Gawler Thematic History - Forming Associations

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Fast Facts
Type of thing Government
Date made or found 2020

Forming Associations

Friendly Societies, including Oddfellows, Freemasons, Sons of Temperance and the Druids were so numerous that they formed a Friendly Societies’ Association in 1872 and held public demonstrations originally in Mahoney’s Paddock and later on the Recreation Ground. Older than either of these two orders was the mysterious order of the Mystic Tye who held monthly meetings of a Masonic Lodge called the Lodge of Fidelity EC from 1849.

As the town grew more prosperous in the second half of the 19th century, more groups and organisations grew up including St Vincent’s de Paul Society, United Labor Society, Amateur Dramatic Society, the Caledonian Society and the Camera Club 120.

The Gawler Agricultural Society was active from 1856 and until the construction of the Exhibition Building in 1882, it held its annual shows at various venues including the Institute and became the largest show of its kind in country South Australia.

From the mid-20th century a number of community service organisations created a strong community force, including the Country Women’s Association (formed in 1940) and Meals on Wheels (formed in 1963). Other include Apex which began in 1951, the Rotary Club which was formed in 1954 and the Lions Club formed in 1967.


This report has been prepared by the following people:

• Nancy Cromar (Flightpath Architects)

• Deborah Morgan (Flightpath Architects)

• Kate Paterson (Flightpath Architects)

• Douglas Alexander (Flightpath Architects)

The study team would like to acknowledge the assistance of the following people:

• David Petruzzella (Strategic Planner; Town of Gawler)

• Jacinta Weiss (Cultural Heritage Centre Coordinator; Town of Gawler)

• Jane Strange (Senior Development and Strategic Policy Officer; Town of Gawler)

Gawler History Team thanks: Flightpath Architects, Ryan Viney and the Town of Gawler for allowing us access to this important document of Gawler History.

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