Strengthening the beliefs and values of our English Heritage in Australia

Royal Society of St George - AUSTRALIA

State Council for Qld

The State Council of St George in Queensland


The branches of the Royal Society of St George in Queensland separately and mutually agreed to unite under a State Council in 1908. It has an executive role which makes the rules and regulations and is bound by its constituion.
Brisbane, Warwick and Toowoomba branches each appoint 6 delegates who then elect the executive.

The State Council is empowered to form new branches and as you can see in our history section in the early days most major cities of Queensland had a branch of the Royal Society of St George.

It is incorporated under letters patent granted on the 1st of August, 1912.

History of the Formation of the State Council


The English Race, the official journal of the Royal Society of St George in the December Issue of 1908 announced that they had received from Mr G.K. Seabrook, a copy of the resolutions, and also the constitution which had been passed and adopted at a meeting of delegates of the Branches held at Brisbane in August.

Original documents of this historic meeting are lost but the State Council in its original constitution had agreed the Annual General Meeting was to be held on Thursday during Exhibition week in August. This would be an appropriate date as the country people would be visiting Brisbane at this time and the main show day being the third Wednesday in August; the most appropriate date for a meeting would be the next day.

This information allows us to make the assumption that the Grand Council of the Branches of the Royal Society of St George in Queensland was formed on Thursday 20th August 1908. At this meeting the Hon. Sir A.S. Cowley was elected Grand President; Major C.A.H. Watson, Grand Vice President; Mr J.R. Bell, Grand Treasurer; Mr G.K. Seabrook, Grand Secretary; and Mr. George Bennett, Assistant Secretary.

Mr Howard Ruff in a letter to Mr Seabrook dated 11th December 1908 said:
‘Dear Sir,
Following my letter to you of the 30th Oct. I have the pleasure to state, that my council after careful consideration are unanimously agreed, that the formation of the proposed Central Organization for the State of Queensland would be for the advantage of the Society.
Subject therefore to the adoption of the amendments and suggestions they have made in the draft of Constitution and Branch Rules submitted by you, they sanction and authorise the creation of “The Grand Council of the Branches of the Royal Society of St. George in Queensland.”
After outlaying the changes he wished made ended his letter;
I believe with you and your Executive, that the delegation authority to State Councils, they in turn rendering loyal allegiance to the Parent Society in London, England, the Hub of our Empire and the cradle of our Race will result in the speedy success of our propaganda.
May Providence direct our endeavours to unite our people in the bonds of brotherhood, for the glory of England and the welfare of her children beyond-the-seas.
Believe me.
Yours truly and fraternally
Howard Ruff
Hon. Secretary.’

The Parent Society must be congratulated on their visionary stance in allowing this devolution of power. The comments in the extract from The English Race say it all. (December 1908)

Queensland
Grand Council of the Branches of the Royal Society of St George in Queensland

The Council of the Parent Society has provisionally sanctioned the creation of this State Council, subject to the adoption of certain suggestions and amendments which it has made in the draft constitution submitted for its approval, and which appeared expedient, not only in the interests of the individual branches, but of the movement generally.

This devolution of authority marks a new epoch in the history of our Society, and is in the nature on an experiment, which will be watched with much interest.

It was long foreseen that, as in the case of other institutions, the success of the Society’s propaganda, evidenced by the formation of new branches, would ultimately necessitate the delegation of authority to State or Provincial Councils. Some sort of control with a view to healthy growth and co-ordinate action must be exercised, and it would be manifestly impossible for the Parent Society to maintain direct and effective relationship with every individual Branch. When this matter was first informally presented to our notice by the indefatigable and valued Hon. Secretary of the Metropolitan (Brisbane) Branch- Mr. George Bennett-we ventured to express the opinion that, although we thought the idea premature, no objection would be raised provided it commended itself to the Branches.

We were not surprised, therefore, when we received from Mr. G.K. Seabrook a copy of the resolutions, and also the constitution, which, drafted with considerable skill and ability, had been passed and adopted at a meeting of delegates of the Branches held at Brisbane last August. At this meeting the Hon. Sir A.S. Cowley was elected Grand President; Major C.A.H. Watson, Grand Vice President; Mr. J.R. Bell, Grand Treasurer: Mr. G.K. Seabrook, Grand Secretary and Mr. George Bennett, Assistant Secretary.

We are not quite sure that the best title for the State Council has been adopted, and perhaps later on some less cumbersome designation may be found, but we earnestly hope that through its efforts a Branch of our Society may shortly be formed in every considerable town in Queensland.

The Telegraph, Saturday Evening, August 17, 1912. Reported on the meeting of the Grand Council held on Thursday morning August 15 in St. George’s Hall, Elizabeth Street, Brisbane.

It went on to report that the following branches were represented: Rockhampton, Barcaldine, Brisbane, Ipswich, Maryborough, Allora, Warwick, Bundaberg, Bingera, Gladstone and Tenterfield NSW. (Gympie was mentioned in another papers report along with a resolution “that Sydney branch be urged to become affiliated with the parent society”)

The annual report of the grand Council showed that the membership was now 3,500 and that all branches were progressing favourably. Three new branches had been formed during the year – Mackay, Bingera, and Gladstone.

It was also reported that the difficulties in connection with the incorporation of the society had been surmounted, and that the letters patent signed by His Excellency the Governor have been issued thus giving the society due legal standing.

State Council Branches & other Branches in Australia.
Late 1930’s and early 1940’s:
Queensland:
State Council, Allora, Babinda, Barcaldine, Bingera, Bowen Brisbane, Bundaberg, Cairns, Charters Towers, Cleveland, Crows Nest, Dalby, Esk, Gin Gin, Goondiwindi, Home Hill, Ingham, Ipswich, Longreach, Mackay, Maryborough, Mossman, Mount Morgan, Proserpine, Sarina, Southport, Stanthorpe, Toowoomba, Townsville, Warwick and Wynnum.

South Australia:
Adelaide

Victoria:
Melbourne

Warrnambool

New South Wales:
Sydney

Tasmania:
Devonport

Hobart

1961:
Queensland:
State Council, Brisbane, Bundaberg, Bingera, Ipswich, Mackay, Maryborough, Rockhampton, Toowoomba, Warwick and Wynnum.
South Australia:
Adelaide
Victoria:
Ballarat, Geelong, Melbourne and Mildura
New South Wales:
Sydney
Tasmania:
Devonport, Hobart and Launceston

2017:
Queensland:

State Council, Brisbane, Toowoomba, Warwick and Gold Coast – In formation Brisbane North
South Australia:
Adelaide
Victoria:
Melbourne
New South Wales:
Sydney
Tasmania:
Devonport
As you can see there are only nine branches remaining in Australia and you could say the flame is somewhat dim, but with a bit of effort, we current custodians could see the Society flourish again.