Foresters Hall

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Fast Facts
Address: Murray Street
Town or Locality: Gawler
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It was located on the upper eastern end of Murray Street, immediately south of the current small arcade leading to the rear carpark on High Street, extending down to Gawler Drycleaners.

Derek Whitelock's 1989 book "Gawler" Page 65..",,,the little town soon had representative branches of the self help friendly societies, their mutual aid aims overlaid by a great deal of mystic ceremony and dressing up, which had become prominent in the industrial cities of the late 18th century Britain: Foresters, Oddfellows, Druids & so forth...."

Whitelock ...page 66.... The Ancient Order of Foresters "initiated for the same purposes and on the same philanthropic principles as the Oddfellows", formed its "Court Bushman's Pride" in 1855. It met first at the Old Bushman, then at the Oddfellows Hall."

George E. Loyau's 1880 book "The Gawler Handbook" states on page 122.."Foresters included J. Sale, W.H. Cox, J. Short, W.H. Window, W. Chantrew and W. Cummings."

E.H.Coombe, M.P. book "History of Gawler 1837 - 1908 states on Page 35 "The Foresters purchased a building in Murray Street and converted it into a Hall and offices." and page 203 "....until 1899, when the Foresters Hall was opened" "....and the number of members 508." and on page 321 "Charles Thomas Kay.....In 1902 he was appointed curator of the Foresters Hall..."He has introduced to the Order over 600 candidates, and in 1902 he was presented with a medal and 5 pounds in recognition of his services."

The Foresters Hall was the original meeting place of the Gawler RSL.

In January 1920, the final social of the Cheer-up Society was held in this Hall.

It was used as a venue for State Election vote counting in c1956. I somehow got involved as a young lad in transporting Voting results to the Post Office for their despatch to Adelaide.

I recall that in c1958 the Air Training Corps held a parade in that Hall.

I am not sure when it was demolished but probably c1960.

After that time, on that site, the new building was occupied by John Duncan and Colin Feist for their pharmacy. BGT.


2019 0616 - Shaun Taylor's research... "My research shows that the only remnant left of the Foresters is the Forester’s Friendly Society based in Victoria. It appears that the Foresters, like a number of other friendly and support societies started to go into decline with the introduction of government social welfare after the WW1, and by the end of WW2 had all but disappeared. I haven’t as yet found a date when the Foresters finished in Gawler, but I believe it was similarly around the time of WW2.

The Gawler ‘Court’ was established in 1855 and first met at the Old Bushman Hotel, then later at the Oddfellows hall, and eventually their own hall in Murray Street. I believe there were also women’s and juvenile courts attached to Bushman’s Pride.

The State Library apparently has indefinite loan of the order’s records in SA from Birdwood Mill."

WBro Shaun Taylor JP Master Lodge of Fidelity No.5 Inc. – Gawler Freemasons


Foresters Hall 1933
Foresters Hall 1933


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