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Grand United Order of Oddfellows
Image: Banner - Grand United Order of Oddfellows
Source: Museum Victoria
According to a successor of the Grand United Order of Oddfellows, Australian Unity:
'Grand United was established in England in the late 1700's, when groups of independent lodges became part of this larger organisation. Members felt more secure knowing they were in a brotherhood that had thousands of members around the world. In those early days, members typically met in Inns, where they gathered for social and business purposes.'
'The Order began in Australia during the period 1844-1848, with the official date given as 1848. The first Sydney lodge - Travellers' Home No 731 - appears to have been operating in 1845 and by 1848 there were three additional lodges. Because of the time it took for correspondence to travel from England to Australia, there are some discrepancies between the actual and recorded dates. The first Grand Master of the Order was Brother James Reid (1794-1869). In 1854, the Port Phillip District of Grand United separated from the NSW branch to establish Grand United in Victoria. In 1877, the Queensland lodges also separated and established their own management committee.'
'Grand United membership in NSW grew rapidly, and by 1910, membership levels had increased to 22,405 and new premises were purchased in Pitt Street in 1916.'
'During the First and Second World Wars, many Grand United members enlisted for Active Service, and as with many other friendly societies, funds were created to provide for the medical benefits of serving members and their families. In 1948, to commemorate the centenary of Grand United, the Grand United Centenary Centre Homes for Aged Members (now Constitution Hill) was opened.'
'The different branches of Grand United operated for many years in Australia. Eventually the Queensland and NSW branches merged to form Grand United Friendly Society (NSW), and in 1986 Grand United (VIC) merged with Manchester Unity IOOF (VIC).'
'Then in March 2005, Grand United Friendly Society (New South Wales) merged with Australian Unity.'
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Australia Mint: Stokes and Sons Gold/ enamel medal manufactured by Stokes and Sons, Melbourne on behalf of the Grand United Order of Oddfellows, Friendly Society.From: Melbourne, Australia Images: 0
Cedar ballot box. The Grand Order of Oddfellows used the ballot box when voting about the suitability or otherwise of a proposed new member. Members placed either a white or black marbl ...From: Melbourne, Australia Images: 1