Freemason Records in the Battye Library

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Katanning Lodge Attendance Register Acc 8594A/1

The State Library is fortunate to hold a significant collection of records documenting Freemason history in Western Australia.
Freemasonry is an ancient fraternal organisation that has its origins in medieval craft guilds. Members are known as Masons or Freemasons. Freemasonry… “works towards this lofty ideal by providing its members with an ethic for living and teaches honesty in business, courtesy towards others, dependability in work, compassion and concern for the less fortunate, tolerance towards one’s fellow beings, resistance to evil, help for the weak, and love for one another and reverence for a Supreme Being.”1

Freemasons are organised into lodges that may have general membership or be based on a particular occupation such as law or a traditional craft. There is usually regional leadership in the form of a grand lodge or other such organisation. Members pass through various degrees of Masonry which may vary from lodge to lodge. Many prominent citizens were members of the Freemason fraternity.

Charles Kingsford Smith slwa_b3473555_1

Portrait of Charles Kingsford Smith inscribed: With fraternal greetings to Gascoyne 62 from Bro. C. Kingsford Smith. 101390PD

 

In Western Australia newly arrived immigrants who were Freemasons often joined a local lodge where they would receive support and opportunity for friendship and involvement in the local community. Local men might also join for the same reasons. You are unlikely to find Roman Catholic members in early Western Australian lodges.

Our collections include records of the various lodges which make up the Freemasons Grand Lodge of Western Australia. The records include attendance books, clearance books, declaration books, minute books, certificates, histories, lists of members, ledgers, nomination forms, registers, etc.

Caxton Lodge Consecration and Dedication pamphlet 1928 PR 13396 GRA 51 cover

Caxton Lodge Consecration and Dedication pamphlet 1928 PR 13396 GRA 51 cover

Caxton Lodge Consecration and Dedication pamphlet 1928 PR 13396 GRA 51

Caxton Lodge Consecration and Dedication pamphlet 1928 PR 13396 GRA 51

Names of lodges may reflect the interests or nationality of original members or an occupation. Western Australian examples include:
Commercial Travellers’ Lodge, Temperance Lodge, Lodge of Sportsmen, Lodge Robbie Burns, Lodge of Loyalty, Lodge of Fidelity, Military Lodge, Lodge of Resolution, Black Diamond Lodge (Collie), Lodge of Serenity, Naval Lodge, Lodge of Faith, Lodge of Peace, Sir Walter Scott Masonic Lodge, Lodge of Harmony, Lodge of Emulation, Caxton Lodge (printing industry – Subiaco), Lodge of Remembrance, Lord Nelson Lodge and Lodge of St Andrew.
Registers of members may include the name of member, former lodge if any, town of residence, occupation, date of joining, and date that membership ceased. Sometimes there is a note of the death of a member or an indication of where the member is heading off to. Some registers start quite early. Geraldton Lodge was consecrated in 1877 and members are listed in the register from that date. Professions listed in this register include: police Inspector, publican, merchant, squatter, clerk, banker, carpenter, chemist, farmer, builder, station-master, draughtsman, miner, doctor, butcher, school teacher, solicitor, steamer purser, miller, and steamer steward. Quite a cross-section of the local community!

Geraldton Register page for 1877-1878 Acc5709a7 0012 (2)

Geraldton Register page for 1877-1878 Acc5709a/7

Early registers, declaration books, or attendance books include:

Metropolitan area:
Fremantle Declaration Books 1866- ; Fremantle Registers 1900- ; King Edward (Perth) 1904- ; Roebuck 1902- ; Jarrahdale 1913- ; Queen Victoria (Perth, Western suburbs) 1901- ; Alma (North Perth) 1904- ; Lodge of Unity (Inglewood, Attendance Books) 1892- ; Abercorn Lodge (Leederville) 1897- ; Lodge Friendship (Midland) 1897- ; Perth Declaration Books 1899-.

Regional:
Norseman 1897- ; Geraldton Lodge 1877- ; Murchison Lodge 1897- ; Katanning 1898- ; Jarrahdale (Declaration Books) 1901-; Gascoyne Lodge (Carnarvon) 1903- ; Boulder (Declaration Books) 1904-.
See below for links to full lists of State Library holdings by name of lodge or location.

Along with the standard registers, declaration books and minute books there are many items of ephemera including calls to meetings, invitations to events, cards, beautifully ornate certificates, souvenir programmes and menus. We even hold several items of music relating to Freemasonry in Western Australia.

Many photographs of individuals, and groups and events may also be found within the State Library’s collections. Photographs of lodges indicate that many were purpose-built, architecturally designed brick and tile buildings.

165x215mm

Freemason’s Hall, corner Hay and Irwin Streets, Perth c. 1907 010024PD       [Demolished 1971]

Hay Street west from Pier Street showing the Mechanics' Institute, Freemason's Lodge and Perth Town Hall 1868 009245d

Hay Street west from Pier Street showing the Mechanics’ Institute, Freemason’s Lodge and Perth Town Hall 1868 009245d

Masonic lodge and hall, Busselton 2012 b3598990

Masonic lodge and hall, Busselton 2012 b3598990

60x70mm

Freemasons’ Hall Subiaco 1927         Richard Woldendorp   216376PD

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From: Proceedings of the Grand Lodge 1929-1930 b1359029

 

The Proceedings of the Grand Lodge of Western Australia of Antient, Free and Accepted Masons is held from 1900-. There are gaps in the Library’s holdings.

The Journal of the Freemasons, the WA Craftsman is partially indexed in our catalogue. Individual members are often profiled and there are many obituaries as well as news of the craft. The title varies and there are gaps in our holdings but the journal starts in 1898.

As well as Masonic news the journals have a variety of advertisements for metropolitan and regional retailers and other business services.

 

 

 

 

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The subscription database Ancestry has recently published membership registers from the All England, United Grand Lodge, 1751-1921. Most registers in this collection are from lodges in England, however, copies of registers from lodges in Wales, Northern Ireland, Canada, Australia, India, West Indies and South Africa are also listed.
Perth, Fremantle, Toodyay, Bunbury, York, Murchison, Kalgoorlie, Helena Vale and Albany are just some of those available.
Ancestry [library edition] is available free of charge at the State Library and at most public libraries in Western Australia.

Helena Vale Freemasons Ancestry

Helena Vale Freemasons, Ancestry

For books about Freemasonry in Western Australia search the State Library catalogue under the subject FREEMASONRY WESTERN AUSTRALIA.
For the journals of Freemasonry in WA search the catalogue under the subject FREEMASONS WESTERN AUSTRALIA PERIODICALS
For items of music relating to Freemasonry search the catalogue under the subject FREEMASONS SONGS AND MUSIC
Lists of lodges by name, number and location with links to State Library holdings for each may be found here.

1 Western Australian Freemasons www.freemasonswa.org.au

 

Early Almanacs Digitised

Herald_Western_Australian_Almanack_and_Commercial_Directory_1874

The Herald Western Australian Almanack and Commercial Directory 1874

Almanacs predate the Western Australian government Year Books and Post Office Directories, and served a similar purpose in detailing the activities of the colony of Western Australia.

We have recently completed the digitising of a series of almanacs 1849 – 1889. These were produced by several different, and sometimes competing, publishers (Stirling and Sons, Arthur Shenton, and James Pearce) so there may be more than one publication for a particular year.

 

 

 

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Australasian Map In: The Herald Western Australian Almanack and Commercial Directory 1874

 

Most early almanacs include a list of prominent office-holders and their positions in the establishment. A more general directory appears during the 1860s.
Some editions include a potted history of the colony by date – see the Western Australian Almanack of 1856 by Stirling and Sons. Stirling and Sons’ almanacs may also include a brief chronicle of occurrences and events for the year.


As well as interesting statistics on the demography and productivity of the colony, calendars, and schedules of government fees, the almanacs contain advertisements for many local businesses including merchants, banks, jewellers, undertakers, insurance agents, hoteliers, teachers, retailers, accountants and tradesmen.

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Advertisements from: Western Australian Almanack 1868 [Stirling and Sons]

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Catholic Church Schools In: Western Australian Almanack 1855 [Arthur Shenton]

Browsing the almanacs can afford interesting highlights such as a short paragraph of useful hints to keep your servants – “Piece work is the cheapest to the master and the best to the men”. [Oh, really?] Or the Table of Distances for Western Australia compiled by Alfred Hillman in 1854 [1856 almanac].

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Western Australian Almanack for the year 1855 published by Arthur Shenton p.38

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Table of Distances in Western Australia compiled by Alfred Hillman 1854 In: Western Australian Almanack [Stirling and Sons] 1856 pp. 78-79

If you have an interest in Western Australian social or family history these publications provide a wealth of background information as well as mentioning many residents and businesses of the time.

Directory_1869

Western Almanack and Directory 1869 [Stirling and Son]


To find the almanacs through our catalogue search using the terms ALMANACK and HERITAGE ONLINE (note spelling of almanac with a “k”)
or
Visit the Biographies and Directories section of our Heritage Online pages.

Thank you WAGS!

WAGS volunteer Brian Stent assists a client

WAGS volunteer Brian Stent assists a client

In 1985 the State Library entered a partnership with the Western Australian Genealogical Society (Inc.) – affectionately known as WAGS – to provide ongoing assistance to family history researchers within the Library.

30 years later, the partnership is still going strong, with WAGS volunteers providing research assistance in the Genealogy Centre three days a week.

These dedicated, enthusiastic and knowledgeable volunteers have worked quietly, efficiently, and patiently through all of the many changes the organisation has undergone over the years. They have put up with noise, disruption, changes in location of materials, staff restructures, all manner of clients and, sometimes, grumpy Subject Specialists. They have handled all with efficiency, humour and grace.

Each year The State Library and WAGS have also partnered in presenting talks tours and workshops for National Family History Month.

We have joined in hosting several successful family history fairs with support from other government agencies such as the National Archives and State Records Office, Local Studies Centres, and historical and family history societies.

Western Australian Genealogical Society volunteers have made a considerable contribution to the public of Western Australia through their commitment to providing information and research assistance to family historians.

WAGS volunteer Elizabeth Rummins in action

WAGS volunteer Elizabeth Rummins in action

On behalf of staff and patrons of the State Library of Western Australia we would like to congratulate and express our thanks to the volunteers of the Western Australian Genealogical Society (Inc.) for 30 years of volunteering in the Genealogy Centre.

Genealogy Centre

Genealogy Centre

WAGS volunteers continue to be available to assist you in the Genealogy Centre on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9:30am – 1:00pm.

Heritage digital content now easier to find

A new series of web pages makes it much easier to find some of the Western Australian heritage content which has been digitised by the State Library. Arranged by theme such as Birth, Marriage and Death, Crime and Punishment and Migration, you can browse these pages to find some hidden treasures!

Go to the Heritage Online page to see how to download and search content and then browse the list of themed pages on the left-hand side.

The first illustration below is from the Biographies and Directories page and the second is from the Births, Marriages and Deaths page.

The Ho. Edwin Rose from Men of Western Australia, Plate 4

The Hon. Edwin Rose from Men of Western Australia, Plate 4

 

Studio portrait of Mrs Nuttall in her wedding dress c.1917, 153000PD

Studio portrait of Mrs Nuttall in her wedding dress c.1917, 153000PD

New family history record sets now available online

Don’t forget to check regularly for updates to Ancestry and Findmypast online collections. We have listed some of the most recent additions below.

Happy hunting!

Liverpool, England, Crew Lists 1861 - 1919

Liverpool, England, Crew Lists 1861 – 1919

 

 

 

 

Ancestry
Liverpool, England, Crew Lists 1861-1919
This collection of crew lists held by the Liverpool Record Office includes records for 912 ships whose home port was registered as Liverpool, England. The lists contain information on ship voyages, crew members, and apprentices. Many of the records are grouped together as agreement booklets or ships’ logs.  Crew lists vary in detail but generally give year of birth, town, county or country where born, ship in which the mariner last sailed, pay, etc. as well as date, place and cause of leaving ship.

Also, check out the extensive new German records recently added.
From the Ancestry home page select Recently added/updated collections from the Quick Links box. Then either browse the list or do a keyword search using the term Germany.

The State Library (SLWA) provides free access to Ancestry within the SLWA building and at public libraries throughout WA.

Findmypast
London Apprenticeship Abstracts  1442 – 1850
Nearly 500,000 names are indexed including apprentices, their parents and masters. Please note that seventy percent of the apprentices originate from outside of London.

Apprentice shoemaker

London Apprenticeship Abstracts, 1442 – 1850

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warwickshire, Birmingham burials 1833-2010
Usually list the deceased’s name, year of birth, year of death, year of burial, place of burial  and register number.

Other new Findmypast records sets from London and Surrey
The Surrey and City of London Livery Company Association Oath rolls, 1695-96
London Consistory Court Depositions Index 1700-1713
The Archdeaconry Court of London Wills Index 1700-1807
The Sussex, Eastbourne Monumental Inscriptions 1610-2008
Surrey Peculiars Probate Index 1660-1751
Greater London Burials 1399-1902

These sets of records are invaluable information sources that just might take your family tree back before the introduction of  civil registration.

Transcription - London Apprenticeships

Transcription – London Apprenticeships

 

 

 

 

 

Findmypast is available for free for users within the State Library.  Some public libraries also provide free access to Findmypast.

 

National Family History Week 2013 at the State Library of Western Australia

Whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced family history researcher, now is your chance to gain new insights and skills to help you learn more about your ancestors.

National Family History Week

To celebrate National Family History Month (August), the State Library of Western Australia has put together a special program of free workshops, tours and talks from Tuesday 6 to Thursday 8 August 2013.

Are you just starting out on your family tree and need some help with your research? Do you have a shoebox full of photos and letters that you need to sort? Want to learn how you can use apps to enhance your research and save time? Experienced guides and experts will be on hand to help you make the most of the wealth of resources available.

Have a shoebox of records that needs sorting?

Does this look familiar? Learn pointers on how you can start organising your family records and photographs at our special “shoebox” session.

You can also gain deeper insights by attending some of the many fascinating talks and topical sessions on offer. With subjects ranging from British migration, bride ships, Samson House and ANZAC records to collecting in a regional centre, these sessions will appeal to advanced researchers and professionals as well as those with a general interest.

Women on bride ships.

Thousands of young women were brought out to WA in the late 1800s in order to address the imbalance of the sexes in the population. What was it like to be a woman on board a “bride ship”? Find out from Tricia Fairweather on Thursday 8 August.

We encourage you to check out our full events program and pass it on to colleagues, clients, family and friends.

All sessions are free, but bookings are essential. Call 08 9 427 3111 to secure your place for the sessions of your choice.

The State Library wishes to thank staff of the State Records Office and the National Archives of Australia, and the volunteers from the Western Australian Genealogical Society (Inc.) for their generous support.

About National Family History Month

This year, celebrations for National Family History week have been extended to the whole month of August. With chilly temperatures keeping most of us inside this month, it’s the perfect time of year to bunker down in your library and discover new connections to the past. 

National Volunteer Week

It’s National Volunteer Week and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the approximately 100 volunteers who contribute their time, effort, talents and good humour to assist at the State Library.

This year’s theme for NVW is Volunteers Everyone Counts, so I thought I’d give an overview of who our volunteers are:

Officially the youngest is 15, unofficially seven (she volunteered with her aunt for the Better Beginnings Carnivale). The oldest is 85.

They speak Persian, Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian, German, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Hungarian, Italian, French, Indonesian, Spanish and, no doubt, more.

One has been volunteering here for 25 years, three started last week.

Their experiences are deep and varied. From our volunteers I can find someone who will write and analyse public policy, manager databases, team lead childcare centres, make great coffee, lead intercultural studies, teach computing courses, understand medical jargon, manage your investments, deliver a baby, take photos and archive them. We have zoologists, law students, post graduates, urban planners, union organisers, students of every level, library officers, library technicians and, yes, librarians.

They volunteer for a variety of reasons: to keep up their skills, to network, to gain experience and build CVs, for social interaction, to be around a wide range of people, for a sense of fulfilment, for professional development, to practice their English, to explore new career opportunities, to build applications for Masters and doctorates Degrees, to help the public, for the enjoyable environment, to watch films from the State Library collection, for exposure to WA history or a passion for family history.

They volunteer directly for the State Library, for the State Library Foundation and via the WA Genealogy Society.

Their time commitment may be sixteen hours a week (the maximum recommended) to once every three or four months for one of our events.

This week we celebrate them and their contribution. For the 2010-2011 financial year volunteers gave almost 8000 hours to the State Library. Because of them and their ‘value-adding’, our clients received increased service and greater access to our collections.

To our volunteers – thank you!

Images now available for some Dublin parish records

The free website Irish Genealogy   has been adding the digital images to their indexes of some Dublin, Kerry, Cork and Carlow parishes. Records for Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland baptisms, deaths and marriages have been digitised (along with a small number of Presbyterian records from Lucan) .   If you have Dublin ancestors, it is well worth visiting this site as you may find several generations of your forebears documented within these registers.  Be aware also that not all of the records have been made available and the project is not yet complete.

This wonderful project has been supported by the Irish Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport – so if you are inspired to go off and visit the land of your ancestors, let the Irish Minister for Tourism know that your family history research influenced your decision to make the trip.

Second Australian series of ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’

ohn Butler with his late grandfather's Dobro guitar. Photo credit: David Dare-Parker, kindly supplied by ScreenWest.

John Butler with his late grandfather's Dobro guitar. Photo credit: David Dare-Parker, kindly supplied by ScreenWest.

The second Australian series of Who Do You Think You Are? is currently screening on Sundays at 7:30pm on SBS. It was made in Western Australia by local production company Artemis International with Serendipity Productions and was supported by ScreenWest. This fascinating series traces the family history of well-known Australians such as Western Australian musician, John Butler, who will be appearing on November 1st. Other celebrities featured are Ron Barassi, Sigrid Thornton, Ben Mendelsohn, Christine Anu and Maggie Beer.

Dennis Cometti on “Who Do You Think You Are?”

Dennis ComettiThis Sunday, the popular SBS family history show Who Do You Think You Are? will star the only Western Australian of the series, popular football commentator, Dennis Cometti. The family history specialists were lucky enough to attend a preview of the show last week and found it very enjoyable. Dennis’ sense of humour comes across as he tries to discover the story behind some very strong female characters in his family.

Tune in to SBS on Sunday 10 February at 7:30pm.

The image shown above is from the State Library pictorial collection and shows Dennis Cometti in 1972 (347344PD).