Mr Bob Anderton
P.O. Box 18001
Mr Paul Munson
Functions for 2017
Sunday 15th October Battle of Trafalgar High Tea at Warwick
December Christmas Party
A Short History of the Toowoomba Branch of the Royal Society of St George.
The Toowoomba Branch was established on April 29th, 1909 at a time in our history when ties with England were built on history, sentiment and shared values.
The Mayor of Toowoomba Alderman J.E. Stone called a meeting to form a Toowoomba Branch of The Royal Society of St George.
The proposal that the branch be formed was moved by Alderman T.S. Burstow and seconded by the Honourable H.L. Groom. Officers elected at the meeting were: President: Alderman J.E. Stone, Vice Presidents: Alderman T.S. Burstow and the Honourable H.L. Groom: Treasurer: Mr G.J. Allpass, Committee: Messrs. T.R. Roberts, F.G. Hopgood, P.Field, E. Pascoe, A. Robinson, A. Brinkworth, N Hilsdon, H.A. Longman, J. Rowe, J. Draney, W. Smith and N.J. Culver.
The annual subscription was fixed at two shillings and sixpence.
On May 14th, 1909 Mr Frank Merritt (former Town Clerk) was appointed Secretary.
In the same year it was decided to hold a quarterly church parade of society members at a church of different denominations each time.
In October, Alderman Stone resigned as President and Alderman Burstow was elected in his place.
Two hundred members attended the first annual meeting of the Branch on the 30th May 1910. Total membership at that time was 500.
In late 1910 the Branch took a lease of rooms in Ruthven Street at a rental of 15 shillings a week, for the sole use of members. Socials and concerts were held and a levy of sixpence per member per month was imposed to defray the rent and provide furnishings. The First World War imposed a great strain on the Society and it was found necessary to relinquish the lease of the rooms. The Society then met in various halls in the city.
During the war years, members engaged in many patriotic activities, but the annual St George’s Day dinner and other functions had to be discontinued temporarily.
Presidents between 1912 and 1919 were Mrssrs. A.W. Robinson (1912 and 1917), A. Brinkworth (1916) and W. Mansfield (1918-19).
At a special meeting on August 22nd, 1919, when Mr. W. Mansfield was President, a member objected that the price of six shillings a head for the annual dinner was too high. “The Branch should cater for the working class,” he said. “The price might be all right for the silver-tails but not for the workers.”
The decision of the meeting was “no change for the present.”
At the annual meeting in 1920, Mr. C.C. Pascoe was elected President with Messrs. J.E. Stone and T.R. Roberts Vice-Presidents, and Mr. A.H. Hoskin Secretary. The
Society quickly regained its strength under their guidance and membership increased dramatically. St. George’s Day dinners and Trafalgar Day celebrations were resumed and other functions organised.
In 1945 the branch purchased a property at No. 1 Laurel Street and with the assistance of many of the members in a voluntary capacity, transformed it into a splendid meeting and entertainment centre. Indoor bowls and other entertainment were conducted regularly.
The society at that time had its own indoor bowls club, which had a good deal of success in local competition.
In later years Laurel Street was included in the City Council commercial area and the Society disposed of the property to commercial interests.
As values rose so rapidly at that time the Society was unable to secure another property suitable for its use. The proceeds of the sale were held in trust and invested, the income being used to meet expenses of the branch and inhibit the need to increase subscriptions.
On the 23rd April, 1985 when Toowoomba was visited by Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke and Duchess of Kent, the branch was well represented by Mr and Mrs John Cay.
It was during Mr Cay’s presidency the Toowoomba Branch became life members of the Australian Flag Association. This decision was in line with all of the branches who felt strongly that the flag since the birth of the nation should not be changed and that it should be protected by legislation.
For a number of years the branch has on Anzac Day, placed a book on the Mothers’ Memorial, in memory of our fallen countrymen: the book is then presented to a school in Toowoomba.
Today the Society has adapted to make it relevant to the Englishmen and women who now call Australia home, to the second and third generation Australians who as proud patriotic Australians identify strongly with their Australian history. If a criticism is to be levelled at my fellow countrymen is that it is seen as a little odd for us to celebrate our origins in a way that we see as quite normal for other Australians of European, Asian or Middle Eastern background.
The Toowoomba Branch invites you to join as membership is open to people of all nationalities that subscribe to its objects and aims which is to foster the love of Australia by strengthening the beliefs and values of our English Heritage and spreading the knowledge of our histories, traditions and ideals.
The Society celebrates St Georges Day on April 23rd and Trafalgar Day around the 21st October and a Christmas Party in December. It combines at times with the branches in Brisbane and Warwick for other social occasions.
Please complete this form and forward it to:
PO Box 77