJ Ferguson, £96 pa, appears not to have had the defining fraternal features.[dcccxvii] The executive of the AMA certainly did, including distinctive regalia down to local branch level. The Builders Labourers Society and Accident Fund conducted initiations at this time and operated a full panoply of lodge roles including that of a tyler.[dcccxviii]

The AMA led the procession to the opening of the Hospital in June, 1889. It then ordered an expensive banner and white gloves for the use of their Chief Marshall in the first parade on their own behalf later that year. Moves such as this towards an enhanced public presence by an ambitious leadership in competition for numbers and prestige strengthened a broad sense of fraternal solidarity across the rank-and-file of all societies, while aiding the push for strict enforcement of union-only mine working.

Sleath, as incoming President from July, had himself ‘conducted’ to his chair by the presiding officer. He saw immediately that opportunities existed for his organisation to be more than just a branch of a miners’ society. He set about establishing sub-branches at outlying mining camps for which ‘his’ branch was to play the role of a ‘Grand Lodge’. Miners were the largest occupational group, but there were competitors for their allegiance, and there were messy, residual issues from its earliest formations, including opposition to a mining inspector and certain membership qualifications. Previously, exemptions had been made amongst AMA-memberships for fathers introducing their sons to ‘face-mining’ at lower rates of pay and blind eyes had been turned to late payment of subscriptions and the like. But since the local ‘union’ had become part of the broader AMA a huge influx of members had occurred, and old miners such as George Hobbs, Committee-man with the Medical and Accident Fund but a seceder from the AMA because of what he said had been time-wasting and ‘certain obnoxious resolutions’, now re-joined. [dcccxix]

In August, 1889, the Hospital’s books showed that it was broke, some Masonic brethren, including the editor of the Silver Age, gushed at the visit of the South Australian Governor Earl Kintore and his wife the Countess to ‘their’ Ball, and the area’s first Arbor Day attracted a large crowd. A German Club was set up in September and a first Court of the Ancient Order of Foresters was formalised in October, 1889. In September, the Silver Age (SA) gave extensive coverage to the visit of AMA Secretary Spence and President Burton to what was now the largest Branch of that society. It publicised the Catholic Church’s injunction that:

Any Catholic who joins any benefit society except the Hibernian Society will be deprived of Christian burial.[dcccxx] (My emphasis)

The AMA Sports in October were accorded a general holiday, the Silver Age saying they ‘marked the beginning of a new era.’ Organisers hoped for 2,000 miners but achieved only half that while the 100 or so members of the FEDFA who marched were outnumbered by 200 Odd Fellows and 200 Druids, stirred into significant action by their rivals. When they chose to march with other societies as many did, AMA members were asked to wear their AMA badge, a rosette of blue, red and white ribbon.[dcccxxi]

Their numbers and their allegiance were affected by a protest-movement against Sleath’s heavy-handed tactics and suspicions that the books were being ‘cooked’. Still in October, a fire threatened the building where the Barrier Branch held its meetings, prompting some members to organise a round-the-clock guard of the records.[dcccxxii] An inquest into the fire produced an open finding, and, equally unconvincingly, the books were cleared by an internal Committee.[dcccxxiii]

The AMA Branch executive entered into negotiations about the Medical and Accident Fund over Rules drawn up by ‘the entire medical profession of the city’. In November, they claimed successful conclusion of talks and ‘a new departure for the entire colony in the matter of medical services to the wage-earning classes.’ Benefits of Fund-membership were listed as ‘relief in case of sickness, accident, strike pay, loss of tools, death, and superannuation.’’ The AMA had no ‘appointed doctor’ because it recognised none of those available and had, only reluctantly, become involved in discussion of types of ‘ambulance vans’ which needed to be on stand-by at all the major mines. Developments revealed it had backed the wrong horse. By January, 1890, ‘their’ Fund was declared non-viable, its balances to be distributed back to subscribers.[dcccxxiv]

The AMA ‘stewards’ in and around the mines were dealing with the practical implications of a union-only policy:

It is no secret that men of other trades and callings have been allowed to join what otherwise should have been a close companionship of men having one calling and whose interests were in common in every respect.[dcccxxv]

The Silver Age was here referring to tradesmen such as barbers and bootmakers. The carpenters, mechanics and surface operatives more directly affected by the strike declared by the underground miners on 7 November, 1889, immediately began to form their own societies rather than join the AMA.

Competition between the Silver Age and the newly-established Barrier Miner began, centred on the allegiance of the miners, the largest group of consumers. Yet the SA, insisting its office was fully-unionised opposed the actions of the AMA in pulling out 2,000 men because ‘a handful of men would not join the ranks’, and further claimed the BM was only a reluctant supporter of the Typographical Society but a groveller at the feet of the AMA. Although issues of the Barrier Miner are missing for the period July-December, 1889, later editorials showed its loud, repeated support for the AMA, despite Sleath’s personality clearly forcing it into less-than-positive reflections on AMA-leadership.[dcccxxvi]

Having supported the London dock workers in their strike, the AMA received £1000 in return, and its demonstration of strength only required a week to convince the employers of a need to settle. The Terms of Agreement, however, directly affected the local political situation by being the first step in an attempt to quarantine ‘the Hill’ from strike situations elsewhere:


  1. The AMA will as early as possible take means to have the Barrier District made a colonial district so that the executive [of the AMA] may control their own affairs and draw up such rules as will be approved of by a committee of managers.
  2. Shift bosses and foremen are not to be compelled to join the union, but may form a union for themselves.
  3. The surface men and furnace hands can form a union of their own, and may be affiliated with the AMA.
  4. Tradesmen and mechanics already members of recognised societies are not to be compelled to join the AMA.
  5. The companies undertake to collect the dues for each of the unions on pay day, and hand the same over to the duly appointed officer of the unions, who will be present on pay day.
  6. Work to be resumed on the mines forthwith – that is, as far as possible.
  7. It is understood that no local union will be recognised by the employers unless exceeding in numbers 100. If below that number permission must be obtained from the AMA Executive and Managers Association before it can be formed.
  8. All past differences to be forgotten.[dcccxxvii]

Sleath attempted intimidation of the local, ‘embryonic’ unions to induce them to enter the AMA-fold. He argued to a meeting of surface hands, for example, that the terms of agreement (above) denied them permission to establish a society until after the AMA was re-instituted as a Colonial District, and that until that time they must join the AMA. The surface hands initially accepted the argument but upon reflection determined to proceed independently and quickly achieved the required membership numbers. [dcccxxviii]

Truckers, teamsters and other trade groups forming their own societies had also to consider whether to affiliate with the AMA as a de-facto ‘Trades and Labour Council’, or with a breakaway group attempting to establish itself as the T&LC and eager to have the Parkes-Government give it rights to land proposed for a ‘Trades Hall’. These divided into pro- and anti-AMA groups.

Although Sleath was a delegate to the AMA Conference in Dunolly, Victoria in February, he was defeated at the municipal elections the same month, along with his co-delegate Neil. The Barrier Miner enraged Sleath by commenting, ‘hear, hear’.

A Combined Conference of trade societies met in March without an official AMA-delegate to consider the question of a ‘Trades Hall’. Two crucial ballots determined to resist the AMA push to be the ‘T&LC’ and to insist that strike-monies paid to the AMA in November, 1889 be distributed to all societies involved. The AMA in ‘the Barrier’ became Colonial District No 3, and Sleath became ‘Colonial District Secretary.’ An argument immediately broke out between the various ‘branches’ in the area as to whether the Barrier Branch as the largest should be able to outvote all the others combined.

In April, 1890, the NSW Premer, Parkes laid the foundation stone for an AMA Hall and promised a further site for a Trades Hall to accompany the Town Hall and a Masonic Hall, then under construction. In May, the Federated Engine Drivers and Firemen [FEDFA] indicated it had already affiliated to the ‘Broken Hill Trades and Labour Council’ when Sleath & Co invited it to join the AMA.

Midway through 1890, as an uneasy, industrial calm settled on the region, the Barrier Miner’s new editor, Nelson P Whitelocke, redoubled efforts to make that paper the preferred voice of the AMA. Responsible for the ‘4th of July’ editorial (above) when at the Silver Age, this brash individual could have passed as a Yankee adventurer. The very racist editorial, ‘Those Coons’ of 2 May, 1889, ‘Knights of Labor’ editorials and column inches given to the Independent Order of Good Templars and the Roman Catholics in both papers would then be more easily explicable. Actually a descendant of William Lawson,[dcccxxix] conqueror of the Blue Mountain barrier, his entry into labour movement politics coincided with very public instances of USA cultural influence. Baseball was the featured group game at the Hibernian Sports in March, 1889, ‘a lady baseballist’ being prominent.[dcccxxx]

Whitelocke may have a broader significance than his support for the US of A and fraternal societies would give him. He articulated so clearly and so completely the self-deluding, bombastic mythology on which the embryonic labour movement was driven from over-reaching optimism to defeat in the space of six months in 1890, that one wonders how broadly he was read. As already noted, his editorial to celebrate ‘The Glorious Fourth’ in July, 1890 spoke of the Knights of Labor unfurling ‘their great trade banners’ whereupon

the freeman’s golden sun will rise up and…kiss…the majestic figure of Freedom, which holds aloft the flaming torch to light a world to Liberty.[dcccxxxi]

He puffed his own ability as a sketch-artist, a la Hop of The Bulletin and then delivered a likeness of the sitting Mayor of Broken Hill, Thomas Coombe. A fortnight later he published his sketch for the AMA (Broken Hill Branch) banner, wherein the stylised figures of ‘Capital’ and ‘Labour’ shook hands, man-to-man.[dcccxxxii] Between these two activities he delivered a definitive editorial, ‘Labor, Capital, Unionism and Strikes’. It is replete with bloody images of ‘the insatiable employer’ and ‘the suffering of the poor toilers’ of past times being replaced with ‘the emancipation of Labor’ by way of a newly-devised ‘unionism’, which if provoked by repression will prove unstoppable. He insists an equality of interest exists between the starkly-drawn protagonists, but issued a warning:

So long as the poor rise, as at Hyde Park [London] they recently rose, and the military can be found to silence them with bayonet and bullet, so long will revolution be kept in check; but once let the troops reverse and side with the starving masses of their fellow countrymen…(then) the bloodiest struggle that ever filled a revolutionised country will be fought out to the certain victory of the masses in that wonderful city, Babylon the Great.

Then will Labor take not only what it had the right to demand (but that to which it has no right, the Blood of Capitalists) by means which will shake the British Throne to the ground, and raise up the Presidential chair of a second English Republic.

Capital has its rights, but so has Labor, and both these are identical. And if the former continue to oppress the latter when just concession is demanded chaos must come, and with it a destruction of life and property the most gloomy of us do not yet realise.[dcccxxxiii]

He railed against the unemployed, then marching in Melbourne, as ‘loafers and gaol birds’ led by professional agitators, probably in the pay of conservative plutocrats determined to undermine Protectionism and Protectionist Victoria in favour of Free Trade NSW.[dcccxxxiv] During the ‘Maritime Dispute’ which began in July, he provided an equivalence of space to the employees’ and employers’ statements the first of which, closely read, clearly illustrates a hardening of attitude in step with the rising enthusiasm for union-only work amongst employees. Despite or because of Whitelocke’s approach, which included a claim the employers’ side ‘has the imprint of truth’, sales of the Barrier Miner passed 5,000 copies per day and its competitor, the Silver Age, was complained about at mass rallies of miners.

As opinions polarised and suspicions deepened, the Hospital Committee threatened to close that institution’s doors:

If one may take as serious a remark of a certain member of the local Hospital Committee last night, that the miners are a contemptible lot, and that it would be teaching them a wholesome lesson to shut the doors of the institution in their faces, the funds difficulty is commencing to assume alarming proportions.[dcccxxxv]

Whitelocke called upon the Committee to resign. The AMA seized the same opportunity, passed a motion of no confidence in the Committee and called a meeting of ‘the various Trades and Labor Societies’ to discuss the issue. The combined meeting called for the Committee’s resignation, and a replacement of incumbent ‘doctors and lawyers’ with workers’ representatives, one delegate adding to the rising chorus:

The labor organisations were and had been the mainstays of the Barrier, the pioneers of civilisation.[dcccxxxvi]

Amidst the din generated in the rush to war, the ‘friendlies’ still had nothing to say, on either the national or the local crisis. The Barrier Ranges United Trades & Labour Council was more publically active, but, in the face of Whitelocke’s and the AMA’s noisier efforts, could be said to be quietly gathering strength. At the end of August, Whitelocke highlighted a ‘huge red bandana’ visible in a major Sydney mass demonstration, describing it as:

an emphatic democratic emblem presented by the New York Democratic Club to Captain Keser of the American ship ‘Exporter’, which was the first to employ union labour in discharging cargo.[dcccxxxvii]

His paper provided the Manifesto of the NSW Labor Defence Committee:

Fellow Workers – The time has come when a supreme battle must be fought in defence of the principles of trades unionism. The question at issue in this conflict…(is) of the right of labor to federate in a common cause..[dcccxxxviii]

The Chairman of the Sydney meeting was equally astray of the truth in announcing:

Australia had been charged with being the home of trade-unionism and today, he thought, proved the assertion to be true…They were fighting for the individual liberty of every Australian, which meant the liberty of the subject.[dcccxxxix]

Coastal labour pressmen accused clerics of pandering to the powerful and despising the ‘Christ of Labour.’ Seeking a safe middle ground, religious authorities argued that Jesus was the location of humanity’s only hope for real or lasting brotherhood.[dcccxl]

The BHP shut its mines on ‘the Barrier’ on the 5 September, the day of an even bigger demonstration in Sydney where 200,000 people watched 51 societies parade with 42 banners and 20 bands.

The success of the first great demonstration of strikers and their sympathisers on Saturday week, emboldened the Labor Defence Committee to make a still greater display of labour bodies, and Saturday last witnessed the culmination of their efforts in one of the most imposing displays of the kind yet seen south of the line.

…It seemed as though all Sydney were out to participate in or gaze upon the spectacle of labour defying capital. But everything was in order and there was no disturbance.[dcccxli]

The Newcastle Morning Herald reported the Chairman of this gathering saying that he hoped

all recognised that the present struggle was the greatest epoch in the history of Australia.[dcccxlii]

A similar demonstration in Newcastle at the end of the month was described as ‘the largest and grandest that has ever been seen in any part of New South Wales outside Sydney.’ Although this last was organised by temperance lecturer Fegan, later an MHR, no fraternal associations other than the trade-oriented marched in these three parades restricted as they were to organisations on strike.

Despite the self-defeating bombast, these industrial events are the coming of age of Australian Trade Unionism. They do amount to the drawing of a line around work practices, from the detail of which Speculative Freemasonry and the Affiliated Friendly Societies are now to be fully excluded. The functions of fraternal societies and their memberships continue, however, to overlap and fraternal history continues to be shared. The functional division thunderingly asserted by trade-oriented societies remains a division more easily attainable in capital cities than elsewhere.

The day following the second Sydney demonstration, the Broken Hill miners struck, the other trades following immediately, whereupon conflict spread to municipal matters. A Water Bill being debated in Sydney was objected to by the Hill’s residents who repudiated councillors advocating the legislation. Associated charges of bribery in Sydney of MPs to get the Bill passed were brushed aside by Sydney’s parliamentary power brokers. A long piece in the Barrier Miner accurately appraised the situation:

Ever since New South Wales was a self-governing authority…centralisation has been the leading feature of those in authority. Money has been unsparingly spent upon the beautification of the metropolis…while on the other hand, the country districts have been neglected…(the only exception being buildings which manifest central government in non-metropolitan sites, ie town halls, railway stations, courthouses and post offices)…[dcccxliii]

Later in September, a mass Broken Hill procession ‘to discuss the strike’ was headed by the new AMA banner and tailed by the Hibernians ‘with their exquisite banner.’ Again, the local trouble was settled more quickly than elsewhere, Sleath being the chief negotiator with BHP in Adelaide. Claimed as a victory, the details show that it pledged the Barrier District AMA not to support any trade body in any later ‘troubles.’

This then became the sticking point, further threatening the standing and credibility of the AMA. A major split in the organisation developed, meetings were disrupted and fights broke out in the street between erstwhile comrades. A Whitelocke lecture on ‘Protection’ was postponed because ‘serious disturbances outside’ made it ‘impossible to get a decent-sized audience’ inside.

Nevertheless, celebration of the end of the strike and the fifth year of the founding of the original AMA on 2 October were sufficient to produce ‘a magnificent spectacle’. The day before, Whitelocke pointed out that ‘almost the whole male population of the town belongs either to a union or a friendly society’ and so:

The day has been proclaimed a public holiday, and all places of business, banks, etc, will be closed. The other trade societies regard the day much as ‘Eight Hours Day’ is regarded in the capitals, and will join with regalia, banners, etc in the procession.[dcccxliv]

On the day itself, the AMA’s leading officers marched ‘wearing their glittering collars and badges of office’, district officers being ‘in full regalia’. Thence

five and six deep came the members of the AMA local branch, all bearing their various regalia.

The FEDFA contingent was attired similarly:

Each member of the association wore across his breast a beautiful blue satin sash edged with gold lace and heavily draped with gold fringe, finished off by a gold tassel and inscribed in gilt letters.[cxl]

Broken Hill Executive of the Federated Engine Drivers and Firemen Association, 1913.
Broken Hill Executive of the Federated Engine Drivers and Firemen Association, 1913.

Even with the banners furled, Whitelocke continued to spin:

Today [15 November] is the anniversary of the settlement of the great strike of last year by which the miners of the Barrier won their Magna Charta, and established unionism for all time, as we hope, on this field. There has, apparently, been no celebration or remembrance of the events by the AMA; but as the journal which fought on the miners’ side in that great contest, and which may justly claim some share of credit for the victory obtained, we cannot allow the anniversary to pass in complete silence.[dcccxlvi]

Principally concerned to boost himself and his paper, he could not deny that disputation amongst the unionists continued. The Smelter and Surface Hands Union had again demanded of the AMA that money sent by the Sydney Labor Defence Committee to Broken Hill be distributed as intended.

Dissatisfaction with Sleath and his clique now affected the selection of ‘labour candidates’ for the 1891 Parliamentary elections. The broader 1890’s struggle had resulted in a major defeat, but Whitelocke was sure that neither the workers nor their leaders had been at fault. ‘The cause’ had been lost because of ‘a lack of sufficient funds’ and because of ‘blacklegism.’

The Hospital Committee did not rush to admit its internal weaknesses either. Two years later, in 1893, it was again down to its last £20. In that year, the Barrier Miners’ Sick and Accident Fund was told by the Registrar it was unviable and must be wound up. Eight Hours Day demonstrations, in both Sydney and in Broken Hill, were considerably down in numbers and in enthusiasm. Another depression was peaking, this one about to be followed in the west by a long, extensive drought. Nevertheless, a ‘Combined Friendly Societies Demonstration’, also in October, was initiated as a recruiting and advertising device and a fund raiser for the Hospital. A fortnight later in Sydney a Friendly Society deputation was told by Sir George Dibbs, Premier, that if they wanted a Friendly Societies Bill they would have to pay £50 towards its drafting costs. They must have ‘stumped up’ as just two weeks later a copy of it was available to reporters.[dcccxlvii]

No doubt the AMA brethren wore their ‘lodge’ collars at Chiltern, the Society’s birthplace when presented in November that year with a banner and pedestal by (later Sir) Isaac Isaacs, as they did at the laying of the foundation stone of the Trades Hall in 1898:


Parades for this opening, for Hospital Sunday and for Eight Hours Day in 1898 all featured banners ‘of benefit societies and trade unions.’ The Barrier Truth shows in 1899 eleven friendly society branches in Broken Hill alongside six trades union branches, only three of which were meeting at Trades Hall. The Carpenters and Joiners were meeting at Tait’s Masonic Hotel along with brethren from five of the other fraternal societies. In that year, the miners’ AMA, in regalia, unfurled its new banner for the first time to the public at a Hospital Sunday parade. [dcccxlviii]

The rhetoric in which this country now bruited itself far and wide – as a new nation stepping out boldly into a bright new MODERN future, supposedly unencumbered by the superstitious trappings of the old world – was like many such assertions, a wish-projection.


The Australian Natives Association (ANA) has as its crowning achievement, for some people its only achievement, the generation of the groundswell of support for Federation. It has been, in fact, an exceptional society firstly, because it is the only Affiliated Friendly Society known to me that turned away from secret rites and rituals within six months of its origins, and, secondly, it is the only AFS known to me which was discriminated against by doctors because of its overt politics.

In 1971, the historian of this society’s first 100 years, wrote that ‘the ANA is basically a Friendly Society’ which:

has at all levels..sustained a continued and lively interest in discussion and the formulating of a policy on national and local questions.[dcccxlix]

This is not a statement that any other friendly society would have made, even in hindsight and even though many of them were heavily involved in ‘national and local questions.’ In not hiding its internal discussions behind closed and guarded doors and in its prohibition only of ‘discussions on party politics and on religious topics such as might excite sectarian issues’, it was also unique.[dcccl] But as a Perth ANA member explained at a 1900 ‘Smoke Social’ of the Boulder branch (WA) to an audience which included men from the IOOF, HACBS, AOD, AOF and the miners’ AMA:

The fundamental principle of the ANA was Federated Australia and Australia for the white man.[dcccli]

The ANA has claimed leadership roles in a large number of policy initiatives which were natural ‘spin-offs’ from its initial premise: an Australian Navy, single gauge rail, restricted immigration, the Naturalisation Ceremony, Australia Day, military training, the Antarctic stewardship, study of Australian history in schools, and many others. Along with decimal currency, ANA branches were discussing all of these ideas in the 1890’s and 1900’s.

Another fraternal begun just after the tumult of 1868, it developed the standard ‘friendly’ Rules. Being on average 10 years younger than, for example, IOOFMU, its early membership was not in need of as much medical care as others. Some of its initiators had intended to copy the NSW ‘Australian Patriotic Society’, while others wanted a ‘secret society’ with fraternal trappings. A blue sash with the Australian coat of arms was suggested but lapsed, in the face of what was considered a more ‘brisk and business like’ approach.

Established in all States before 1891, the ANA has often been identified as a Victorian society. In 1909, Victorian membership was over 27,000, while its total for the other five states together was only 7,000 (approx). Some of the disparity can be put down to its numerous harsh critics, and some to mobility of the mining population.

From all of its concerns, an opponent of the ANA today would in all likelihood, choose to object to its advocacy of White Australia. In 1900, the most sensitive issue of all was actually Australia’s quest for independence from ‘the Empire’.

Sir John Quick, celebrated in Bendigo as ‘legendary hero’ and more broadly as a ‘Founding Father’, was an honorary member of that goldfields’ branch of the ANA. It published his very influential 1896 A Digest of Federal Constitutions. Menadue’s celebration of the society and ‘Federation’ concluded with:

For a time [UK] Prime Minister Chamberlain resisted the acceptance of the (Australian Commonwealth Constitution) Bill in toto. Mr Deakin held strongly to the original Bill and, at one juncture, only the ANA in Australia, remained steadfastly behind him…(When it came into operation on 1 January, 1901) it was not inappropriate that the first Prime Minister, Hon Edmund Barton, was a member of the Australian Natives Association.[dccclii]

A less-partisan observer perhaps, the editor of the Melbourne Herald, wrote in January, 1906, at the opening of a major display of Australian industries:

Today we celebrate the anniversary of the foundation of Australia. Thanks to the patriotic efforts of the Australian Natives Association, the celebration has taken a form that cannot fail to appeal to the hearts and minds of all lovers of their country. The Association may claim a large share of the credit attaching to the creation of Federation and is now seeking to crown its work by incessant practical loyalty..[dcccliii]

The following day, The Age wrote:

Advance Australia: A luncheon to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Commonwealth and the 118th anniversary of Australian colonisation was given by the Australian Natives Association at the Exhibition Building yesterday..(Amongst) those seated at the tables were the Prime Minister (Mr Alfred Deakin), the State Premier (Mr Thomas Bent), the Lord Mayor of Melbourne (Cr Weedon), Sir Henry Wrixon (President of the Legislative Council), Mr Austin Chapman (Postmaster General), Sir Samuel Griffith (Chief Secretary)..etc[dcccliv]

Menadue notes that the first members had been immediately branded as upstarts and having ‘republican tendencies.’ In the ‘90’s The Bulletin thought them effete, inclined to dandyism.[dccclv] First attempts to set-up in NSW were bedevilled by cross-Murray rivalries, and assertions that it was a front for anti-English, pro-Irish agitators. NSW’s ‘parent lodge’, the Waratah Branch, had to be re-established in 1900 and a new push made for members.[dccclvi] Similarly, in South and Western Australia, where first ‘lodges’ also fell away, an anti-colonial bias, ie ‘anti-Australian-made products’, was strong.[dccclvii] Just after Federation was achieved, Deakin, a long-standing member, wrote privately to Thomas Heide, editor and founder of the ANA paper, Advance Australia:

..The duty which all members of the Australian Natives Association owe to the Commonwealth is that which every citizen is called upon to discharge..Voters who belong to the Association have however more than the usual obligation to do their duty to their country. They played so important a part in securing the adoption of the Constitution that they may properly be held responsible to the public for its efficient working..They will be numbered among the fathers of the Commonwealth.[dccclviii]

Heide, who had proposed and established the paper in 1895, was well aware of the restrictions imposed legislatively on the ANA by virtue of its being a friendly society with sickness and funeral benefits. His successful ‘start up’ proposal described his aims for the paper being to ‘(advance) a national sentiment’ as ‘a side-way’ approach to the expression of political statements.[dccclix]


Celebrating Federation

Celebrations for Australia’s Federation took numerous forms, the best known events being in Sydney in the first week of the new century, 1901. The centrepiece of these public ceremonials was a huge street procession on 1 January. Rank upon rank of ‘the gentry’ and row upon row of the military protectors of the Empire, were followed by community representatives, the mounted police, trade unionists with an Eight Hours Day banner, friendly society leaders in carriages, firemen and so on. The official record shows that besides distinctive working clothes and tools which, for the operative stonemasons included a square and compass, hammer, chisel and a lewis[dccclx], a number of trade unions were further distinguished by sashes – Bakers (no colour given), United Labourers (blue, with ULPS in gold), Amalgamated Engineers (red). Gold miners from various locations chose to appear in white costumes with a red sash, while the Society of Tailors wore their emblem, the fig-leaf.[dccclxi]

Four days later on 5 January, a further huge parade took place, this time of just the common folk. As was usual at the time, this culminated in a sports carnival.[dccclxii] Featured were banners and floats from numerous trade and friendly societies. No Hibernians or Australasian Holy Catholic Guild members paraded, whereby hangs a tale. ‘An unhappy controversy’ concerning precedence technically due to Cardinal Moran but given to the Anglican Archbishop resulted in Moran abstracting himself from the Sydney march altogether and watching it from the steps of St Mary’s Cathedral, amongst a choir of Catholic children singing suitably patriotic songs.[dccclxiii] The official record of the celebrations, published in 1904, described this parade:

The procession through the streets of the city by the United Friendly Societies and Trades Unions presented a magnificent spectacle. Recognising the importance and numerical strength of the combined orders of the respective bodies forming this demonstration, the Government considered it advisable to set apart a separate day for the purpose..[dccclxiv]

Members of Parliament followed the crowds to the Sports Carnival which was also attended by the Governor-General and Prime Ministers of both New South Wales and New Zealand. The State organisations of Trade Unions and Friendly Societies contributed separate banquets to the festivities, each attended by a bevy of dignitaries. Prime Minister Barton spoke about the Federal Ministry’s powers at the second of these:

..(So) far as I can judge at present, the passage of a Friendly Societies Act does not come within the scope of the subjects entrusted to the federation..(However) I can assure you that…any legitimate influence I can exercise will be right heartily employed to smooth away inequalities in the law under which these societies operate.

NSW’s Premier See asserted:

No institution could do so much good as the Friendly Societies, and he hoped before the expiration of the present Parliament to bring in a Bill to give the relief which they so urgently required.

His call for a Federation of all Australia’s Friendly Societies was repeated by EW O’Sullivan, the State Minister for Works:

(The) Friendly Societies…should have a Friendly Societies’ Ground on Moore Park (Sydney).., Secondly, they should establish a Friendly Societies’ holiday, and hold an annual procession like the Trade Unions. The bank holiday on the 1st August might be utilised for such a purpose. Thirdly, they ought to have a federated Friendly Societies’ Hall, in which delegates from all parts of the Commonwealth could meet, exchange views, and hold Federal banquets, and local gatherings.[dccclxv]

See was initiated into ‘Strangers Refuge Lodge’, IOOFMU, with George Reid, at this time.[dccclxvi]

Outside Sydney, levels of Federation-enthusiasm varied. No celebration was held in Lithgow, the residents being more concerned to welcome home returning Boer War warriors. At the nearby settlement of Sunny Corner, ‘the patriotic Mafeking committee’ having money in hand determined to make an ‘appropriate’ noise for Federation – fireworks and a monster picnic preceding an afternoon of sports.[dccclxvii]

In contrast, no ‘friendlies’, not even the ANA, officially featured at the ‘Commonwealth Celebrations’ at Kalgoorlie. Specifically mentioned were Fire Brigades, Voluntary Salvage Corps, the Trades and Labour Council and the Reform League. The WA Government in Perth was inclined to secede rather than join Federation, and the League was the ANA by another name. In 1900 it had 12 operating branches and Committees at five other locations, all on the gold fields.[dccclxviii]

As Prime Minister, Barton accepted an invitation to attend the St Patrick’s Day Banquet in Sydney in 1901, the event’s draft program excluded any mention of or any toast to the See State Government. At the last moment, Catholic Senator O’Connor convinced organisers that acceptance of a Ministerial decision that St Patrick’s Day not be a State holiday was the only option for citizens wishing to prove their loyalty and law abiding temperament.[dccclxix] Known by only a few at the time, the Grand Secretary of the LOI in NSW in 1897 had written to Barton:

In conducting the campaign throughout the Colony last March for the election of 10 good representatives to the Australian [Federation] Convention, we encroached upon our limited funds to a very great extent.

As this Institution made the earliest selection and included your name in their Bunch, and thereby gave such support to your candidature as to materially secure your return, we should feel obliged if you could favour us with a donation towards the expenses of our 12’ July Celebration this year…

NB: If you should wish your donation to be treated as anonymous your wishes would be respected in that direction.

Barton scrawled on the letter:

Declined. I did not seek the inclusion of my name and was not informed of it till receipt of this letter. Have always publically & privately (denigrated?) the activism of sectarians and (avoided?) political controversy.[dccclxx]

Although there were many issues in play, ‘the Day’ had become a means by which the temper of a Government was being appraised, and the influence or otherwise of certain individuals was being judged. As in Victoria in 1859, the role of a few Catholics in a supposedly NSW Protestant government was being over-stated. In July, The Methodist claimed to see signs that the government of the Progressive Party was being seduced by the emergent forces of Labour which were doing a deal with the enemy:

The Labour Party…undoubtedly has a right to a place in our Legislature…But in so far as it has allied itself with Romanism and Drinkdom…it has become a menace to pure government and the general good.[dccclxxi]

This was ‘loving darkness rather than light.’ Though numerically on the increase and in a continued position of social ascendancy Protestants and their churches were divided over Free Trade, Protectionism and much of the social reform agenda. The strength of the temperance movement up to 1914 is evidenced by the effort put in by their opponents, the alcohol lobby, but it has since been consistently under-valued, by labour historians in particular. The number of politicians espousing temperance resulted among other things in Federal Cabinet determining early in its deliberations that ‘spirituous liquors’ would not be dispensed within the area set aside for the National Capital.[dccclxxii] The battle to turn the river town of Mildura from ‘dry’ to ‘wet’ is further illustration. The Chaffey brothers, with experience of Californian temperance colonies, established ‘their’ irrigation settlement as a ‘No-Licence’ district. The Victorian Government promised ‘to give legislative effect to the scheme’ but failed to withstand pressure from brewers and wine interests. In 1891, before sly-grogging and legalised selling of liquor became the norm, the town had no arrests for drunkenness. The Age and The Argus agreed that before the shift:

Very many of the men employed at the engineering works are landowners now, and they attribute this to the fact of the township being a temperance one.[dccclxxiii]

With their exposed anxieties again to the fore, the 1901 NSW election of the Progressives became ‘the prelude to a great rallying of Protestant forces.’ A ‘captain’ came forward in the person of WM Dill Mackey, an Orange Ulsterman and Scots Church minister. He used 12 July celebrations to issue a call for unity of the Orange lodges and the broad non-Catholic Church membership ‘that come what might Protestantism should have the first place’. Eventually launched in September 1902, the Australian Protestant Defence Association [APDA] quickly established sixty branches throughout NSW, each of which was given a number, as per ‘lodge’ format. In Goulburn on his initial recruiting tour Dill Mackey reprised the claims made about the O’Shanassy Government:

Did the present Government toady to Roman Catholics? No one would deny it. The head of it was a Protestant but the two strong men were Messrs Crick and O’Sullivan. The tail wagged the dog.[dccclxxiv]


The Poor Health of ‘the Friendlies’

Masonic membership numbers at the turn of the century were very low considering the increase in population in the same period, while trade-oriented societies were just beginning their strongest period of growth. The Affiliated Friendly Societies were, numerically, by far the largest of all the fraternal strands. Amongst all the flag-waving and the marches, the optimistic rhetoric and the vigorous extension of their networks, however, all was not well.

They were neither financially nor organisationally in a position to take up the suggestions made by Premier See and Minister O’Sullivan, developments which may have taken them to a higher level of security and influence. While their memberships continued to rise, in some cases dramatically, they were, financially, only just staying afloat.

The often frenetic expansion across the continent and the numerous innovations introduced over the period 1850-1920 were evidence the administrators of the societies were keen to compete. In hindsight, the choices made are exposed as ineffective, the thinking behind the choices superficial.

In a context of Empire bravado and national euphoria, few matched the Rechabite concern for hard social issues, major interests appearing to be material gain and competitive pragmatism. Overall, they paid little attention to maintenance of their historic uniquenesses or even to recording and publicising their achievements. A long-running Grand United advertising slogan in the 1920’s, ‘The Past is Gone – Look to the Future’, was typical. A seemingly appropriate slogan, in practice it meant that agitation to renew or re-invent the Order was always going to lack substance, having to confine itself to what ever the Government of the day set legislatively and whatever ‘the market’ demanded. Eventually, the ‘friendlies’ would find that when it was needed most, in 20th century battles with Federal Governments, they did not have the store of accurate, historic information with which to lobby hard-headed power brokers.

The very nature of 19th century society had disguised the true financial position of the ‘friendlies’. The keeping of statistics was not wide-spread, let alone understood, while lodge funds were often healthy only because of a comparatively high percentage of lapsed memberships as workers were forced to move to find jobs. Where returns on funds invested were high, as in the early 1880’s, societies could, for a while, turn aside the doom-saying of ‘experts’.

The Australian Federal Constitution of 1900 gave the new Federal Parliament power to make laws with respect to disputes between labour and capital involving more than one State. A further Act, passed in December, 1904, set up the Federal Court of Arbitration and Conciliation, its first President being appointed in February 1905. Higgins, its second President, initiated the concept of ‘the basic wage’:

I decided, therefore, to adopt a standard based on “the normal needs of the average employee, regarded as a human being living in a civilised community.” This was to be the primary test in ascertaining the minimum wage that would be treated as “fair and reasonable” in the case of unskilled labourers.[dccclxxv]

His list of necessary expenses for a ‘normal…average’ unskilled labourer included, with food, light, clothes, etc, provision for ‘union pay’ and for ‘accident or benefit societies’.[dccclxxvi] Later commentators on the arbitration system rarely mention this last expense provision.

With trade-oriented societies and their bureaucracies on the rise, the friendlies were being subtly circumscribed in both role and function. In 1902 the Sydney Morning Herald recorded:

Ample and gratifying testimony to the importance of Friendly Societies was supplied when, the other day, the Governor laid the foundation stone of a dispensary in one of the suburbs, whilst a member of the Ministry laid the commemorative stone of a new building of the kind in the heart of the city.[dccclxxvii]

The roles they were being allowed were shrinking, as here to a provision of medical services, and their rites and regalia increasingly seen as deserving caricature not appreciation. While the life situations of many workers made their continued involvement in benefit societies inevitable, behind the rhetoric these were the fraternals under severest attack.

There ought to have been a natural fit between any ‘Workers’ Party’ and those fraternals most involved with the life and death issues of ordinary people. But of historians of labour, only Markey has noted among ‘mutual benefit societies’ the process, which he locates in the first half of the 20th century, of increasing centralisation and consolidation, and a general loss of autonomy by individual ‘lodges’:

..The eventual outcome was the decline of loyalty and participation…These developments complemented broader social trends from the middle of the twentieth century, including suburbanisation, which dissolved traditional working class communities and reduced participation in most local organisations, including trade unions and the ALP.[dccclxxviii]

He believes these trends help to explain the relative lack of concern of the official labour movement with benefit societies, ‘in which so many union and Labor Party members must have participated’:

..(The) overriding strategy of the ALP for the securing of gains for the working class has been industrial, rather than welfare-oriented: what has been called a “wage-earner security’ approach to policy…Paradoxically, this strategy relied, initially at least, upon the mutual support activities of benefit societies to protect the welfare of workers outside the workplace.[dccclxxix]

The pragmatist in WG Spence wrote in 1909:

The experience of the AMA has shown that whilst the benefit system undoubtedly tends to keep up membership, and also to lessen the opposition of the employers, on the other hand it hampers the distinctly union side.[dccclxxx]

His reasoning?

There is a tendency to increase benefits without increasing contributions, and thus leave finances short for bona-fide union work. Members come to look upon it as a purely accident relief society rather than as a union.

It is not generally realised that ‘centralised bureaucracy and branch structure’ was a fraternal dynamic well before ‘the labour movement’ became a common expression. Neither is it well known just how recently previously-integrated fraternal functions have separated, or just how relevant to labour history theorising the broader view is.

The Hibernians later blamed their end-of-century difficulties on an incapacity to deal with success. In 1889, its NSW District Secretary noted that because of the incompetence of the Melbourne-based Executive Directory which was oversighting all policy matters:

..Branches failed through sheer neglect, the business of the Society was treated with shameless indifference, correspondence unanswered, annual meetings collapsed. Deputies disappointed, disorganisation ruling the Executive Directory and nothing doing, but the Corresponding Secretary drawing a salary of £125.[dccclxxxi]

Resolution in this case was not achieved until 1901, when Melbourne’s grip was broken and replaced with a less-powerful and more inclusive National Executive, leaving State-based Districts to largely run their own internal affairs. This was the compromise reached by most ‘friendlies’ in the period 1880 to 1915, and maintained throughout the 20th century. As with the Federal system of government, it was a result which, on the one hand, took away personal and community autonomy while failing to achieve the alleged benefits of centralisation in a single authority. Thus, it satisfied power holders at the State-level but frustrated both local level stakeholders and those wedded to complete centralisation.

The Friendly Orders which survived longest in the 20th century, PAFS, ‘the Druids’ [UAOD], the ANA, the Rechabites, the various Odd Fellows and the HACBS were those which worked very hard to recruit memberships, and achieved their best periods of growth in the last quarter of the 19th century and the first decades of the next. The issues they faced, and which they claimed to be overcoming, were common – ageing memberships, competition, and the politicisation of health and welfare within an increasingly State-centred context.

The immediacy of the life-death cycle worked both for and against local autonomy and lodge attendance. Members’ concern that their funds were safe and fully accounted for and that their health needs were being met resulted in close, local scrutiny of basic lodge records and of public health outcomes, while the complexity of the information involved encouraged more specialised, ‘big city’ expertise to look after the rest. Encouragement of those with skills outside the ken of ordinary members ultimately undermined the sense of ownership.

Understandably, involvement in the blood, sweat and tears of commercial operations seemed increasingly more relevant than a fraternal society’s origins or its memorabilia. As centralised administration took hold, the theatre of lodge and its deeper message became the baby, lost along with the bathwater of ownership by ordinary members and the emotional attachment of direct involvement. The whole friendly movement was literally unable to learn from experience.

Older members were a major problem by the 1890’s. Most of those unable to work received a de facto pension, even though their contributions had ceased and their contributions had not been calculated to cover payments which could go on for years. Many schemes to cover the situation were floated in the 1890’s and 1900’s but none proved both popular and viable. Politicans ruminated about universal schemes and the South Australian Registrar warned against an ‘excess of brotherly love’:

There is no doubt that a State pension would be administered on sounder lines, and would be safeguarded by restrictions which are not altogether consonant with the principle of brotherly love that plays so important a part in the working of a friendly society.[dccclxxxii]

A lack of sickness statistics, especially the length of time members were ‘on the books’, worked against appreciation of the dangers. Eventually debate produced wide-spread upheavals amongst the lodges of coal miners and other workers in dangerous occupations, such as the breakaway AOU at Wallsend. Demands that these lodges, often the largest in the Order, should pay higher premiums were seen as threatening meagre lives but also the democratic basis of fraternalism.

Fraternal executives were forced to pay more attention to women’s demands and to finding suitable juvenile members. But again executives, men, found they were ill-equipped for the tasks involved and unable to adapt quickly enough or imaginatively enough where a public face and sociability had become overwhelmingly important. Fraternal theory was being tested well beyond its capacities.

Though they often attended one another’s functions, the Affiliated Friendly Societies maintained intense rivalries with one another. The Provincial Grandmaster of the Hunter River District told MU’s 1910 Annual District meeting:

At our last Conference held at Kurri it was hoped that lodges would be opened at Merriwa and Denman. I regret to say that, although at great expense, I personally visited Merriwa on two occasions, obtained a requisition of over 20 gentlemen, and made all arrangements. Still, through the dilatoriness of those whose first consideration should have been for us, another Order was enabled to step in and reap where I had sown. As to Denman, I found that local jealousies are such that your executive thought it advisable not to establish a lodge there at present.[dccclxxxiii]

Even when tried regionally, as in Newcastle and Broken Hill in the 1890’s, and again in the 1930’s in the case of Newcastle,[dccclxxxiv] attempts to unify responses to Government failed. A semblance of unity would sometimes appear in response to a perceived threat, usually from the regulator, only to disappear when negotiations proved fruitless or a short-term compromise was achieved. The first appears to have been an ineffectual suggestion from Victoria’s Druids for a combined annual conference in 1873, albeit endorsed by that year’s IOOFMU executive.[dccclxxxv] A state-wide, NSW United Friendly Societies Association was attempted in the 1880’s and 1890’s and reconvened from time to time over the next 100 years but achieved little.

A Friendly Societies Council of WA was convened in 1917 in response to an unannounced amendment to the Friendly Societies Act being introduced into Parliament. This particular Act included provision for an Inspector of Friendly Societies, the Registrar being quoted as saying that he had no need to consult the various societies.

Individual Orders were marginally more successful at overcoming internal divisions wrought by State boundaries. Delegates from GUOOF in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales came together for a number of triennial ‘Intercolonial Conferences’ from 1895 to 1901 to attempt conformity of payments, regalia, and administrative procedures for such things as clearance arrangements, female and juvenile lodges and maximum ages for admission. Even within this one ‘brotherhood’, however, agreement was impossible on some issues and difficult on others. A proposed ‘Federal Board of Management’ never eventuated. Telling is the fact that when the centenary of GUOOF was celebrated, erroneously, in 1948, the published ‘History’ was written as though NSW had been the only State in which GUOOF had ever operated.[dccclxxxvi]

A spasmodically-active ‘Inter-State Conference of Rechabites’ in 1901 established a Federal or ‘Grand High Court’ for the whole of Australia. Post-Federation, the IOR believed that its membership and financial figures, as audited by the Office of the Registrar, showed that it was the fastest growing and the soundest of all friendly societies. It was certainly the largest and the wealthiest temperance society, with well-based arguments that it had been the first to introduce into Australia graduated entrance fees and juvenile ‘tents’, the latter probably the first in the world.[dccclxxxvii] The mover of the 1901 resolution argued:

The nearer each District could get together the better it would be for the Order in Australia. They were now one great Australia, united for each other’s good, as well as for the good of the whole. Other societies and organisations had combined for mutual good, and there was every reason in favour of the various Inter-State Rechabite Districts similarly combining.[dccclxxxviii]

In August, 1910 the Victorian District alone claimed ‘six new tents in a month.’[dccclxxxix] A number of prominent politicians featured the following year in their Jubilee Celebrations which included a United Tent Meeting, at which 86 candidates were initiated and interstate and New Zealand delegates were welcomed by a Victorian Male Choir, and a specially convened ‘Inter-State Temperance Conference’. Samuel Mauger, MP, labour-oriented social reformer and a ‘Tent Guardian’ spoke first and resolutely:

..I recognise that there are in Australia the beginnings of slum life, and we Rechabites want to prevent its spreading, and the best way is to curtail the liquor traffic.[dcccxc]

He quoted The Socialist:

I never realised before this trip the strength of the contention of John Burns, Will Crooks, Ramsay McDonald and other British Labourites, that the liquor traffic chloroforms the victims of capitalism, that drink breeds contempt and keeps millions of working men from rising in revolt..Go to Deniliquin, Hay or any other town surrounded by stations and there 365 days in the year will be found bushmen ‘blueing’ big cheques with a score or two of hangers-on..

A Grand Chapter operated nationally for the PAFS almost from its inception, and a Supreme Grand Chapter for the UAOD from 1912 both with some success.[dcccxci] The NSW Druids, in particular, believed at the time they were well on the way to overtaking competitors who had lost their way:

Our progress is causing our rivals some uneasiness; it is not, however, worthwhile taking notice of the grumblings heard on all sides as to the Druids’ work; (a) conservative environment would appear to have dwarfed the minds of some of our critical friends of other societies..[dcccxcii]

Just before the outbreak of the 1914-18 war, the UAOD in NSW were benefiting from a successful Art Union, they were actively supporting their NZ and inter-State counterparts, and putting a great deal of effort into organised sport and into showing their best public face at ‘Druid Gala and Procession’ events. These were, as with the other fraternities, dependent on individuals rather than being a result of a vibrant internal culture. Grand Secretary Barry, editor of The Austral Druid wrote in 1913:

At the rate of present going the Druids seem about to knock spots off all competitors for first place as Australian Friendly Society…(This) year the Order is eclipsing all previous efforts, and it seems as if the Australian public, with its love for the forest, is making the Druidical Order the ideal institution of Australia.

He reported the widespread feeling of threat posed by ‘the Lloyd George Scheme of National Insurance’ then being discussed in Canberra:

(The Secretary) of the (Victorian) Friendly Societies Association stated that..the condition of the English Orders, since the inauguration of the scheme..made it clear that national insurance meant a severe blow to voluntary thrift societies..

..The Government..should give more encouragement to friendly societies. (They) should be given some concessions on the railways and the struggling lodges in country districts should be assisted to get a sound footing.[dcccxciii]

Government charges for the mandatory five-yearly valuations, concessions made to educational and scientific bodies but not to friendlies, and competition from societies operating sick and funeral funds but not subject to legislative scrutiny and oversight, even the poor salaries paid to Grand Secretaries, were all canvassed as negatives pulling them down. Barry reflected the current ambivalence across the Orders by sniping at ‘the ritual’ while persisting in claiming ‘the Druids’ were special and unique:

The Druids appear to be establishing themselves as a very democratic Order, with little ceremony and much benefit and brotherhood – the very features to attract the unceremonious Australians.

He asked:

Is there any good reason why a friendly society should be also a ‘secret’ society? Many of its best supporters argue that in these common sense days the time for the mystic rites and grotesque ceremonies that surround the institution has long since passed away..

Lodge officers elected for their clerical and management skills were severely conflicted by having also to be ritualists. Non-initiated memberships was one solution being openly debated, and allowed in some limited cases:

In dealing with [membership without initiation], it must be looked (at) from its many sides, and the first thing that strikes one is the fact that from a ritualistic point of view our Order, in common with other kindred societies, has been all but a failure.[dcccxciv]

This was written by Henry Herron, the statistically-minded Grand Secretary of NSW’s GUOOF, at a time when it was celebrating its Diamond Jubilee and 1910 as the best year ever in terms of new branches, 40, and new members, 3750 initiations.[dcccxcv] He did not see that the numerical progress was part of the problem, but argued that despite initiatives such as ‘Lodges of Instruction’ and more emphasis on visitations, ritual improvements were minor:

(With) few exceptions, this state of laxity is very apparent, for our Initiation ceremony cannot be judged as creditably performed, and we regret to say in quite a large number of instances disgraceful is almost too mild a term to describe the work.

Herron saw that the ‘inexperience and incompetence’ of presiding officers were turning away many prospective members, and he argued that ‘after all’ it was the benefit scales which determined the future of ‘our magnificent structure’:

A person seeking to join an institution from a purely fraternal stand-point will not join a friendly society. When a proposal is made nowadays to a person to incur expense, that person desires to know whether or not value is offered, and it depends largely upon his verdict after a perusal of the benefits offered for the weekly contributions whether he becomes a member or not.

He threw down a challenge:

Let those who are against the proposal of non-initiation set an example which others may follow, in the shape of making the ceremonials attractive enough to induce membership..

The opposition was swift and vigorous, if mainly symbolic:

The Sub-Branch [lodge], Star of Newnes, (NSW) has carried unanimously a motion expressing dissatisfaction at the action of the Annual Conference in allowing such a drastic measure to be placed on the statute book without obtaining the consent of a majority of the members. True, the Conference represents a majority of the Lodges, but how many individual members knew of the proposal? Comparatively none. And no delegate should vote on such a question unless duly authorised by his Branch to do so.[dcccxcvi]

This letter-writer thought the new legislation ‘the first step to degeneracy’, another asserted that ‘No friendly society can exist for any length of time on a commercial basis’:

It is the little acts of kindness and forebearance – a willingness to assist a deserving case, a little stretching of the strict letter of the law, that goes to make Oddfellowship good…and the Ritual after it has been revised should be strictly enforced and officers of lodges should be encouraged to memorise their parts.[dcccxcvii]

In Western Australia, competitive energies were no doubt behind the regular, annual membership increases from 1894 to 1910, which that State’s Registrar stated were at a faster rate than the ‘rapid’ population increase. The Western Australian ‘Friendly Societies Office’ was established in 1894 as a sub-department of the Attorney-General’s Department. Trade Unions became the Registrar’s concern shortly after. Membership ups and downs for friendlies were the norm, but in 1924, he reported that

the past year (was) one of considerable activity..More new branches were opened in 1923 than in any previous year since 1914.’[dcccxcviii]

He was especially pleased about one thing:

In view of the observations made in previous reports regarding the desirability of spreading the friendly society movement to the agricultural areas it is gratifying to know that most of the new branches are situated in these districts. The MUOFS in WA [Manchester Unity Odd Fellows Friendly Society, not IOOFMU] has been most energetic, having opened 10 new branches in the country.

Nevertheless, in 1899, a WA Friendly Societies Review introduced itself to erstwhile readers thus:

..The most important work..which it is intended that the REVIEW shall accomplish is that of bringing the various friendly societies of the colony into closer contact with each other. At present there is but little affinity between them. The societies generally are nearly all strangers to each other, and about the only connecting link between them is the Registrar-General’s annual report.[dcccxcix]

This writer did not mince words:

At present there are a number of matters which require united consideration – the establishment of a Friendly Societies Dispensary, for instance – but under existing circumstances it seems almost impractical to obtain the required co-operation, owing to a want of unanimity among the societies, and the general apathy of one society regarding the doings of another.

It is doubtful a more diplomatic approach would have achieved any more than the short run this publication managed.

‘Not for profit’ is how nostalgia views friendly societies today. In reality, the aim of all fraternals was at least to break even and in goods years to establish a buffer against the return of trouble. Good intentions were up against the reality of executive officers who could not keep accounts or minute books accurately, and of some who decamped, suicided or ‘left under a cloud.’ All fraternals were likely to promote or elect a ‘leader’ for reasons other than to do with administrative efficiency or accounting experience.

An initial effort at enforcing ‘sound tables’ had lost ground in Britain after the Act of 1834, causing their advocates to redouble their efforts via published literature, sermons and lectures. The better-researched and expert actuarial tables seemed, the more easily governments could hang legislation on the excuse that they were protecting fraternal societies from themselves and the now ‘irrelevant’ emotional attachments of members.

By the 1870’s, deputed spokesmen, ‘city professional men’ in the main, already had the main carriage of consultations with government Ministers when legislation was in draft, generally expressing themselves satisfied with the process and the outcomes. Discontented ‘Orders’, such as the Sons of Temperance in NSW in 1873, and trade-oriented ‘friendlies’, rarely got onto deputations or delegate meetings.[cm] Clearly by the late-19th century the government’s only concern was society finances, and equally as clearly, memberships were slowly forgetting how they came to be there. Their cumulative ‘history’ was being ignored and abandoned, rather than being collected, refined and recycled for the benefit of incoming generations.

Much social welfare debate around the end of the 19th century amongst British populations was conducted within the context of what was happening in other places, for example, what Bismarck was doing in Prussia. In contrast to that ‘unhappy situation’, some of the ‘influential classes’ had determined that ‘the British people’ were uniquely imbued with the ‘noble ideas of self-reliance and manly independence’ and that it was the ‘friendly societies’ which had done the imbuing. The principal enemy was long thought to be state aid or regulatory interference:

It was generally felt that the State should go no further in helping societies to become solvent than the preparation and publication of suitable tables…(To) compel the societies to use the tables would have been unjustified interference.[cmi]

Forcing societies to be solvent has never been a necessary part of a State’s purpose. However, State interference had long been an historical constant and in its ‘modern’ guise was unlikely to be denied, which ever ‘Party’ was in power. The guilds, the pioneer fraternals, had felt it, but a new phase, a conscious and deliberate part of the managerial revolution, had begun in 1793, had broadened and deepened in the 19th century and was to achieve its full flowering in the 20th.

State Governments legislated their first welfare payments in the late 19th – early 20th centuries, and began to look at broad-based health schemes. Society executives eyeing State involvement in old age pensions with great fear and suspicion, were seduced by the possibilities of an improved ‘bottom line’. The 1898 Victorian IOOFMU Annual Conference, swallowing its pride and embracing bravado:

recommended that all assurance of sick members for benefits after the age of 65 should be discontinued by every registered friendly society in the colony; that all future entrants into any of the societies must assure for pensions or annuities during life after 65 years of age, on a scale of contribution to be fixed, and that all the societies should co-operate in asking Parliament to amend the Friendly Societies Act in accordance with these propositions.[cmii]

Enough similarity of conditions existed in the States for a pattern to emerge. South Australia’s ‘First Report of the Public Actuary’, only appointed in 1895 as a result of the Friendly Societies Amendment Act, 1892, is extensive. It analyses the period 1888-1892, with full statistics and valuations of all major Friendly Societies, with commentary.[cmiii] Its author wrote that he had examined work of the relevant offices in other States, had determined that the system in use in Victoria with regard to Friendly Societies was the best and proceeded on that basis.

Previously all Friendly Societies in SA had been governed under the 1852 Act until the year 1867 ’when for some occult reason’ a Private Bill relating exclusively to the MUIOOF[cmiv] was passed, which Act he says was very close to the 1852 Act but which was then repealed as far as the MU was concerned. In 1874 the MU secured a further Act, which however, failed to include certain safeguards he regarded as important, eg, separation of funds, and when a further Act ‘The Friendly Societies Act, 1886’, was passed duplicating it for other Societies, these safeguards were again not included. Neither were stipulations about the compilation of sickness and mortality rates. Thus, before the 1892 Act some Societies were still under the 1852 Act, others were under the 1886 Act and MU was under the 1874 Act. The PA then commented:

The Amending Act of 1892, regardless of rivalries and jealousies, embraces all societies within its four corners.

It still did not require separation of funds, so actuarially, a further, 1894 Amendment, was required. But the 1894 Act did not compel registration, nor provide any power to compel societies to accept his ‘advice’, particularly with regard to new societies organising their contributions at sufficient level to ensure continued ability to cover their legal obligations in benefits. Societies in SA were, in 1895, still charging a uniform rate of contribution for all ages of entry, when many societies in Victoria had switched to charging graduated scales of contributions.

He was also very unhappy about the situation with regard to sick pay, which he said, was the ‘heaviest item in a Society’s expenditure’. He referred to malingering and to a lack of depth in the medical scrutiny by the lodge doctor at entry of a new member. The liability for a member’s wife was accepted by all concerned without her having to undergo any examination at all:

The schemers who indulge in this mean fraud upon their brother members resort to all kinds of devices in order to deceive the surgeon and the sick visitors, which are difficult to detect. Experience has shown that during depression in trade, and during strikes, the amount of sickness and the numbers of members sick increase abnormally.

Sick pay for life was still possible at this time in certain circumstances, and payments for medicines and treatment varied considerably, as did payment to a surgeon, depending on size of membership and where the lodge was in the State. Then, there was the problem of a lodge’s invested funds – where, how, at what rates, should be allowed, and how secure did they need to be? Annual Returns from lodges in the 1890’s ranged from good to very poor:

Many of the Societies possessed no record of the number of members who were married, nor of the ages of the members, nor when they were initiated.

Secretaries sometimes wrote on the return ‘This information is not required’ even when asked a second time. The PA referred to ‘deep seated prejudice in favor of the old order of things’, ie local and autonomous. The new was distant, bureaucratic and merely actuarially necessary.

Comparing sickness and death rates with those recorded under an English enquiry into MU rates, which he regarded as the best available, the South Australian PA said he was forced to assume the same rates for ‘his’ societies. This was despite it being generally believed that in Australia mortality was lower but rates of sickness were higher, meaning obvious problems for Australian societies.

His next Report[cmv] detailed adverse reactions to his work, especially amongst rank and file members to his recommendations, and indicated that acceptance by Societies was not yet at 50%. It contains material on a scheme of ‘superannuation’ or ‘old-age pension’ to replace sickness payments in old age, which would see friendly societies paying ‘super’ to their members after payment of extra contributions at younger ages.

Covering the period 1895-1899, his next Report[cmvi] was, again, very long. He commented that since his last many of the societies had increased their contributions, but only some of the increase had been paid into the sick and funeral funds. Some had been taken to cover management costs. This, he thundered, was illegal, and must cease. In 1903[cmvii] the full extent of his exasperation emerged:

The almost hopeless condition of the finances of many Friendly Societies in South Australia as disclosed in the (present) valuations is due to the unsound principles on which these societies were originally established, and which they are still following. It is incredible that a society which was founded in Adelaide in the year 1843 should after sixty years be still dispensing benefits to its members in return for contributions which are inadequate and uniform for all ages..

For particular Orders, he wrote:

GUOOF – ‘Taking this Society as a whole the financial position is almost hopeless, the Assets representing only 12s 5d for 20s of Liabilities.’

IOR – ‘This Society has accomplished more than almost any other Society in the State during the five years under investigation by way of improving its financial stability.’

AOF – ‘In my Valuation report I have directed special attention to the hopeless condition of this Society’s finances, and it is most important that the recommendations made therein be adopted without delay.’

UAOD – ‘No substantial improvement is noticeable in the financial position since the last Valuation.’

HACBS – ‘Since the previous Valuation the finances of this Society have gone from very bad to still worse. The members seem determined not to take steps to improve the position.’

IOOFMU – ‘Scarcely any improvement has been effected in the financial condition since my previous Valuation.’

When Registrar Coghlan was appointed in NSW in 1886, he immediately sought acceptance of his ‘advice’ on the basis that to refuse it was to risk being rendered illegal, indeed being rendered legally invisible, by de-registration. Still unhappy in 1893 with the degree to which he was being heeded he asserted that virtually all Friendly Societies were insolvent. His ‘advice’ made clear that regalia, ritual, even celebrations were not necessary, not because they were seditious but because they used members’ contributions for non-financial purposes.

Later he argued that before the 1899 (NSW) Act very little change of any kind, let alone for the better, had occurred since 1855:

The English Act [of 1855] was long recognised to be defective in many respects (it had, indeed, been already condemned in Great Britain at the time of its introduction in New South Wales [1873]) and in 1882 a local Commission of Inquiry reported that the New South Wales Act founded on it was insufficient for its intended purpose, and that the mode of administration had not been such as to mitigate its deficiencies.[cmviii]

He believed that, in addition, two useful provisions in the ‘English Act’ had not been enforced:- viz, the requirement that an actuary sign off on a society’s table of contributions before it could be registered, and that each fund (funeral, accident, etc) should be quarantined in its own account:

The neglect to enforce these two fundamental provisions…is undoubtedly the cause of the failure of the societies to take an enlightened view of their functions, of their failure to adopt correct methods of management, and of their present backward condition financially.

He repeated claims he had first made in his 1893 Report, that even where benefits were originally commensurate with contributions, societies had often increased their stated benefits without changing the contribution rates. Further, even where a graduated scale of payments was in place, ‘the graduation was imperfect and the contributions were inadequate’:

These remarks applied, unfortunately, to the whole period of nearly twenty years which elapsed from the passage of the 1873 Act to the date when I entered upon the duties of Registrar.

Since that date, and despite assiduous efforts, he asserted, it was only by 1899 that he had been able to convince sufficient administrators of the truth of his arguments:

There were other evils in the working of the societies which called for immediate attention. Peculation was rampant; waste of money in lawsuits was common; many societies were unable to meet their obligations; and the condition of affairs generally was highly unsatisfactory…

..Even in those cases where the groundwork of reform had been embodied in the rules of a society, those rules were repeatedly ignored or violated, while the Registrar was powerless to take any action to enforce them.[cmix]

‘Improvements’ provided by the 1899 Act in NSW included a power to sue for overdue subscriptions, stronger control of branches by parent societies, and the power to invest funds in freehold securities. There was to be actuarial oversight and advice to societies, power to cancel registration for persistent non-compliance, and power to inspect books and to demand returns relating to finances, membership, sickness, mortality, etc. The vital provision of an actuary having to sign off contribution rates was re-stated and supported by a provision that all societies re-register, necessarily requiring that their Rules be re-examined in the light of the new circumstances.

Being very proud of its record since the 1840’s in the UK, where after a period of extreme maladministration, the use of statistics had been advanced by a number of degrees of magnitude, the MU in NSW was taken aback when its initial response to the Registrar in 1900 was returned marked ‘insufficient’. In particular, as with virtually all Orders, MU’s return on investments and contribution scales were considered insufficient to safeguard liabilities. Sensitivity flew close to outrage when it was realised the Registrar was saying the new Act would make it necessary for all current members to ‘pay contributions as at the age at which they joined the Society’, ie a higher rate. This was set to impact most greatly upon older members whose earning powers had diminished considerably. The Board’s Report spelt out the impact of this bombshell:

The new Friendly Societies Act, which all had so long been clamouring for, had been placed upon the statute book…and, as a consequence the (Registrar)..had interpreted one of its many clauses (Clause XII) in such a manner that our Society, with all others, young and old, (needs) to start life again.

An entire new Scale of Contributions, based upon a 3% earning power, was tendered to us by the Registrar’s office, increasing (as it proposed) our rates in some instances 20% on the rate paid by members who joined previous to 1894…

This suggestion, whether correct or not, could not be accepted…[cmx] (My emphases)

The MU 1901 State Conference was unable to attend to other pressing issues. Actuarially-derived revisions of the reforms proposed by hard-line State Actuary Trivett, were hammered out, but the conference determined to stand fast on the question of retrospectivity, and to lobby the government to have Clause XII suitably amended.[cmxi] The MU Grand Secretary announced an increase in members during the previous 12 months of 1,288:

I estimate that our true membership roll was 21,449 at the close of the century…we (hold) the proud position of being 2.93% of the male population of this State. Having regard to the whole of the Friendly Society population in the State, which is estimated by the Government to be 70,287, distributed among 17 societies, we stand in the very distinguished position of having 30.51 per cent of the entire membership.[cmxii]

The NSW Rechabite magazine in 1900 used the example of the Canadian-based Independent Order of Foresters [IOF] recently introduced into Australia, to illustrate the ‘disastrous results entailed by granting benefits at inadequate rates.’[cmxiii] The IOR executive was getting vigorous criticism from its own members for already having sharply increased contribution rates. The officers argued they were responding to dire warnings from the Registrar and claimed to be the first Society which so re-organised its affairs, including consolidation of its Sick Funds, that it was able to be re-registered after the 1899 Act.

When Coghlan presented his 1901 Report to Parliament he acknowledged that the 1899 Act ‘virtually revolutionises the law regarding benefit societies’, but was displeased that even with a doubling of the time allowed ‘only 3 societies out of 70 have been able to take advantage of the provisions of the…law.’ The crux of the problem for the established societies was that the Act stipulated that ‘old’ members had to make up deficiencies in reserves, rather than, as the IOF was asking, have ‘new’ members bear the burden.[cmxiv] Of a number of IOF-related controversies around the turn of the century, the most engaging was perhaps that with the AMP. A number of pamphlets and press releases were generated and in 1901 in Victoria a Bribery Commission of Enquiry, and then a Royal Commission were established before the dust settled and the IOF dismissed.[cmxv]

Opposition to reform continued, nevertheless, and a Conference called in 1901 in Sydney of representatives of 17 Orders heard Coghlan repeat his figures and his conclusions. In asserting that their reserves were sufficient to meet contingencies, he said later, the societies did not appear to be accepting that in 1901 alone

…there were 53 societies or branches which either did not pay their members any sick benefits, or paid them on a reduced scale; and…there were many (other) societies which had had to draw upon their reserves. Thus, out of 850 societies and branches, 184 failed to pay their way from current revenue…The mutual system on which the societies are organised enables this decay to be hidden from sight.[cmxvi]

In a separate report, Coghlan analysed valuation figures provided by all the previously registered benefit societies:

It will be seen that no society is in absolutely safe condition – that is to say with assets in excess of liabilities.

His figures showed the ratio per £ of assets to liabilities of the major Friendly Societies was:

Irish National Foresters…………………………….. 18s 10d

Independent Order of Rechabites……………………18s 1d

National Independent O of Odd Fellows….. …..17s 11d

Independent O of Odd Fellows……………………….16s 4d

Ancient O of Foresters, New England District…15s 10d

Hibernian Aust’sian Catholic Ben Socy………….15s 2d

Order of Royal Foresters……………………………….14s 11d

Aust’sian Holy Catholic Guild, Parramatta……..14s 7d

Aust’sian Holy Catholic Guild……………………….14s 4d

Grand United O of Odd Fellows……………………..13s 9d

Aust Union Benefit Society…………………………….13s 7d

Manchester Unity IOOF…………………………………13s 5d

Sons & Daughters of Temperance…………….. 12s 10d

Grand United Order of Free Gardeners……………12s 9d

Protestant Alliance Friendly Society……………….12s 5d

Loyal Protestant Benefit Society……………………..12s 4d

Ancient O of Foresters, Sydney……………………….12s 1d

Protestant Union Benefit Society……………………..11s 1d

Australian Odd Fellows Union………………………..10s 7d

United Ancient Order of Druids, Sydney………….10s 3d

United Ancient Order of Druids, Newcastle……….9s 7d

Old Protestant Alliance Friendly Socy……………….7s 2d

The IOR claimed that the reason it was able to pay higher benefits while taking in lower contributions was that ever since the 1873 Act made it possible, the Society had been investing surpluses in Government debentures which had achieved double the return being experienced by other societies with savings bank interest.[cmxvii] In a self-congratulatory atmosphere some members outraged other ‘bretheren and sisteren’ by referring to IOR as ‘purely a financial Institution’.[cmxviii]

Almost the last straw for Coghlan was that when new forms were sent out to society secretaries in NSW, forms which he believed were being used successfully in other States, the secretaries disregarded the benefit to their members of a new approach and complained of the extra work. At the end of 1903 he claimed, 11.4% of returns had not been received, this including 7 Grand Lodges.[cmxix]

Despite or perhaps because it was perceived that the rules were about to change, membership of NSW ‘friendly societies’ continued to increase, in aggregate terms from 73,139 in 1897 to 96,671 in 1902. The number of ‘branches’ (lodges) went from 774 to 990 in the same period.

In all other States Friendly Society numbers continued to increase. Insufficient comparative studies have yet been carried out to enable secure generalisations to be made.[cmxx]


Trade-Oriented Fraternalism and Registrar Coghlan

In his 1983 work, The Consolidation of Trades Union, 1851-90, (Ian) Turner read the flawed but hugely-influential 1890’s thesis of British writers, the Webbs, back into the Australian past, and asserted that only ‘genuine’ (‘regular’) trade-oriented combinations, ie ‘Trade Unions’, were worth valuing. One of the inventors of 20th century Labor History, Turner was distorting 19th century reality to serve later, pre-conceived categories and conclusions. He asserted that the Amalgamated Society of Engineers fitted the Webbs’ requirements for a ‘real Trade Union’ by not being ‘minute’, ‘local’ or ‘short-lived’:

(Founded on board ship in 1852, by) 1860 there were about one hundred Australian branches in Sydney and Melbourne. By 1889 the society had 1700 members in fourteen branches throughout Australia. The Australian engineers remained members of the parent British body for one hundred years.[cmxxi]

Without a fraternal context, he understated the degree to which the ASE matched the ‘standard’:

Like most of the craft unions, the ASE provided benefits to its members similar to those offered by the earlier trade societies. It kept an actuarial eye on its membership, admitting only younger men of sober habits.

He wrongly asserted that these ‘new craft unions’ placed greater emphasis on action for economic ends than their predecessors. Among other material of which he was obviously unaware, was an 1867 editorial in the Argus which asked how the long-term viability of ‘friendly societies and trade unions’ could be assessed:

The management and stability of Friendly Societies in England have lately been commanding a considerable amount of attention, and very justly so, for they are matters in which a large proportion of the working classes is deeply interested. Nor are the questions of less importance here. It is almost a rare occurrence in the colony to meet a respectable artisan who does not belong to one of the many trade unions or friendly societies which are in existence.[cmxxii]

Agreeing with the findings of Finlaison at the National Debt Office that both forms of combination were in need of drastic reform from an actuarial point of view, the writer distinguished ‘trade unions’ – societies only concerned with ‘supporting men unavoidably out of work or on strike’ – from others which ‘embrace the two objects – a friendly society and a trade union.’ With regard to the first group, the picture was and must remain uncertain:

They may last for a long time, and may apparently show a most satisfactory balance sheet, and yet, upon the occasion of any collision between masters and workmen, the whole of the funds may be swallowed up, and the careful savings of years of hard scattered to the winds.

Some in the second group were confronting the problem of inadequate member contributions for future liabilities better than others:

This appears to be the case with the amalgamated carpenters and amalgamated engineers’ societies, which have been generally regarded as model institutions..We believe both have large balances to their credit, and yet both are pronounced (in the UK) to be hopelessly insolvent.

The Economist (UK) was his source:

Mr Finlaison..(reports) that both societies (the ASE and the Carpenters and Joiners) are unsound, that the payments they require are insufficient to meet the liabilities, that they are sure as time goes on to become insolvent.[cmxxiii]

The need amongst labour spokespersons of the time, and since, for grandiose political rhetoric generated a world-view wherein everything of value ‘to the workers’ was a new reform for which no-one but a labour insider could claim any credit. Ignorance of history, of course played a part, but the ‘closed shop’ sought by maritime workers, shearers and other occupational groups in the years 1890-94 are cases in point. Their claims only varied from those of guild artisans determined to protect their trades from ‘forrins’ in that the various Strike Committees wanted prohibition across the board run from a central position.

This variation on the long-standing fraternal notion of sacred information being available only to those who had shown loyalty to the organisation was paralleled by the labour movement’s enthusiastic pursuit of the notion that ‘head offices’ are best located in capital cities, and that decision-making power should be concentrated at the top, or at the centre.

All of this in the name of organisational efficiency and delivery of a better if cheaper ‘product’ continued a very old idea changed only by being shorn of the passionate sense of ownership amongst individual members. Any flashes of strong feelings were quickly side-lined in the name of efficiency.

The British scholars, Beatrice and Sydney Webb, in their History of Trade Unionism argued that central control of funds was essential to trade union success in ‘modern’ industrial conflict, otherwise independent ‘combinations’ would use lodge finances as they saw fit and prevent consolidated effort. This also became assumed wisdom in Australia.

The fear that local lodges could be drained by abnormal occurrences drove executives of ‘trade-oriented societies’, as with other fraternals, to comply with urgings from the various Registrars to consolidate funds at district or State-wide level. In the 1880’s, Sydney’s labour power brokers simply asserted that any ‘trade union’ seeking fraternal support and wishing to be regarded as legitimate had to accept Sydney’s hegemony, affiliate with its THC, and not set up one of its own.

The imposition of ‘the pledge’ into NSW’s labour party politics in 1894 was resisted for a while as yet another power grab by Sydney, the Lithgow Mercury reporting meetings where ‘leg-ironed’ candidates were rejected by local Labor Leaguers, forcing in one instance resignation by Gundagai’s parliamentary member, Fred Flowers. A relevant editorial began:

LABOR LEAGUE AUTOCRATS The central committee of the Labor Electoral Leagues has formally and solemnly branded the local organisation as a ‘bogus’ institution. By implication…the senior member for Hartley is set forth as a traitor…The decision embodying this astounding piece of impudence was not reached in conformity with the expressed wish of any section of the electors of Hartley….Evidently this autocratic body sees itself as sufficient authority…[cmxxiv]

The use of ‘bogus’ here is especially interesting as it closely parallels the Masonic case where, as we have seen, the word was still being used to denigrate any lodges with a non-English Constitution.

Where the rhetoricians at the turn of the century sought to deny the fraternal heritage of ‘trade unions’, later observers could claim not to know it. Specifically, the latter have not grasped that demarcating ‘industrial’ from ‘welfare’ arenas was neither logical, nor useful to their claimed constituency.

Protectionist and free-trade policies were apparently new political issues in the decade before and after Federation, but the religious allegiances of candidates and their supporters remained central. ‘The Irish’ were declared natural protectionists and control of protectionist politicians the strategy whereby the Catholic Church sought to increase the flow of tax revenues to their schools. Aspirants locked horns over which Church, and which society demanded political allegiance from members, and which could actually deliver them. The frequently-quoted 1888 Sydney Synod instruction certainly shows many major ‘Friendlies’ were not-approved by the Catholic hierarchy. What else it shows has been much conjectured:

[As] regards the Oddfellows, Foresters, Druids, Good Templars, Rechabites, and all kindred societies, they have not the approval of the church, and all Catholics who after this date shall join such societies, disregarding the instructions of their clergy, shall be deprived of the benefit of the presence and service of the Priest at their funeral.[cmxxv]

Cardinal Murray speaking at Taree (NSW) in 1902 continued the thought:

..The Bishops of Australia laid down certain laws about benefit societies in 1888, and after that date you Catholic young men could not conscientiously join any of those societies which come under the prohibition of the Bishops. I will have to deal with those who have joined since myself.. Now, don’t blame the priests – they will have no authority to deal with such cases, but blame me, the Cardinal, and all the Bishops of Australia.[cmxxvi] (My emphasis)

Murray continued:

The Irish National Foresters are not included in this prohibition. The Hibernians applied to me some years ago to allow them to establish a branch of the society in Newcastle, and I refused, because there was no rule in the society which would bring them immediately under the authority of the Church: but now that has been changed, and as a consequence I have taken them up, and that very warmly, and I hope to see a branch established in this district soon.

Evidence compiled by Laffan agrees that Orangemen, let alone Protestants as a whole, were not easily directed at this or other times. But what was perception and what reality? Missives from the Orange Grand Lodge continued to be given space in Catholic journals, and vice versa to, at least, prove that direction was attempted, as in this from 1889:

To the members of the Loyal Orange Institution of New South Wales:-

..A serious crisis has arisen, and thrown upon us the responsibility of watching our interests and those of our common Protestantism. Viewed in any light, we are convinced that the crisis is one in which a determined struggle will take place between Papal and Protestant interests. We are indifferent whether freetrade or protection gain the day. But we are fearful lest, in the din of fiscal strife, our Protestant interests should suffer loss.[cmxxvii]

Controversial State-MPs, McElhone and Buchanan, various Orangemen, Free Trade and Protectionist spokespeople weighed into the paper debate, disclosing how heated the atmosphere was inside State Parliament, and at specific sites of battle such as St Vincents Hospital. The Secretary of the Free-trade and Liberal Association, Pulsford, used voting statistics from three Sydney electorates to support his contention that ‘a sectarian combination’ of Irish Catholics was a major opponent of free-trade candidates.[cmxxviii]

Specialisation of function amongst the different fraternal strands was clearly happening but was still not so great as some asserted. At Mt Lyell, Tasmania, in 1899, the local AMA (miners) had perhaps 650 members from a work force of 3000, and as at Broken Hill, according to Blainey:

(The) AMA did not attempt to strike. It rarely suggested, let alone demanded, higher wages. It tried to defend existing wages and perform the functions of a friendly society, and for this purpose it levied a shilling a fortnight from each member.…Between 1892 and 1900 the Victorian and Tasmanian branches of the AMA paid ₤121,000 in benefit money to less than 10,000 members.[cmxxix]

Competition for members and resources remained fierce. Blainey went on:

Three medical unions (‘fostered’ by the companies), seven or eight friendly societies, and two branches of the AMA gave to almost every working man of Lyell health and hospital benefits as substantial as those introduced by the Commonwealth Government half a century later.[cmxxx]

Coghlan in his Report to the NSW Parliament for the years 1903 and 1904 provided a concise historical summary for the period ‘since the inception of the Trade Union Law of 1881’ which formally recognised and legalised these fraternal combinations:

The total number of unions formed under the Act from its inception to the end of the year 1904 is 288. Of these, there were, at the latter date, 152 in existence, equal to 53% of the total registered, and 136 had disappeared by amalgamation, cancellation, dissolution and decay, equal to 47% of the whole list.[cmxxxi]

Showing he at least was prepared to discount the Webbs’ analysis, he pointed out:

It is evident that many of the defunct unions must have been of an ephemeral character to show such a record…I estimate the average duration of the existence of these dead unions at about nine years. No doubt the bulk of them were formed in the enthusiasm of the moment…

He considered two such ‘moments’ statistically – that of 1890-91 and the period since the Industrial Arbitration Act was passed in 1901. While on average 10 unions were formed each year from 1881 to 1889, inclusive, 38 were formed in 1890 and 21 in 1891:

The force of the movement in the direction of trade organisation then apparently had spent itself for, during the succeeding nine years, 1892-1900, an aggregate of only thirty new bodies sought registration, the record during two years, 1898 -1899, being nil.

In the four years since the 1901 Arbitration Act was passed 116 new ‘unions’ were founded out of 288 in aggregate since 1881, or 40% of all registered. Rather than history repeating itself, he thought that the enthusiasm for combination engendered by the 1901 Act was likely to take longer to die away than that of the early 1890’s. Not surprisingly his statistics appeared to show that decay was less amongst combinations in areas of industry which ‘maintained or improved their positions as vital trade forces’, ie mining, pastoral, railway, clothing, building, engineering, and other manufacturing groups.[cmxxxii]

His scrutiny of internal finances was not as keen for ‘trade unions’ as for the ‘friendly societies’. He was prepared to compare relative strengths of industrial sector under just two headings, aggregate memberships and funds held:

For the year 1903, the numerical test shows that the strongest were the mining class, followed closely by the pastoral, upwards of 14,000 each; and then at lengthy intervals by the railway, 9,000; shipping and food groups, about 6,000 each; the remaining groups being at a fairly level strength of about 4,000 members each.[cmxxxiii]

The difference in rigour meant that he had no power to insist upon returns from ‘unions’ nor could he do anything if he noticed a deficiency in their recorded funds, apparently a result of defalcation.

The average membership of 131 ‘unions’ sending returns was 560. Viewed financially his figures showed the wealthiest ‘unions’ were in the engineering and metal trades with £2/17/7d per member, the lowest on this scale being in the pastoral sector, 3/10d. The average for all ‘unions’ was 18/4d. In respect of accumulated funds of individual unions, the wealthiest was the Federated Seamens’ Union of Australasia with assets amounting to £9,031, followed by the Colliery Employees Federation (Newcastle) with £7,982, down to the AWU at £2,821.

From the standpoint of accumulated wealth against ordinary income, ‘the unions do not on the whole display much strength’:

In two cases the amassed funds are equivalent to more than 10 years income, but the membership in each case is so insignificant, and the corresponding revenue so small, that no deduction can fairly be derived as to consequent power. Otherwise we find 71 unions with less than 1 year’s revenue saved; 31 with less than 2 years; 14 with less than 3 years; 11 with less than 4 years; 1 with less than 5; 1 with less than 6. On the whole the unions possess funds equivalent to about 14 months income.

Prior to 1904, he asserted, the available figures of registered combinations were at best questionable. In that year he instituted an extensive purge, removing registrations of bodies which did not respond to his requests for returns. Thus, there appears to have been a large drop from 1903 to 1904 when in fact most of those removed would not have been extant for some time. In the interests of efficiency and accuracy he now asked ‘unions’ for ‘preliminary rough drafts’ of their Rules, ‘which, when annotated and corrected, are returned to the applicants’ for printing and return to his Office where registration then occurs.[cmxxxiv]

Since the 1899 Act, registration was being refused to ‘trade unions’ which included in their rules provisions for ‘benefits of a Friendly Society character.’ This at base was because registering as a ‘Trade Union’ and not a ‘Friendly Society’ meant that a society did not have to get benefit scales actuarially approved and did not have to ensure that each fund was operated for just the purpose designated:

Of course, the benefits provided by the older unions, constituted prior to the passing of the Friendly Societies Act, have been preserved to those unions, but I have very little doubt that in most instances the members of such unions as possess these benefit provisions are living in a state of illusionary expectancy, and that it is hopeless in many cases, on account of the state of their funds, for them to realise the advantages they look for in old age and sickness.

Miners, in lieu of benefit schemes, levied their members on behalf of others in near-to-starvation situations but there were limits, and there was heavy reliance on friendly societies to provide relief in ‘normal’ times.[cmxxxv]

In Victoria, trade unions had to be reminded in 1907 that that State’s 1890 Trades Union Act had exempted them from the operation of the Friendly Societies Act of the same year. Their anxiety about amending legislation was then at such a level they organised deputations to the Chief Secretary who arranged for a Registrar’s briefing note. Inter alia, it spelled out the contradictory status of ‘Trades Unions’:

..Apart from legislation, trade unions are illegal combinations, but for many purposes they are, by reason of the statute relating to them, perfectly lawful associations.[cmxxxvi]

The Registrar’s explanation was that Trades Unions remained in the limbo Friendly Societies had only recently escaped:

Although the statute gave trade unions certain powers, it was never intended that contracts entered into by their members should be made legal contracts inter se, so that courts of law would interfere to enforce them. If an agreement by a trade union to provide benefits to its members is not enforceable by law, the mere fact that the benefit agreed to be given is based upon a certified scale of contributions would not give the members any further legal right than they now possess.


Freemasonry, Secret Armies and Other Secret Societies

Despite all of its previous difficulties, as soon as nominal independence was gained Freemasonry suddenly surged, at least in terms of member numbers. In 1914 when NSW’s UGL celebrated its Silver Jubilee, figures showed that since 1888 memberships had gone from 6,000 to just on 20,000. In the same period, Masonic numbers in Victoria had increased by a similar amount from a similar base number.

Large increases continued, especially after both World Wars, Victorian Freemasonry, for example, noting that an increase from 18,000 in 1918 to 44,000 in 1926, was ‘the greatest percentage growth in our history’.[cmxxxvii] Counter-intuitively, a major policy shift in London that same year thrust ‘the craft…(into) a long era of ultrasecrecy’:

Public wearing of regalia was effectively banned and the temples were put off limits to the general community.[cmxxxviii]

This, in recent years, has been put down to harassment by the Vatican and other ideological opponents, such as Hitler and Stalin which intensified in the inter-War period. It seems rather to have been more in the nature of a strategic retreat, a circling of the wagons, as the organisation’s need for re-invention re-asserted itself. Unfortunately, and as other Protestant-based fraternities have done in the 20th century, Freemasonry’s ignorance of its own ‘authentic’ history has caused it, as an organisation, to reject calls for change. The Roman Catholic Church, on the other hand, maintained focus on a singular goal, while continuing to adapt its means.

There is a moderately-sized pile of publications purporting to tell the definitive account of ‘the Split’. This schism, which began to take shape in the 1930’s and kept the ALP from power nationally from 1949 until 1972, was the third of the century’s major splits suffered by Labor institutions. This chapter does not attempt to add to that pile. As with the Eureka Stockade, Federation, etc, it points out some of what has been missed, and where interested persons might look for further insights.

Strangio and Costar have analysed the beliefs of BA Santamaria, the man who, with (Archbishop) Mannix, was the Catholic prime-mover in ‘the Split’:

(There) existed a strong link amongst a unionised, Catholic, Irish working class and the ALP – strengthened as it had been by the conscription controversies of 1916-17 (but in) Santamaria’s eyes, the anti-socialism of the non-labour parties offered few opportunities because they were permeated with Masonic Protestantism and hostile to Catholics. [cmxxxix]

Their footnotes reference correspondence with Mannix in which Santamaria claimed that ‘the communists in the ACTU’ were backed by Freemasonry, ‘which is ruthlessly using the opportunity afforded by Catholic division to purge every Catholic influence from Public life.’[cmxl] Their bibliography, however, reveals no interest in following this apparently major ‘lead’ into Masonic archives, or other related fraternal material, an unfortunate self-limiting approach matched by other published, ‘non-Catholic’ research.

There were, in fact, many causes for the Split – excesses of faith, particular international and local circumstances and incendiary personalities – some of which the contributors to the 2005 The Great Labor Schism have demonstrated. Fraternally, the facts are far from clear on the Protestant/anti-Catholic side because of reasons already addressed, including neglect-inducing blind spots, but on the Catholic side, there has been sufficient if not adequate analysis. The main organisational players saw no reason to alter their Church’s longstanding world-view which naturally included overturning changes introduced by the Reformation. Espousing nostalgia about the fraternal traditions seemed a natural thing to do, even though the intensely centralised and hierarchical structure of Roman Catholicism meant the original, localised forms of fraternalism were impossible. All this can be deduced from the Catholic literature itself.

Truman has made clear the importance of the revival of the power and prestige of the Papacy from the last decades of the 19th into the 20th centuries, and the extension, by consecutive pontiffs from Pius IX in 1870 onwards of the claim of ‘papal infallibility’ into all areas of public and private life. He compares their claims to those once asserted by mediaeval Popes. In the 1954 words of Pius XII:

…Many and serious are the problems in the social field. Whether they be merely social or socio-political, they pertain to the moral order, are of concern to the conscience and the salvation of men; thus they cannot be declared outside the authority and care of the Church..[cmxli]

Protestants of course, as Truman explains, deny the supremacy of the Pope and his claim to divine authority, and assert

that the Reformation was a movement against what they regarded as non-Christian ideas and doctrines introduced by the Popes and a return to the purity of the Scriptures…One of these so-called innovations was the teaching of St Thomas Aquinas (1226-74) who used the philosophy of the Greek, and pagan philosopher Aristotle (384-322BC) to make a logical system out of the dogmas of the Church. His philosophy was accepted by the Church and has become a large part of the Catholic Faith. Pope Pius XII said: ‘His teaching seems to chime in, by a kind of pre-established harmony, with divine revelation.’[cmxlii]

Catholic global ambitions were perceived as having two stages – firstly, influencing all levels of government to adopt Catholic policies, followed by the ‘reconstruction of the social order’ into what Pius XI in 1931 detailed as ‘the Organic Society.’ Again, in Truman’s words:

(To) him and his advisers is due the brilliant plan for enlisting the whole Catholic laity (the laymen or Catholics outside the priesthood and religious orders) ‘conquering the world for Christ’ through the agency of the Catholic Church. This is called the Apostolate of the Laity or more simply the Lay Apostolate.[cmxliii]

Unified direction ‘of all Catholic organisations under the leadership of the Holy See and the Hierarchy’ in Rome allowed a degree of national variation:

And so we find Catholic Action organisations for young men and for men, for girls and for women. There are organisations for general Catholic Action and for specialised Catholic Action. Specialisation may derive from the profession: (lawyers, doctors, teachers, etc), or from the different milieux: young workers,..(groups) for rural areas,..students, etc. There are also Family Movements of Catholic Action..[cmxliv]

In a 1947 Statement, Australian Bishops listed nine Catholic Action ‘movements’, four adult and five youth organisations – the Workers Movement, the League of St Thomas More, the Family Movement, the Rural Movement, Young Catholic Students, the Campion Society and University Catholic Action, Young Christian Workers, National Catholic Girls Movement, and the Christian Country Youth Movement. Just as ‘at the time of the Reformation, Ignatius Loyola and his little band, the Jesuits’ were at the service of the Pope against the heretics, the Handbook of the Young Catholic Students, as one example, tells its readers their work is:

  1. to change and Christianise the environment of students.
  2. to form people for post-school Catholic Action.
  3. to help students to prepare themselves properly for life in the world.

Not surprisingly, in these aims and in their practices, Catholic societies manifested similar, albeit stronger and better-run counterpoints to those of their Protestant opposition. As the Freemasons, the PAFS, the Druids Hibernians and Odd Fellows still had, at least in theory, the YCS had

our prayers and religious instruction, our regular exercises and practices of the Faith, our curricula permeated with Catholic thought, and, above all, the wonderful example and inspiration of the selfless devotion of the nuns and brothers themselves.[cmxlv]

But where the Freemasons, at least, continue to this day to claim concern for religious inclusiveness, the Catholic Hierarchy made clear that such thinking was a danger, not a virtue:

(Catholics distressed by arguments with Protestants) have an itch, nay, a burning desire, to break down all the barriers by which men of good will are now separated from one another; they embrace a policy of appeasement which would fain put on one side all the questions that divide us – not merely to the extent of uniting our forces against the common menace of atheism, but actually so as to achieve a compromise of opinion, even where matters of doctrine are concerned.[cmxlvi]

Parish priests, in particular had to be warned, in large type with capital letters’:



Santamaria began his selective account of ‘the Split’ with a 1912 debate over education which resulted in large numbers of Catholics being expelled from the Labor Party in Victoria because, he asserts, of their association with the Catholic Federation and ‘its fight for educational justice.’ He described this as the first 20th century episode in which ‘destructive sectarian passion had been consciously aroused for political purposes’. On 27 November, 1914, the Victorian Central Executive of the Political Labor Council, the then name of the ALP, actually resolved that the LOI, along with the Australian Catholic Federation, the Licensed Victuallers’ Association and the Womens Political Association were ‘political associations’ and could therefore no longer continue as members.

Such was the turmoil and uncertainty facing all players, that prior to the 1913 NSW State election, a desperate leader of the nationally-organised Catholic Federation actually suggested Catholics consider voting for Orangemen if only to show that the Catholic labouring man was not going to allow even the party with which he was most naturally in sympathy to deprive him, by means of ‘private and confidential’ circulars, of his most elemental right, that of being able to voice his grievances through his parliamentary representative.[cmxlviii] Fr O’Reilly, of the Federation prematurely claimed that it had ‘smashed the Labour Machine’ only to see Holman and Labor win easily.[cmxlix] One known Sydney ‘hot spot’ in 1913 was Auburn, described by ‘Jack’ Lang as he began his eventful political career, as being ‘the heart of a very deep-seated sectarian struggle.’ For a decade Cardinal Moran had battled Dill-Mackey, ‘an equally able leader of the Orangemen in (NSW)’:

They engaged in public controversy. Each Sunday their respective churches would be packed. They thundered against each other. The newspapers reported them in full and published their letters.[cml]

Lang claims to have de-fused this volatile situation in his local area by treating what he calls the ‘northern Irish and the southern Irish’ even-handedly. Santamaria’s comment in 1984 was that:

Clearly..the extremist opponents of Catholic influence in the ALP, anticipating the events of 1955, were using the (Catholic) Federation issue to push the most Catholic of their opponents out of the Party.[cmli]

Santamaria’s overall argument was that labor-oriented intellectuals used the same political ploy when faced with ‘the virus of communism’. Because he opposed ‘Red influences’ from 1937 in order, as he saw it, to defend social democracy, even Western civilisation, he was especially critical of ALP leaders like Evatt, would-be Prime Minister in the 1940’s and 1950’s. Santamaria argued that these intellectuals could have played a mediating role rather than an opportunist one to develop strategies which safe-guarded the central, moderate ground against totalitarians of both the right and the left.

His argument is sound to a point but it assumes that he and ‘his people’ were, by definition, amongst the moderates, and fails to take into account the genuine fear of Catholic totalitarianism held by many non-Catholics. It is further weakened by his failure to ask whether the politicians were creating or responding to an activist Protestant presence. Laffan has shown that the positioning of Orangemen in key labour posts in NSW’s Hunter River District industries, as just one key example, remained strong in the new century:

It was not for nothing that the annual July 12 (Battle of the Boyne) procession formed up at the (Newcastle) Trades Hall. Indeed, LOL 26 used the Trades Hall as its lodge room.[cmlii]

Laffan has observed that even the large number of ‘Orange labour’ activists he has thus far been able to locate will prove to be ‘far from exhaustive’, and that, despite prevailing wisdom to the contrary:

any attempt to understand how the Labor Party in Newcastle handled World War I, conscription, the Irish Rebellion, the Railway Strike and the Russian Revolution is impossible without paying some attention to the Loyal Orange Lodges, their origins, traditions and methods of operation.[cmliii]

The best of very incomplete Australian ‘Orange’ numbers are the following for 1907: Compared to Ireland with 1650 lodges, Canada with 1504, England, 300, Scotland 290, South Africa, 17 and New Zealand with 57, Australia had at least 683, made up of: Victoria, 183, SA, 53, WA, 64, Qld, 33, NSW 300 male and over 50 female lodges.[cmliv]

The second occasion on which ‘Labor’ politicians had consciously chosen ‘the sectarian strategy’, according to Santamaria, was, of course, the attempt by Prime Minister Hughes to win two conscription referenda in 1916-1917. Rather than see defeats in both polls as evidence that the strategy was a failure, Santamaria has argued that Evatt interpreted the near-misses as proof the strategy could work, since it had apparently increased the pro-conscription vote beyond what it would otherwise have been. ‘Jack’ Lang has insisted that a potent anti-conscription factor at the time was the fear among labour-supporters that increasing the intake of Australian soldiers would leave jobs vacant to be filled by Maltese and other ‘forrins’.[cmlv]

In 1916, to the annual Conference of the Catholic Federation a Catholic spokesperson complained that Freemasonry

under the mask of social organisation, has become the enemy of fair play and progress. In some countries it is anti-Christian; among us it is anti-social, but none the less pernicious.[cmlvi]

The then Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne Dr Mannix earned accusations of disloyalty when he warned of the dangers of Federal Government support for conscription:

This is not a Catholic question; and it is not an Irish question, nor a Sinn Fein question. It deeply concerns the Australian people and by the Australian people it should be answered on its merits..It should have been put clearly before the people, and it should not have been clouded, as Mr Hughes has clouded it, by sectarianism and racial prejudice. I claim, therefore..that Mr Hughes has degraded his office and degraded Australia..[cmlvii]

Prime Minister ‘Billy’ Hughes accused Mannix publically of being against ‘the Empire’ at the same time he, Hughes was secretly ‘organising an anti-Mannix campaign with Orange elements.’ Ex-Premier Holman, expelled from the ALP for favoring conscription, admitted in his memoirs:

Hughes made his fight definitely an anti-Mannix fight..At one time it looked as if the whole organisation of the campaign was very much less concerned with the defeat of the Hun than with that of a turbulent Catholic prelate. This was a mistake.[cmlviii]

Neither the 1917 split, which followed the referenda defeats and saw Hughes and others expelled from the ALP, nor the later schism was about religion alone. And although the eastern seaboard is where major scholarly attention has been focussed Bolton has noted that on the other side of the continent:

Nervous authorities banned a St Patrick’s Day parade in 1919, but it went ahead anyway, led by a former member of parliament and future president of the Arbitration Court, Walter Dwyer, who ended his days a knight.[cmlix]

Laffan has written:

Irish independence, of course, was seen as a threat to Empire. The 1920 election of a Labor State Government produced decisions that horrified some in the ‘God, King and Empire’ brigade. Over 100,000 turned up to a rally in the Domain [Sydney] to defend the Union Jack which Labor wished to replace with the Australian flag, while ‘satanic’ revolutionaries wanted the Red Flag and the Fenians the Green.[cmlx]

The ‘official’ historian of NSW’s Hibernian Society has joined some of the dots connecting this gathering with ‘the illiberal attitudes of establishment interests in the twenties’ by way of the career of Colonel Scott who, it is claimed, served as the model for ‘Callcott’ in DH Lawence’s Kangaroo:

Anti-Labor feeling was running high in Sydney..Opposition..came from a broad coalition..including Protestants and Orangemen angry at what they saw as the Irish Catholic element in the Labour Party, soldiers angry at Labor’s anti-conscription stance..and businessmen fearful at what ‘Bolshevik’ measures the new government might try to implement..The catch cry was ‘disloyalty’..(this) was used to launch..the King and Empire Alliance..the main purpose was to organise a secret army to take over the State..[cmlxi]

The interning of seven men suspected of belonging to the Irish Republican Brotherhood, the sensational flight, arrest and kidnapping of another lapsed Catholic nun and support given her by NSW’s Orangemen, and the possibly engineered demise of the Catholic Federation after its failed attempts to gain the Parliamentary ‘balance of power’ all added to the tension.[cmlxii] A Protestant newspaper quoted from a Mannix speech at a church stone-laying in Warwick, Queensland in 1922, wherein he alluded to continuing slanders against him and of the continuing fight by Irish people everywhere for freedom from Britain:

They would go on asking for it, and they would create all the trouble they could, not merely in Ireland, but in Australia, until they got it.[cmlxiii]

NSW’s branch of the Catholic Federation claimed 100,000 members at its peak. Kildea accepts that more specialised ‘agencies’ such as the Knights of the Southern Cross, the Catholic Evidence Guild and the Catholic Immigration Aid Association, took over its functions from 1922, but suggests ALP influence:

There were many Catholics prominent in the Labor Party who resented the damage that the Federation had caused to the labour movement by standing candidates..Although there is no direct evidence that Archbishop Kelly decided to kill off the Federation at the request of Catholic Labor politicians, the inference is compelling.[cmlxiv]

Walter Skelton, a Newcastle-based Protestant prohibitionist seeking ALP pre-selection in 1921-22 was abused as ‘a good man gone wrong’ and as having ‘sold his soul’ to a Catholic-dominated Labor Caucus by his opponent, a Past Grand Orange Chaplain and Nationalist Party candidate. After 1920, dis-affected Labor voters could not vote for the Nationals, the only major alternative. So in 1922, Skelton, lay-preacher and railway worker, having failed within the ALP, emerged as an Independent Protestant candidate and subsequently as the face of the Protestant Independent Labour Party or PILP.

Established in 1923, it was based on a small area geographically and while of comparatively short duration, reveals a great deal to a careful observer. This labour man was very Orange:

Skelton was a ‘big man’ in the Loyal Orange lodges and in the Protestant Federation. He had worked throughout the 1917 Great Strike [which resulted from the conscription struggles], his union had not called its members out, he was a supporter of the ‘loyalist’ volunteers [pro-conscription], and he enjoyed sufficient popularity to be elected employees’ representative on the railway superannuation board. He had excellent contacts through district conferences of his church and was one of the most frequent main speakers at Protestant rallies in the Newcastle district throughout 1921.

At the time, elections were for multi-member seats, and Skelton was elected first out of five. Most of his campaign supporters were Orangemen who helped him differentiate his message from both the ALP and the Nationals. A number were trade union officials opposed not only to Catholic influence but also to the ALP’s support of gambling, drink and Sunday sport. His public meetings were stormy and he moved with an escort of burly miners ‘ready for action.’ His unpublished memoirs relate that at least one meeting was abandoned under a hail of stones.[cmlxv] Shortly after Skelton’s win, and with the Nationalists elected federally, the NSW ALP State Executive proscribed both the Protestant Federation and the LOI.

Many conservative Orangemen voted with the Nationalists but some Protestant and Catholic Labor supporters alike now searched for compromise candidates who would not use anti-Catholic or anti-Protestant arguments and who valued the role Labor might play industrially. This brought them both into conflict with Communists and guaranteed a continuation of factional manoeuvring and internecine tumult.

JH Catts, an effective Labor MHR in the anti-conscription struggle and credited with being ‘largely responsible for the celebration of Anzac Day’[cmlxvi], was expelled from the Party in 1922 for alleging corrupt practices which, he said, stemmed from Catholic influence. In ‘Jack’ Lang’s terms, this was ‘the era of rabid sectarianism’ when a ‘strange campaign’ of religious hatred ‘destroyed the Dooley Government’:

There were no more than four practising Catholics in the Ministry. During the election (Opposition politician) Ley accused the Government of being in some dark conspiracy against all Protestants. To help him he had the libel suit brought by a Sister Ligouri against the Catholic Bishop of Wagga. His trump card was that the Labor Party was alleged to be committed to a doctrine of the Catholic Church known as the Ne Temere Decree.[cmlxvii]

‘Ne Temere’ set out situations in which the Church would, or would not regard marriages as acceptable to it. The Opposition Liberal Party was asserting the same criteria were about to be introduced into civil law and made prohibition of them part of its successful election Policy. JT Ley was later to die a convicted murderer and inmate of Broadmoor Criminal Asylum in the UK. Catt’s attempt at an independent Party perished in its infancy, while Skelton’s was scuttled when electorates were altered to single member in 1926-27. Though he retained a significant support base, it was never quite enough. Laffan has concluded:

The PILP was a significant political expression of a constituency that existed in substantial numbers throughout NSW. Its activists and supporters went various ways. In the short term some of them appear to have supported the Australian Party formed by WM Hughes in 1929.[cmlxviii]

Laffan, almost the only scholar who has looked closely at the relevant Orange records, has asserted that the Skelton schism so damaged the LOI in NSW as to render it politically impotent from then on.[cmlxix] However, Crisp’s biography of the Catholic Federal ALP leader Chifley has ‘loyal members of the Party’ asserting that Protestants ‘had little chance of election to the Cabinet’ in the 1930’s, and that sectarianism ‘was seldom wholly absent’ from Federal political contests.’[cmlxx] Was Catholicism continuing to gain strength while ‘its enemies’ bickered about who would represent them? Again, there has been little useful research. Laffan’s general conclusion is that:

Only a relatively small proportion of the community joined explicitly sectarian organisations such as the Knights of the Southern Cross or the Loyal Orange Institution but many individuals and families had their lives impacted on by sectarianism.[cmlxxi]

(Naomi) Turner has a list of over 25 Catholic societies, many of them newly-formed, operating in one Sydney parish in 1944, from the ‘Children of Mary’ to the ‘Eucharistic League’ and ‘St Joseph’s Guild of Catholic Laymen’ to a number of sporting and social ‘clubs’. Research simply hasn’t been done to establish which of these guilds, confraternities, sodalities, orders and brotherhoods, contained all the elements necessary to meet the definition of ‘fraternal’, or how many of them remain. The available evidence is that many included restrictions on who could participate, who could witness the various ‘private’ ceremonials, and what level of ‘insider’ was entitled to wear which distinctive scapular, breviary, veil or ribbon. The 1962 revised Handbook for the Legion of Mary stated unequivocally:

5.Inviolable Confidence Must Be Preserved by the Legionaries in regard to what they hear at their meetings or in the course of their work.[cmlxxii]

Differentiation of ‘insider’ from ‘outsider’, of course, contradicts strictures on ‘secret societies’ issued by the Church. This strategy of an imperio ad imperium was what produced the National Secretariat of Catholic Action in Melbourne in 1937 and a broad national network of occupation-based ‘guilds’, the last closely paralleling Masonic lodges of teachers, bus drivers, steel workers, etc, of the same period. Laffan has interesting material on this period.[cmlxxiii]

While Moore’s search for the ‘secret armies’ of the 1930’s produced ‘no proof’ that ‘the Masonic brotherhood’ was directly implicated in any conspiracies around the Colonel De Groot episode at the opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge, and forced him to fall back on a vague association of ‘conservative’ and ‘Masonic’ with ‘the Old Guard’, his bibliography shows he examined no Masonic or other fraternal society records.[cmlxxiv] For this reason alone, I assume there is more to be discovered about secretive groupings, for example, those agitated over the NSW Lang Labor Government and its attempts to defy Commonwealth and British Government Depression policies.

The Ancient Order of Froth Blowers was not one of these. Self-described as ‘a sociable and law-abiding fraternity of absorptive Britons’ keen on malt ale and on raising money for good causes it brings to mind the original ‘coffee and ale-house clubs’ from which the Freemasons, Odd Fellows and Buffaloes, in particular, appear to have stemmed. Established in England in 1928 at least one ‘branch’ meeting has been recorded in Australia between the Wars.

There were people who regarded fascist-leaning, Empire-supporting societies as acceptable, even necessary, in the period 1914 to 1945 – Australia First, the New and Old Guards, the Australia First League, the National Guard and the New Front, and no doubt others.[cmlxxv] Many would have been influenced by PR Stephenson’s The Foundations of Australian Culture. There were nationalistic societies concerned with Australia’s artistic voice, such as the Jindyworobaks and the Angry Penguins. Again, these may or may not have used ‘fraternal’ paraphernalia and procedures. Muirden notes an association between ‘the Yabber Club’ of Stephenson, the Australia First Movement and the ANA in the 1940’s.[cmlxxvi]

The Anglo-Saxon Clan, drawing inspiration from the KKK of the USA, appears to have begun its operations in November, 1923, at the instigation of a NSW parliamentarian James Wilson. Published documents indicate it intended:

A common brotherhood of strict regulations for the purpose of cultivating and promoting real patriotism towards our Civil Government; to practice an honourable clannishness towards each other; to exemplify a practical benevolence; to shield the sanctity of the home and the chastity of womanhood; to teach and inculcate a high spiritual philosophy through an exalted ritualism, and by a practical devotedness to conserve, protect and maintain the distinctive institutions, rights, privileges and principles of a pure Australian democracy.[cmlxxvii]

The words are different, the sentiments would not have been out of place in a mediaeval village.

Moore’s ground-breaking work is best on the competition between the ‘Old Guard’ and the ‘New Guard’ and the pressures this competition placed on Commonwealth-State relations and on influential figures such as the soon-to-be NSW Police Commissioner MacKay:

For the dislocation in Commonwealth-State relations entailed a severing of the ties between the New South Wales police and the Old Guard. In November 1932 it would be possible for MacKay to welcome Scott, Goldfinch and Somerville to the principal table at the annual CIB [Criminal Investigation Branch] dinner but in April it seemed he might be opposing his dinner guests at the barricades.[cmlxxviii]

Moore notes that MacKay ‘commissioned the only full-scale report’ of the Old Guard’s activities and that during the crisis, police were stopping and searching cars for arms and ammunition:

The police march through the city [Sydney] on 29 April..was..directed at the metropolitan division of the Old Guard. MacKay knew where his former allies were to be found so he personally directed the march past the buildings where they worked and the institutions where they were having lunch – the Stock Exchange, Civic Club, Union Club, Imperial Service Club, as well as the offices of CSR, pastoral companies, insurance firms and banks.

Bolton has given little research time to what may have been an analogous situation, perhaps involving the same networks, thousands of miles away:

(West Australian) Catholics came to believe that many firms, including most of the banks and Wesfarmers, discriminated against employing members of their faith. Their suspicions were fuelled by the knowledge that many prominent citizens, among them the Anglican Archbishop..were keen Freemasons..In 1922 a group of Catholic businessmen founded a local chapter of the Order of the Knights of the Southern Cross, to counter this tendency.[cmlxxix]

Moore does not note that MacKay was initiated a Freemason in 1922. He does note that during the crisis ‘Jock Garden’, well-known ‘Red’ was bashed by members of the Fascist Legion, ‘a secretive inner group within the New Guard’ who wore KKK-style hoods and gowns.[cmlxxx]

Neither does Moore note that newspaper reporters attending the 1932 Royal Commission into Starting Price Bookmaking (‘the SP’) were agog when one police officer witness accused another of ‘acting improperly’ when taking a statement from a constable ‘under masonic secrecy.’[cmlxxxi]

Where trade society membership numbers, and those of Communist and Socialist Parties, were generally on the increase, remarks about Freemasons walking away after initial contacts with a lodge member were once again being heard, and friendly society numbers were experiencing severe decline. The Depression had a lot to do with these reversals and produced the first round of suggestions about appropriate responses. It was quickly found marketing campaigns could only temporarily stabilise figures rather than increase them. Blainey, writing later about the IOOF, concluded:

Increasingly the members who were ambitious for the Order decided that certain reasons for the failure stood out. The Order was too theatrical, too secret, too ritualistic in its ceremonies to appeal to younger Australians… Curiously, these had been factors which, in their grandfathers’ day, had made the American style (of Odd Fellowship) seem attractive.[cmlxxxii]

The gap between executive officers and the rank-and-file was by now huge. In-house literature shows Grand Lodges wrestling with legislation and with the competition, and the membership wrestling with the relevance of the ritual, eg one wrote in 1931 – ‘Do not permit anyone to give a candidate the idea that he is going forward to a ceremony which is ‘funny’ or severe.’’ In the same periodical, the Reverend Lawrence of the IOOF’s West Australian Denmark Lodge could manage only very wordy and very vague moralisms in his ‘The Appeal of Ritual and Ceremonial to the Minds of Man’.

In 1931 the MU’s Hunter District Grand Master reported that ‘practically all of the lodges are affected through the slackness of the coal mining industry, (yet)..we have held our own.’ The 1931 AGM in the HRD was postponed to 1932 when the District Grand Master’s address revealed that the district was unfinancial, unable to pay annual dues to Head Office, only seven out of 34 districts being financial. Ten HRD lodges were unable to pay dues to the district office. Adult and juvenile ritual competitions between the Wars were, conducted very seriously if irregularly and cups, shields and plaques awarded. They were not universally popular and proved impotent in the face of what was happening externally.[cmlxxxiii]

But so generalised had the faith-based war become that even sport was compromised at its heart. In boxing, the tragic flight from Australian military authorities in 1915 and subsequent death in the United States of the already famous young boxer, Les Darcy, was widely believed to have been precipitated by the conflict between his Irish Catholic upbringing and British Empire loyalists. When his body was returned from the USA, his coffin and his Holy Catholic Guild member’s sash was carried to the catafalque by his fraternal brothers, the cortege including members of the INF and HACBS.[cmlxxxiv] With regard to cricket, much has been written about Bradman’s approach to ‘his’ team members while he, himself, has denied being influenced by religion. Conflicting interpretations of his actions and those of other Protestant/Masonic figures in cricket’s hierarchy were certainly widespread at the time, while a belief in an anti-Catholic bias remained current for decades:

Australian cricket teams of the 1930’s were wracked by religious differences, with Catholics such as Fingleton and O’Reilly against the Protestant/Masonic faction championed by Sir Donald (Bradman).[cmlxxxv]

One of Fingleton’s numerous Catholic supporters noted his journalism was used on occasion to push the credentials of fellow-Catholic Stan McCabe:

You did noble and well-merited service to Stan in your articles. He has certainly not been treated fairly by the critics. One cannot help suspecting the existence of a Freemason press gang collaborating to boost the members of the craft..[cmlxxxvi]

Fingleton, in his autobiography, reflected on his parent’s Catholic origins and faith but not his own. His discussion of bias and ‘favouratisms’ within Australian cricket does not include any reference to either a Masonic or a Catholic clique.[cmlxxxvii] Another of his Catholic correspondents, however, ‘a very, very insignificant old monk’ who met him and his Catholic team mates in Melbourne when they returned from a tour of South Africa, thanked him profusely:

Fancy getting Chappie to march in the procession and fancy marching yourself. These little things are wonderful and you would be surprised to know what an impression they make on others. To see you and Chap there was more good than all the sermons Fr Talty could give in a month.[cmlxxxviii]

‘Chappie’ was EA Dwyer, one of three national cricket selectors of this period and owner of the Dwyer range of Catholic Book shops, ‘the procession’ probably a St Patrick’s Day outing. Growden has commented:

Fingleton was convinced that if Dwyer hadn’t been on the selection panel he might not have played Test cricket at all. He was equally certain that McCabe would not have become one of Australian cricket’s most notable batsmen without the continuous support of the same fellow Catholic..Even the Test umpiring ranks were dominated by Protestants. Col Egar in the 1960’s is believed to be the first Catholic umpire ever appointed for an Australian Test match.[cmlxxxix]

At this time, Freemasons appeared to have achieved an attractive 20th century culture. In 1938, the number of attached Masons in NSW was 60,077, an (approx) 600% increase in 50 years, but itself a decrease from 1930 of 11,000 due to the Depression.[cmxc] Victoria achieved 100,000 Masons in 1954, a figure surpassed in NSW in 1949. Friendly Society numbers remained ahead of these but they had clearly been sidelined in the public mind by continuing rows over National Insurance, while ‘trade unions’ were both hated and loved. Freemasonry, alone, had maintained an aura of mystery and of substantial coherence. The reality was not quite up to the whispered mythologies. A South Australian doctor, under surveillance by Commonwealth security agents in the 1930’s apparently expressed interest in becoming a Masonic brother, changing his mind only when the Nazi Party began to gather strength.[cmxci] And there were other supplicants:

In 1935, Masonic Brother Clive Loch Hughes-Hallett, an Englishman living in Melbourne, sought expressions of interest in surveying the ritual of the Hung, or Heaven and Earth Society with some esoterically minded Masons in the Victorian Lodge of Research No 218 (VC).[cmxcii]

In 1937, this one-time ABC radio announcer and artillery officer, Hughes-Hallet gathered a small group of Royal Arch Masons to ‘investigate the history, teachings and rituals of the Chinese Triad Society.’ From this it can be guessed that none if any of the actual history of the Hungmen in Australia was known to them and that Hughes-Hallet, for idealistic rather than informed reasons, had assumed that a clear connection existed between Chinese Triadism and formal Freemasonry as practised in England and Australia. Another of the group wrote to NSW’s Masonic Grand Secretary in November, 1947 about long-term intentions:

…the regeneration of a very old society, which under political pressure had fallen on hard days, to a place and function in Asiatic life in some measure resembling that of the Craft today, is work which only freemasons can do…

Believing that the originating society and ritual were extremely old, the group had attempted ’re-constitution’ of known fragments of the original ritual. They then had carried out demonstrations and set up ‘lodges’, chartered from an ‘Australasian Provincial Grand Lodge’, in both Victoria and NSW, the last meetings of which had occurred by 1948. It appears Hughes-Hallett himself became absorbed into ‘mainstream’ Freemasonry and the Communist takeover in 1949 rendered further discussion of a return to China futile.

Elements of the Calabrian ‘Honoured Society’, referred to as ‘the Mafia’, made their first Australian foray in the 1930’s. One ritual gathered in Victoria, and rather poorly translated, begins:

Q: (A courtesy or greeting before every question and reply)

Are you a Camorrista? A: I am and I show it. (Gives the sign)

Q: How did you enter the Society? A: With bared forehead, arms folded across my

breast like a …(?)

Q: What did you see on the floor? A: A white carpet of very fine thread, a white

handkerchief of very fine silk, a little basin

containing 27/50 and a further five

firearms, four even and one uneven.

Q: What does the uneven one represent? A: The head of the Society… [and so on]

WG Spence was only one of labour’s self-professed ‘militants’ to have been moulded by religious observances. The author of a monograph on the Communist party of Australia (CPA) in Newcastle, 1920-1940 has commented:

This hostility which existed between the churches and the CPA obscured the fact that there were many points of agreement. The CPA did not challenge most of the conventional values of Christianity and expected its members to maintain a high moral standard.[cmxciii]

The Executive Committee of the Communist International in Moscow had made the Comintern attitude to opponents, including institutionalised religion, very clear in its bulletins and it took every opportunity to impress Australian comrades with the need to make themselves familiar with the contents. As one example of why this admonition was needed, a 1923 letter shows ‘Jock’ Garden, Scottish-born Communist and trade unionist but who had been a reverend before emigrating to Australia[cmxciv], being reprimanded by his Moscow masters:

We are in receipt of your letter explaining and apologising for your participation in religious revival meetings while in Scotland. We trust that no repetition of such conduct will occur, and feel confident that you will, by increased communist activity, make up for this temporary aberration.[cmxcv]

At his most evangelical, WG Spence had not predicted certainty arising from Labour’s work. He had allowed the possibility that workers might well find their way to hell rather than heaven, and to either along a range of paths. The danger in his ‘messianic’ approach flowed inevitably from his education – his message was confused. There was firstly the idea of ‘the new’:

Spence claimed the new unions, such as the AWU, were distinguished from the old by ‘mateship’, ‘co-operation’, ‘brotherhood’ and even the ‘ideal of the lowly Nazarene.’’

And there was the idea that ‘the new’ was not new:

Unionism came to the Australian Bushman as a religion. It came, bringing salvation from years of tyranny. It had in it that feeling of mateship which he understood already…[cmxcvi]

Confusion reigned, too, when scenes resembling Hieronimous Bosch paintings occurred on the northern coalfields as the Depression bit into people already scarred physically and emotionally, and an evangelist, Mr Fred Van Eyck came to Cessnock (NSW) to conduct a ‘Revival and Healing Campaign’ in May, 1929. The Reverend Alan Walker later summarised the community’s response:

Immediately, remarkable interest was displayed by the people…mass marches were staged through the streets…a wave of mass-revivalism broke out..Crowds of 3000 gathered night after night.[cmxcvii]

Spokespeople for the Four Square Gospel Church which evolved from this campaign have claimed their meetings turned the miners from violence, picketing and the Devil, towards song, worship and salvation.[cmxcviii] The local paper, the Cessnock Eagle, while welcoming the preaching troupe, as did the Mayor, reported that at one particular meeting, where the Church claimed a triumph for healing:

The proposals [for picketing] were duly endorsed and at the conclusion of the meeting a large number of men came forward and gave their names as volunteers for picketing.[cmxcix]

Van Eyck, interviewed at the time, came very close to claiming that he was Jesus Christ:

I have had the privilege..of seeing thousands saved and healed. Perhaps that is the most wonderful part of my ministry. .I have seen the blind receive their sight and the deaf their hearing and almost every nameable disease healed.

He insisted that the desperate conditions being experienced by coalfield communities on top of company and State Government repression were the result of individual sin, but he allowed that the devil was using capitalists as ‘his’ agents. Loss of evangelical momentum was almost as rapid as the initial excitements had been when disputes broke out between Van Eyck, the Salvation Army, sundry other reverends and a compact and very active group of Communist militants.

But he returned to the same community in 1931 determined to further exploit suffering experienced in the interim, including the infamous ‘Rothbury Riot’, in which a certain Scottish police officer, WJ MacKay administered the savage punishment due to any who sought to defy the State, or was it the Empire? Once again initial response to the Four Square troupe was intense:

The scene beggars..description. Men and women apparently in an ecstasy of joy, danced about the stage, and some spoke in strange languages..The evangelist performed the usual acrobatic dances..while..women converts became apparently hysterical and laughed and cried in turns. Shouts of ‘Hallelujah’ and ‘Praise the Lord’ could be heard all over the building. Now and again the deep moaning of a male convert or the plaintive wail of a female..could be heard.[m]

There is some anecdotal evidence that the executives of Masonic lodges were working with northern coalfield mine management on lists of employees who were not to be employed after ‘the troubles.’ Agitator ‘Bondy’ Hoare asserted at a 1931 May Day rally:

All your Masonic lodges and Hibernians are unable to stop the destruction of the capitalist system.[mi]

Oral histories collected by Sheilds in the 1980’s were from Sydney metal workers who had ‘completed their time’ between 1914 and the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Entitled ‘Craftsmen in the Making’, his essay argued that previous Labour Historians had ‘under-estimated the historical resilience of the craftsman, his institutions and his culture.’ In this piece about the importance of the experience of industrial apprentices in ‘craft unions’, Sheilds has none of the substance of the fraternal context anymore than, say, Ian Turner (above) but, nevertheless, his analysis perceptively recognises the importance of the ceremonial to the fraternal package:

The rituals, practices and language associated with learning the ‘art’ and ‘mystery’ of the craft as an indentured apprentice – much of it traceable directly to the pre-industrial craft guilds – gave tangible expression to the notion of trade as property.[mii]

By ‘trade’ here, he meant the skills and information known and husbanded by ‘insiders’ initiated into the craft of metal working. The prescribed ‘means of entry into this exclusive estate’ was a completed apprenticeship. This typically entailed

a lowly paid five year term under indenture to ‘a master’,

several further years work as an ‘improver’ to become ‘a journeyman’, and

a period of ‘tramping the trade’ in search of experience.

The apparently benign Rotary, Lions, Apex, etc which appeared and spread between the Wars, did not emphasise either religion or mateship, but are clearly also children of the older fraternal societies. Chain regalias of office, fining of members during meetings for inappropriate behaviour, and charitable efforts are just three obvious carry-overs from a much earlier time. I cannot say whether and to what extent religion played a role in the evolution of any or all of these, but since many of them seem to have emerged first in the USA I would expect a religious component. Some, eg Rotary in early 1931, were attacked by the Vatican as if they posed a major threat comparable to Freemasonry.


Real and Fanciful History Since 1945

Grand United’s Alfred Walters was known as a ‘genial battler’. He’d only joined the Order after emigrating from Herefordshire to Australia in 1923 and finding manual work on wheat farms in western NSW and Queensland. In 1934 he’d begun the ‘Star of Tara’ lodge, no doubt after a deal of cajoling and urging of the locals. It closed again in 1951, perhaps because he was no longer available:

Alfred Walters joined the 25th Batallion and rose to the rank of QMS [Quarter Master Sergeant] He died of wounds received during a Japanese air-raid on Milne Bay in September, 1942.[miii]

GU’s Grand Master was still inspecting juveniles from Albury, Wagga and from the lodge ‘Bellams Pride’ in 1942, his Report emphasising ‘deportment’ and ‘memorisation’, not meaning:

The …Vice Grand was efficient and made a good showing, and made only one small error, the supporting officers being quite good. The team gave me the impression of being too hurried, and if the Superintendent, in coaching them in the future, will endeavour to slow them down slightly, to take their time, he will find that he has some excellent material upon which to work…

Some attention might be paid to the Conductors, and their method of conducting the candidate around the Lodge, as it must be realised that in an initiation, a candidate has no knowledge of the interior of the lodge, and where the officers are sitting, and I would recommend that the candidate be held by the hand…[miv]

For Masons confined as pow’s 1939-45, maintaining links to the fraternity back home was extremely important.[mv] While neither fraternalism nor mutual fear and loathing among religionists suddenly went out of fashion, both do appear to finally subside after the 1939-45 War, making relevant the question: where did the passions go? There is no need here to track the twists and turns of ‘private health insurance’, ALP and trade union history, or that of Freemasonry over the more recent decades. Of more relevance is the question of just what has changed as ‘modernisation’ has put more and more pressure on fraternalism’s defining essentials.

The probable answer is that, despite clear and significant declines in the numbers of Freemasons, trade unionists and of friendly society members in the last half of the 20th century, the mutual fear and loathing has remained, while fraternalism, now universally called ‘mateship’, has continued to grow as myth but has disappeared as an understood reality. In 1988, the year of bicentennial celebrations, Braddon oscillated between laughter and tears:

Starting from scratch, we have taken a mere two hundred years to invent Minties, stuff Phar Lap, owe more money than almost anyone in the developing world and export twenty-five koalas to Japan.

None of this is generally known. It isn’t even taught. Most Australian schools have deleted Australian history from their curricula because they find it so incredibly boring.[mvi]

Not acknowledging he had been badly taught himself, he blamed what he called ‘the Revisionists’:

In the 1960’s and 70s our British beginnings became intolerable to a new generation of Australian academics, writers and filmmakers. Provoked..and embarrassed..(they) proceeded to ignore the law, revise our history and invent the Myth of Mateship, the Legend of the Bush and the Epic of Gallipoli.[mvii]

Protestant fraternalism survived the downturn in formal Orange membership and apparent loss of parliamentary ‘sponsors’, by becoming part of the general social ambience. The Catholic version remains just as deeply engrained, if dormant. The potential for revival exists, but in Australia there has been little or no recent need for sharp-edged competition. There are sufficient other outlets to make street fighting unnecessary. Nevertheless, the minutes of a Perth lodge of the PAFS throughout the pre-War period and afterwards show that ‘The lodge was opened in the usual and proper manner’, that in 1939 it participated in ‘the protest against the deportation of Peter Wong’ and that in 1943, this friendly society was holding fast to its secret practices:

The initiation ceremony was performed by members of the Grand Lodge Executive. WGM EA Anderson gave counsel and the final charge, and PWGM Bro West instructed the new member in the signs and secrets of the lodge. After the initiation the usual business of the lodge was reverted to.[mviii]

Attempts in 1941 by Santamaria to draw a line under centuries of mutual hatred and suspicion with an ecumenical ‘common front’ proved futile. One of his then fellow-activists had predicted what would later transpire:

Frank McManus..soon after our first meeting in 1941..warned me that..some of those who might benefit from the proposal to initiate an organised struggle against the Communists were opportunists who would have no hesitation in using the sectarian weapon to disown both myself and those whom I might succeed in enlisting, once they considered their own personal interests secure.[mix]

It it likely that fraternal societies other than the trade unions, especially the Freemasons, were directly involved in post-Second World War politics, at individual, lodge and/or Grand Lodge level. Recall now the words of Donald Horne, Geoffrey Bolton and others with which I began this review, including:

The town’s tone was set by the Anglo-Presbyterian ascendancy and its affairs were largely in the hands of the Masons.

Until at least the 1950’s and ‘60’s, from anecdotal evidence, struggles for control of the various Public Service Departments were common knowledge. Everyone had a story about the Masons and the Catholics alternating as Police Commissioners, while certain departments were marked down in pub talk as irrevocably ‘green’ and others as staunchly ‘orange.’ Evidence of continued use of secretive, insider power in the 1948 selections for the national rugby league team raised hackles but little adverse public reaction:

Centre Len Smith was a strong and apparently popular leader of the Australian team before the choice of the 1948 Kangaroos.

But on the night the squad was named he became the subject of one of the most explosive decisions in the code’s history in Australia. When the touring squad was read out, Smith’s name was missing – a situation that prompted banner headlines even in times of a relatively conservative print media.. .

Jealousy over the coaching role and religious bias were put forward as the most popular theories on Smith’s sacking. At the time there were bitter Masonic-Catholic divisions in the code with the Masons holding sway and it was suggested that Smith, a Catholic, may have been an innocent victim of the feud.[mx]

An ‘Ulster Society’, apparently established by a cleric in 1960 has claimed branches in Geelong, Sydney and Melbourne. Its Constitution asserts it to be non-political and non-faith based ‘but every member must be loyal to the British Throne’, so, again Irish Catholics need not apply. A recent copy (2001?) of its periodical, The Ulster Link, claimed the following as ‘kindred societies’: The Royal Society of St George, The Royal Commonwealth Society, the Victorian League for Commonwealth Friendship, the Royal Overseas League, the British Commonwealth Day Movement, the Royal Caledonian Society, and the English-Speaking Union.[mxi]

The often-physical combat of Catholic ‘Groupers’ with Communists and others in the 1950’s and 1960’s appears today as the last ‘street rattle’ of faith-based politics, the DLP being its slow-dying expiration. But Ross Terrill, in his 1987 The Australians: In Search of an Identity, reflected on residual insularities in the story of Robert Holt, post-Split President of the ALP in Victoria, and former Cabinet Minister in a State Labor government:

(He) was a Mason who had come to hate the Catholic forces that had split the Labor Party…Protestant fear of Rome had made Australia a secular society…There was something irrationally fierce about our sectarian hostility, as if religion was being made to carry hidden psychological baggage. Many Catholics believed Masons carried out barbaric rites with goats and naked men. Many Protestants were hostile to alcohol chiefly because Catholic consumption of beer proved the sinfulness of drinking..[mxii]

Labour & Masonic History

Published material, eg, from the NSW Boilermakers Trade Union, clearly shows that fraternal practices recognisable to initiates at any time over the previous 700 years were still in place in trade-oriented fraternal societies after the 2nd World War. Rules show that the Boilermakers ‘opened’ and ‘closed’ their ordinary branch meetings, and that a Password was required to gain entry. There was a Guardian at the door, an Examiner, and a process for ‘brethren’ to be ‘initiated’:

The Guardian will now advance and give the Password..

..‘To Guard well the door, and admit none without the Quarterly Password, unless directed by you..

..An important duty, Brother, faithfully perform it. Officers and Brethren: the object of our meeting here tonight is that of mutual fellowship, to advance the interests of each other as Boilermakers.

The language is of a much older age:

There may be subjects arise tonight that will strike your minds in various forms; to discuss such matters is our equal privilege – careful to avoid all wrangling and vain disputing – ever bearing our motto in mind, Harmony is Peace and Unity is Strength..[mxiii]

The labour movement and Freemasonry today enjoy the benefits of a century and more of comparatively clear goals and clear chains of command. The model employed in both cases is not without strains, even breakouts, but compared to the fragmented and internally-focussed ‘friendlies’ these strands have offered credible images of stability and purpose.

Australian ‘Trade Unions’ have been served by their nationally centralised form of organisation, represented by the Australian Council of Trade Unions since 1923. Freemasons have their Grand Lodges at State level, and can also come together at national level if required. In both cases, tensions exist reminiscent of the English claims to pre-eminence, NSW United Grand Lodge boasting that it is the largest and most powerful Grand Lodge in Australia, and NSW’s Labor Council claiming to be the ACTU’s strongest affiliated body. This is perhaps appropriate as Freemasons have claimed to have invented the centralised, ‘Grand Lodge’ model of administration in the 18th century

These two strands have suffered major setbacks since 1945, but their in-house cultures have contributed to their long-term viability, and have been both self-sustaining and generative of enough ‘good news stories’ to go some way towards countering criticisms and internal strains.

The neglect by ‘the friendlies’ of their heritage thus appears to be of a different kind to that of the other two major strands of fraternalism. An Australian Society for the Study of Labour History launched itself post-1945 and began sponsorship of a steady stream of partisan texts and events. State administrations of Freemasonry have not been so active, but the NSW UGL has published five volumes of ‘official’ history between 1938 and 1988. Yet, the result has been much the same – in all three cases, a denial of genuine research and the creation of propaganda masquerading as history.

Labour History, the journal, has, since the early 1950’s, maintained a community of scholarship and publication which is far greater in size and far more flexible than that of Australian Freemasonry which, by comparison, can number its self-reflecting materials on just a few fingers. And while ‘the Labour community’ has allowed public scrutiny of much of its published output, the various State Grand Lodges have, by design or by good luck, managed to restrict published, quality material to distributors and review systems accessible only to those ‘inside the tent.’ In the same vein, the five volumes of official history of the UGL of New South Wales contain no bibliographies of any kind, let alone of useful, related titles. Less usually, the 1999 collection of essays, Australian Labour History Reconsidered, to which reference has been made, has followed this unfortunate precedent.

Both ‘cultures’ have been weakened by this generation ‘in-house’ for ‘true believers’. The lack of a sufficiently well-informed, external community of critical observers, healthy enough to break down defensive and self-serving, myth-making postures has become increasingly critical since 1945. The Masonic publications, most obviously, lack convincing attachment to their social, economic and political contexts, the sort of thing in which Labour History revels, although Thornton’s volume on the Victorian Grand Lodge is far less offensive in this regard.

Both Freemasonry and ‘trade oriented’ fraternities have had episodes potentially shaming, even catastrophic to their public images, but these remain well-hidden. Nevertheless, they have far more to show for nearly two centuries of effort than the ‘Affiliated Friendly Societies’, the survivors of which now appear afraid of all fraternal history, and seem to have moved too far from their heritage for their current spokespeople to even imagine a shared response to their common past.

Labour authors have been unprepared to publicly examine personal, as opposed to movement, belief systems. No-doubt numerous in-house documents have been produced and passed from hand to hand. Changed political and social circumstances have caused critics from time to time to rise into public view but, in most cases, they, like the Freemasons, have confined themselves to study of membership numbers:

One of the most notable, and readily explicable, declines (in ‘trade union’ membership) took place during the Depression of the early 1930’s. That decline was reversed after 1934 and was followed by a long period of union growth, reaching a peak in the mid 1950’s…

From the mid 1950’s to the early 1970’s, union density consistently declined…[mxiv]

Rawson, long-time observer of ‘the movement’ observes here a number of measurement difficulties which, as much as anything, highlight the long-time lack of close attention to labour statistics, and their meaning. His analysis did not entail any searching within ‘the movement’ for reasons behind rises and falls, shifts having entirely to do with ‘unions’ adapting or not to changing external circumstances, and to industry expansion or contraction, sizes of workplaces, etc.

As an exception to the general rule, Costa, at the time he was writing an up-and-comer, plunged into the heart of the issues in 1992:

The union movement’s current aim to reverse the decline in participation rates, based on the development of large industry unions, is flawed. It is a strategy that fails to fully appreciate the relationship between strategy and structure.[mxv]

Costa built his heresy on some important aspects of the history of trade union organisation in order ‘to highlight the negative impact the mythology of the movement has had and is having’ on the development of strategies intended to reverse participation rates.[mxvi] ‘The most debilitating myth’ is that ‘trade unions’

organised the Australian working class as part of their great and heroic struggle against the tyrannical employers and colonial capitalism.[mxvii]

He noted the messianic fervour of WG Spence, 1890’s miners’ leader, contrasting it with the pragmatism of ‘Billy’ Hughes, who in 1908, pointed to the compulsory Arbitration Act as the main reason for the jump in the participation rate, from 6% to 28% in the decade to 1910:

If unionism is stronger than ever, it is largely owing to the fact that under the Arbitration Act it was impossible for any workman to obtain the benefits of that measure unless he was a member of a Trade Union.[mxviii]

The Arbitration Acts, in NSW 1901 and federally in 1904, were designed to encourage ‘trade union’ membership as part of an ideology aimed at a stable work force and thus a stable investment climate. While participation rates were on the rise, the myth was not tested. With its current, 21st century, irrelevance disclosed, Costa argued:

The collapse in participation rates over the last decade and the inability of the union movement to reverse the decline… indicate that the union movement has reached the point where its (myth) must be discarded before it metamorphoses ‘from myth to damaging delusion.’’

Inevitably, perhaps, Costa is now an ex-Minister of the NSW Government and an ex-member of the ALP.

In 2010, there is still a place, and a need for ‘the movement’ to produce its own history, but as with Freemasonry and the other societies, this doesn’t mean that outsiders can’t have an opinion. A more open culture should mean that those outsiders are better informed.[mxix]

There have been a few Speculative Freemasons who have not suffered from self-delusion when they look back at the rise and fall of their institution or its role and achievements over 200 years but, in an absence of context, their historians have too often fallen into hagiography. Successive ‘Grand Masters’, for example, have their statements quoted unquestioningly in tones reminiscent of Roman Catholics arguing the infallibility of the Pope. It seems that in 1948 Grand Master McDowell really did go so far as to imply he, too, was infallible:

(Guided) by our Masonic principles, with continuing faith in (God), united in the spirit of brotherhood, we can face the future with every confidence, firmly believing that truth and justice will always prevail, and that Freemasonry is truth and justice in all things.[mxx]

The five volumes, by three authors, of official NSW history, 1938-1988, set out the State’s Freemasonry in terms of the regimes of these elected officials and their estimable achievements. Cramp, author of the volume covering the decade 1938-48 saw an opportunity:

I have endeavoured to supply something more than a mere chronicle of Masonic events. I have endeavoured to spiritualise the narrative..(for) those who desire to know something of the real essence and meaning of Freemasonry, encourage the regard their organisation as an essential factor in the buiding of ideal manhood and the social fabric.[mxxi]

Freemasonry’s ‘good works’ occupy much of the text, but sufficient material is included in the later volumes to show that since 1945 UGL has been forced to spend a lot more time debating what else is required when good intentions fail to deliver.

In a ‘Membership’ chapter in Volume IV tables show that from 1944 to 1958, initiates more than doubled, from 66,426 to 135,126. And that from 1959 to 1988 the number fell, just as consistently, one year to the next, to just over 50,000.[mxxii] In 2008, the number is around 12,000.

Among the reasons author of the later volumes, Kellerman, thought returned soldiers had flocked to Freemasonry after 1945 was ‘a desire for companionship or mateship’.

The main reason, however, was that it was a reflection of the time. There was a spirit of idealism abroad after the War, a desire to build a better world…a strengthened belief in the Brotherhood of Man.

He, like Cramp, and like other ‘insider’ chroniclers, has simply assumed that what he wanted to believe about ‘his’ Order was unassailable truth. Reference to other fraternities which experienced membership increases at the same time, such as the Buffaloes and the Odd Fellows, would have revealed that more mundane attractions such as access to beer were factors.

Because post-War increases had made active participation in key lodge affairs less likely and advancement up the lodge ladder more competitive, it was believed by senior Masons that many ambitious initiates had drifted away. Smaller, ‘sister’ or ‘daughter’, lodges were encouraged as were lodges limited to an occupational group, a sporting group or profession, eg, bus drivers, steel workers, teachers. Members of ‘friendlies’ and ‘trade unions’ already knew about the activities instituted by Masonic lodges after 1955 to encourage attendance at meetings and involvement of family members. Current members were also exhorted to involve themselves in their civil communities to provide exemplars to others. In the 1960’s, what seemed to be a new approach by senior Masons appeared:

It was recognised that world changes in social standards, life-styles, attitudes to organised groups generally and suspicion of ‘secret societies’ had resulted in loss of interest and respect for Freemasonry both within and without the Order, and potential members would not be forthcoming as they had been..[mxxiii]

In 1964 a Committee was appointed in NSW to examine the relevant issues, eventually providing what became known as the Danks Report:

The exhaustive enquiry into reasons for falling membership bore out conclusively that the reasons were bound up with the appropriateness and relationship of Freemasonry to present-day society.

It was also found that ritual work needed to be improved, that general knowledge about Freemasonry was lacking, that fees had increased more than was appreciated, and that some regulations relating to the sponsoring of new members had to be relaxed:

We must now face up to the real facts that we have either recommended the wrong persons into the Craft, or we have failed to keep in touch with them, to convey properly to them the teachings of the Craft, when they have failed to attend Lodge meetings.[mxxiv]

The Committee came to the view, in Kellerman’s words, that if a hitherto loyal Mason had lost interest, the Lodge was at fault because it had failed in its primary object to ‘give its members Masonry, operative and speculative.’ Nowhere was the opinion canvassed that the problem might be with the product.

Four years after beginning its work, the Committee’s efforts were reviewed. There patently had not been a turnaround of member numbers. The Committee was re-convened and a follow-up investigation launched. Of 941 lodges in NSW, 760 Masters or 83% responded to a mailed-out questionnaire.

As the replies were analysed it became clear that a majority of Lodges had not adopted the recommendations contained in the (Danks)Report….The Committee (now) saw the problem basically as a severe communications problem..

After 1970 and further recommendations, membership continued to slide. More lodges were having to be closed or consolidated. Internal discussions began turning away from purely procedural matters.:

The real problems facing the Craft lie far deeper…If we are to play a role in society which is such that the public regards us so highly that they seek to join us, we should look carefully at our present image, because that is the image which is presently resulting in a decline in our Order.[mxxv]

The opinions of Lodge brethren, including those in overseas jurisdictions, were sought in 1976. These crystallised into a realisation that adverse social factors had not diminished but had increased in influence. The plethora of outside activities, social and philosophical changes, particularly with regard to the significance of women, the increasing age of brethren making lodge less attractive and poor communication between Grand Lodge and brethren were isolated as fundamental causes.

This second Report stressed that Freemasonry had survived through many centuries and that in spite of having made many changes in emphasis on a variety of aspects, ‘it had retained its fundamental beliefs’. The Committee in 1970 was sure

that we must re-affirm the ancient principles but with more concentration on the operative rather than the speculative aspects of them.

This distinction of ‘operative’ and ‘speculative’ is very interesting, as it does not derive from Masonic history, as it might appear to, on the surface. With the long-term history of fraternalism in mind, it’s instructive that nowhere in the Danks or the later Report, at least as Kellerman reviews them, was there reference to or any critique of Christianity, its role within Freemasonry, its changing circumstances in Australia, or to any of the other elements relevant to the Masonic ‘transmission theory’.

Kellerman, in 1989, ended his chapter on the ‘critical’ question of membership with the grandiose assertion:

There can be no doubt that Freemasonry is essential to mankind’s moral stability…

He followed immediately with the very valuable, albeit very obvious insight:

The problem of decreasing membership resolves itself into passing on Masonic ideals and practices to a receptive society.[mxxvi]

Jumping across two indecisive decades, it is possible to believe that relief might suddenly have arrived, from what was once called ‘home’, if only it had been perceived as such. In 2007, a scholar centrally-involved with Sheffield University’s ground-breaking Centre for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism wrote:

(We) have now entered a new phase in the historiography of Freemasonry, one in which much of its history needs to be re-written..(We) will have to cover the complete scope of all the fields which influenced or were influenced by Freemasonry, and where Freemasonry or Freemasons played a role.[mxxvii]

In other words, what was controversial and iconoclastic twenty five years ago about my approach has now moved, with no help from me, to the northern academic mainstream, and the whole root-and-branch of Freemasonry is now to be available to forensic investigators. Of course, those investigators must now ‘see’ Freemasonry differently:

We surely need more and better studies of guilds, confraternities, chivalric and knightly orders (both the original and the neo-ones) but also of friendly societies, Masonic ‘spin-off’ societies and Trade Unions, many of which we now know incorporate part of the Masonic heritage.


The Friendly Societies

Friendly society membership in Australia peaked just after the Second World War. In 1945, Registrar Sheldon of NSW’s Co-operatives and Friendly Societies emphasised what was at stake to the Annual MUIOOF Conference and spelled out one possible path to re-invention:

The friendly society movement in its genesis was essentially a social movement. Gradually its economic services displaced its social motivation…

We cannot hope to turn back the clock to the simple pleasures of our grandfathers’ times; but what we can do and what we must to organise such pleasures and relaxations as now make an appeal on a community basis and in a (family-friendly) manner..

He asked himself:

And how can this be done? I know of only two methods – either by direct government action or by the widespread establishment of community centres (not ‘civic centres’)..

All local branches of all (friendly) societies must..combine for the purpose..

Within the community organisation each society can retain its own separate entity and pursue its own particular objective, but the unified strength of all can be used for the well-being of the local community and through it for the good of the nation.

Registrar Sheldon argued for the establishment of a ‘non-official Standing Conference on Community Centres’ with an office in central Sydney’s Macquarie Place. He urged all Friendly Societies to affiliate with The Co-operative Institute, an organisation embracing not only co-operative societies but also the Association of Co-operative Building Societies and Community Welfare Institutes.

Some ‘friendlies’ did affiliate and did attend some meetings, but ‘takeover possibilities’ and competitive advantages were far more seductive. The NSW Friendly Societies Association, for example, remained a tenuous month to month proposition, its surviving records, such as they are, indicating periods of inaction punctuated by brief bouts of, usually futile, enthusiasm. Similarly, a ‘Commonwealth Friendly Societies Council of Australia’, of which there is virtually nothing known, remained ineffective. Another of the grandly-titled bodies, the IOOF’s ‘Grand Lodge of Australasia’ claimed continuity from 1878 but in 1966 was still petitioning the ‘Sovereign Grand Lodge’ in the USA to have the term ‘Free White Male’ removed from its, ie the Australasian, ‘Code of Laws and Charter’. In other words it had achieved nothing on this issue in a century and had not asserted its autonomy, even as Freemasonry had done. Its petition continued – ‘or alternatively’:

  1. b) That the entry into the Order of Australian aborigines be permitted provided they are living according to accepted standards in settled communities and who, by reason of their education standard, are capable of understanding the import of the Initiatory Degree.[mxxviii]

In 1966, it maintained a list of ‘telegraphic ciphers’ for lodge use, including codewords relating to fraudulent travellers and members who had taken ill or had died away from home:

Eg. For ‘Black’ – read ‘He is a fraud and if he has a card or other papers from this lodge they are forgeries.’

‘Green’ – ‘Wire instructions to us at once as to the disposition of his remains.

By 1945, however, neglect of their heritage and the consequent erosion of self-understanding had clearly left ‘friendlies’ with few cards to play and a much-reduced resource base to tap. Politicians’ interest in welfare votes had turned out to include an increasingly short-changed public health system run by State Governments, and the re-invention of working peoples’ benefit societies as a middle-class ‘private health industry’ tightly regulated by the Commonwealth.

In the last decades of the century, by which time the Affiliated Friendly Societies were unrecognisable shadows of their former selves, Federal Governments came to finish off the idea of mutuality in commerce, with a raft of ‘financial institutions’ legislation. While only a logical extension of the interventionist process begun in 1793, and while certain long-standing contradictions have continued, these multiple controls on what was left of fraternalism were of a new level of regulatory intrusiveness.

The 1989 Friendly Societies Act required societies to report each quarter on their accounts and their funds to a State Supervisory Authority, which replaced the Registrar of Friendly Societies. This Act made ‘Directors’ more accountable for the overall fiduciary performance of ‘their’ funds. In September 1997, a new Act brought ‘Friendly Societies’ into a revamped Financial Institutions Scheme, placing their Directors and their management under yet more onerous requirements, including that ‘adequate’ levels of reserves be held separately by all benefit funds operated by a society. Prudential standards were those set by the Australian Financial Institutions Commission. A Society’s assets now had to be kept separate and each benefit fund had to have its own bank account. Other provisions allowed proxy voting at Annual General Meetings and ‘encouraged’ the ‘de-mutualising’ of a Society.

Because the collapse or success of business entities has become of immediate political significance, the regulators have been told since 2001 to further tighten internal managerial process requirements under the heading of ‘improved corporate governance’. Even so, a ‘Working Paper’ prepared for the OECD in 2003 on ‘Private Health Insurance in Australia’ observed that:

Despite universal public insurance coverage, private health insurance covers almost half of the Australian population – a high coverage rate in comparison with most other OECD countries.[mxxix]

Their one-time fellow travellers, ‘Trade Unions’ and Speculative Freemasons, despite also suffering long-term major declines in membership and questioning of their relevance, continue to escape the same degree of legislated inspections and managerial oversight.

A cartoonist’s view of Friendly Societies and National Insurance.
A cartoonist’s view of Friendly Societies and National Insurance.

CHAPTER 10: Conclusions

Why is it necessary to state the obvious about history? So that we are properly impressed by the local profession’s most recent accomplishment – to have made Australian history so dull and seemingly irrelevant that our children do not want to study it.

  • Don Watson, ‘Back to the Past’, Australian Review of Books, July, 1987, p.7.


Almost every person of mature age I’ve spoken to in the last 25 years about fraternal societies has told of family upsets, and worse, resulting from the Catholic-Protestant divide. My own family was no exception. Interviewees tell of neighbourhood slanging matches, priestly intervention into family intimacies, pitched battles between school-age children, which were clearly much more common than today’s ‘ethnic’ riots, and of relationships devastated by entrenched hatreds. Such history has clearly helped to shape many of the major literary works of the period, not to mention its politics, yet none appears in ‘History’, popular or academic.

‘Sectarian passion’ amongst school children of the late-1920’s in north Queensland appeared briefly in Ward’s 1988 autobiography but even capturing his own personal experiences made no impact on his understanding of ‘mateship’. He used the term ‘secret society’ after 1945 only for government-sponsored spy networks:

Behind the state and federal governments of the day, and behind the secret police and counter-espionage organisations nominally responsible to them, there were and are in Australia powerful secret societies the members of which are responsible to no-one but themselves.[mxxx]

The guild system was created by, and operated within a context which provided it with an integrated organisational purpose. The ‘official’ exponents of twentieth-century fraternalism, driven and shaped by managerial/national considerations, have fought against a need for context and have denied continuity.

It’s not understood today that ‘individual choice’ once stood for local autonomy and the virtues of good neighbourliness, as well as personal freedom. Nor that at the very time when mateship, mutuality and benign larrikinism were being romanticised, they were being repudiated in practice. A plea, ‘Why the Guild System Must be Restored’ by UK author Orage and reprinted in The Age in 1907 was swimming against a very strong tide:[mxxxi]

Under the Guild system each craft in return for specific public privileges undertook certain specific public responsibilities. The privileges were those of self-government, the regulation of their own rules of work, the regulation of their own standards of workmanship, the right to exclude the non-efficient and the right to control their own members. In return for these privileges they undertook a corporate responsibility for workmanship and price. In other words, they guaranteed as skilled (craftsmen) in their own mystery, the excellence and general workmanship of all their members.

As governments have taken over more and more welfare functions, and the managerial/bureaucratic approach has become more entrenched, the worker’s identification with ‘his’ secret society, has turned into child-like embarrassment at being seen in regalia. Even in Freemasonry, where ritual gives the impression that traditions are being maintained, the once-sturdy reverence, awe and mysticism have become confused fingerings of ‘stuff’ that almost no-one understands.

Amongst Friendly Societies the centralisation and specialisation imperatives, first sighted in the 1793 Rose Act, have achieved their implied goals. Most ‘Orders’ have ‘de-mutualised’ or have been swallowed in ‘mergers’ with other private health funds, often mere finance and investment houses. All have left fraternalism far behind. The’friendlies’ were major losers in the 20th century struggle for control of ‘the State’ and thus of its agenda and resources, including those of health and welfare. In 1984 Green and Cromwell correctly reported that:

By the turn of the [19th-20th] century it was common in some circles to see social progress as almost synonymous with growing State intervention, with Australia widely seen as progressive…[mxxxii]

The romance of ‘the State as the People’ appeared with definitions such as this by Deakin:

A colonial Liberal is one who favours state interference with liberty and industry at the pleasure and in the interest of the majority, while those who stand for the free play of individual choice and energy are classed as conservatives.

Trade unionists’ concentration on working conditions and on influencing policies of the Australian Labor Party, has meant their industrial strength, mostly exercised behind a State-centrist model of social organisation, has been measured only in materialist terms. ‘Brotherhood’, ‘mutuality’ and genuine welcoming of an initiate can still be found in the odd Masonic lodge but even there it’s becoming a rarer and rarer phenomenon.

In the gap left by the lack of an authentic history, the literary/intellectual community has adopted a romanticised ‘mateship’ and a de-contextualised Lawson, et al, because fanciful history has suited its agendas. Horne in 1964 and Max Harris in 1973,[mxxxiii] are just two well-known late-20th century authors who recycled the radical myth rather than engage in primary research. Ward’s The Australian Legend was to hand, so they took it at face value and entrenched its flaws. The consequences of self-satisfaction and a lack of scepticism have been the already-observed neglect and superficiality. There have been exceptions – Sylvia Lawson concluded her book on Archibald and The Bulletin with a lament that neither of her subjects had been better understood:

Australia did not see itself as needing new ways of reading or using its own past..In the early 1980’s [as she was writing] the land seems more than ever in the grip of the Philistines.

Gerster pointed out in 1987:

Australian war writers – especially from the time of the Anzac landings at Gallipoli in April 1915 – have written more in the manner of publicity agents for the ‘Digger’ as an exemplar of heroic racial characteristics than as disinterested observers of human conflict.[mxxxiv]

On the other hand, Gascoigne’s 2005 thesis on the Enlightenment in Australia is only a gentrified variation of ‘the radical illusion’:

The thin elite who largely determined the direction of events (from 1788 to 1850, when European Australia was largely formed) generally assumed that society’s problems could be solved by the exercise of reason and that if such a path were followed improvement would naturally follow..(Such) beliefs..still largely determine the agenda for politics in Australia.[mxxxv]

Along the way, both (Henry) Lawson’s idealised ‘mateship’ and the fraternal original have been bastardised, as in well-known usages by both major political parties. Although he came to prominence well after 1945, it’s probable that the ‘colorful’ NSW Liberal Party politician, Bob Askin received his grounding attitudes well before, in the Depression years when mobsters such as ‘Tilly’ Devine and detectives such as Noel Kelly defined ‘mates’ somewhat differently to members of 19th century lodges. Said to be ‘strong in the Masons’ by someone who knew him fraternally, he has been credited with having given organised crime an enormous boost in the 1960’s and 70’s, along with his ‘mate’ Percy Galea, ‘a pillar of the Catholic Church’, and inducted Knight of the Order of St John by the Vatican in 1977.[mxxxvi]

The protective barriers around lodges originally were to safeguard sacred knowledge. The protective barriers around each of the strands of ‘modern’ fraternalism have been used to dismiss any suggestion that it was linked via a common context to the others, that fraternal societies might actually be siblings.

Each of the strands has insisted its history was separate and should be, indeed could only be, written by insiders. Supposedly, only initiates could know what was truth. Only initiates would know which other true believer might be trusted to know and keep the record. Because those insiders had already misplaced the context, the descriptions provided of themselves and their actions have been strong on self-service and weak on illumination.[mxxxvii]

It would seem probable that the well-read Archibald knew of the guilds and their connections with more recent fraternal societies, and that Lawson, Paterson, et al were at least aware of fraternalism’s underlying principles. Future research may well turn up relevant memberships. Recent superficial and derogatory generalisations such as ‘black arm band’ have further colonised the space.

That the void where genuine history might have been has been available is not totally the fault of the writers who’ve attempted explanation of modern Australia. ‘History’ has been a prize and a weapon in social conflicts for a very long time. In Australia’s short, white period, and in the absence of an authoritative narrative, ‘history’ has been a jig saw puzzle the pieces of which could be assembled and dis-assembled as many times as there were aspirants for ‘the truth.’

One cannot argue that revision should be prohibited. But it would seem necessary that at least the largest pieces be known. Hitherto, fraternalism and the fraternal societies have been missing, equally unavailable to compilers of a full picture and to policy makers.

Volunteers from the general population can be easily found to carry Olympic programs or to maintain community health, sporting and educational initiatives, attesting that the urge to engage in mutual aid remains strong. Perhaps this also attests to the presence of a reservoir of support for mutuality. And perhaps, as many will argue, there is no longer any need for the rites and regalia of fraternalism as defined here, in order for ‘mateship’ to thrive.

Not being a soothsayer I can only say in response that the future is more dangerous and more difficult without an understanding of the past. Fraternal societies did exist, they did provide sinew and gristle for what we now have. Fraternal societies were the means by which ‘mateship’ was available at all. They may well have no future part to play, but can we afford to lose an understanding of their underlying principles as well?

The period of innovation and cataclysmic change we now call the ‘industrial revolution’ was actually a time of loss, a time when the glue holding the five functions of fraternal societies together in an integrated whole was being lost. In the longer sweep of history the industrial revolution was not the creator of working class organisation, nor even a dynamic field which ‘forced’ ordinary people to organise, rather it is a collective name for the forces of dis-integration wearing ‘community’ away.

The fraternalism which came to and spread throughout Australia was already ill with the managerial virus when it arrived, if we compare it to the medieval original. The 19th century concentration on finances and investments, what in-house authors have said were the indicators of strength and importance of 19th century fraternalism, was actually evidence of antibodies already present and multiplying. Yet fraternalism proved adaptable to its new surroundings, achieved rapid and remarkable growth:

* At the personal and family level it made survival possible and enhanced positive development of many individuals;

* At the local, community level, fraternal societies instituted or made possible the creation of infrastructure, from houses to schools and bridges, and

* At the national level, fraternalism has been a major creator of the ‘Australia’ we have all experienced.

A lack of understanding of their own history and irresponsibility towards their material heritage have been common factors in the decline of fraternal societies, possibly to nothing. Public projection of their historical image, in Kellerman’s terms – ‘passing on fraternal ideals’ – was the one factor over which the fraternals had most control and which at least had the potential to slow the ‘modernist’ purge of meaningful ceremonial. The insular, self-serving ‘histories’ which I’ve critiqued may be seen as an attempted response to this need, but they were not the only possible response.

A more effective alternative would have been to accept, cultivate and celebrate the heritage, as well as adapting to the new administrative demands. At the very least, knowledge of their authentic history may have enabled them to confront their various opponents more convincingly, and may well have resulted in very different outcomes. This can only be speculation.

However, the conclusion seems inescapable. At the very time that ‘mateship’ was being romanticised, fraternalism’s sustaining organisations flirted briefly with a fantastic version of mediaevalism, only to turn and walk away, not just from the fanciful deceits but from meaningful history as a whole.

In the 20th century, while still sufficiently strong, trade-oriented societies did not care enough to attempt this path to renewal. Friendly societies have been fraternally impotent for some time. It remains to be seen, as I write these last words in 2010, whether Australian Speculative Freemasonry has the wit and the strength to join the push for renewal being articulated by their brothers, and sisters, in Europe and North America. [mxxxviii]

[ii] J Harland-Jacobs, Builders of Empire, U of N Carolina Press, 2006, p.1.

[iii]. My definition slightly modifies that used by A Schmidt, Fraternal Organisations, Greenwood, 1980, pp.3-4, including that it covers female as well as male memberships.

[iv]. D Byrne, ‘Commentary’, in W Oldham, Britain’s Convicts to the Colonies, Sydney, 1990, p.257.

[v]. Horne, 1964, p.15.

[vi] D Horne, The Education of Young Donald, Penguin, 1975, p.23.

[vii]. Australians – An Historical Library – from 1939, Vol 5, Fairfax, Symes & Weldon, p.85, or P & S Forrest, Banjo and Christina: The True Story of Waltzing Matilda, Shady Tree, Darwin, 2008, p.14, quoting Blainey’s A Land Half Won, as examples of this ‘furphy.’

[viii]. See J Snoek, ‘Researching Freemasonry: Where are we?’, CRFF Working Papers, Series No 2, Centre for Research into Freemasonry and Fraternalism, Uni of Sheffield, 2007.

[ix] R Ward, The Australian Legend, OUP, 1958, p.1.

[x] R Ward, 1958, p.83.

[xi]. See J Hirst, ‘An Oddity from the Start: Convicts and National Character’, The Monthly, July, 2008, p.38.

[xii] G Bolton & W Hudson, Creating Australia, Allen & Unwin, 1997, p.3. In his 2008, Land of Vicion and Mirage: Western Australia since 1826, UWAP, Bolton had not moved to fill any gaps.

[xiii] Keneally’s ‘Introduction’, to P Adams-Smith, Heart of Exile, Nelson, 1986, p.x.

[xiv]. R Spann, ‘Tha Catholic Vote in Australia’, in H Mayer (ed), Catholics and the Free Society An Australian Symposium, Cheshire, 1961, p.134.

[xv] J Bollen, Protestantism and Social Reform in in New South Wales, MUP, 1972, p.3.

[xvi] Bollen 1972, as above, p.11.

[xvii] M Clark, ‘Rewriting Australian History’, Occasional Writing and Speeches, Fontana, 1980, p.3.

[xviii] M Clark, “Themes in ‘A History of Australia’”, as above, 1980, p.87.

[xix] Clark, ‘A Discovery of Australia’, 1980, as above. p.61.

[xx] ‘How the Aussie Battler Was Born’, review by N Abjorensen of G Boucher & M Sharpe’s The Times Will Suit Them, Allen & Unwin, 2008, in the SMH’s Spectrum, Nov 22-23, 2008, p.36.

[xxi]. De Tocqueville, as above, Vol 2, p.118. I am grateful to Dan Weinbren for this reference.

[xxii]. I have recently surveyed this neglect in Squandering Social Capital: Trade Unions, Freemasons and Friendly Societies in Australia, self-published, 2003, especially ‘The Literature of Friendly Societies’.

[xxiii]. D Green and L Cromwell, Mutual Aid or Welfare State – Australia’s Friendly Societies, Allen & Unwin, 1984, p.xvii.

[xxiv]. Green & Cromwell, as above, p.xviii.

[xxv] N Hicks, ‘Medical History and History of Medecine’, in Osborne & Mandle (eds), New History, Allen & Unwin, 1982.

[xxvi]. F Larcombe, The Origin of Local Government in New South Wales, 1831-1858, (1 of 3 Vols), U of Sydney, 1973, p.120.

[xxvii]. Larcombe, Vol 1, as above, p.11.

[xxviii]. A de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, Vol 1, Vintage, 1945, p.198.

[xxix] S Bullock, Revolutionary Brotherhood, U of North Carolina Press, 1996, p.110.

[xxx] Quoted in C Brooke, The Gothic Cathedral, Elek, 1969, p.80.

[xxxi] B McRee, ‘Charity and Gild Solidarity in Late Medieval England’, Journal of British Studies, July, 1993, p.195.

[xxxii] Amongst the material available, S Thrupp’s, The Merchant Class of Mediaeval London, Ann Arbor, 1962, espec Ch 1, is recommended.

[xxxiii]. See my Mateship, Fraternalism and Secret Societies in Australia 1788-2008 An Introduction, Newcastle, 2008,for references.

[xxxiv]. See A Baker, Fraternity Among the French Peasantry: Sociobility and Voluntary Associations in the Loire Valley, 1815-1914, Cambridge UP, 1999, p.2, for example.

[xxxv]. J Harland-Jacobs, 2007, p.17.

[xxxvi]. For a related view, see P Rich, Elixir of Empire: The English Public Schools, Freemasonry and Imperialism, Regency, 1989.

[xxxvii]. Harland-Jacobs, 2007, as above, p.3.

[xxxviii] Quoted at B Jones, Frances Yates and the Hermetic Tradition, Ibis, 2008, p.102.

[xxxix]. Copy of Laws bound with others at LT824S08(v1), VSL.

[xl]. From Postgate, quoted in J Clapham, An Economic History of Modern Britain – The Early Railway Age, 1820-1850, CUP, 1926, p.594.

[xli] J Gascoigne, The Enlightenment and the Origins of European Australia, UNSW, 2005, p.169.

[xlii]. Among labour scholars only Gwyn Williams is known to have taken this information seriously, see his ‘Introduction’ to J Gorman’s Banner Bright, Lane, 1973, pp.1-20, from which the next two quotations come.

[xliii]. Select Committee on Artisans and Machinery, UK Parliament, 1838-9, quoted at Clapham, 1926 (above), p.210. The ‘Masonic copy’ argument should not survive a close perusal of H Pollard, The Secret Societies of Ireland, Irish Historical Press, 1998, espec pp.200-205.

[xliv]. Rules for the Grand United Order of Oddfellows, NSW, 1988, p.1.

[xlv]. See E Hobsbawm, ‘The Tramping Artisan’, in his Labouring Men, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1964, pp.34-63.

[xlvi]. J Harland-Jacobs, 2007.

[xlvii]. M Flynn, Settlers and Seditionists, Angela Lind, Sydney, 1994, for background. See also Freemasonry Today, No 7, 2009 (Summer, UK)for brief articles, ‘Freemasonry and the French Revolution’ and ‘Freemasons and Revolution’.

[xlviii]. The literature alleging direct connections between French and US Freemasonry and the French Revolution and the US War of Independence, often via such characters as Benjamin Franklin, is extensive.

[xlix] As opposed to the operative or artisinal stonemasons who worked in free stone who might also be called ‘freemasons’, just one of the historical confusions around this term.

[l] D Byrnes, ‘The Blackheath Connection: London Local History and the Settlement at New South Wales, 1786-1806’, The Push, No 28, 1990, pp.50-98.

[li]. Levi & Bergmann, as above, p.46; see also ‘Index to the Colonial Secretary’s Papers-1797’, NSW State Library.

[lii]. C Hibbert, King Mob, Readers Union, 1959, espec pp.23-25. See for colour, T Parsons, ‘Was John Boston’s Pig a Political Martyr? The Reaction to Popular Radicalism in Early NSW’, JRAHS, Dec, 1985.

[liii]. P Mirala, Freemasonry in Ulster 1733-1813, Four Courts Press, 2007.

[liv]. S Tillyard, Citizen Lord, Chatto & Windus, 1997, p.224.

[lv] J Heron Lepper commenting on W Williams, ‘Alexander Pope and Freemasonry’, AQC, Vol 38, p.131.

[lvi]. The Freemasons Repository, 1797, quoted in B Caillard, ‘Australia’s First Lodge Meeting’, Transactions of Quatuor Coronati, Vol 100, 1987, 225. See discussion of this point in A Atkinson, The Europeans in Australia, OUP, 1997, pp.247-250.

[lvii] History of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland, Vol 1, Lodge of Research, Dublin, 1925, pp.315, 317.

[lviii] Catalogued as though it is by ‘J Heron Lepper’, the GL Librarian of the time, it is in fact by ‘WR Day’ – see OAN 105 LEP.

[lix]. G Bell, The Protestants of Ulster, Pluto, 1976, p.15, quoting H Senior, Orangeism in Ireland and Britain, London, Routledge, 1966, p.6.

[lx]. S Leighton, ‘The Rebellion of 1798’, in History of Freemasonry in the Province of Antrim, Northern Ireland, Belfast, 1938, p.25.

[lxi] Newcastle Chronicle, 26 March, 1870.

[lxii] J Harland-Jacobs, 2007, pp.150-156.

[lxiii]. See Mirala, 2007, pp.43-50.

[lxiv]. Mirala, 2007, as above, p.45.

[lxv]. E Turner, ‘..Not Narrow Minded Bigots’, PhD, 2002, UNE, pp.16-17, quoting D Stevenson, The Origins of Freemasonry, CUP, Cambridge, 1988, p.7.

[lxvi]. Turner, 2002, p.5.

[lxvii]. Harland-Jacobs, 2007, p.121.

[lxviii]. A Stewart, A Deeper Silence: The Hidden Roots of the United Irish Movement, Faber & Faber, 1993, p.156.

[lxix]. B Andrews (ed), Tales of the Convict System, UQP, 1975, espec ‘Secret Society of the Ring’. Originally published in The Bulletin and other papers, these stories have not been authenticated. The author, William Astley writing as ‘Price Warung’ claimed to have carried out the relevant oral interviews and to have researched the appropriate documents which relate more to the 1840’s than earlier.

[lxx]. R Ward, The Australian Legend, OUP, 1989, pp.13, 30-31.

[lxxi]. See, for example, N Mantle, Horse & Rider in Australian Legend, Miegunyah, 2004, espec pp.16-17.

[lxxii]. K Amos, The Fenians in Australia, UNSW Press, 1988, p.22.

[lxxiii]. C Roderick, An Introduction to Australian Fiction, Angus & Robertson, 1950, p.30.

[lxxiv] FM&MM, 27 May, 1865, p.403.

[lxxv]. P Brown, The French Revolution in English History, George Allen, London, 1918, pp.56-57.

[lxxvi] C Beale, A Short Account of Modern Druidism..(etc), nd, 1926?, np, p.2.

[lxxvii] ‘Secret Manifesto of the Friends of Freedom in Ireland,’ authors Wolfe Tone and others, June, 1791, quoted in ‘1798: The United Irishmen and the Early Trade Unions’ on <>

[lxxviii] James Green to Lord Portland, (Home Secretary), Leeds, 17 April, 1799, PRO HO42/47, Nat Archives Kew.

[lxxix] Letter, Henry Eyles to Portland, 2 January, 1795, re ‘the L of Affability, No 56, Bradford’, at PRO HO 42/34/2, NA, Kew.

[lxxx] Freemasons Magazine and Masonic Mirror, 30 July, 1859, p.70.

[lxxxi]. K Cramp & G Mackaness, A History of the United Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of New South Wales, Vol 1, Angus & Robertson, 1938.

[lxxxii]. Cramp & Mackaness, 1938, as above, p.1. A less error-ridden account of the earliest years is in The Centennial Story The History of Freemasonry in Queensland, 1859-1959, UGL, Qld, 1959.

[lxxxiii]. This first lodge was re-titled ‘Australian Social Mother No 1’, and then later ‘Antiquity’. W Henley, History of Lodge Australian Social Mother No 1, Sydney, 1920, Ch 3. But see also R Cook, ‘The Irish Connection’, Freemasonry Uncovered, Vic Lodge of Research, Vol 9, 1996, pp.79-101.

[lxxxiv] See G Phillips, The First Hundred Years, 1924, Sydney.

[lxxxv] Sir Joseph Banks, Mathew Flinders and other individuals involved in the colony’s earliest white history have been claimed as ‘Masons’, but the citations invariably begin with ‘It is believed that..’. See Masonic Historical Society (Sydney)information sheets for most credible accounts.

[lxxxvi]. A Atkinson, Europeans in Australia, OUP, 1997, p.245. Atkinson provides no references for a number of important claims about SF, eg, that soldiers were prohibited from becoming Masons in 1813, and some other relevant references are mis-labelled.

[lxxxvii]. Hunter to Portland, 12 Nov, 1796, HRNSW, Series 1, Vol 111. p.168.

[lxxxviii]. King to (Gov) Phillip, 27 Dec, 1791, HRNSW, Series 1, Vol 111.

[lxxxix]. G Cumming, Freemasonry on Norfolk Island, Self-published, 1996, pp.10-11.

[xc] See ‘Confessions Relating to Norfolk Island’, December 1800, NSW Archives Office, 5/1156; F Clune, The Norfolk Story, Angus & Robertson, 1967, p.69.

[xci] Y Cramer (ed), This Beauteous, Wicked Place, NLA, 2000, p.137.

[xcii]. The NSW Corps was expressly formed for securing the NSW penal settlement.

[xciii] History of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland Vol 1, 1925, Lodge of Research, Dublin, p.317. The original ‘petition’ has not survived.

[xciv] J Gallagher, ‘The Revolutionary Irish 1800 1804’, The Push from the Bush, April, 1985, (No 19), p.6.

[xcv]. G Cumming, 1996, p.15.

[xcvi] I am here referring to the 1808 ‘Lee’ reference, and the 1820 Hobart newspaper reference which has the 15 names. The 1807 ‘Piper’ letter refers to neither land nor a building.

[xcvii]. R Wright, The Forgotten Generation of Norfolk Island and Van Dieman’s Land, p.37, p.57.

[xcviii] A Sharp, ‘Lodge St John No 1 Norfolk Island and Hobart Town: Some Members and their Families’, Research Lodge of NSW, Pt 1, Feb, 2000. Copy of additional notes with writer.

[xcix]. J Lane, Masonic Records, 1717-1814..(etc), London, 1895, repr 2000.

[c] A Tink, William Charles Wentworth Australia’s Greatest Native Son, Allen & Unwin, 2009, pp.1-13.

[ci]. King, Proclamation, 2 April, 1802, HRA, Series 1, Vol 111, pp.618-19.

[cii]. King to Hobart, 12 March, 1804, HRA, Series 1, Vol 1V, p.565; Y Cramer (ed), This Beauteous, Wicked Place Letters and Journals of John Grant, Gentleman Convict, NLA, 2000, pp.33 and 109, pp.114-5.

[ciii]. Flynn, 1994, as above, p.xlii (pic 4).

[civ] C Dyer, The French Explorers and Sydney, UQP, 2009, is a highly romantic, conflict and conspiracy-free interpretation of relevant interractions.

[cv] See Kass, Liston & McClymont, Parramatta A Past Revealed, Parramatta City Council, 1996, p.78 and footnotes.

[cvi] K Binney, Horsemen of the First Frontier, Volcanic, 2005, p.140.

[cvii]. F Clune, The Norfolk Island Story, 1986 (orig 1967), Angus & Robertson, pp.82-107.

[cviii] P O’Shaughnessy (ed), A Rum Story, Kangaroo Press, 1988, p.78.

[cix] F Clune, Scallywags of Sydney Cove, Angus & Robertson, 1968, p.138; Cramer, 2000, as above, p.57.

[cx]. HRA, Series 1, Vol 2, ‘The Irish Conspiracy’, p.582.

[cxi] O’Shaughnessy, 1988, as above, p.46.

[cxii]. See Cramp & Mackaness, as above, pp.2-5; A Sharp, ‘Australia’s Oldest Masonic Document: A Factual Interpretation’, AQC, Vol 104, 1991, from p.150; B Caillard, ‘Australia’s First Lodge Meeting’, AQC, Vol 100, 1987, from p.224. See also, R Linford, ‘The Road to Independence: Political and Masonic Experience in 19th Century NSW,’ AQC, Vol 111 (1998), pp.134-135.

[cxiii] See the very useful account of H Evatt, The Rum Rebellion, Angus & Robertson, 1939, espec pp.28-9, and J & T St Clair, ‘Frederick Garling and William Henry Moore, the First Crown Solicitors in NSW’, Masonic Historical Society Paper No 16, Sydney, 1994.

[cxiv] See Gallagher, 1985, as above, p.23, for details.

[cxv]. Sharp, 1991, as above, p.164.

[cxvi] See one account at P Tunbridge & C Batham, ‘The Climate of European Freemasonry 1750-1810’, AQC, Vol 83 (1970), pp.248-273.

[cxvii]. Atkinson, 1997, as above, p.278.

[cxviii]. W Henley, History of the Lodge Australian Social Mother No 1, Sydney, 1920, pp.37-40.

[cxix]. King to Hobart, 1 March, 1803, HRA, Series 1, Vol IV, p.341; Sydney Gazette, 17 May, 1803. See also F Clune, The Norfolk Island Story, Angus & Robertson, 1986 (orig 1967), p.96; G Phillips, The First Hundred Years, 1824-1924, of Leinster Marine Lodge of Australia, 1924, Sydney, pp.13-15.

[cxx].Atkinson, 1997, as above, p.244.

[cxxi]. Hayes to Blaxcell,6 May, 1803, HRNSW, Vol 5. See footnote at p. 101 which refers to Whittle as ‘involved in the mutiny at Norfolk Island in 1794’; see Cramer, 2000, as above, espec from p.97, where it is claimed he was arrested five times over 10 years in the colony.

[cxxii] The Masonic Guide of New South Wales, 1903-4, Sydney, 1903, espec p.37.

[cxxiii]. King to Under-Secretary King, 14 August, 1804, HRNSW, Vol 5.

[cxxiv] See Cramer, 2000, as above, pp.151-3.

[cxxv]. HRA, Vol 5, 5 May 1805, Colnett to King, and subseq.

[cxxvi] Bligh and Hayes had apparently become good friends, Bligh arranging a pardon before his, Hayes’ departure in 1812. See M Ellis, John Macarthur, Angus & Robertson, 1955 for a detailed account.

[cxxvii]. Atkinson, 1997, as above, p.284.

[cxxviii] See Evatt, 1939, as above, espec chaps XLIV to end.

[cxxix] Tink, as above, 2009, pp.20-21.

[cxxx]. Bligh to Castlereagh, 10 June, 1809, HRA, Series 1, Vol 7, p.159.

[cxxxi]. Cramp and Mackaness, as above, p.19.

[cxxxii]. Cramp and Mackaness, as above, p.21.

[cxxxiii]. M Ellis, Francis Greenway: His Life and Times, Angus & Robertson, 1953, p.62; W Henley, History of Lodge Australian Social Mother No 1, 1920.

[cxxxiv] AQC, 17, 1904, pp.145-6, and pp.230-2, ‘Notes on Irish Freemasonry – No VIII’ and ‘Supplementary Note’; AQC, 23, 1910, p.95, ‘Notes and Queries’, by WJ Chetwode Crawley. The Washington initiation has been questioned by J Heron Lepper – see his ‘The Poor Common Soldier’, AQC, Vol 38, p.171.

[cxxxv] E Burne, ‘The First Twenty Years (1820-40) of Freemasonry in Australia, Established by the Free Settlers of the Penal Colonies Under Irish Warrants’, Lodge of Research, NO CC, Ireland, Transactions, 1922 (Reprint), from p.78, quote at p.86.

[cxxxvi] Burne, 1922, as above, p.85.

[cxxxvii] Ellis, Dymocks, 1947, as above, p.55.

[cxxxviii] D. Kenny, The History of the Development and Progress of Catholicity in Australia to 1840, Sydney, 1886, pp.34, 35, 37.

[cxxxix] M Ellis, Lachlan Macquarie, Dymocks, 1947 – for Bland, p.443, for the altar boy and Campbell, pp.569-70.

[cxl] HRA, Series 1, Vol 9, ‘Macquarie to Duke of York, 25 July, 1817’, p.443 et seq.

[cxli] For Clayton see A Astin, ‘Samuel Clayton, Australian Masonic Pioneer’, NSW Lodge of Research, Aug, 1999.

[cxlii] Thomas, as above, p.38.

[cxliii] Baernreither, as above, p.156.

[cxliv]. D Defoe, ‘Of Friendly Societies’, in An Essay Upon Projects, 1696, various editions since. For early references, see my Odd Fellows – Ancient, Independent and United – Their Origins, 2009.

[cxlv]. Stephen’s Almanack for 1847. Footnote incomplete.

[cxlvi] C Glover, A History of First Fifty Years of Freemasonry in South Australia 1834-1884, V 1, 1915, pp.342-3.

[cxlvii] Australian, 26 Nov, 1844.

[cxlviii] J Heron Lepper, ‘The Poor Common Soldier’, AQC, Vol 38, pp.163-4.

[cxlix] Cramp & Mackaness, 1938, as above, p.53.

[cl] C Baxter, The Irresistible Temptation, Allen & unwin, 2006, pp.100-103, and endnote 24, p.370.

[cli] See Baxter, 2006, as above, for refs including at pp.200-201, and Tink, 2009, pp.113-subsq.

[clii] Reuben Uther to GLI, ‘Craft Lodge 260, 23 March, 1829’, in GLI Archives, Correspondence with Masonic Lodges in NSW, 1821-1888, FM4/10585, NSL.

[cliii] C. Baxter, Breaking the Bank, Allen & Unwin, 2008.

[cliv] R Uther to GLI, 15 March, 1830, GLI Archives, as above.

[clv] Tink, 2009, p.134.

[clvi] This story can be tracked from 21 Nov, 1829 in the various newspapers, eg, Sydney Gazette and The Australian.

[clvii] ‘Craft Lodge No 260, 12 Nov, 1821,’, GLI Archives, ‘Correspondence with Masonic Lodges in NSW, 1821-1888’, FM4/10585, NSL.

[clviii] GLI Archives, as above, 2 Feb, 1823.

[clix] GLI Archives, as above, 20, 29 Oct, 1825.

[clx]. A letter, signed ‘Emigrant’, to the Colonial Times (Hobart), 10 August, 1841.

[clxi] G Dow, Samuel Terry The Botany Bay Rothschild, Sydney UP, 1974.

[clxii]. All ‘Levey notes’ from J Levi & G Bergman, Australian Genesis: Jewish Convicts and Settlers 1788-1850, Rigby, 1974, espec p.111 & subq.

[clxiii] ‘Corresp. L 260 to GLI, 6 Feb, 1834, 12 Oct, 1835, 6 Feb, 1837’, GLI Cat No: 260(B)/22(2), copies at NSL at FM4/10585.

[clxiv] See ‘Corresp. L 260 to GLI at 12 May, 1834, 260(B)/22(1), and 24 Feb. 1836, 260(B)/23(1); Minutes, GLI, 5 March, 1835, 9 Dec, 1836’, copies as above.

[clxv]. G Mackaness (ed), of H Melville’s The History of Van Diemens Land..(etc), (orig 1835), Horwitz-Graham, 1965; For an alternative view see M Levey, Governor George Arthur, Australiana Socy, 1953.

[clxvi]. Levey, 1953, as above, p.323; for Murray’s Masonic record see p.294.

[clxvii] Burne, 1922, as above, p.96.

[clxviii] See A Sharp, Research Lodge of NSW, as above, Feb, 2000; see also Vibert’s ‘Review’ of ‘The History of Freemasonry in Tasmania’, AQC, 1936, pp.226-228.

[clxix] Rowan, ‘Lodge No 313, Tasmanian Lodge, Hobart – Correspondence with Masonic Lodges in Tasmania, 1827-1890’, at GLI, Dublin as 313(B)/, and NSL as FM4/10586, p.9.

[clxx] Rowan, ‘Lodge No 326, Union Lodge, Hobart’, as above, p.16.

[clxxi] Letter ‘345(B)/2’, dated ’27 March, 1834’, refs as above.

[clxxii] Letter to GLI, dated 10 May, 1836, paraphrased and quoted by Rowan, ‘33(A)/11’, as above, p.3.

[clxxiii] Cramp & Mackaness, 1938, as above, p.46.

[clxxiv] History of the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of Ireland, 1925, as above, p.308.

[clxxv] Letter from GM at 313(B)/21, dated 27 Feb, 1839, responding to ‘313(B)/19 and /20’, and ‘345(B)/10’, of 22 June, 1838, 7 Feb, 1839, and 19 July, 1838, ref as above, p.12.

[clxxvi] Stephen to Grand RAC, Ireland, ‘33(A)/28’, dated 14 April, 1837, ref as above, p.7.

[clxxvii] Burne, 1922, as above, p.103.

[clxxviii] ‘33(A)/19’, Murray to Fowler, dated 28 Jan, 1843, ref as above, p.5.

[clxxix] ‘33(A)/30’, 22 March, 1844, and ‘33(A)/19’, ref as above, pp.5,7.

[clxxx] ‘345(B)/23’, dated 28 Nov, 1843, ref as above, p.23.

[clxxxi]. ‘Toby, Tasmanian Union Lodge, to Nichols, Dec, 1844’. Complaint to GL, London on Nichols’ apparent inaction, 27 March, 1846, at 21/2/c, and 21/c/5, UGL Archives, London.

[clxxxii] GLI Minutes, 1842-49, p.326.

[clxxxiii]. W Henley, A History of Australian Social Mother, No 1, 1920, p.114.

[clxxxiv] Quotes and references in the following account can all be found at GLI Archives, Dublin, 260(B)/, ‘Correspondence of GLI with Masonic Lodges in NSW, 1821-1888’, or at FM4/10585, NSL.

[clxxxv] GR Nichols to GLI, 27 Aug, 1842, in GLI Archives, as above, copy at FM4/10585, NSL

[clxxxvi]. See also Cramp & Mackaness, 1938, as above, p.58.

[clxxxvii]. Bathurst Advocate, 20 May, 1848.

[clxxxviii]. Quoted in Tasmanian Magazine and Masonic Register, (Launceston), 31 March, 1849.

[clxxxix]. Anon, A Free Passage to New South Wales, (1989?), p.14, p.28. (Copy with writer, orig. Certificate sighted)

[cxc] J Algie, Maitland Lodge of Unity, The First Sixty Years, 1982, p.6.

[cxci]. A Campbell, ‘Trial and Defense of Alec Campbell, Operative, for Publishing an Unstamped newspaper, ‘The Tradesman”, Item No 29245, Goldsmiths Kress Library of Economic Literature, 1835, pp.11-12.

[cxcii]. See Thomas, p.21; the 1840 case at AC, 11 Dec, 1840.

[cxciii]. Handwritten ‘Rules..etc.’ at MSQ 520, Dixson Collection, NSW State Library. See Sydney Gazette, 6 May, 1831, for their ‘enrollment’ by Court of Quarter Sessions.

[cxciv] I refer readers to a body of work on this question, eg, A Prescott, ‘The Spirit of Association’, Lecture to Canonbury Masonic Research Centre, May 2001, and to my Manchester Conference Paper of 2004, ‘A Comparison of Fraternalism on Three Continents.’

[cxcv] A Prescott, ‘The Spirit of Association’, Lecture to Canonbury Masonic Research Centre, May 2001, p.22 – copy from author.

[cxcvi] See cover illustration. The Gauntlet, 1833-34, Greenwood Reprint, 1970, mainly pp.929-30 (23 March, 1834), p.945 (30 March, 1834).

[cxcvii] A Durr, ‘Ritual of Association and the Organisations of the Common People’, AQC, Vol 100, 1987, p.89. See also his ‘The Origins of the Craft’, AQC, Vol 96, 1983.

[cxcviii] A Kidd, Manchester, Edin UP, 2002, p.46; The Abstract of Parochial Returns, quoted in J Marshall, ‘The Lancashire Rural Labourer in the Early Nineteenth Century’, Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Socy, Vol 71 (1961), p.124.

[cxcix]. Sydney Gazette, 4 Sept, 1834.

[cc]. M Sullivan, Men and Women of Port Phillip, Hale & Iremonger, 1985, p.185.

[cci]. Sullivan, as above, quoting Simon.

[ccii]. The problematic early history of these OF lodges is told below.

[cciii]. Maitland Mercury, 30 June, 1849.

[cciv]. Colonial Times, 4, 25 Jan, 1845; 4 July, 1845, 10 Feb, 1846.

[ccv]. A group in Fremantle in 1851 was granted a dispensation to establish a court of the Ancient Royal Order of Foresters from Adelaide, but I have no information that it was established. See mfm 1430A/1432A, Battye Library, Perth, for the relevant document, erroneously ascribed to the ‘Independent Order of Foresters’.

[ccvi]. Erroneously joined to the ‘Forty Friends Society’, the ‘Rules of the Sons of Australia’ are at WA State Records Office, No 008 (Cons 350)/

[ccvii]. Perth Gazette, 23 Jan, 1841. This Society celebrated 25 yrs continuous existence in 1862.

[ccviii]. Perth Gazette, 24 June, 1837.

[ccix]. Research Note No 106, quoting from the Perth Gazette, 28 Jan, 1843, in the JS Battye Library, WA State Library, Perth.

[ccx]. ‘Prospectus’, Ausralasian Chronicle [AC], 2 Aug, 1839.

[ccxi]. M Clark, A History of Australia, V 2, MUP, 1968, p.241-2.

[ccxii]. SMH, 14 Oct, 8 Nov, 1843.

[ccxiii]. Australian, 3 March, 1842.

[ccxiv]. Australian, & SMH, 12 April, 1842. The two accounts do not exactly coincide.

[ccxv]. See below for explanation.

[ccxvi]. See, for comparison, ‘Festival of AGL of the Order of Oddfellows’, Australian, 7 Oct, 1842, where Axe is carried by Senior Warden, otherwise much the same, though order changed and some functions passed around.

[ccxvii]. First Hundred Years of Lodge of Australia Felix, No 1, UGL of Victoria, 1940, p.54.

[ccxviii]. PPG, 27 July, 1842.

[ccxix]. RD Boys First Years at Port Phillip, Robertson & Mullens, 1935, pp.136, 140 for processions.

[ccxx]. SMH, 1 April, 1846.

[ccxxi]. Commercial Journal, 4 Jan, 1840.

[ccxxii] SMH, 4 Jan, 1840.

[ccxxiii] D Kenny, The History of the Development and Progress of Catholicity in Australia to 1840, Sydney, 1886, p.191.

[ccxxiv]. SMH, 10 Jan, 1845.

[ccxxv] PPG, 6 Oct, 1841.

[ccxxvi] NMH, 11 Nov, 1878.

[ccxxvii] PPG, 12 Jan, 1842.

[ccxxviii] Its first issue, 7 Oct, 1840, lists no editor, but a Committee including Judge Stephen, Attorney-General, Captain Innes, Commissioner of Police, John Fairfax and numerous reverends.

[ccxxix] Sydney Monitor, 23 Dec, (x2), 29 Dec, 1838.

[ccxxx] Temperance Advocate, 29 Dec, 1841; Omnibus and Sydney Spectator, 25 Dec, 1841.

[ccxxxi] Letter ‘Teetotalism’, (Aust) Morning Chronicle, 14 May, 1845.

[ccxxxii] SH, 21 Dec, 1840.

[ccxxxiii] SH, 8 Dec, 1840.

[ccxxxiv] See as background: B Thompson, Imperial Vanities, Harper Collins, 2002.

[ccxxxv] SH, 26 Feb, 1840 – Wesleyan Society’s AGM; Comm Jnl & Adv, 7 Aug, 1839, 9 Sept, 1840; ADB, Vol 2, MUP, 1967, p.225.

[ccxxxvi] T&GN, Feb, 1842. See also Garrett’s August, 1842 letter ‘home’, in R Campbell, Rechabite History, 1911, p.113.

[ccxxxvii]. Campbell, as above, p.14.

[ccxxxviii]. Campbell, as above, p.16.

[ccxxxix]. Campbell, as above, p.33, letter to the Preston Temperance Advocate, 1836.

[ccxl]. Campbell, as above, p.22.

[ccxli]. Information here from pages 16-32 of Rechabite History; for Female Tents see p.100.

[ccxlii]. G Cole, ‘South Australia and Albert Districts’, Jubilee Book of IOR, 1885, p.190.

[ccxliii]. John Garrett, 23 Aug, 1842, to IOR, UK, in R Campbell, Rechabite History, Manchester, 1911, p.113-4.

[ccxliv]. Quotes from The Teetotaller & General Newspaper, 5, 26 Feb, 12 March, 1842.

[ccxlv] The Rechabite, (Victoria), 15 Sept, 1910, p.86.

[ccxlvi]. Campbell, as above, p.140.

[ccxlvii]. Teetotaller and General Newspaper, 28 Dec, 1842.

[ccxlviii]. T Hockings to T&GN, 4 Jan, 1843; formation of a Sydney ‘tent’ at SMH, 31 July, 1846. See below for further detail.

[ccxlix]. T&GN, 15 March, 1843.

[ccl]. T&GN, 26 April, 1843.

[ccli]. This wording from a photo of the original, now missing. A second photo shows the Tasmania District, No 79 was established in 1856. Low’s City of Sydney Directory for 1844-45 shows only a ‘Star Tent’ and a ‘Morning Star Tent’.

[cclii]. The T & GN, 25 Jan, 1843, taken from the Launceston Advertiser, 29 Dec, 1842.

[ccliii]. T Suttor, Hierarchy and Democracy in Australia 1788-1870, MUP, 1965, p.3.

[ccliv]. SMH, 24, 25 Feb, 1843.

[cclv]. from ‘Reminiscences of Alan Cameron’ held by Grafton Historical Society, nd, np.

[cclvi]. Thomas, 1962 reprint, as above, pp.72-3; SMH letters and reports, 14, 15, 16 June, 1843.

[cclvii] Anon, (SE Lees?), The Australian Orange Harmonist, Sydney, 1884, p.iv.

[cclviii] J Yarker, The Orange Society’, AQC, Vol 10, 1897.

[cclix] ‘Confidential Circulars’ were sent to all regiments – see 1 July, 1822, and 14 Nov, 1829, at General Order, No 522 of 31 Aug, 1835, mfm, ML NSW.

[cclx] According to a note at date 1856, ‘Introductory Observations’, on the Warrant Register, GOL of Ireland, Belfast, charters had become numerous since 1800 and ‘worked well until the dissolution of Grand Lodge in 1836 when they were called in and cancelled in obedience to an order from the Horse Guards.’

[cclxi] Sydney Monitor, 6 Jan, 1836.

[cclxii]. T Vertigan, The Orange Order in Victoria, LOI of V, 1979, p.10; D Kent, ‘The Orange Order in Early Colonial Australia’, The Push From the Bush, April, 1988, p.75.

[cclxiii]. Kent, as above, p.73.

[cclxiv] E Turner, ‘‘..Not Narrow Minded Bigots’: Proceedings of the Loyal Orange Institution of New South Wales, 1845-1895’, PhD, UNE, 2002, pp.28-31.

[cclxv] M Phelan, Orangeism Resurgent: Orange Lodges in England 1836-1876, LOI of England, nd, 2000?, p.1.

[cclxvi]. Anon, Protestant Proceedings Vindicated…(etc), Sydney, 1836, copy in ML.

[cclxvii]. B Stevenson, Let Brotherly Love Continue, Boolarong Press, 1994, p.6; see also the same author’s Stand Fast Together, Boolarong, 1996.

[cclxviii]. The APBA Rules appear at SMH, 16 Sept, 1842.

[cclxix] One version at The Protestant Standard, 1 May, 1869, referring to Brother Alexander, ‘the first Orangeman, who it was who brought the first warrant to this colony sewn up in his regimentals.’ Similar versions at R McGuffin, The Rise and Progress of Orangeism in NSW Vindicated, Sydney, 1872 – copy at ML; and W Freame, ‘How Orangeism Came to Australia’, orig in The Watchman Feb, 1910 – cutting in his Pressbooks, ML.

[cclxx] See Early History of the Loyal Orange Institution NSW, Grand Lodge of NSW, Sydney, 1926, for historical references and photos of officials in regalia.

[cclxxi]. See Port Phillip Patriot, 13 July, 1844. The first Australian clashes known to me where Catholic/Orange allegiances appear clearly involved are an assault by an ex-constable on an Orangeman (PPG, 6 Jan, 1844) and gangs fighting (PPG, 30 March, 1844), both in Port Phillip.

[cclxxii]. Taken from Argus, 10 Nov, 1846.

[cclxxiii] Although established in Sydney in 1844, the GUOOF story is related elsewhere in this text.

[cclxxiv]. A Watson, ‘Address’, The Australian Triple Links, 2 March, 1936, p.10.

[cclxxv]. J Smith ‘Odd Fellowship in Australasia’, in H Stillson, Ed, The Official History of Odd Fellowship, Fraternity Publ Co, 1908, p.515.

[cclxxvi]. C Watt & W Walmsley, A History of the Manchester Unity in Victoria, 1840-1971, MUIOOF Victoria, 1972, p.3. See my ‘Odd Fellows Ancient, Independent and United’, forthcoming.

[cclxxvii]. C Wilson, ‘Australian Oddfellowship – Past and Present’, Australian Triple Links, November, 1915, p.1.

[cclxxviii] ‘A Page from the History of Odd Fellowship’, The Odd Fellow, (USA), 3 Nov, 1847, p.47.

[cclxxix]. For biographical details of Moffitt, transported convict who became a very wealthy man, see Blainey, Odd Fellows, 1991, as above, Ch.1.

[cclxxx]. For example, C Watt & W Walmsley, 1972, as above, p.3, which drew on Moffrey, A Century of Oddfellowship, 1910, and others.

[cclxxxi]. No minute book from the 1840’s appears to have survived for any of the ‘friendlies’.

[cclxxxii]. ‘Garryowen’, Chronicles of Early Melbourne, Heritage, Melb, nd, p.616.

[cclxxxiii]. See Port Phillip Gazette, 17 June, 1 July, 1840 for notices of founding meetings; 28 Jan, 1843 for underselling, and 1 March, 1843, for purchase from Arden’s creditors; J Howlett Ross, A History of the Manchester Unity (IOOF) in Victoria, 1840-1910, Melb, 1911, pp.5-10; Watt & Walmsley, 1972, as above, pp.3-7; various of the Hunter River Gazette. See also PPG, 22 June, 1844, and later refs in text for Strode litigation.

[cclxxxiv]. J Smith, ‘Odd Fellowship in Australasia’, in The Official History of Odd Fellowship..(etc), Boston, 1907, p.516.

[cclxxxv]. The South Australian Oddfellows Magazine, No 2, Oct, 1843, p.1. A meeting of the ‘ancient and honourable order of Odd Fellows’ had been called in September, 1838, at the ‘Heart and Hand Assembly Rooms’ in Adelaide, but nothing else appears before the October, 1840 meeting.

[cclxxxvi] See J Burns, An Historical Sketch of the Independent Order of OddFellows, MU, Heywood, Manchester, 1846, pp.41-2 for some details.

[cclxxxvii]. Anon, Revised Odd-Fellowship Illustrated…(etc).., 18th edn, 1891, p.24, quoting The Manual of Odd-Fellowship of AB Grosh, nd, p.40.

[cclxxxviii]. J Wilkinson, The Friendly Society Movement, Longmans Green, London, 1891, p.33 quoting ‘Spry’s History, p.55.’.

[cclxxxix]. J Schofield, ‘The History and Progress of Oddfellowship’, Oddfellows’ Magazine, Oct, 1887, p.232.

[ccxc]. A Watson, An Account of an Investigation of the Sickness and Mortality of the IOOF, MU, 1893-1897, IOOF, MU, Manchester, 1903, p.v.

[ccxci]. South Australian Odd Fellows Magazine, Jan 1845, p.38.

[ccxcii] Bent’s News,(Sydney), 11 May, 1839.

[ccxciii]. The Australian, 7 Oct, 1842.

[ccxciv]. Colonial Times, 22, 29 August, 5, 12 September, 1843.

[ccxcv]. Colonial Times, 14 Sept, 1844; 26 Aug, 9 Sept, 1845.

[ccxcvi]. SA Odd Fellows Magazine, July, 1844, p.134.

[ccxcvii]. SA Odd Fellows Magazine, Jan, 1844, p.85.

[ccxcviii]. SMH, 20 Dec, 1844.

[ccxcix]. ‘In the Good Old Days’, Manchester Unity Journal of NSW, March, 1940, referring to 9 June, 1845.

[ccc]. Morning Chronicle, 22 March, 1845.

[ccci]. (Aust) Morning Chronicle, 22 and 26 March, 1845.

[cccii]. ‘Odd Fellows Dinner’, South Australian Register, 2 Jan, 1845; South Australian Odd Fellows Magazine, Jan, 1845, p.37.

[ccciii] A)MC, 17 Jan, 1844.

[ccciv] See editorial of the (A)MC, 12 April, 1845. See PPH, 13 Oct, 1848 its resolution.

[cccv] See The Australian, 30 Sept, 1845; AMC, 27 Aug, & 1 Oct, 1845.

[cccvi]. See E Turner, 2002, pp.58-59.

[cccvii] Campbell, as above, p.148.

[cccviii] Aust) Morning Chronicle, 23 April, 1845.

[cccix] Note 62, Vol III, The Letters of John Bede Polding, 3 Vols, Sisters of the Good Smaritan, 1998, p.245.

[cccx] M Diamond, Creative Meddler: The Life and Fantasies of Charles St Julian, MUP, 1990, p.15. Minutes of AHCG believed now at St Mary’s Cathedral Archives.

[cccxi] See SMH, 25 Nov, 1845; (Aust) Morning Chronicle, 26 Nov, 1845.

[cccxii] The Sentinel, 1 Jan, 1846.

[cccxiii]. (Aust) MC, 26 Nov, 1845.

[cccxiv]. The Sentinel, 5 March, 1845.

[cccxv]. The Sentinel, 19 March, 1845.

[cccxvi]. A Sullivan, New Ireland, London, 1878, p.33.

[cccxvii]. The Odd Fellow, 25 Oct, 1 Nov 1845

[cccxviii]. The Odd Fellow, 13 Dec, 1845.

[cccxix]. The Odd Fellow, 10 Jan, 1846.

[cccxx]. Australian, 7 Oct, 1845.

[cccxxi]. SAR, 21 Feb, 1846.

[cccxxii]. Australasian Morning Chronicle, 28 Feb, 1846.

[cccxxiii]. SMH, 15 April, 1846.

[cccxxiv]. Aust, 28 Feb, SMH, 15 April, 1846; SAR, 16 May, 1846.

[cccxxv]. The Odd Fellow and Independent Citizen, 7 March, 1846.

[cccxxvi]. Aust Journal, 3 Dec, 1846. See also for 22 Dec, 1846, and Argus, 11 Dec, 1846.

[cccxxvii]. MM, 7 Feb, 1846.

[cccxxviii]. Last two quotes from same report, SMH, 27 March, 1846.

[cccxxix]. SMH, 1 & 3 April, 1846.

[cccxxx]. Diamond, as above, p.16.

[cccxxxi]. See SMH, & Morning Chronicle, 4 July, 1846 for refs to the offending articles at 18 & 25 June; see SMH, 6 July, 1846, for announcement of that years hurling match, and The Sentinel, 2 July, 1846, for announcement of Orange celebration, both to be on 13 July, 1846, the 12th being a Sunday.

[cccxxxii]. Melbourne Argus, 14 July, 1846. The Melbourne Argus began operations 1st of June, 1846, became The Argus 15 Sept, 1848.

[cccxxxiii]. Melbourne Argus, 2 Feb, 1847.

[cccxxxiv]. PPH, 10 March, PPG, 25 March, 1840.

[cccxxxv] PPH, 6 Jan, 1843.

[cccxxxvi]. PPH, 13 Jan, 1843.

[cccxxxvii] PPG, 7 Jan, 1843, PPH, 6 Jan, 1843 (incl Editorial)

[cccxxxviii]. PPH, 14 May, 1841.

[cccxxxix]. PPH, 15 June, 9 July, 1841.

[cccxl] PPH, 10 Jan, 1843.

[cccxli]. Portland Mercury, 25 Jan, 1843.

[cccxlii]. HG Turner, History of the Colony of Victoria, 1904, quoted in T Vertigan, The Orange Order in Victoria, Tripart, 1979, p.4.

[cccxliii].For ‘Lang’ and ‘Kerr’ biogs, ADB, Vol 1, pp.76-83; pp.51-2. For Melbourne events, see PPH, 14, 17 March, 18, 28 April, 5 May, 20 June, in particular. See ‘Garryowen’ (Finn), Chronicles of Early Melbourne, p.621 for another ‘Orange’ version.

[cccxliv]. JD Lang, Reminiscences of My Life and Times, Heinemann, 1972 (orig 1876?), p.200.

[cccxlv]. See PPG, 21, 28 June, 15 July, 1843; ADB, Vol 1, 1788-1850, p.269.

[cccxlvi]. See M Sullivan, Men and Women of Port Phillip, Hale & Iremonger, 1985, espec pp.72-7.

[cccxlvii]. Portland Mercury, 19, 26 July, 1843.

[cccxlviii]. PPH 25 July, 12 September, 3 November, particularly.

[cccxlix]. PPH, 8, 12 March, 7 May, 1844; PPG, 22 June, 1844; see also ‘The Patriot’ and ‘Libel’, at PPG, 30 March, 1844.

[cccl]. PPH, 9 Jan, 20 Feb 1844.

[cccli]. PPG, 24 July, 1844 for handover; for the Irish Constitution lodge, see PPH 9 June, 11 July, 1843.

[ccclii]. PPG, 30 Oct, 1844; 24 Dec, 1845.

[cccliii]. PPH, 5 Jan, 1844 (x2); PPG, 6 Jan, 1844.

[cccliv]. PPH, 12 Jan, 17 May, 26 July, 1844.

[ccclv] Thornley, 1989, as above, pp.5-6.

[ccclvi]. PPH, 9, 2 Jan, 1844.

[ccclvii]. T Vertigan, as above, pp.9,30.

[ccclviii]. PPH, 9 Jan, 1844, where also see another par on the ‘Grand Protestant Confederation of Australia Felix’.

[ccclix]. For comment on this notice see PPH, 11 June, 1844.

[ccclx]. PPH, 11 June, 1844.

[ccclxi]. PPH, 5, 9, 12 July, PPG, 13 July, 1844.

[ccclxii]. PPH, 12 July, 1844. See ‘Garryowen’, Chronicles, p.620.

[ccclxiii]. R McGuffin, Rise and Progress of Orangeism in NSW Vindicated, 1872 – copy at 267/M, ML, NSWSL. See Hezlitt story of initiation in 1844 by ‘Mr Carr’ from Melbourne, Protestant Standard, 28 July, 1883.

[ccclxiv]. PPH, 16 July, 1844.

[ccclxv]. PPH, 4 Oct, 1844.

[ccclxvi]. PPG, 9, 30 Oct, 1844; PPH, 29 Nov, 1844.

[ccclxvii]. PPH. 30 Jan 1845.

[ccclxviii]. PPH, 4,7,11 March, 1845. Such ‘fire’ is another fraternal and military tradition.

[ccclxix]. PPG, 15 March, 1845.

[ccclxx]. PPH, 11 Feb, 25 March, 1845.

[ccclxxi]. Portland Gazette, 10 June, 1845.

[ccclxxii]. People’s Gazette, 1 April, 1845.

[ccclxxiii]. PPH, 10 April, 13 May & 21 Oct, 1 July, 1845.

[ccclxxiv]. PPH, 10, 11, 15 July, 1845.

[ccclxxv]. Vertigan, 1979, as above, p.15.

[ccclxxvi]. PPG, 3 Oct, 1845; see ‘Jubilee of the Order in Victoria’, Oddfellows Magazine, (UK), March, 1891 for m’ship number.

[ccclxxvii]. PPH, 11 Sept, 1845; 13 Jan, 1846; PPG, 7 March, 1846.

[ccclxxviii]. Vertigan, 1979, as above, pp.22-23.

[ccclxxix]. PPG, 15 July, 1846.

[ccclxxx]. PPH, 14 July, 1846.

[ccclxxxi]. For example, in quoted police reports in The Courier, (Hobart), 1 Aug, 1846.

[ccclxxxii]. PPG, 18 July, 1846; see further King letter PPG, 22 July, 1846.

[ccclxxxiii]. PPH, 27 Oct, 1846.

[ccclxxxiv]. These are the claims contained in an unpublished ms quoted by Vertigan, 1979, p.9.

[ccclxxxv]. The Times, 25 June, 1846, quoted PPH, 27 Oct, 1846; PPG, 19 June, 1847; for the suggestion about Willis see Vertigan, as above, p.7.

[ccclxxxvi]. Argus, 21 July, 1846.

[ccclxxxvii]. PPH, 14 July, 1846.

[ccclxxxviii]. PPH, 21 July, 1846.

[ccclxxxix]. PPH, 28 July, 1846.

[cccxc]. PPH, 4, 5 Aug, 1846.

[cccxci]. See Amos, 1988, as above, p.19 for some details.

[cccxcii]. SMH, 22 July, 1846; also see Early History Loyal Orange Institution NSW, 1926, pp.23-5.

[cccxciii] Lepper, ‘The Orange Society’, as above, p.262.

[cccxciv]. SMH, 15 Oct, 1846.

[cccxcv]. SMH, 14 Oct, 1846.

[cccxcvi]. MM, 23, 28 Oct, 1846.

[cccxcvii]. See debate and votes, SMH, 22, 24, 28 Oct, 1846. The Bill is printed in full in MM, 4 Nov, 1846.

[cccxcviii]. The Odd Fellows Magazine, (MU), June, 1828, p.62.

[cccxcix]. Minutes, 28 Jan, 1847, L Union Lodge, MUIOOF, in AB5363-65, Uni of Newcastle Archives. See NSW Manchester Unity Odd Fellows Magazine, 16 Aug, 1899 for description of event.

[cd]. PPH, 24 Sept 1846.

[cdi]. See Blainey, 1991, as above, p.15.

[cdii]. Argus, 6 Nov, 1846.

[cdiii]. Argus, 6 Nov, 1846.

[cdiv]. See both in The Argus, 6 Nov, 1846; see ‘Notice’ in PPH, 27 Oct, 1846.

[cdv]. Aust Jnl, 17 Nov, 1846.

[cdvi]. Argus, 28, 30 April, 1848.

[cdvii]. See Argus, 8, 22 and 29 Dec, PPG, 23 Dec, 1846 Strode is reported as having gone to Sydney to begin a new paper the Mechanics Advocate.

[cdviii]. Argus, 9 Feb, 1847.

[cdix]. Portland Guardian, 25 Jan, 1847.

[cdx]. Duke of York displayed a new banner in May – PPG, 15 May, 1847; Argus, 8 Oct, PPH, 5, 7 Oct, x2, PPG, 8 Oct, 1847.

[cdxi]. PPG, 10 Jan, 1848.

[cdxii]. Argus, 26 May, 1848.

[cdxiii]. Argus, 25 Jan, 18 April, 1848.

[cdxiv]. PPH. 27 July, 1848.

[cdxv] By 1998 NSW and Qld were the only States with GUOOF lodges. The Qld operations having come under administration from Sydney, both came under control from Melbourne when GUFS merged with Australian Unity in 2005.

[cdxvi]. Deputy Grand Master Ridley at ‘Diamond Jubilee Celebrations’, The Grand United Order of Oddfellows Magazine, September, 1908, p.15.

[cdxvii] The Magazine, No 100, March, 1908, p.8; see also Sept, 1908, p.15. This is not the way other societies have measured their existence. Government records show that the ‘Sydney District of the United Grand Order of Oddfellows’ [sic] was registered on 7 June, 1848, 4 months before the date on the Dispensation referred to by Brother Herron. A MUIOOF memoir asserts establishment of GUOOF in 1844, and an 1891 letter-writer claimed that the originating date of 1844 and the names of the 5 founding members had been perpetuated ‘for all time’ in a memorial erected ‘in the hall of Sydney District.'[cdxvii] Accessible at the time he was writing, this plaque is now apparently lost, as apparently are all early Sydney District records, for GU and other Orders.

[cdxviii]. PPH, 31 August, 1848. This no of lodges matches the later 1915 number given earlier.

[cdxix]. SAR, 23 Aug, 27 Dec, 1848; PPG, 12 Sept, 14 19 Nov, 1850.

[cdxx] PPH, 22 Aug, 1848 for report of the Brisbane lodge.

[cdxxi] PPH, 9 Feb, MMH, 13, 15 March, 25 May, 1849.

[cdxxii] MMH, 22 Aug, 19 Sept, 18 Oct, 1849.

[cdxxiii] MMH, 13 Nov, 1849.

[cdxxiv]. PPG, 6, 13 22 Nov, 1849.

[cdxxv] Kerr was appointed editor of a re-badged Gazette in 1851 by McCombie but that paper collapsed when he, Kerr, was then appointed Melbourne’s Town Clerk.

[cdxxvi]. Freemans Journal, 3 Oct, 1850, setting out terms of ‘Brown and others v Shaw and others’, Chancery Court, Durham, UK.

[cdxxvii]. ‘Garryowen’ as above, p.245.

[cdxxviii]. Freeman’s Journal, 11 July, 1850; ‘Garryowen’, as above, p.914.

[cdxxix]. Colonial Times, 9, 10 Aug, 1849; The Irish Exile and Freedom’s Advocate, 3 Aug, 1850.

[cdxxx]. The Britannia and Trades Advocate, 3 August, 1848. Denial of membership at end of editorial ‘Vicar-General’s Meeting’, 7 March, 1850.

[cdxxxi]. The Britannia, 19 August, 1847.

[cdxxxii]. The Britannia and Trades Advocate, 27 May, 1847.

[cdxxxiii]. The Britannia and Trades Advocate, 12 August, 1847.

[cdxxxiv]. The Britannia and Trades Advocate, 14, 21 Oct, 1847.

[cdxxxv] Tasmanian Colonist, 28 Aug, 1851, reprined The Empire, 10 Sept, 1851.

[cdxxxvi] The Empire, 8, 19 March, 1851.

[cdxxxvii] Freemans Journal, 4 July, 1850.

[cdxxxviii] Geelong Advertiser, 23 Sept, 1853. Nothing is known of the ‘Order of Independent Bachelors’.

[cdxxxix]. SMH, 15 Oct, 1852.

[cdxl]. Mudgee Liberal, 22 Nov, 1861.

[cdxli] (Hobarton) Mercury, 25 Oct, 1854.

[cdxlii] Green & Cromwell, 1984, p.xiii.

[cdxliii] Illustrated Australian News, 20 Sept, 1866, quoted in M Cannon, Life in the Cities, Vol 3, p.262.

[cdxliv]. J Lascelles’ evidence, in Friendly Societies: Report of the Royal Commission, Vic Parl Papers, No 44, 1876, p.5.

[cdxlv]. D Green & L Cromwell, Mutual Aid or Welfare State, Allen & Unwin, 1984, pp.xv-xviii.

[cdxlvi]. J Inglis, Our Australian Cousins, Macmillan, London, 1880, p.178.

[cdxlvii]. D Green and L Cromwell, 1984, as above, pp.217-220.

[cdxlviii]. B Kelleher, ‘Friendly Societies in the Australian Economy’, The Australian Quarterly, Sept, 1962, p.53.

[cdxlix]. B Kelleher, The ANA Its Aims and Influence on the Australian Scene, 1963, pamph, p.3.

[cdl]. Bathurst Times, 28 Jan, 1871.

[cdli]. Ovens and Murray Advertiser, 9 Nov, 1872; the earliest noted Chinese presence in a parade is at Castlemaine at the visit of Sir Charles Darling – Ill Melb Post, 24 March, 1864, p.11; see also my web notes on the ‘Alleged Chinese Freemasons in Australia’. For the rough treatment see Bendigo Advertiser, 19 Dec, 1862; for the ‘oath’ see Bendigo Advertiser, 11 July, 1861.

[cdlii] For his initiation into the ‘Loyal Albert Lodge of the MUIOOF, at Moonee Ponds’ see Argus, 23 Dec, 1864. For his death see Illustrated Melbourne Post, Jan, 1865, p.3.

[cdliii] (N’cle) Daily Pilot, 10 Nov, 1877.

[cdliv]. Para in Bathurst Free Press and Mining Journal from Pleasant Creek, 20 March, 1872.

[cdlv].’Orangeism’, PPH, 9 Dec, 1847; PPG, 31 Jan, 1849.

[cdlvi] See Wilkinson, 1891, as above, pp.40-42.

[cdlvii] J Pearn, In the Capacity of a Surgeon, Brisbane, 1988.

[cdlviii] Sydney Gazette, 28 November, 1829.

[cdlix] WA Miles, 8 June, 1842, ‘Minutes of Evidence Taken Before the Immigration Committee’, NSW Leg Council V & P, 1842-55, p.24.

[cdlx] The Britannia, 6 April, 1848.

[cdlxi] As previous.

[cdlxii] Stevenson, 1994, as above, p.4.

[cdlxiii] B Stevenson, ‘Let Brotherly Love Continue’ A History of the Protestant Alliance Friendly Society in Queensland, Boolarong, 1994, p.4.

[cdlxiv]. Braidwood Observer, 25 May, 1860.

[cdlxv] Stevenson, as above, p.5.

[cdlxvi]. Aust, 7 Oct, 1842.

[cdlxvii]. Sentinel, 17 Sept, 1845, referring to MUIOOF in Newcastle.

[cdlxviii]. SMH, 6 July, 1846; the paper’s long report of the event, 17 July, stresses the point.

[cdlxix] Morning Chronicle, 5 Oct, 1844.

[cdlxx]. ‘Dispenser’s Report’, Annual Report, Sydney District NSW IOOFMU, December, 1866, p.20.

[cdlxxi]. MM, 28 Jan, 1846; see also AMC, 12 April, 1845; 18 April, 1846; Sentinel, 5 Feb, 1846; SMH 11 Nov, 1846.

[cdlxxii]. ‘Australian News for Home Readers’, Illustrated Melbourne Post, Nov, 1865, p.7.

[cdlxxiii]. P Riggs, A Century of Caring and Beyond, Kempsey District Hospital, 1981, p.7, quoting the Macleay Chronicle of 18 Nov, 1880.

[cdlxxiv]. Wynyard Times, 29 Jan, 1861.

[cdlxxv]. See SMH, 5 Nov, 1846.

[cdlxxvi]. See SMH, 28 March, 1846 for the example of the Colonial Hospital at Windsor.

[cdlxxvii]. Minutes, for 8 Feb, 1848.

[cdlxxviii]. Minutes, 8 July, 1867.

[cdlxxix]. Manning River News, 30 March, 1867.

[cdlxxx]. See my Origins of the Hunter Labour Movement, 1999, orig a Chapter in C Hunter (Ed), Riverchange, Newcastle Region Public Library, 1998.

[cdlxxxi]. Author’s photocopy.

[cdlxxxii]. GUOOF ‘Star of Eaglehawk Lodge’, Minutes for April, 1867.

[cdlxxxiii] The Argus, 6 June, 1862.

[cdlxxxiv]. Cromwell & Green, as above, p.62.

[cdlxxxv] Report from Ballarat, in Geelong Advertiser, 21 August, 1854.

[cdlxxxvi] Green & Cromwell, as above, p.144.

[cdlxxxvii] Dr Belgrave to the 1883 Royal Commission, in Green & Cromwell, p.143.

[cdlxxxviii] Folder, ‘Friendly Societies’, Ephemera Collection, Victoria State Library.

[cdlxxxix]. Evening News, 14 August, 1886.

[cdxc] Quoted at NSW Manchester Unity Oddfellows Magazine, 16 Aug, 1899, p.11.

[cdxci] The Britannia and Trades Advocate, 19 Feb, 1846.

[cdxcii] L Bruck, ‘The Present State of the Medical Profession in Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand’, The Australasian Medical Gazette, March, 1893, p.96.

[cdxciii]. ‘Appendix to Dr Belgrave’s Evidence’in Appendices to Report of the Royal Commission…(into) Friendly Societies, NSW, Government Printer, Sydney, 1883, p.15

[cdxciv] Ad from ‘Dr RW Johnson’, recorded in Minutes, PAFS ‘Victoria L, No 3’, West Australia, at 31 May, 1927.

[cdxcv]. ‘In Praise of Oddfellowship’, NSW MUOFF Magazine, 14 Sept, 1899, p.10.

[cdxcvi]. NSW Manchester Unity Oddfellows Magazine, 16 Aug, 1899, p.7.

[cdxcvii]. Magazine of the Grand United Order of Oddfellows, (NSW), Sept, 1881, pp.19-20.

[cdxcviii]. Magazine, as previous, Sept, 1881, p.15.

[cdxcix] A Richards, The Centennial Story The History of Freemasonry in Quuensland..1859-1959, UGLQ, 1959,p.73.

[d]. Report and Proceedings of the Quarterly Meeting of the GM & Board of Directors, of the IOOF,MU, 9th July, 1869, 1869, p.2.

[di]. Quoted in Friendly Societies Gazette, 24 Dec, 1931, p.19.

[dii] K Cramp, From Jubilee to Diamond Jubilee, UGL NSW, 1949, p.67.

[diii]. The AMP’s Actuary and Gen Manager in 1893, quoted in W Short, Benjamin Short 1833-1912: A Migrant with a Mission, 1994, p.XXX.

[div] EPP, 13 Sept, 1898.

[dv] Undated letter in Kempsey PAFS Archives at Kempsey Museum, un-catalogued.

[dvi] See my detailed discussion of this in the HRD in ‘Changing the Record – Setting the Scene 2’ in Riverland Newcastle Region Public Library, 1998, pp.89-92.

[dvii]. SAR, 20 Sept, 15 Nov, 1848.

[dviii]. S Tilse, The Role of the Loyal Heart and Hand Lodge, Nundle, 1866-1900, BA Hons, ANU, 1987, p.8, p.17.

[dix]. Mackay, History of Bendigo, 1889, plus my own research.

[dx] S Yelland, ‘The Actor is the Bishop’, The Push from the Bush, April 1985 (No 19), pp.34-43.

[dxi]. Minute Book, Garibaldi Lodge, MUIOOF, VSL, MS11933, 2478/3(b).

[dxii]. SAR, 25 Aug, 1847.

[dxiii] Australian Masonic News, 21 Jan, 1865, p.21.

[dxiv]. Braidwood Observer, 27 Aug, 1859.

[dxv]. Gippsland Mercury, 22 Sept, 1870.

[dxvi]. Detail from ‘The Dedication Ceremony of the Masonic Lodge Room in the Charlie Napier Hotel..(etc)’ pamphlet, 1992, Sovereign Hill Museum.

[dxvii]. ‘Original Correspondence’, The (Araluen) Observer & Miner’s Advocate, 27 Aug, 1859; Maitland Mercury, 11 Oct, 1879.

[dxviii]. Grand Goulburn p.233.

[dxix] Opening speech at first lodge meeting, Brisbane, 1871, quoted at Brisbane Courier, 1 Jan, 1872.

[dxx]. For 1874 Fete see ‘Grand Lodge Session, 1874’, The Australasian Templar, May, 1874, p.8. T Parker, The History of the Independent Order of Good Templars, New York, 1881, pp.169, 199, 215, 236-7.

[dxxi]. Items at NMH, 3, 8 April, 1880, provide a brief overview of a tense standoff.

[dxxii] (N’cle) Daily Pilot, 13 Nov, 1877.

[dxxiii]. LM, 15 June, 1894.

[dxxiv] NMH, 11 Nov, 1878.

[dxxv]. Constitution of the Daughters of Temperance Under the National and Grand Divisions of Australasia, 1869, at NSW SL ML 178.06-D.

[dxxvi]. Audrey Oldfield ?, ‘Women Suffrage in Australia, 1902’, on Sunshine for Women website, for Womens History Month, 2003.

[dxxvii]. G Butland, Letters From Grenfell, Sydney UP, 1971, p.26. Following quotes from pp.40,66-72,81.

[dxxviii]. Northern Miner, 3 March, 26 May, 11 July, 26 September, 1877.

[dxxix]. Northern Miner, 3 Nov, 26 May, 1877.

[dxxx]. Northern Miner, 23 June, 1877.

[dxxxi]. Northern Miner, 29 Aug, 1877.

[dxxxii]. Northern Miner, 27 June, 1877.

[dxxxiii]. Northern Miner, 14 July, 1877.

[dxxxiv]. Northern Miner, 18 July, 15, 18 Aug, letter from ‘Cosmopolitan’, 1 Sept, 1877.

[dxxxv]. Northern Miner, 17 Oct, 1877. For Palmer letter see 18 Aug, 1877.

[dxxxvi]. Turner, 2002, PhD, as above, p.xv.

[dxxxvii]. Turner, 2002, as above, p.xvi.

[dxxxviii] M Campbell, ‘A Successful Experiment’ No More: The Intensification of Religious Bigotry in Eastern Australia, 1865-1885’, Humanities Research, Vol XII, No 1, 2005, p.1.

[dxxxix]. P O’Connor, The Hibernian Society of NSW, 1880-1980, HACBS (NSW), 1980, p.36.

[dxl] For example, N Turner, Sinews of Sectarian Warfare? – State Aid in New South Wales, 1836-1862, ANUP, 1972, espec Ch’s 5 & 6.

[dxli] The Empire, 13 Oct, 1851.

[dxlii]. The Ballarat Courier, 7 February, 1870, reporting ‘Overseas News’, from ‘London, 15 December, 1869’.

[dxliii] Sullivan, as above, Chs 6-9, transportation at p.103.

[dxliv]. SAR, 10 Nov, 1847.

[dxlv]. SAR, 26 Aug, 1848, quoting the British Banner.

[dxlvi] A O’Brien, ‘The 1859 Election on the Ovens’, PhD, Deakin U, 2004, p.40.

[dxlvii]. Amos, 1988, as above, p.19.

[dxlviii]. McGuffin, 1872; ‘Petition from Australia Felix Lodge No 697, 14 Oct, 1853, to GM England, for Appt of Prov GM for Victoria’, 21/C/11, in UGL Museum, London.

[dxlix] G Phillips, The First Hundred Years, 1824-1924, of Leinster Marine Lodge of Australia, 1924, Sydney, p.47.

[dl] See The Age, 19 December, 1854 for evidence and verdict.

[dli] W Bate, Lucky City, as above, p.61.

[dlii] See ‘Riot at Ballarat Report of the Board – Witness No 55, Wm Jackson’, p.18, in Anderson, 1969 as above.

[dliii] Ballarat Times, quoted in Geelong Advertiser and Intelligencer, 14 Dec, 1854.

[dliv] W Howitt, Land, Labor and Gold, Boston, 1855, p.441.

[dlv] A. O’Brien, ‘The 1859 Election on the Ovens’, PhD, 2004, Deakin U, p.30.

[dlvi]. SMH, 16 July, 1853.

[dlvii] J Blee, Eureka, Exisle, Little Red Book Series, 2007, p.83.

[dlviii]. Amos, 1988, as above, p.17.

[dlix] The Argus, quoted in The Empire, 6 December, 1854.

[dlx] Daniel and Potts, ‘American Republicanism and the Disturbances on the Victorian Goldfields’, Historical Studies, April, 1968, No 50, p.145. In going to the issue of ‘Americans’ as spies for the authorities, Daniel and Pott in 1968 concluded that for the most prominent, it seems unlikely. They do, unfortunately, let one possibility called ‘Nelson’ or ‘Neilson’ slip out of their text unexamined, especially as there was rumoured to be a cannon on its way from Melbourne for the Stockaders. A home-made cannon was actually used at Minmi, near Newcastle, during a coal miner’s strike in 1861, where, again, an alleged ‘American’ police spy called ‘Nelson’ was implicated.

[dlxi] L Churchward, Australia and America 1788-1972, APCOL, 1979, p.51, quoting an Argus editorial, 4 May, 1852.

[dlxii] See ‘Report from the Select Committee upon Mr JFV Fitzgerald’s Case’, p.13, and ‘Copies of Correspondence Respecting American Citizens’, p.2, in H Anderson (ed), ‘Eureka’ Victorian Parliamentary Papers Votes and Proceedings 1854-1867, Hill of Content, Melb, 1969. See also Serle’s assessment of these matters, 1963, as above, p.174.

[dlxiii] Argus, 25 Jan, 1855.

[dlxiv] Geelong Advertiser, The Argus, 17 August, 1854.

[dlxv]. J Lynch, The Story of Eureka Stockade, ACTS, Melb, 193_, p.29.

[dlxvi] Conversation with the author, September, 2007.

[dlxvii] A merchant in Australia before the 1850’s, Kenworthy was later a well-known Freemason and Surgeon-General in Florida. See Potts and Potts, Young America and Australian Gold, UQP, 1974, espec. pp.181-198.

[dlxviii] For Cr Annand, the Bendigo Advertiser, and ‘The Bayonet Policy of Victoria’ from The Age, 1 Dec, both quoted in The Empire, 7 Dec, 1854.

[dlxix] ‘The Riots at Ballaarat’, The Empire, 8 Dec, 1854.

[dlxx]. E Ross, A History of the Miners’ Federation of Australia, Australasian Coal & Shale Employees’ Federation, 1970, p.97; my PhD thesis, ‘Carnival, Discipline and Labour History’, Newcastle Uni, 1994, espec Ch 2, & various GUOOF records.

[dlxxi] F Cusack, Bendigo: A History, Heinemann, 1973, pp.80-1.

[dlxxii] Cusack, 1973, p.170.

[dlxxiii] Quoted by Serle, 1963, as above, p.211, fn.

[dlxxiv] Serle, as above, p.250. See Serle, pp.250-261, and his other ‘Sectarian’ references.

[dlxxv] For US background, see H Stillson (ed), The Official History of Odd Fellowship, Boston, 1908.

[dlxxvi] Melbourne Herald quoted in The Empire, 6 Aug, 1851.

[dlxxvii]. The (Hobarton) Mercury, 16 23, 27 December, 1854. See also 25 and 28 October, 1854.

[dlxxviii] GS Cohen, to 14th AGM, AIOOF, Geelong, Sept, 1867, p.13.

[dlxxix] GM Batcheldor, as above, p.11.

[dlxxx] The colour-bar in US societies adversely affected other fraternal societies with international connections, eg the AOF and the Good Templars.

[dlxxxi]. C Wilson, ‘Australian Oddfellowship-Past and Present’, Pt II, Australian Triple Links, Dec, 1915, p.1. See my notes on ‘Odd Fellows in Australia, espec the AIOOF’ elsewhere.

[dlxxxii] Copy with author, original believed at State Library of Victoria.

[dlxxxiii]. Argus, 22 Nov, 1854 25 Jan, 1855; A Steane, Freemasonic Records, 1854-1957, nd, p.11, copy at Sovereign Hill Museum. This ‘French’ Lodge became the ‘Ballarat Lodge, English Constitution’ in 1857. The emerging story may show its source was not French but English – see A Prescott, ‘The Study of Freemasonry as a New Academic Discipline’, 2007, p.12.

[dlxxxiv] Freemasons Magazine & Masonic Mirror, 16, 30 July, 1859; Ballarat Star, 27 Dec, 1861; Australian Masonic News, Melb, Dec, 1864, p.10.

[dlxxxv] ‘American v. Irish Freemasonry’, Freemasons Magazine & Masonic Mirror, 17 March, 1860, p.212, for example.

[dlxxxvi] A Prescott (ed), Marking Well, Lewis, 2006.

[dlxxxvii] ‘Bro Percy Wells’, Freemasons Magazine & Masonic Mirror, (London), 17 Mar, 1860, p.212.

[dlxxxviii] Editorial of Melbourne Masonic Journal, quoted at FM&MM, 25 July, 1863, p.57.

[dlxxxix] Freemasons Magazine and Masonic Register, 16 June, 1860, 20 Apr (p.310), 23 Nov, (p.416), 21 Dec, 1861 (p.492)

[dxc] Aust Masonic News, 28 May, 1864.

[dxci] Aust Masonic News, 30 April, 1864, p.25.

[dxcii] Aust Masonic News, 30 April, 1864, pp.26-27.

[dxciii] ‘Correspondence’, FM&MM, 23 Sept, 1865, pp.247-250.

[dxciv] O’Brien, 2004, as above, p.15.

[dxcv] O’Brien, 2004, p.140, p.163.

[dxcvi] O’Brien, 2004, p.133.

[dxcvii]. Perth Gazette, 1 April, 1864.

[dxcviii]. B Hodge, Sunset of Gold Sofala and Wattle Flat, 1860-1914, Cambaroora Star, 1988, espec from p.41.

[dxcix] Hodge, 1988, as above, p.43.

[dc] SMH, 31 March, 1860, and subs.

[dci] ‘McIntyre, William, 1805-1870’, Australian Dictionary of Biography Online Edition, Nov, 2008.

[dcii] W Bate, Lucky City, MUP, 2003 (orig 1978), p.138.

[dciii]. A Deakin, The Crisis in Victorian Politics, 1879-1881, MUP, 1951, p.72.

[dciv] M Pawsey, The Popish Plot, Studies in the Christian Movement, 1983, pp.5-9.

[dcv]. Letter from ‘Henry Fergie to James Fergie, his father’ in The Oddfellows’ Magazine, (MU, UK) April, 1868, p.375.

[dcvi] Stevenson, as above, p.14.

[dcvii]. R Travis, The Phantom Fenians of New South Wales, Kangaroo Press, 1986, p.19. See ‘Lecture on Fenianism’, Newcastle Chronicle, 25 April, 1868, on related clashes in New Zealand.

[dcviii]. See R Travers, The Phantom Fenians of New South Wales, Kangaroo Press, 1986.

[dcix]. K Amos, Fenians in Australia, 1865-1880, UNSWPress, 1988, p.41.

[dcx] The Age, 17 Dec, 1878.

[dcxi] I Jones, ‘A New View of Ned Kelly’, in Ned Kelly Man and Myth, Cassell, 1968, p.163; for Sherritt-Orangeism see p.64 and K Dunstan, Saint Ned, Methuen, 1980, p.46, where for pic of sash see, p.94.

[dcxii] I Jones, The Fatal Friendship, Lothian, 2003 edn, p.1.

[dcxiii] Jones, 2003, as above, p.157.

[dcxiv] See E Penzig, Bushrangers – Heroes or Villains, Tranter, 1988, p.178, p.186.

[dcxv] M Shennan, A Biographical Dictionary of the Ovens and Townsmen of Beechworth, 2004, self-published.

[dcxvi] The Age, 2 Nov, 1878.

[dcxvii] The Age, 23 Nov, 1878.

[dcxviii] The Age, 25 Jan, 1868.

[dcxix] The Age, 22 April, 1870.

[dcxx] The Age, 26 Feb, 1878.

[dcxxi] The Age, 6 Feb, 1878.

[dcxxii] The Age, 19, 23 Nov, 1878.

[dcxxiii] The Age, 17 Dec, 1878.

[dcxxiv] One example of a Masonic funeral interdicted by Bishop of Sydney at FM&MM, 28 April, 1860, p.388.

[dcxxv]. Aust Prot Banner, 13 June, 1868, p.4.

[dcxxvi] Prot Standard, 12 June, 1869, p. for example.

[dcxxvii]. Wingham Chronicle, 1, 8 March, 1899.

[dcxxviii] APB, 12 September, 1868

[dcxxix] PS, 23 Nov, 1869.

[dcxxx]. SMH, 23 Jan, 1868. See E Turner, as above, p.134.

[dcxxxi]. Eric Turner, 2002, p.ix, quoting Lyons.

[dcxxxii] Protestant Standard, No 1, 1 May, 1869, p.5, attacking both Catholicism and Mahometanism.

[dcxxxiii] Protestant Standard, 1 May, 1869, p.9.

[dcxxxiv] Protestant Standard, 22 May, 1869.

[dcxxxv]. Australasian Protestant Banner, 13, 27 June, 1868; Turner, 2002, p.134.

[dcxxxvi] APB, 20 June, 11 July, 1868.

[dcxxxvii] R Davis, ‘Orangeism in Tasmania 1832-1967’, THRA P&P, Dec, 2008, p.151.

[dcxxxviii]. See Vertigan pp.34 & subq, and B Stevenson, ‘Stand Fast Together’ A History of the Protestant Alliance Friendly Society of Victoria, Boolarong, 1996, p.14.

[dcxxxix]. Stevenson, 1996, as above, p.12.

[dcxl]. See Ballarat Courier, 1 Dec, 1870, 20 Jan, 6 May, 1871, and 27, 29 Jan, 1, 2, 8 Feb, 18 March, 13 April, 9 Nov, 1872. The ‘Order of Knights of St Patrick’ had been founded by King George 111, in the 18th century, according to the APB, 20 June, 1868, p.8.

[dcxli]. Minute Book, entry at 12 Jan, 1872, 13 June, 1873, ‘Hinton Purple Star, No 71, LOI’, at Raymond Terrace (NSW) Hist Socy.

[dcxlii]. Minute, 11 Dec, 1874, Hinton Purple Star, No 71, LOL.

[dcxliii]. Hinton LOL, Minutes, 22 Feb, 13 March, 1876.

[dcxliv]. Hinton, LOL, minute, 12 May, 1876.

[dcxlv] T Laffan, How Orange Was My Valley, draft ms, p.24, fn.12.

[dcxlvi]. NMH, 13 Nov, 1880.

[dcxlvii] Hinton LOL, Minutes, 21 May, 1880.

[dcxlviii] Hinton LOL, Minutes, 18 June, 1880.

[dcxlix]. Hinton LOL Minute, 19 Jan, 1883.

[dcl]. Singleton Argus, 21 Nov, 1881.

[dcli] T Laffan, How Orange Was the Valley, draft ms, 2008, p.29.

[dclii]. L Daley, Men and a River, MUP, 1966, p.158.

[dcliii]. The Orangeman and Protestant Catholic, 15 May, 1878, p.8.

[dcliv]. NMH, 29 Sept, 1885.

[dclv] J Sadleir, Recollections of a Victorian Police Officer, Penguin, Pt 2, 1913, pp.178-9.

[dclvi]. SMH, 9 Dec, 1868.

[dclvii]. D O’Donnell, James Hannell, Currency Lad, 1993, pp.91, 126. See J O’Brien, ‘Sectarianism in New South Wales Elections of 1843 and 1956’, and A Martin, ‘Henry Parkes and the Political Manipulation of Sectarianism’, both in Journal of Religious History (Sydney), Vol 9, 1976, for discussion.

[dclviii] NSW ML MS, 042.P199, ‘Orangemen in Public Schools and Volunteers Paraded on the 12th July, 1874, Being Correspondence..(etc)’, Parramatta, 1874.

[dclix]. T Coghlan, Labour and Industry in Australia, 1918, p.888, quoted in Ford, p.28.

[dclx]. R Travers, Henry Parkes: Father of Federation, Kangaroo, 1992.

[dclxi] N Bartley, Australian Pioneers and Reminiscences, 1849-1894, orig 1896, reprinted 1978, John Ferguson in assoc with RAHS, Sydney, 141.

[dclxii] A Martin, Henry Parkes: A Biography, MUP, 1980, p.103.

[dclxiii] ‘Colonial Radicalism – Our Own Creed’, 28 Dec, 1850, The Empire.

[dclxiv] Martin, 1980, as above, p.104.

[dclxv]. A Martin, Henry Parkes A Biography, MUP, 1980, p.73.

[dclxvi]. Travers, 1992, as above, p.55; Freemans Journal, 5 Sept, 1850.

[dclxvii] ‘The Press, a Weekly Paper’, in The Empire, 28 Dec, 1850. See also ‘The Press’, 4 Jan, and ‘Dr Lang’, 11 Jan, 1851, both in The Empire, and The Press, 8 Jan, 1851.

[dclxviii] ‘The English Press and Dr Lang’, The Empire, 4 Jan, 1851.

[dclxix] ‘Dr Lang’, 11 Jan, 1851; ‘Dr Lang’, 8 Feb, 1851, both in The Empire.

[dclxx] ‘Dr Lang’s Election for Sydney-Its Effect in England’, 12 Feb, and ‘Dr Lang’, 19 Feb, 1851, both in The Empire.

[dclxxi] The Empire, 29 Jan, 1851.

[dclxxii] The Empire, 12 April, 1851.

[dclxxiii] ‘Meeting of Catholic Electors’, The Empire, 13; see also 14, 15, 17 May, 24, 25, 28, 31 July, 7, 11, 18, 21 Aug, 11, 16 Sept, 1851.

[dclxxiv] The Empire, 15 March, 7 Aug, 1851.

[dclxxv] The Empire, 24 May, 1851.

[dclxxvi] ‘The Transportation Question’, The Empire, 9 Oct, 1851.

[dclxxvii] ‘Turon Diggings’, ‘Dr Lang and the Gold Miners’, The Empire, 10, 11 Oct, 1851.

[dclxxviii]. Travers, p.170.

[dclxxix]. WB Dalley, A Terrible Indictment, pamphlet, Sydney, 1869(?).

[dclxxx]. The Protestant Standard, (Syd), 15 May, 1869, p.3.

[dclxxxi] Freemans Journal, 1 Jan, 1870.

[dclxxxii]. Parkes Correspondence, NSW SL, 2 April, 1883, A920, p.627.

[dclxxxiii]. Illuminated Address to Henry Parkes from Loyal Orange Institute, of NSW, September, 1884, A1042, NSW SL.

[dclxxxiv]. Travers, as above, p.186.

[dclxxxv]. W. McMinn, George Reid, MUP, 1989, p.23.

[dclxxxvi]. Turner, 2002, as above, p.478.

[dclxxxvii]. Turner, 2002, pp.475-6.

[dclxxxviii]. Illuminated Address to ‘The Hon Sir Henry Parkes, GCMG’, 10 June, 1890, NSW SL, A1039.

[dclxxxix]. For Parkes’ response, SMH, 5 Sept, 1884. For definition of and list of Orange ‘client’ MPs, see E Turner, ‘..Not Narrow Minded Bigots: Proceedings of the Loyal Orange Institution of New South Wales, 1845-1895’, PhD, UNE, 2002, p.xxxiii, and App.12.

[dcxc] Turner, as above, p.227.

[dcxci]. N Turner, Catholics in Australia, Vol 2, Collins Dove, 1992, pp.201-202.

[dcxcii]. P O’Connor, The Hibernian Society of New South Wales 1880-1980, HACBS (NSW), 1980; R Sweetman, Faith and Fraternalism: A History of the Hibernian Society in New Zealand, 1869-2000, Hibernian Society, Wellington, 2002.

[dcxciii] See D McDonald, ‘Henry James O’Farrell: Fenian or Moonstruck Miscreant’, in Canberra and District Historical Society Journal, Sept, 1970.

[dcxciv] B Stevenson, 1996, as above, p.11.

[dcxcv] Ballarat Courier, 17 March, 15 June, 1, 3, 4 Oct, 1870; 7 Feb, 18 March, 1871.

[dcxcvi] HACBS Annual report, 1871, pp.21-25.

[dcxcvii] P O’Connor, The Hibernian Society of New South Wales, 1880-1980, 1980?, p.9, p.14.

[dcxcviii]. The Irish Harp and Farmers Advocate, 14 Jan, 1871.

[dcxcix]. The Irish Harp, 8 July, 1871.

[dcc]. The Irish Harp, 1, 15 July, 1871.

[dcci] T Keneally, The Great Shame, Random House, 1998, p.567.

[dccii]. Western Argus, 10 Sept, 1896, p.31.

[dcciii]. Western Argus, 25 June, 1896, p.4.

[dcciv]. T Suttor, Hierarchy and Democracy in Australia 1788-1870, MUP, 1965, p.4.

[dccv]. T Suttor, 1965, as above, p.1.

[dccvi] C Roderick, ‘Introduction’, Henry Lawson Criticism, Angus & Robertson, Sydney, 1972, p.xxiv.

[dccvii] Roderick, 1972, as above, p.xxvi.

[dccviii] H Heseltine, ‘The Authority of Failure’, Roderick, 1972, as above, p.462, reprinted from Australian Literary Studies, Vol 5, No 1, 1971.

[dccix] M Jones, Frances Yates and the Hermetic Tradition, Ibis, 2008, p.179.

[dccx]. A Mackey, ‘Eight’, Encyclopeadia of Freemasonry, McClure, 1917; Perrott, 1984, as above, p.147.

[dccxi] ‘Address to Our Readers’, Freemasons’ Magazine and Masonic Mirror,(FM&MM), Vol IX, July to Dec, 1863, p.v.

[dccxii] A reasonable, brief account is at K Henderson, ‘A Brief History of the Masonic Order’ in his The Masonic Grand Masters of Australia, Melbourne, 1988, pp.7-12.

[dccxiii]. Following State examples are from largely uncatalogued bundles of correspondence, marked 21/C/9, ‘Australia’, at UGL Archives, London, sighted by the present author in 2007.

[dccxiv] The details of these events beautifully exemplify the state of Masonry at the time and its neglect of its own history since – see Harland-Jacobs, 2007, and J Daniel, Masonic Networks and Connections, Aust & New Zealand Masonic Research Council, Melbourne, 2007, Ch 7, ‘Lord Carnarvon in Australia’.

[dccxv]. Newspaper, 10 July, 1890, quoted in P Caskie, Cootamundra: Foundation to Federation, Anwel, 1991, p.56.

[dccxvi] Too complicated to explain here, Royal Arch Masonry may be considered separate from Craft Masonry but a necessary adjunct of it.

[dccxvii]. ‘Memorandum Relating to the Position of Royal Arch Masonry in New South Wales’, 24 July, 1933, RA Chambers, Edinburgh, p.14. (Copy with writer)

[dccxviii]. N Turner, 1972, p.117.

[dccxix]. ‘Hidden Springs – Words spoken by Archbishop Vaughan at the Opening of the Catholic Guild Hall’, Sydney, 1876, Sydney, espec. pp 33, 43, 61. Copy at NSW State Library.

[dccxx] J Franklin, ‘Catholics versus Masons’, orig Jnl of Australian Catholic Historical Society, 2000?, reprinted Harashim, (ANZMRC), Jan, 2010, p.10.

[dccxxi]. Suttor, p.245.

[dccxxii] Bathurst Times, 16 July, 1873.

[dccxxiii] A Mackey, Encyclopaedia of Masonry, McLure, 1917, p875; see also ‘The Temple, or the Consummation of the Mission’, Chapter 5, in A. McBride, Speculative Masonry, Doran, 1924, and p.65 for the Sun.

[dccxxiv] W. Murphy, 1896, History of.., np; and personal correspondence with and research in Melbourne University Archives, where Trades Hall architect’s plans held. The Trades Hall group apparently was never put in place. See Metin, 1977, p. 61, for note on this.

[dccxxv] M. Warner, Monuments and Maidens, Picador, 1975, p.240; See also J. Warner, The Living and the Dead, Greenwood, 1975, p.339; M. Miles, ‘The Virgin’s One Bare Breast: Female Nudity and Religious Meaning in Tuscan Early Renaissance Culture’ in The Female Body in Western Culture: Contemporary Perspectives, S.Suleiman (ed), Harvard UP, 1986, p.193.

[dccxxvi] See V Emery, ‘The Daughters of the Court: Women’s Mediaevalism in Nineteenth-Century Melbourne’, in S Trigg (ed), Mediaevalism and the Gothic in Australian Culture, MUP, 2006.

[dccxxvii]. ‘Extracts from Reports of the United Grand Lodge of England Re Women and Clandestine Irregular Freemasonry’, UGL Communication, London, p.2. (Copy with writer)

[dccxxviii] E. Showalter, Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siecle, Penguin, 1990.

[dccxxix] For the Clothing Federation see cover of Ellem’s In Women’s Hands. For a NZ example see Metal, (NZ), Vol 37, No 2, April/May, 1991.

[dccxxx] The long, mixed heritage of the Britannia figure is acknowledged. A researcher has recently recorded the conclusion that ‘By the late 18th century…Britannia became more directly a vehicle for portraying contemporary attitudes towards women and gender roles. The chivalric content fed into both a Ruskinesque exaltation of woman as conscience and virtue and an openly misogynist contempt.’- M. Dresser, ‘Britannia’, in R. Samuel (ed), Patriotism: Vol 3 – National Fictions, Routledge, 1989, pp.42-43.

[dccxxxi] The Queenslander, 5 May, 1891.

[dccxxxii]. See my unpublished PhD thesis, ‘Carnival and Discipline’, Newcastle (NSW) Uni, 1994, espec. pp.353-367.

[dccxxxiii]. M Lake & H Reynolds, Drawing the Colour Line, MUP, 2008.

[dccxxxiv]. Durr, p.95, quoting Behagg who is quoting from Carlyle’s own newspaper writings. See A Prescott, ‘The Devil’s Freemason’, Paper, 2002, Freemasons Hall, London.

[dccxxxv]. R Carlile, Manual of Freemasonry, London, 1834, p.97.

[dccxxxvi]. Newcastle Morning Herald, 24 Aug, 5 Sept, 1885.

[dccxxxvii]. SMH, 27 Jan, 1890.

[dccxxxviii]. Carlile, 1834, as above, p.89.

[dccxxxix] The Bulletin, 10 March, 1883; 10, 17 April, 31 July, 1886; 27 Aug, 31 Dec, 1887; 14 July, 17 Nov, 1888; 1 Feb, 1890; 13 June, 1891; 11 March, 1893; are examples. S Lawson, The Archibald Paradox, Lane, 1983, argues for multi-editorship until Archibald’s trip to and return from the UK June, 1883-April, 1885, and Traill’s time as editor, 1883-1887. Most if not all my examples fall within the ‘Archibald era’.

[dccxl] The Bulletin, 31 Jan, 1880, p.7 (‘Briefs’).

[dccxli] The Bulletin, 31 Oct, 1885, p.4.

[dccxlii] The Bulletin, 24 July, 1885; 1 Feb, 7 June, 1890; 24 July, 1897.

[dccxliii] The Bulletin, 7 March, 1885; 22 July, 1893; 29 May, 1897.

[dccxliv] The Bulletin, 31 March, 1886; see also 7 (x2), 14 April, 1888;

[dccxlv] The Bulletin, 14 Feb, 1880, p.1.

[dccxlvi] The Bulletin, 21 Jan, 1888.

[dccxlvii] The Bulletin, 14 July, 1888.

[dccxlviii]. S Lawson, as above, p.88.

[dccxlix] See H. Jackson, The Eighteen Nineties, (1913), Harvester edn, 1976, espec. Chapter XVIII, p.244+, for discussion.

[dccl] The Bulletin, 26 April, 1890.

[dccli]. Lawson, p.116.

[dcclii] Quoted in R Broome, Treasures in Earthen Vessels, UQP, 1980, p.88; see also ‘Methodism vs Ritualism’, The Methodist, 9 Feb, 1901.

[dccliii] T Golway, Irish Rebel, St Martins, New York, 1998, p.37.

[dccliv]. S O’Luing, Fremantle Mission, Anvil, 1965, pp.45-46.

[dcclv]. D Lynch & F O’Donoghue (ed), The IRB and the 1916 Insurrection, Mercier Press, Dublin, 1957.

[dcclvi]. See SMH, 16 Dec, 1873 for example at Newcastle.

[dcclvii]. For full context, see T Laffan, How Orange Was My Valley? Protestant Sectarianism and the Loyal Orange Lodges of Australia’s Hunter Valley, 1869-1959, Toiler Editions, 2009; for quote see draft ms T Laffan, ‘The Loyal Orange Lodges and the Labour Movement of Newcastle and the Lower Hunter, Part One 1870-1914’, 2006, p.2 – copy with James.


[dcclviii]. The Magazine (of GUOOF, NSW), Sept, 1905, March, 1906.

[dcclix] The Bulletin, 26 July, 1884.

[dcclx] Information here about the ‘the Imps’ is taken from handwritten notes in the NSW State Library, at Q792/5.

[dcclxi] For programs, see The Bulletin, 21 March (brief), 28 March, 1885.

[dcclxii] SMH, 13 Sept, 1886, p.7.

[dcclxiii] W Spence, Australia’s Awakening, The Worker Trustees, Sydney & Melb, 1909.

[dcclxiv] For Assembly documents, see Adelphon Kruptos, and Secret Work and Instructions – Knights of Labor, in Mitchell Library, Sydney. ‘Local’ is the word used in the USA for a Trade Union branch.

[dcclxv] Knights of Labor Illustrated, Cook, Chicago, 1886, p.7.

[dcclxvi] See my Anarchism and State Violence in Sydney and Melbourne 1886-1896, self-published, 1986.

[dcclxvii]. Copy of this memo with writer. For context to all of this see my Anarchism and State Violence in Sydney and Melbourne 1886-1896, self-published, 1986.

[dcclxviii]. ‘J Miller’, Brisbane Worker, 9 April, 1892.

[dcclxix]. W Lane (‘J Miller’), Working Man’s Paradise, Sydney, 1892, (various reprints available); (Wagga) Hummer, 16 Jan, 1892. Other unexplored societies relevant here include the ‘Practical Brotherhood of Spiritual Sociologists’ and the ‘Austral Philosophic Savages – Murray River Tribe.’

[dcclxx]. HS Olcott, Old Diary Leaves, 4th series, 1887-1892, p.21.

[dcclxxi] For a history of Theosophy as a secret society see the letter of George Felt to ‘The London Spiritualist’, 19 June, 1878, in H Olcott, Old Diary Leaves The True History of the Theosophical Society, America 1874-1878, Theosophical Publ House, 1941, 2nd edn, p.127. Feminist and social reformer, Edith Cowan established Co-Masonry in Western Australia in 1916.

[dcclxxii]. A Gabay, The Mystic Life of Alfred Deakin, p.198, pp.200-201.

[dcclxxiii]. D Kynaston, ‘The Shaping of a Nation’, a talk to Newcastle Theosophical Society. See also Proudfoot, The Secret Plan of Canberra, 1999.

[dcclxxiv]. LM, 20 July, 1894.

[dcclxxv]. P Ford, Cardinal Moran and the ALP, MUP, 1966, p.23.

[dcclxxvi] C Dilke, ‘The Pope, Friendly Societies and Masons’, The Speaker, 12 March, 1892, p.311.

[dcclxxvii]. Ford, 1966, p.283.

[dcclxxviii]. See Moran to the AHCG on ‘Orangeism’, SMH, 18 Aug, 1890; Ford, as above, p.285.

[dcclxxix]. See series of ‘Letters’ from SMH, 28 August, to 20 Sept, 1889. The quote is from letter by ‘AR Fremlin’ at 9 Sept, 1889.

[dcclxxx]. The Age, 20 July, 1896.

[dcclxxxi] J Sadlier, Recollections of a Victorian Police Officer, Penguin, 1973 (orig 1913), pp.258-259.

[dcclxxxii] H Cleary, The Orange Society, King & Sons, Melb, 1897, p.v.

[dcclxxxiii] Cleary, 1897, as above, fn.10,

[dcclxxxiv] The Age, 16, 19, 27 July, 1897.

[dcclxxxv] See West Australian for 12, 19, 24 July, 1897, and the Golden Age, (Coolgardie) for 12 and 13 July, 1897.

[dcclxxxvi] Catholic Press, 15 July, 1899, quoted in J Brownrigg, A New Melba: The Tragedy of Amy Castles, Crossing Press, 2006, p.21.

[dcclxxxvii] The Bulletin, 9 July, 1881, p.3, has a story of a Catholic schoolteacher sacked for attending a Masonic Ball.

[dcclxxxviii]. Quoted in N Turner, 1992, as above, p.55.

[dcclxxxix]. Suttor, as above, p.303.

[dccxc]. J Bollen, Protestantism and Social Reform in New South Wales, 1890-1910, MUP, 1972, p.147.

[dccxci]. J Lepper, Famous Secret Societies, London, nd (1950?), p.309.

[dccxcii] Cai Shaoqing, ‘Analysing Chinese Secret Societies in Australia’, translation made available to Goldfields Research Centre, June 2000.

[dccxciii] A Rasmussen, ‘Networks and Negotiations: Bendigo’s Chinese and the Easter Fair’, Jnl of Australian Colonial History, 6 (2004): pp.79-92.

[dccxciv] See ‘Bendigo Easter Fair’, Bendigo Advertiser, 6, 13, 16 March, and 23 April, 1889.

[dccxcv] J Fitzgerald, Abstract to ‘Politics and Networks in the Transition from Rural to Urban Organisation of the Hung League of Colonial and Federation Australia’, Paper to CSAA Conference, Bendigo, 2005.

[dccxcvi]. M Tart, The Life of Quong Tart, McLardy, Sydney, 1911, pp.6, 68, 97.

[dccxcvii] Cai Shaoqing, 2000, as above, p.7.

[dccxcviii] C. Price, The Great White Walls are Built, ANU, 1974, p.187, quoting G Oddie, ‘The Chinese in Victoria, 1870-1890’, MA, U of Melb, 1959, pp.55-70. See also Oddie, Historical Studies, Nov, 1961.

[dccxcix] Cao Shaoqing, pps.8-10.

[dccc]. Evening News, 15 March, 1892, in Folder, ‘Newspaper Cuttings – Quong Tart’, FA923.8/Q9/1A1, NSW ML.

[dccci] Kok Hu Jin, Chinese Lodges in Australia, Golden Dragon Museum, Bendigo, 2005, p.10. See also CF Yong, The New Gold Mountain, Raphael Arts, 1977.

[dcccii] S Lyman, W Willmott, B Ho, ‘Rules of a Chinese Secret Society in British Columbia’, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, Uni of London, Vol 27, No 3 (1964), pp.530-539.

  1. Industrial Relations in the Broken Hill Mining Industry, 1884 to 1971, Paper by Stage IV Class, Broken Hill Technical College Management Certificate Course, 1972, p.5.
  2. Industrial Relations in the Broken Hill Mining Industry, 1884-1971, as above, p.5.
  3. Silver Age, 1 July, 1889.
  4. Silver Age, 1 Nov, 1884.
  5. SA, 18 Oct, 1884, p.2.
  6. SA, 20 Dec, 1884.
  7. Silver Age, 8 Aug, 1885.
  8. The Silver Age, 3 March, 1886.
  9. Silver Age, 18 July, 1889.
  10. Silver Age, 2 Aug, 1889.
  11. Silver Age, 5 July, 1889.
  12. Silver Age, 4 July, 1889.
  13. Silver Age, 26 July, 1889.
  14. E Stokes, United We Stand, Five Mile Press, 1983, p.138.
  15. Silver Age, 3 Aug, 1889.
  16. Barrier Miner, 7 March, 1889.
  17. Silver Age, 5 Aug, 1889.
  18. Silver Age, 30 Sept, 1889.
  19. Silver Age, 2 October, 1889.
  20. Silver Age, 16 Oct, 1889.
  21. Silver Age, 25, 26 Oct, 1889.
  22. Barrier Miner, 18 Jan, 1890.
  23. Silver Age, 7 Nov, 1889.
  24. Barrier Miner, 20 Jan, 1890.
  25. Silver Age, 15 Nov, 1889.
  26. Silver Age, 28 Nov, 1889.
  27. See NSW SL for relevant material, his 1895 pamphlet, Our Turbulent Democracy for a photograph, and Gibney & Smith, A Biographical Register, Vol II, L-Z, for a brief ‘Whitelocke’ entry.
  28. Barrier Miner, 2, 18 March, 1889.
  29. Barrier Miner, 3 July, 1890.
  30. Barrier Miner, 21 July, 1890.
  31. Barrier Miner, 9 July, 1890.
  32. Barrier Miner, 9 July, 1890.
  33. BM, 14 Aug, 1890.
  34. BM, 20 Aug, 1890.
  35. BM, 30 Aug, 1890.
  36. BM, 1 Sept, 1890.
  37. SMH, 1 Sept, 1890.
  38. See for an account, ‘The Great Strike’, in J Bollen’s Protestantism and Social Reform in New South Wales, 1890-1910, MUP, 1972, pp.15-23.
  39. SMH, 8 Sept, 1890.
  40. NMH, 8 Sept, 1890.

[dcccxliii] ‘Olla Podrida’ by ‘Scotia’,Barrier Miner, 1 July, 1890.

  1. BM, 1 Oct, 1890.
  2. BM, 3 Oct, 1890.
  3. BM, 15 Nov, 1890.
  4. Barrier Hill Age, 3, 4 Oct; 4, 14 Nov, 15, 23 Dec, 1893.
  5. Western Free Press, 11 August, 22 Sept, 1899.

[dcccxlix]. J Menadue, A History of the Australian Natives’ Association, 1871-1971, Horticultural Press, 1971, p.1.

[dcccl] B Kelleher, ANA – Its Aims and Influence on the Australian Scene, 1963 pamphlet, p.2.

[dcccli]. Western Argus, (Kalgoorlie), 18 Jan, 1900, p.23.

[dccclii] Menadue, as above, p.247.

[dcccliii]. Melbourne Herald, 29 Jan, 1906.

[dcccliv]. The Age, 30 Jan, 1906.

[dccclv] The Bulletin, 26 April, 1890, 21 Feb, 1891.

[dccclvi] The foregoing information from Menadue, 1971, as above, pp.94-104.

[dccclvii]. Menadue, 1971, as above, pp.13, 97, 123.

[dccclviii]. Deakin to Heide, 11 March, 1901, in Heide Papers, VSL.

[dccclix]. ‘A Proposal for ANA Paper’, in Heide Papers, MS 13375, Box 3904, VSL.

[dccclx] E Hawkins, A Concise Cyclopeadia of Freemasonry, London, 1908, p.140.

[dccclxi]. The Inaugural Celebrations of the Commonwealth of Australia, Gullick, Govt Printer, 1904, p.55.

[dccclxii]. ‘Celebrations in Sydney’, NMH, 7 Jan, 1901.

[dccclxiii] ‘Inauguration’, H Irving (ed), The Centenary Companion to Australian Federation, CUP, 1991, p.385. See also entries for ‘Churches’.

[dccclxiv]. J Keenan, The Inaugural Celebrations of the Commonwealth of Australia, Gov Printer, 1904, p.170.

[dccclxv]. J Keenan, Inaugural Celebrations…, 1904, as above, pp.254-7.

[dccclxvi]. Report & Proceedings of the Grand Annual Movable Committee…(etc)…Manchester Unity,..Wollongong..1901, IOOFMU of NSW, 1901, p.viii.

[dccclxvii] LM, 4, 15 Jan, 1901.

[dccclxviii] Western Argus, 15 Feb, 1900, 8 Jan, 16 April, 1901.

[dccclxix]. The Catholic Press, 12 March, 1903, p.14, p.19.

[dccclxx]. Sir Edmund Barton Papers, July 1897, Vol 3, pp.253-4, NSW State Library, MLMss 248/1 (mfm CY2450).

[dccclxxi] The Methodist, 13 July, 1901, quoted in J Bollen, Protestantism and Social Reform in New South Wales, MUP, 1972, p.146.

[dccclxxii] ‘DCR’s Notebook’, The Rechabite (Victoria), 15 Feb, 1911, p.261.

[dccclxxiii] ‘The Case of Mildura’, The Rechabite, (Victoria), 15 Oct, 1910, pp.125-6.

[dccclxxiv]. Bollen, p.147.

[dccclxxv] HB Higgins, A New Province for Law and Order, Dawsons of Pall Mall, 1968, p.3.

[dccclxxvi]. Higgins, as above, p.4.

[dccclxxvii] SMH, 30 Sept, 1902.

[dccclxxviii] R Markey, ‘Mutual Benefit Societies in Australia, 1830-1991’, Social Security Mutualism: The Comparative History of Mutual Benefit Societies, Lang, Berne, 1996, p.170.

[dccclxxix] Markey, 1996, as above, p.171.

[dccclxxx] WG Spence, Australia’s Awakening, Sydney, 1909, p.35.

[dccclxxxi]. O’Connor, 1980, as above, p.20.

[dccclxxxii]. Quoted in Cromwell & Green, p.66.

[dccclxxxiii]. ‘Oddfellowship’, MM, 28 Jan, 1910.

[dccclxxxiv]. NMH, 18 Jan, 1937

[dccclxxxv].C Watt & W Wamsley, A History of the Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows in Victoria 1840-1971, MUIOOF, Melb, 1972, p.17.

[dccclxxxvi] Report of the Third Interstate Conference (etc) Brisbane, 1901, Brisbane, 1901; Smedley & Ridley (eds), 100 Grand United Years, Ziegler, Sydney, 1948.

[dccclxxxvii]. Rechabite and Temperance Magazine (NSW), 3 Jan, 1900, p.9; The Rechabite, (Victoria), 15 Aug, 1910, p.52.

[dccclxxxviii] Bro Chenoweth, ‘Rechabite Inter-State Conference in Australia’, Rechabite & Temperance Magazine,(UK), Aug, 1901, p.186.

[dccclxxxix] The Rechabite and Temperance News, (Victoria), 13 Aug, 1910, p.48.

[dcccxc] ‘Inter-State Temperance Conference’, The Rechabite, (Victorian), 15 April, 1911, pp.365-370.

[dcccxci] The Austral Druid, June, 1912, p.1.

[dcccxcii] The Austral Druid, Nov, 1911, p.8.

[dcccxciii] The Austral Druid, March, 1912, p.2.

[dcccxciv]. Editorial, The Magazine of the (GUOOF), Sydney, 15 July, 1910, p.130.

[dcccxcv]. ‘Report of the Committee of Management’, (GUOOF) Report and Proceedings of the Annual General Meeting..Sydney, 1910, p.17.

[dcccxcvi]. Letter, ‘Members Without Initiation’, The Magazine, 15 July, 1910, p.143.

[dcccxcvii] Letter, ‘The New Legislation’, p.144.

[dcccxcviii]. WAPP, Leg Ass, Report by the Registrar of Friendly Societies for the Year, 1923-24.

[dcccxcix]. ‘An Introductory Note’, The WA Friendly Societies Review, Perth, Jan, 1899, Vol 1, No 1.

[cm]. SMH, 2 April, 1873.

[cmi] This section paraphrasing P Gosden, Friendly Societies in England, 1815-1875, Manch UP, 1961, pp.163-169.

[cmii] The Age, 18 March, 1898. St Patrick’s Day report, same.

[cmiii]. South Australian Parliamentary Papers, Legislative Assembly, 1896, Report No 25, ‘The First Report of the Public Actuary on Friendly Societies, 1888-1895.’

[cmiv] In Australia, ‘MUIOOF’ is more common than ‘IOOFMU’.

[cmv]. SAPP, Leg Ass, Report No 90, published in 1897.

[cmvi]. SAPP, Leg Ass, Report No 66, 1902.

[cmvii]. SAPP, Leg Ass, Report No 97, 1903.

[cmviii]. Report of the Registrar of Friendly Societies, for the period ending 31 December, 1902, Parliamentary Papers & Proceedings, NSW Leg Ass, 1904, Second Session, p.917.

[cmix]. Report to Parliament, 1904, as above, p.918.

[cmx] Report & Proceedings…, 1901, as above, p.xiii.

[cmxi] As above, p.xxxii.

[cmxii] As above, p.xvi.

[cmxiii] Rechabite and Temperance Magazine, (NSW), 17 Dec, 1900, p.2.

[cmxiv] Rechabite and Temperance Magazine (NSW), 21 Dec, 1901, p.2.

[cmxv]. C Crowe, The Bribery Commission – IOF Practices, (pamphlet), Melb, 1904.

[cmxvi]. Report to (NSW) Parliament, 1904, as above, p.921.

[cmxvii]. R & TM (NSW), 15 April, p.3.

[cmxviii]. R&TM, 6 Aug, 1902, p.7.

[cmxix]. p.924.

[cmxx] The most reliable figures for Friendly Societies at 2008 remain those in Green & Cromwell, 1984.

[cmxxi]. I Turner & L Sandercock, 1983, as above, p.22.

[cmxxii]. The Argus, 28 Dec, 1867,

[cmxxiii]. ‘The Insolvency of Trade Unions – From the Economist’, in The Oddfellows’ Magazine, (UK MU) July, 1868, p.424.

[cmxxiv] LM, 15 June, 1894.

[cmxxv]. Turner, 1992, as above, p.200.

[cmxxvi]. The Watchman, 1 Feb, 1902; also 8, 15 Feb, 1902.

[cmxxvii]. SMH, 30 Aug, 1889; see for related: 19, 28, 31 Aug, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 13, 16, 20 Sept, 1889. See Laffan, 2009, as above, for extended discussion of the issues.

[cmxxviii]. SMH, 19 Sept, 1889.

[cmxxix]. G Blainey, The Peaks of Lyell, MUP, 1954, p.197.

[cmxxx]. Blainey, 1954, p.198.

[cmxxxi]. Trade Unions, Building Societies and Co-operative Societies – Report of the Registrar of Friendly Societies for the Years 1903 and 1904, NSW Leg Assembly, 1905, p.1163.

[cmxxxii]. Trade Unions (etc) – Report to Leg Assembly, 1905, as above, p.1165.

[cmxxxiii]. As above, p.1166.

[cmxxxiv]. p.1167.

[cmxxxv].‘Wallsend Miners’, NMH, 19 Dec, 1904.

[cmxxxvi]. The Age, 17 Aug, 1907. See also 12 August, and Argus, 9, 10, 12, 14 August, 1907.

[cmxxxvii] Thornton, 1989, as above, p.91.

[cmxxxviii] Thornton, 1989, p.113.

[cmxxxix] P Strangio & B Costar, ‘BA Santamaria: Religion as Politics’, The Great Labor Schism, Scribe, 2005, p.210.

[cmxl]. Strangio & Costar, as above, fn 35, p.218. This has yet to be followed up.

[cmxli] T Truman, Catholic Action and Politics, Georgian House, 1959,p.27.

[cmxlii] Truman, 1959, as above, p.21.

[cmxliii] Truman, 1959, p.30.

[cmxliv] Truman, 1959, p.55, quoting Monsignor Pavan to the First Asian Meeting of the Lay Apostolate in Manilla in December, 1955.

[cmxlv] Truman, as above, quoting the Handbook of the Young Catholic Students, 1957 edn, pp.79-80.

[cmxlvi] Truman, as above, quoting Pope XII Encyclical, ‘Humani Generis’, of 1951, p.88.

[cmxlvii] Truman, p.57, quoting Catholic Action in Australia, Renown Press, nd, (1947?), p.37.

[cmxlviii]. Catholic Press, 4 December, 1913.

[cmxlix] Evatt, 1945, as above, p.333.

[cml] Lang, I Remember, pp.37-39.

[cmli]. B Santamaria, Daniel Mannix A Biography, MUP, 1984, p.66.

[cmlii] T Laffan, ‘The Loyal Orange Lodges and the Labour Movement of Newcastle and the Lower Hunter, Part One 1870-1914’, p.3 (copy with James).

[cmliii] T Laffan, ‘ The Loyal Orange Lodges and the Newcastle Labour Movement’, p.5. (Copy with James)

[cmliv]. Released by Grand Orange Imperial Council, 1907, quoted by Laffan, draft ms, 2008, p.7.

[cmlv] Lang, I Remember, p.69.

[cmlvi]. N Turner, Catholics in Australia, Vol 2, Collins Dove, 1992, p.55.

[cmlvii]. Mannix speaking at Drysdale (Vic), 12 December, 1917, quoted by E Brady, Doctor Mannix, Archbishop of Melbourne, 1934.

[cmlviii]. B Santamaria, Daniel Mannix: An Autobiography, Brown, Prior, Anderson, Melb, 1981, p.89, quoting Holman’s unpublished memoirs from H Evatt, Australian Labor Leader, Angus & Robertson, 1945, p.410. Readers should also consult J Lang, I Remember, Invincible Press, 1956 (?). Lang, personally involved in NSW ALP politics from the 1890’s thought religion ‘a man’s own affair’ but his text contains useful references.

[cmlix]. G Bolton, Land of Vision and Mirage Western Australia Since 1826, UWAP, 2008, p.109.

[cmlx]. T Laffan, ‘The Protestant Independent Labour Party of NSW, 1923-1929’, The Hummer, Summer, 2002-3, p.1.

[cmlxi]. P O’Connor, The Hibernian Society of NSW, 1880-1980, HACBS, 1980, p.58, quoting R Darroch, ‘The Man Behind Australia’s Secret Army’, The Bulletin, 20 May, 1980.

[cmlxii] See J Kildea, Tearing the Fabric: Sectarianism in Australia 1910-1925, Citadel Books, Sydney, 2002, and relevant newspaper reports in the Catholic Press and elsewhere.

[cmlxiii] Australian Christian World, 12 March, 1922.

[cmlxiv] J Kildea, ‘Troubled Times: An Overview of the history of the Catholic Federation of NSW’, Aust Catholic Historical Society Journal, Vol 23, 2002, p.21.

[cmlxv]. W Skelton, A Fair Average Quality Australian Autobiography, self-published, copy at NLA 2696, pp.40-41.

[cmlxvi]. Muirden, 1968, p.11.

[cmlxvii] Lang, I Remember, p.182.

[cmlxviii] Laffan, The Hummer, 2002-3, as above, p.5.

[cmlxix]. T Laffan, How Orange Was My Valley, 2008, draft MS.

[cmlxx] L Crisp, Ben Chifley, Angus & Robertson, 1961, p.57, p.35.

[cmlxxi] Laffan, 2009, as above, p.110.

[cmlxxii] The Official Handbook of the Legion of Mary, Concilium Legionis Mariae, Dublin, 1959, p.152.

[cmlxxiii] Laffan, 2009, as above, from p.122.

[cmlxxiv]. A Moore, The Secret Army and the Premier, UNSW, 1989, pp.15, 133. The ‘episode’ involved a dissident army officer, De Groot, intervening before the official ceremony to cut the ribbon ‘opening’ the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

[cmlxxv]. See B Muirden, The Puzzled Patriots, MUP, 1968, for all of these.

[cmlxxvi]. Muirden, 1968, p.47.

[cmlxxvii]. ‘Knights of the Anglo-Saxon Clan’, (pamphlet) NSW Ml 369.3/K.

[cmlxxviii] Moore, as above, 1989, p.203.

[cmlxxix]. Bolton, 2008, as above, p.109.

[cmlxxx] Moore, as above, p.177.

[cmlxxxi]. See NMH, 25 March, 1, 2 April, 1937.

[cmlxxxii]. G Blainey, Odd Fellows: A History of IOOF Australia, Allen & Unwin, 1991, p.119.

[cmlxxxiii] The Oddfellow, (GUOOF), 15 August, 1923, p.11; Minutes of MU AGMs, HRD, 1929-1932, Cessnock Public Library.

[cmlxxxiv] The Referee, 4 July, 1917.

[cmlxxxv]. ‘Catholics Hit for Six by Sir Don’s Scathing Pen’, Newcastle Herald, 8 March, 2002, referring to sale of a 1995 Bradman letter by Christies.

[cmlxxxvi] Letter from M(?) Hanigan, of ‘St Gerard’s, Wellington (New Zealand)’, 25 July, 1934, Fingleton Collection, MLMSS 5691, Box 1 (29).

[cmlxxxvii] J Fingleton, Batting from Memory, Collins, 1981.

[cmlxxxviii] Letter from ‘Paddy Mc, St Kevin’s College, Toorak’, nd but ‘1936’ hand written at top, Fingleton Collection, MLMSS 5691, Box 1(29).

[cmlxxxix] G Growden, Jack Fingleton, Allen & Unwin, 2008, pp.124-5.

[cmxc] K Cramp, From Jubilee to Diamond Jubilee, UGL, Sydney, 1948, pp.116-117.

[cmxci]. G Gumpl and R Kleinig, The Hitler Club The Rise and Fall of Australia’s No 1 Nazi, Brolga, 2007, p.81.

[cmxcii] G Love & N Morse, ‘The Re-Formed Triad League’, AQC, 2003, p.248.

[cmxciii] R Edmonds, In Storm and Struggle, Newcastle, 1991, p.13.

[cmxciv] According to Lang, Garden was more opportunist than committed ideologue – see Lang, 1956, as above.

[cmxcv] Letter No 940, Exec Committee of the Communist International, Moscow, to J Garden, 15 Oct, 1923, at Ag 75, NSW MLMs.

[cmxcvi] Quoted in Costa, p.319.

[cmxcvii]. A Walker, Coaltown, 1945, p.59.

[cmxcviii] ‘Gospel Church’s Fiery Beginning in Midst of Mining Turmois’, Maitland Mercury, 19 Nov, 1984.

[cmxcix]. Cessnock Eagle, 31 May, 1929.

[m] Cessnock Eagle, 20 Feb, 1931.

[mi] Labor Daily, 5 May, 1931. For all reference details see my paper, ‘The Politics of Revivalism During the Depression on the Norther Coalfields’, July, 1994.

[mii] J Sheilds, ‘Craftsmen in the Making: The Memory and Meaning of Apprenticeship in Sydney Between the Great War and the Great Depression’, in J Sheilds, All Our Labours, UNSWP, 1992, p.88.

[miii]. History of Tara Shire, 1840-1988, Tara Shire, 1988, p.68.

[miv]. Letter, GM Barratt to ‘Bro AE Rudd’, District Secretary, Southern District, GUOOF, 15 Dec, 1942. (in author’s possession)

[mv] See, for example, N Morse, ‘A New Discovery’, NSW Lodge of Research, April, 1995, p.4.

[mvi] R Braddon, Images of Australia, Collins, 1988, p.18.

[mvii] Braddon, 1988, as above, p.22.

[mviii] Minute boks, PAFS Lodge Loyal Preston, No 20, Perth, WA, for dates 15 June, 1939, 27 Nov, 1943 – at WA State Library.

[mix] Santamaria, 1997, as above, p.81.

[mx] ‘Knight News’, Newcastle Morning Herald, 31 Oct, 1990.

[mxi] The Ulster Link, Melbourne, monthly, nd, believed 2001.

[mxii]. R Terrill, The Australians: In Search of an Identity, Bantam, 1987, p.82.

[mxiii] Copy with author.

[mxiv] D Rawson, ‘Has Unionism a Future?’, in M Crosby & M Easson, What Should Unions Do?, Pluto, 1992, p.12.

[mxv] M Costa, ‘Mythology, Marketing and Competition: A Heretical View of the Future of Unions’, in Crosby & Easson, 1992, above, p.316.

[mxvi]. Costa, as above, p.317.

[mxvii]. Costa, as above, p.319.

[mxviii] Costa, p.320.

[mxix] See bitter attack by the editor of mining union journal of an ABC documentary on the 1949 strike, P Gorman, ‘ABC TV show makes a mockery of our coal miners history’, Common Cause, Vol 74, No 6, Dec, 2008, p.12.

[mxx] M Kellerman, From Diamond Jubilee to Centenary History of Forty Years of the United Grand Lodge of Freemasonry in New South Wales 1948 – 1988, Vol IV, UGL of NSW, 1990, p.1.

[mxxi] K Cramp, ‘Preface’, From Jubilee to Diamond Jubilee 1938-48, UGL, Sydney, 1949, p.vii.

[mxxii] These figures and the following comments drawn from or based on Chapter V, ‘Membership’ in Vol IV, Kellerman, as above, from p.241.

[mxxiii] Kellerman, as above, p.251.

[mxxiv] Kellerman, as above, p.258.

[mxxv] Kellerman, as above, p.269.

[mxxvi] Kellerman, as above, pp.279-282.

[mxxvii]. J Snoek, ‘Researching Freemasonry: Where are we?’, C(entre for)R(esearch into)F(reemasonry and)F(raternalism) Working Paper Series, No 2, Sheffield, 2007, p.19.

[mxxviii] IOOF Reports and Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Australasia at the Twenty Sixth Triennial Session…New Zealand, 1966, p.9 for ‘free white male’, p.25 for ref to ‘Comm Friendly Societies Council of Australia’, p.87 for ‘Telegraphic Codes and Cyphers’.

[mxxix] Colombo & Tapay, Private Health Insurance in Australia A Case Study, OECD Health Working Papers, 8, 2003, p.4.

[mxxx]. R Ward, A Radical Life, Macmillan Aust, 1988, p.225; see p.10 for earlier episode.

[mxxxi] The Age, 17 August, 1907, p.5.

[mxxxii] D Green & L Cromwell, Mutual Aid or Welfare State, Allen & Unwin, 1984, p.xvii.

[mxxxiii]. D Horne, The Lucky Country, Penguin, 1964, p.27; M Harris, ‘To Define True Mateship’, in The Angry Eye, Pergamon, 1973, pp.32-36.

[mxxxiv]. C Wallace-Crabbe, Melbourne or the Bush, Angus & Robertson, 1974, p.8; M Horne, 1964, as above, p.20; S Lawson, The Archibald Paradox, Allen Lane, 1983, pp.257-8; R Gerster, ‘Preface’, in Big-Noting: The Heroic Theme in Australian War Writing, MUP, 1987, p.ix.

[mxxxv] J Gascoigne, The Enlightenment and the Origins of European Australia, UNSWP, 2005, p.169.

[mxxxvi] D Hickie, The Prince and the Premier, Angus & Robertson, 1985, p.53, p.17.

[mxxxvii] See my ‘Getting the Question Right’, 2007 Paper to International Masonic Conference, Edinburgh.

[mxxxviii]See Papers from 2007, 2009 International Conference into History of Freemasonry, Edinburgh, available from Grand Lodge of Scotland, Edinburgh.