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Friendly Societies

Among the most prominent organisations in 1930s Melbourne were friendly societies and lodges.

Friendly societies ceremonial collar
Friendly societies ceremonial collar.
Source: Museum Victoria

They included the Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows, Irish National Foresters, Loyal Orange Institution, and Freemasons. The names reflected their diverse cultural origins in Britain and Ireland.

The societies offered health benefits and other welfare services to members before government took on such responsibilities.

The distinctive buildings of these organisations stood as symbols of loyalties that were on the wane. Yet marriage between a Catholic and a Protestant could still raise eyebrows.


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