MANCHESTER UNITY IN N.S.W. ITS HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT

 

 

Manchester Unity Australia Ltd is a Friendly Society company limited by shares and guarantee. Macquarie Dictionary defines a friendly society as  “A Society which by voluntary subscription of its members for the relief and maintenance of members and their families in sickness, old age etc.”  Simply a Friendly Society is an organization whose members band together for mutual, self help.

 

The first formalized “benefit” societies were possibly the mediaeval guilds, each comprising lodges and concerned with working conditions as well as being drinking clubs. How long an individual guild lasted depended on its strength and relevance at the time.    Individual “Odd Fellows” Lodges were known to be in existence in the 1700s being formed after this early guild system broke down.  At that time there was no form of public relief to turn to in bad times, but by pledging themselves to put a few pence of their wages into a common pool the first “Oddfellows” were able to build up funds to tide any of them, or their families, over an illness or save themselves from a “paupers funeral”

 

As mentioned, although these individual clubs were known to be in London in the 1700s, Manchester Unity deserves much of the credit for establishing the Societies on the firm basis, as we know them today, as it was during one of the revivals of the movement in Manchester, England, in 1810 that several of these small individual “clubs” were united together under the name  “The Independent Order of Odd Fellows – Manchester Unity Friendly Society” and with the coming of Manchester Unity as an “Affiliated Order” (that is:  a Society with several branches) the concept began to work on  a permanent basis.

 

The first Friendly Societies in Australia were established in Sydney in the 1830s, although looking back now they were only part friendly society and part trade union.    Probably the first was the  “Shipwrights Friends Benefit Society” with some similar trade societies being established over the next few years.  Typical of these Societies was  Sydney Joiners Benefit Society providing cover against “losses of tools occasioned by fire or otherwise”

 

It was during the winter of 1839 when the colony was entering into a period of reconstruction, which eventually led to reforms like the commencement of responsible government, that eight “brothers” who had been members of the Society from England met at the Lighthouse Hotel in Sydney.             They pooled 13s 6d ($ 1.35) as capital and applied  for a dispensation to open a lodge in Sydney.  That first branch was named “Strangers Refuge and operated under  a dispensation from the Liverpool District in U.K.  as Lodge No. 2433 on the registry of the Order in England.  Strangers Refuge Lodge No 1 (on the registry of New South Wales) still meets  at our Courtlands Retirement Village.

 

This first  branch had opened with nine members and,  as was the custom in those days the proprietor of the tavern (who was the ninth member) was asked to be HOST which involved the general duties of  treasurer and general custodian of lodge property.

 

 

The first branch was Strangers Refuge

opened in Sydney in March 1840

and still meeting at Courtlands Retirement Village.

 

At that time New South Wales was in a bad way, as thousands of immigrants then landing had  no money and the colonists for want of means were unable to employ them. The Lodge believed it was part of their duty to do something to alleviate this suffering and  accordingly two members were appointed to  visit every ship entering the cove,  visit immigrants in tents and barracks to seek out “brothers” needing assistance.

 

By signs and “passwords” brethren were recognized and, through the influence of members  of the lodge  many were found employment in the town and others in the country.

As many of these “brothers’ joined the local branch it grew rapidly and on 1 November 1841 a second branch was opened in Parramatta.

 

A few  days  later a third branch  was opened back in Sydney in George Street South.  

 

By 1842 the Order had spread to Newcastle where the first country branch was established in Newcastle with the opening of Union Lodge  and in the next couple of years 5 more  branches were opened  in Sydney.  By 1845 the Order had spread to  West Maitland, Windsor, Paterson, Bathurst and then to Goulburn, and  Singleton.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Insert Photo No 1 and caption)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In March  1842  the lodges meeting in Sydney and Parramatta  agreed to form the Sydney District and the first “Grand Annual Committee Meeting” of the District was held on 28 December 1842. The Cumberland and Hunter River Districts were later formed in 1846 with others being established between 1856 and 1927 when there were sufficient lodges in an area to support a District Committee  New Districts established until 1858 were formed under the authority of the Sydney District

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the 1830s –1840s most medical  care in Sydney  was provided by government hospitals, universally recognized by the population in those days as being run by incompetent staff and not very clean. The chief alternative was to consult a private practitioner but the cost of the service was high.    Manchester Unity with the other societies banded together in 1847 to form a Medical Institute on the corner of Kent and Bathurst Sts Sydney to provide their members with the services of a doctor at a price they could afford and which would also enable them to exercise some control over the  standard of service.   The doctors performed three main duties:   to help the lodge assess sick pay claims by examining the members who were sick, to examine candidates for membership and to provide medical attention for the wives and children of members.

 

The medical examiners in those days considered the Institute a  great stepping stone  to advancement in their profession.

 

The idea of lodge branches employing doctors also benefited country members.  who, by employing their own doctor with a guaranteed minimum retainer, found doctors from Sydney were encouraged to go the  country, bringing medical services to many an area.

 

Societies soon realized they needed to control the quality of medicine also.    Perhaps the first Medical Institute anywhere in the world was founded in Sydney by Manchester Unity.   Certainly it was the first in Australia by over 20 years.    It provided the services of a salaried doctor, and a pharmacist.  Members and their families situated within “three miles of the Sydney Market” could use the service.     Doctors were not always happy with the rates being paid by the lodges and by the turn of the century were organizing opposition to this “lodge doctor” system.   A compromise was reached on the rates and some other matters in dispute such as placing an upper limit on the level of income

 

By the 1940s Societies were discussing with the then British Medical association (the B.M.A.) on ways to expand the lodge “doctor’’ system  to add specialist services. At the time successive governments continued to talk about a national health scheme based on salaried doctors and the BMA finally stated there would be co-operation only where payment was on a “fee for service basis”    The old “lodge doctor system” was abandoned and a new fee for service fund was introduced where patients paid the doctor for the service and Manchester Unity refunded the cost.This of  course   was   the   forerunner    of     today’s

national health scheme .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the 1860s and 1870s Friendly societies in many areas joined together to open and eoiperate their own “Dispensaries” to counter the high ost of medicines. These original dispensaries were for many years closed shops where a member put his prescription through an  opening and received the medicine when made up.   Societies also established their own Drug Company to ensure continuity of supplies

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Special meeting of the Sydney District was held on 26 November 1857 for the purpose of establishing an “Annual Moveable Committee and electing a Grand Master and Board of Directors “for the whole Colony of New South Wales” There were seven of the  Sydney Lodges represented and a Past (Provincial) Grand Master Bro F Reyling was elected as the first Grand Master of the Order in New South  Wales. All the Board came from these seven Sydney Lodges

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In 1859 after some years of discussion it was decide members of the Order  should move to its own premises and as suitable land could not be found for building a hall  a house in Sussex Street between Goulburn and Little Hay Street was leased and a hall was added to the building.  This was our headquarters until 1871.

 

During the 1860s the State Government had purchased a block of land between Castlereagh and Elizabeth Streets to erect a public library   Before building commenced however a  succeeding government decided

o abandon the project and sold the property at auction to a member( a John Sutherland 

MLA who was a member of Strangers  Refuge lodge) and who was bidding for Manchester Unity

This Brother, John Sutherland. laid the foundation stone of the new hall on the Eizabeth Street frontage  in November 1870 and the hall was opened in May 1871

 

 

 

 

sert photo No 2)

 

 

 

During 1894 a large Hall and new lodge rooms were erected in Castleragh Street thus completing the block through to Elizabeth Street,    In 1921  both old buildings were demolished to make way to make way for a Head quarters building stretching from Elizabeth to Castlereagh Streets adjacent to the Great Synagogue  and still standing .

(See photo on Page 4)

 

Manchester Unity moved toa new Head Office at 307 Pitt Street Sydney  in 1981 and to its present Head Office in May 2006 after purchasing a property at 205 Pacific Highway St Leonards

(See photos next page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  OUR MEMBERSHIP BADGE

 

Our membership badge ( the “Heart in Hand”) was adopted in 1908 and represents the  proper symbol of Friendship,  to signify that “any act of kindness, denoted by the charitable hand is devoid of merit unless accompanied by the proper emotion of the as well as the  hand, should share in greetings between

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

remind members that “the heart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NUMBERING OF LODGES

 

Until the year 1881 much confusion was caused through  some lodges retaining numbers issued by the Society in England whilst others had numbers given by Australian authorities.    At a GAMC held in Albury  in 1881 it was resolved to renumber all Lodges in New South Wales in rotation ,beginning with Strangers Refuge as No 1.   The renumbering also removed the confusion caused by some 17 lodges in “Queensland” being removed from the registry in N.S.W. when the Order in Queensland was established in 1874.

(Insert Photo No 6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OCIETY FUNDS CONSOLIDATED

 

In 1908 the Society consolidated its Sickness and Funeral funds, previously held by Lodges and Districts.  The introduction of this consolidation of funds was responsible for greater opportunities in the better investment of the Society’s Reserve Funds.

 

A resolution to also consolidate the Management and Benevolent Funds held by Lodges and Districts was approved by the G.A.M.C. in 1980

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

OUR MEMBERSHIP BADGE

 

Our membership badge ( the “Heart in Hand”) was adopted in 1908 and represents the  proper symbol of Friendship,  to signify that “any act of kindness, denoted by the charitable hand is devoid of merit unless accompanied by the proper emotion of the heart” and also to remind members that “the heart as well as the  hand, should share in greetings between them on all occasions”

 

RITUAL

 

Several changes have taken place in our rituals and in the early part of the last century it was found that a great divergence existed both in the text and procedures in the different Australian  States.   An Australian  Committee in 1917 produced a revised  ritual which was adopted by the G.A.M.Cs  in England,  New South Wales, Victoria and  Queensland.

 

Any person, irrespective of his or her religious or political beliefs  can accept our rituals which encourage all members to follow their own line of religious or political thought.

 

In 1995 Grand Lodge approved a pilot “trial” by one Lodge of  “Alternative Meeting Procedures” (i.e. a formal meeting without ritual or regalia) which ,after the long trial showed Past Officers from this Lodge were able to conduct meetings and   represent their Lodges with the same ability as Past Grands  from Lodges using the “Universal Ritual”. The alternative procedures were then approved for all Lodges wishing to use them.    By the end  of  2005 almost 50% of branches were using the alternative procedures.

 

 

            WHY ORIGINALLY “ODDFELLOWS  ??

 

 

The name “Oddfellows” began to be used around the 14th century, the then trade guilds comprising a hierarchy of apprentices, fellows and masters.

 

Members moved from being apprentices to become a “fellow” (who was paid by the “Master” of the Guild.)

 

However when trade expanded the Masters preferred to pass the business on to their offspring when they retired, rather than to the fellows and some introduced rules to make it too expensive for the fellow

 

In retaliation these fellows set up their own guilds in smaller towns  where there were not enough guilds for particular trades and became known as “ODDFELLOWS”

                 MANCHESTER UNITY FORMED

 

The 18th and 19th centuries saw the creation of many more of these ”Oddfellow” societies until in 1810 as mentioned earlier several clubs decided to join together with a common set of rules to form the Independent Order of Oddfellows--- Manchester  Unity, The name our mother Order  in the United Kingdom still uses

 

The new Society grew rapidly as  (unlike the esarlier local guilds and clubs ), with branches in several other towns and cities , members w could attend another branch  away from their own and seek assistance.

 

In one of the very old volumes in our Head Office is a bound copy of the “Minutes and Other Documents of the Grand Committees”

from 1814 to 1828 (published in 1829)

 

In those early days members were required to attend meetings regularly and pay their dues.  The “password” was changed frequently and if you knew the current password you were s deemed to have paid you dues and therefore were financial  

 

As  members were beginning to travel seeking jobs in other towns they could approach another  branch and by using the password ask for assistance

 

Some of these passwords were horrendous.

(As examples you had to remember such words as  5th September 1816 “ Benjamin the youngesdt son of Israel”  and on 3rd September 1818   “Melchchizadeck- King of Salem”.

 

 

CONVALESECENT HOMES

AND RETIREMENT VILLAGES

 

 

Early in 1947 the Society purchased a property near Mittagong known as “Braemar” as the first of a planned series of Convalescent Homes for members.

 

 

A second property in North Parramatta (known as Courtlands)  was purchased in the  middle of  1949 and as it was not being fully utilized for convalescent purposes was later available for members’ to stay “after an illness or  have a  quiet holiday”.  In 1961 it was also used for Secretaries’ Schools of Instruction

(Insert photo No  7)

 

 

 

 

next    development was the opening of

the Aged Members Homelets,  in 1953, converted from buildings already on the property (previously used during World War II  to store flammable film stock) and on the same site. This  was  followed by a new “Aged members Section”  building for both single and married members  together with a 7 bed hospital officially  opened in 14 December 1957. An additional wing was opened in 1960

 

Redevelopment of this first Retirement complex began in 1993 and by October 1994 Stage 1 was opened, leading to the completely new Retirement Village as seen today which now includes a state-of –the-art  Dementia and Extra Services wing.

 

Further expansion of the Retirement and Aged Care Services has been achieved with the following additional properties owned and operated buy the Society:

 

North Court :Parramatta

Westcourt satellite Villas

The Heritage of Hunters Hill

Beecroft Sanctuary

 

At June 2005 the Society operated  a combined total of 182  self-care units and 183 Aged Care places.

HOLIDAY UNITS

 

 Around the middle of the 20th Century Manchester Unity began to erect or purchase properties for members to enjoy holiday breaks.  

 

In  1957 the first of these, fronting  the sea at Cronulla, and known as “Karingal’ was ready for Christmas and officially opened the following February 1958.

 

The Society acquired property at Bream Beach on St Georges Basin when the National Independent Order of Oddfellows. Joined Manchester Unity in 1961.

 

Later in 1961 the Society completed another block of Seaside Holiday Flats at Port Macquarie.

 

In 1976 with the Government Department owning the land at Bream Beach requiring extensive fencing and drainage of the property it was sold by the Society and a holiday property  at Hawkes Nest containing a licensed restaurant.

 

However as it  was clear members’ holiday arrangements were  changing and  vacations were being taken in more distant places many Friendly Societies began to dispose of their holiday units as they were losing money each year.

 

 

 

 

FORMATION OF DISTRICTS

 

 

Sydney District

 

During December 1841  deputies were appointed to attend the formation of the Sydney District, which took place in the George and Dragon Inn in George Street on 10th March 1842.  ASn old minute book of the Fountain of Friendship Lodge at  Parrammat records a  resolution: “

 

“ that there is no necessity for any delegates to go to Sydney (from Parramatta – 24km) to attend the District meeting as they will be agreeable to any laws put in force”

 

At the time of the first “Grand Annual District Meeting” held on 28 December 1842 there were five Lodges represented;   Strangers Refuge, the (Parramatta) Fountain of Friendship. Friendship,  United Brothers, Union and fountain of Refuge.

 

By 1845 there had been established St Johns (Newtown),   Wandering Minstrel and Rose of Australia.  Wandering Minstrel was a unique lodge formed by a number of actors, often on the road and not available to attend all meetings of a lodge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DEVELOPMENT

 

MEDICAL AND MEDICINE SERVICES

 

MEDICINE 

 

A.M.C. ESTABLISHED

 

MANCHESTER UNITY'S HEADQUARTERS

 

 

THE PATTERSON LODGE BANNER

 

The Patterson Union Lodge No 12 was the second branch opened in the Hunter area and was established  in 1846 as Lodge No 4225 on the English Constitution  (An earlier Lodge , Good Design, was opened in Maitland the previous year).

 

In the minute book of the Lodge,  in 1901 , it was recorded that the Lodge should have its own banner. The decision was that that it should be the best banner available.  Despite the fact that manufacturers were making banners of reasonable quality  in New South Wales an order was sent to George Tuttil in London for supply and despatch of a banner.  To meet the cost  a subscription list was organized with a programme of balls, dances and sports days.

 

The banner (shown on our front and back covers) is double sided and hand painted. It measures  2800 cm by 1750 cm..  The centre panel is of silk, woven on a jacquard loom creating a reversible fabric.   One side is red silk with gold highlights, the other  side is gold silk with red highlights.

 

The red silk side has a small painted plaque bearing the inscription   G. Tuttil, 82 City Road, London.

 

For the second half of the 19th century, banners of friendly or trade societies done by Tuttils seem to have both sides painted. In the case of friendly societies this second side was more likely to be the society’s emblem.  The Paterson banner, though for a friendly society, contains workers as they would appear at work and both sides carry elements of Manchester Unity’s emblem, one side with the Lodge name and the other with the inscription “We unite to assist each other”

 

Research into the banner by Dr Bob James concluded with the observation that it was Tuttils boast they never made two identical banners.  The banner is  housed and on show in the Paterson Historical Society Museum

The importance of the banner was recognized  in late 1988. After questioning what to do with a box stored in the museum since the Lodge closed in the 1970s (with no indication as to what was inside) it was opened to reveal the banner tightly rolled. Although time had taken its toll it was seen to clearly be a treasure and it was decided serious thought would have to be given to its refurbishment.

 

After referral to the Newcastle Regional Museum  the banner was inspected  by the Australian Decorative  and Fine Arts Society.   An estimate of around $ 9,700 was obtained from the International Conservation Services Pty Ltd, a  leading firm in Sydney, to replace the silken borders and fringing and  preserve the whole banner in a clear perspex case. There would be an additional cost to hang the banner in the Museum.      Manchester Unity assisted with

$ 2,000.  The restored banner was unveiled by Bro Brian Hartcher (then District Secretary of the former Hunter River District   on 25th May 1997) and as mentioned can be seen in the Paterson Court House Museum together with   many other items of local historical interest

 

 

Many thank are due to  Mrs Val Anderson Curator of the Paterson Court House Museum for the information  supplied and making available the photos on the front and back covers.   The research carried out by historian Dr Bob James is also  acknowledged with much of the other material on the banner coming from an excellent book  “The Paterson Lodge  Banner” published by the Paterson Historical Society Incorporated.

Further  material was also supplied by Bro Brian Hartcher of Hunter River District Lodge

 

Kevin Giles Grand Secretary-   2007

 

MANCHESTER UNITY IN N.S.W.

IT’S HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT

 

 

MANCHESTER UNITY AUSTRALIA LTD IS A FRIENDLY SOCIETY COMPANY LIMITED BY SHARES AND GUARANTEE. MACQUARIE DICTIONARY DEFINES A FRIENDLY SOCIETY AS  “A SOCIETY WHICH BY VOLUNTARY SUBSCRIPTION OF ITS MEMBERS PROVIDES FOR THE RELIEF AND MAINTENANCE OF MEMBERS AND THEIR FAMILIES IN SICKNESS, OLD AGE ETC.”  SIMPLY A FRIENDLY SOCIETY IS AN ORGANISATION WHOSE MEMBERS BAND TOGETHER FOR MUTUAL, SELF HELP.

 

THE FIRST FORMALISED “BENEFIT” SOCIETIES WERE POSSIBLY THE MEDIAEVAL GUILDS, EACH COMPRISING LODGES AND CONCERNED WITH WORKING CONDITIONS AS WELL AS BEING DRINKING CLUBS.

 

HOW LONG AN INDIVIDUAL GUILD LASTED DEPENDED ON ITS STRENGTH AND RELEVANCE AT THE TIME.    INDIVIDUAL “ODD FELLOWS” LODGES WERE KNOWN TO BE IN EXISTENCE IN THE 1700S BEING FORMED AFTER THIS EARLY GUILD SYSTEM BROKE DOWN.  AT THAT TIME THERE WAS NO FORM OF PUBLIC RELIEF TO TURN TO IN BAD TIMES, BUT BY PLEDGING THEMSELVES TO PUT A FEW PENCE OF THEIR WAGES INTO A COMMON POOL THE FIRST “ODDFELLOWS” WERE ABLE TO BUILD UP FUNDS TO TIDE ANY OF THEM, OR THEIR FAMILIES, OVER AN ILLNESS OR SAVE THEMSELVES FROM A “PAUPERS FUNERAL”

 

AS MENTIONED, ALTHOUGH THESE INDIVIDUAL CLUBS WERE KNOWN TO BE IN LONDON IN THE 1700S, MANCHESTER UNITY DESERVES MUCH OF THE CREDIT FOR ESTABLISHING THE SOCIETIES ON THE FIRM BASIS, AS WE KNOW THEM TODAY, AS IT WAS DURING ONE OF THE REVIVALS OF THE MOVEMENT IN MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, IN 1810 THAT SEVERAL OF THESE SMALL INDIVIDUAL “CLUBS” WERE UNITED TOGETHER UNDER THE NAME  “THE INDEPENDENT ORDER OF ODD FELLOWS – MANCHESTER UNITY FRIENDLY SOCIETY” AND WITH THE COMING OF MANCHESTER UNITY AS AN “AFFILIATED ORDER” (THAT IS:  A SOCIETY WITH SEVERAL BRANCHES) THE CONCEPT BEGAN TO WORK ON  A PERMANENT BASIS.

 

IT WAS DURING THE WINTER OF 1839 WHEN THE COLONY WAS ENTERING INTO A NEW PRIOD  WHICH EVENTUALLY LED TO REFORMS LIKE THE COMMENCEMENT OF RESPONSIBLE GOVERNMENT, THAT EIGHT “BROTHERS” WHO HAD BEEN MEMBERS OF THE SOCIETY FROM ENGLAND MET AT THE LIGHTHOUSE HOTEL IN SYDNEY.             THEY POOLED 13s 6d  ($ 1.35) AS CAPITAL AND APPLIED  FOR A DISPENSATION TO OPEN A LODGE IN SYDNEY.  THAT FIRST BRANCH WAS NAMED “STRANGERS REFUGE AND OPERATED UNDER  A DISPENSATION FROM THE LIVERPOOL DISTRICT IN U.K.  AS LODGE NO. 2433 ON THE REGISTRY OF THE ORDER IN ENGLAND.  STRANGERS REFUGE LODGE NO 1 (ON THE REGISTRY OF NEW SOUTH WALES) STILL MEETS  AT OUR COURTLANDS RETIREMENT VILLAGE.

 

 

 

 

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THIS FIRST  BRANCH HAD OPENED WITH NINE MEMBERS AND,  AS WAS THE CUSTOM IN THOSE DAYS THE PROPRIETOR OF THE TAVERN (WHO WAS THE NINTH MEMBER) WAS ASKED TO BE HOST WHICH INVOLVED THE GENERAL DUTIES OF  TREASURER AND GENERAL CUSTODIAN OF LODGE PROPERTY.

 

 

AT THAT TIME NEW SOUTH WALES WAS IN A BAD WAY, AS THOUSANDS OF IMMIGRANTS THEN LANDING HAD  NO MONEY AND THE COLONISTS FOR WANT OF MEANS WERE UNABLE TO EMPLOY THEM. THE LODGE BELIEVED IT WAS PART OF THEIR DUTY TO DO SOMETHING TO ALLEVIATE THIS SUFFERING AND  ACCORDINGLY TWO MEMBERS WERE APPOINTED TO  VISIT EVERY SHIP ENTERING THE COVE,  VISIT IMMIGRANTS IN TENTS AND BARRACKS TO SEEK OUT “BROTHERS” NEEDING ASSISTANCE.

 

BY SIGNS AND “PASSWORDS”  (which I will come back to later)_BRETHREN WERE RECOGNIZED AND, THROUGH THE INFLUENCE OF MEMBERS  OF THE LODGE  MANY WERE FOUND EMPLOYMENT IN THE TOWN AND OTHERS IN THE COUNTRY.

 

AS MANY OF THESE “BROTHERS’ JOINED THE LOCAL BRANCH IT GREW RAPIDLY AND ON 1 NOVEMBER 1841 A SECOND BRANCH WAS OPENED IN PARRAMATTA. 

 

 A FEW  DAYS  LATER A THIRD BRANCH  WAS OPENED BACK IN SYDNEY IN GEORGE STREET SOUTH.  

 

 

BY 1845 THE ORDER HAD SPREAD TO  WEST MAITLAND, WINDSOR, PATERSON, BATHURST AND THEN TO GOULBURN, AND  SINGLETON AND BY 1857 TO MUDGEE.

 

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IN MARCH  1842  THE LODGES MEETING IN SYDNEY AND PARRAMATTA  AGREED TO FORM THE SYDNEY DISTRICT AND THE FIRST “GRAND ANNUAL COMMITTEE MEETING” OF THE DISTRICT WAS HELD ON 28 DECEMBER 1842. THE CUMBERLAND AND HUNTER RIVER DISTRICTS WERE LATER FORMED IN 1846 WITH OTHERS BEING ESTABLISHED BETWEEN 1856 AND 1927 WHEN THERE WERE SUFFICIENT LODGES IN AN AREA TO SUPPORT A DISTRICT COMMITTEE  NEW DISTRICTS ESTABLISHED UNTIL 1858 WERE FORMED UNDER THE AUTHORITY OF THE SYDNEY DISTRICT

 

 

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IN THE 1830S –1840S MOST MEDICAL  CARE IN SYDNEY  WAS PROVIDED BY GOVERNMENT HOSPITALS, UNIVERSALLY RECOGNIZED BY THE POPULATION IN THOSE DAYS AS BEING RUN BY INCOMPETENT STAFF AND NOT VERY CLEAN. THE CHIEF ALTERNATIVE WAS TO CONSULT A PRIVATE PRACTITIONER BUT THE COST OF THE SERVICE WAS HIGH.    MANCHESTER UNITY WITH THE OTHER SOCIETIES BANDED TOGETHER IN 1847 TO FORM A MEDICAL INSTITUTE ON THE CORNER OF KENT AND BATHURST STS SYDNEY TO PROVIDE THEIR MEMBERS WITH THE SERVICES OF A DOCTOR AT A PRICE THEY COULD AFFORD AND WHICH WOULD ALSO ENABLE THEM TO EXERCISE SOME CONTROL OVER THE  STANDARD OF SERVICE.   THE DOCTORS PERFORMED THREE MAIN DUTIES: 

TO HELP THE LODGE ASSESS SICK PAY CLAIMS BY EXAMINING THE MEMBERS WHO WERE SICK, TO EXAMINE CANDIDATES FOR MEMBERSHIP AND TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR THE WIVES AND CHILDREN OF MEMBERS.

 

THE MEDICAL EXAMINERS IN THOSE DAYS CONSIDERED THE INSTITUTE A  GREAT STEPPING STONE  TO ADVANCEMENT IN THEIR PROFESSION.

 

THE IDEA OF LODGE BRANCHES EMPLOYING DOCTORS ALSO BENEFITED COUNTRY MEMBERS.  WHO, BY EMPLOYING THEIR OWN DOCTOR WITH A GUARANTEED MINIMUM RETAINER, FOUND DOCTORS FROM SYDNEY WERE ENCOURAGED TO GO THE  COUNTRY, BRINGING MEDICAL SERVICES TO MANY AN AREA.

 

SOCIETIES, HOWEVER, SOON REALIZED THEY NEEDED TO CONTROL THE QUALITY OF MEDICINE ALSO.    PERHAPS THE FIRST MEDICAL INSTITUTE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD WAS FOUNDED IN SYDNEY BY MANCHESTER UNITY.   CERTAINLY IT WAS THE FIRST IN AUSTRALIA BY OVER 20 YEARS.    IT PROVIDED THE SERVICES OF A SALARIED DOCTOR, AND A PHARMACIST.  MEMBERS AND THEIR FAMILIES SITUATED WITHIN “THREE MILES OF THE SYDNEY MARKET” COULD USE THE SERVICE.     DOCTORS WERE NOT ALWAYS HAPPY WITH THE RATES BEING PAID BY THE LODGES AND BY THE TURN OF THE CENTURY WERE ORGANIZING OPPOSITION TO THIS “LODGE DOCTOR” SYSTEM.   A COMPROMISE WAS REACHED ON THE RATES AND SOME OTHER MATTERS IN DISPUTE SUCH AS PLACING AN UPPER LIMIT ON THE LEVEL OF INCOME OF MEMBERS ABLE TO USE THE SERVICE.

 

 

BY THE 1940S SOCIETIES WERE DISCUSSING WITH THE THEN BRITISH MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (THE B.M.A.) ON WAYS TO EXPAND THE LODGE “DOCTOR’’ SYSTEM  TO ADD SPECIALIST SERVICES.

 

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 AT THAT  TIME SUCCESSIVE GOVERNMENTS CONTINUED TO TALK ABOUT A NATIONAL HEALTH SCHEME BASED ON SALARIED DOCTORS AND THE BMA FINALLY STATED THERE WOULD BE CO-OPERATION ONLY WHERE PAYMENT WAS ON A “FEE FOR SERVICE BASIS”.

 

THE OLD “LODGE DOCTOR SYSTEM” WAS ABANDONED AT THAT STAGE AND A NEW FEE FOR SERVICE FUND WAS INTRODUCED WHERE PATIENTS PAID THE DOCTOR FOR THE SERVICE AND MANCHESTER UNITY REFUNDED THE COST.     THIS OF  COURSE   WAS   THE   FORERUNNER    OF     TODAY’S  NATIONAL HEALTH SCHEME .

 

IN THE 1860S AND 1870S FRIENDLY SOCIETIES IN MANY AREAS JOINED TOGETHER TO OPEN AND OPERATE THEIR OWN “DISPENSARIES” (CHEMIST SHOPS CLOSED TO NON-MEMBERS) TO COUNTER THE HIGH COST OF MEDICINES.  THESE ORIGINAL DISPENSARIES, AS MENTIONED,  WERE FOR MANY YEARS CLOSED SHOPS WHERE A MEMBER PUT HIS PRESCRIPTION THROUGH AN  OPENING AND RECEIVED THE MEDICINE WHEN MADE UP. 

 

 WHEN THREATENED BY SOME MANUFACTURERS SOCIETIES ALSO ESTABLISHED THEIR OWN DRUG COMPANY TO ENSURE CONTINUITY OF SUPPLIES

 

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A SPECIAL MEETING OF THE SYDNEY DISTRICT WAS HELD ON 26 NOVEMBER 1857 FOR THE PURPOSE OF ESTABLISHING AN “ANNUAL MOVEABLE COMMITTEE AND ELECTING A GRAND MASTER AND BOARD OF DIRECTORS “FOR THE WHOLE COLONY OF NEW SOUTH WALES” THERE WERE SEVEN OF THE  SYDNEY LODGES REPRESENTED AND A PAST (PROVINCIAL) GRAND MASTER BRO F REYLING WAS ELECTED AS THE FIRST GRAND MASTER OF THE ORDER IN NEW SOUTH  WALES. ALL THE DIRECTORS OF THE NEW BODY  CAME FROM THESE SEVEN SYDNEY LODGES

 

 

OUR RECOGNITION BADGE

 

OUR MEMBERSHIP BADGE ( THE “HEART IN HAND”) WAS ADOPTED IN 1908 AND REPRESENTS THE  PROPER SYMBOL OF FRIENDSHIP,  TO SIGNIFY THAT “ANY ACT OF KINDNESS, DENOTED BY THE CHARITABLE HAND IS DEVOID OF MERIT UNLESS ACCOMPANIED BY THE PROPER EMOTION OF THE HEART AS WELL AS THE  HAND AND ALSO TO REMIND MEMBERS THAT THE HEART AS WELL AS THE HAND SHOULD SHARE IN GREETINGS BETWEEN THEM ON ALL OCCASIONS.

 

NOW FOR AOME OTHER INTERESTING EVENTS

 

NUMBERING OF LODGES

 

 

UNTIL THE YEAR 1881 MUCH CONFUSION WAS CAUSED THROUGH  SOME LODGES RETAINING NUMBERS ISSUED BY THE SOCIETY IN ENGLAND WHILE OTHERS HAD NUMBERS GIVEN BY NEW SOUTH WALES AUTHORITIES    AT  THE  GAMC HELD IN ALBURY  IN 1881 IT WAS RESOLVED TO RENUMBER ALL LODGES IN NEW SOUTH WALES “IN ROTATION ,BEGINNING WITH STRANGERS REFUGE AS NO 1.”   THE RENUMBERING ALSO REMOVED THE CONFUSION CAUSED BY SOME 17 LODGES IN “QUEENSLAND” BEING REMOVED FROM THE REGISTRY IN N.S.W. WHEN THE ORDER IN QUEENSLAND WAS ESTABLISHED IN 1874.

 

 

IN 1908 THE SOCIETY CONSOLIDATED ITS SICKNESS AND FUNERAL FUNDS, PREVIOUSLY HELD BY LODGES AND DISTRICTS.  THE INTRODUCTION OF THIS CONSOLIDATION OF FUNDS WAS RESPONSIBLE FOR GREATER OPPORTUNITIES IN THE BETTER INVESTMENT OF THE SOCIETY’S RESERVE FUNDS.

 

 

A RESOLUTION TO ALSO CONSOLIDATE THE MANAGEMENT AND BENEVOLENT FUNDS HELD BY LODGES AND DISTRICTS WAS APPROVED BY THE G.A.M.C. IN 1982

 

 

SEVERAL CHANGES HAVE TAKEN PLACE IN OUR RITUALS AND IN THE EARLY PART OF THE LAST CENTURY   (1900S ) IT WAS FOUND THAT A GREAT DIVERGENCE EXISTED BOTH IN THE TEXT AND PROCEDURES IN THE DIFFERENT AUSTRALIAN  ORDERS.     AN AUSTRALIAN  COMMITTEE IN 1917 PRODUCED A REVISED  RITUAL WHICH WAS ADOPTED BY THE ANNUAL CONFERENCES IN ENGLAND,  NEW SOUTH WALES, VICTORIA AND  QUEENSLAND.

 

IT SHOULD BE NOTED THAT ANY PERSON, IRRESPECTIVE OF HIS OR HER RELIGIOUS OR POLITICAL BELIEFS  CAN ACCEPT OUR RITUALS WHICH ENCOURAGE ALL MEMBERS TO FOLLOW THEIR OWN LINE OF RELIGIOUS OR POLITICAL THOUGHT.

 

6

 

IN 1995 GRAND LODGE APPROVED A PILOT “TRIAL” BY ONE LODGE OF  “ALTERNATIVE MEETING PROCEDURES” (I.E. A FORMAL MEETING WITHOUT RITUAL OR REGALIA) WHICH ,AFTER THE LONG TRIAL SHOWED MEMBERS   FROM THESE LODGES WERE ABLE TO CONDUCT MEETINGS AND   REPRESENT THEIR LODGES WITH THE SAME ABILITY THOSE FROM LODGES USING THE “UNIVERSAL RITUAL”. THE ALTERNATIVE PROCEDURES WERE THEN APPROVED FOR ALL LODGES WISHING TO USE THEM.    BY THE END  OF  2005 ALMOST 50% OF BRANCHES WERE USING THE ALTERNATIVE PROCEDURES.

 

 

TH OTHER LODGES CONTINUE TO USE RITUAL .

 

WHY  “ODDFELLOWS”  ??

 

 

THE NAME “ODDFELLOWS” BEGAN TO BE USED AROUND THE 14TH CENTURY, AS THE THEN TRADE GUILDS COMPRISED  A HIERARCHY OF APPRENTICES, FELLOWS AND MASTERS.

 

MEMBERS MOVED FROM BEING APPRENTICES TO BECOME A “FELLOW” (WHO WAS PAID BY THE “MASTER” OF THE GUILD.)

 

HOWEVER WHEN TRADE EXPANDED THE MASTERS PREFERRED TO PASS THE BUSINESS ON TO THEIR OFFSPRING WHEN THEY RETIRED, RATHER THAN TO THE “FELLOWS”

 

SOME EVEN INTRODUCED RULES TO MAKE IT TOO EXPENSIVE FOR THE FELLOW TO TAKE OVER

 

IN RETALIATION THESE FELLOWS SET UP THEIR OWN GUILDS IN SMALLER TOWNS  WHERE THERE WERE NOT ENOUGH GUILDS FOR PARTICULAR TRADES AND BECAME KNOWN AS “ODDFELLOWS”

 

 

PASSWORDS AND SIGNS                 7

 

IN THOSE EARLY DAYS MEMBERS WERE REQUIRED TO ATTEND MEETINGS REGULARLY AND PAY THEIR DUES.  THE “PASSWORD” WAS CHANGED REGULARLY AND IF YOU KNEW THE CURRENT PASSWORD YOU WERE DEEMED TO HAVE PAID YOUR DUES AND WERE FINANCIAL.

 

AS MEMBERS WERE BEGINNING TO TRAVEL,  SEEKING JOBS IN OTHER TOWNS THEY COULD APPROACH ANOTHER BRANCH AND, USING THE PASSWORD, COULD SEEK ASSISTANCE.  THE USED OF LODGE ‘SIGNS” ALSO MADE IT EASIER TO DISCOVER WHO WAS A MEMBER OF THE SOCIETY TO BE APPROACHED

 

 

 

CONVELESCENT HOMES

AND RETIREMENT VILLAGES

 

EARLY IN 1947 THE SOCIETY PURCHASED A PROPERTY NEAR MITTAGONG, KNOWN AS “BRAEMAR” AS THE FIRST OF A PLANNED SERIES OF CONVALESCENT HOMES FOR MEMBERS.

 

A SECOND PROPERTY  IN NORTH PARRAMATTA KNOWN AS COURTLANDS) WAS PURCHASED IN THE MIDDLE OF 1949 AND AS IT WAS NOR BEING  FULLY  UTILISED FOR CONVALESCENT PURPOSES WAS LATER AVAILABLE FOR MEMBERS TO STAY “AFTER AN ILLNESS” OF HAVE A QUIET HOLIDAY, IN1961IT WAS ALSO AVAILABLE  FOR  SECRETARIES’ SCHOOLS OF INSTRUCTION

 

THE NEXT DEVELOPMENT WAS A THE OPENING OF THE AGED MEMBERS HOMELETS IN 1953 FROM BUILDINGS ALREADY ON THE SITE PREVIOUSLY USED DURING WORLD WAR II TO STORE FLAMABLE FILM STOCK AWAY FROM THE CITY

 

THIS WAS FOLLOWED BY A NEW ”AGED MEMBERS’ SECTION” BUILDING FOR BOTH SINGLE AND MARRIED MEMBERS  TOGETHER WITH A 7 BED HOSPITAL OFFICIALLY  OPENED IN 14 DECEMBER 1957. AN ADDITIONAL WING WAS OPENED IN 1960

 

REDEVELOPMENT OF THIS FIRST RETIREMENT COMPLEX BEGAN IN 1993 AND BY OCTOBER  1994 STAGE 1 WAS OPENED LEADING TO A COMPLETELY NEW RETIREMENT COMPLEX IN FOUR STAGES  (AS NOW SEEN) WHICH INCLUDES A STATE-OF-THE- ART  DEMENTIA AND “EXTRA SERVICES” WING

 

FURTHER EXPANSION OF THE RETIREMENT AND AGED CARE SERVICE HAS BEEN ACHIEVED WITH THE FOLLOWING ADDITIONAL PROPERTIES OWNED AND OPERATED BY THE SOCIETY:

 

NORTH COURT PARRAMATTA

WESTCOURT SATELLITE VILLAS

THE HERITAGE OF HUNTERS HILL

 

AT JUNE 2006 THE SOCIETY PROVIDED A TOTAL OF 365 APARTMENTS AND 183 AGED PLACES IN HIGH- AND LOW-CARE BEDS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 2003 G.A.M.C. considered and adopted amendments to Fraternal Rules to  provide for grouping  all Lodges   into six Areas instead of the existing 24 Districts from May 2004.   Each Area will be controlled by an Area Committee comprising  the Area Master, Area deputy Master, Area Secretary and delegates from Lodges elected to represent at the Area Meeting.

 

The Area Master and Deputy are elected by the Area Meeting and  the Secretary is appointed by the Board of Directors

© 2023 by THE BUILDER

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