Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Goulburn Swap Meet '13: Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows

Warning: This is a long post!


This years Goulburn Swap Meet on Sunday was a quiet affair. I only picked a few odds and bobs that I will show you soon, but today I wanted to show you the new outfit for No. 16, a ceremonial Oddfellows collar.

I've pieced together some information that I found about the history of the Oddfellows and have more detailed pictures below....

Back in the day, guilds were established to protect the practice and growth of artisan trades. The master craftsmen, or Guild 'Masters', were protective of their wealth and power and placed restrictions on who could join. Less wealthy tradesmen who were unable to join formed their own guilds, and were known as 'Fellows'. In some areas there weren't enough Fellows from the same trade to start a local guild, so they formed together to establish the 'Guild of Fellows'. Comprising of members from odd trades, they became known as the 'Guild of Odd Fellows' or ‘Oddfellows’.

Times were tough, and Oddfellows was set up to protect and care, (financially and socially), for their members and communities before welfare, unions or national health services where established.

In 1810, members of the Oddfellows in Manchester became dissatisfied with the rules and regulations of the Grand United Order. They formed an independent Order known as 'The Manchester Unity Order of Odd Fellows' (MUIOOF). A chapter of the MUIOOF was established in Melbourne in 1840, when a member migrated to Australia.

The Oddfellows collar that I purchased is from the Australian chapter, and was made by David Jones Limited, Regalia Makers, Sydney NSW, established 1838.

Elaborate bejewelled ceremonial attire was worn and signified the position of that individual within the Society. This purple velvet regalia ceremonial collar was worn by a PG, meaning a Past Grand (an individual who presided over an Odd Fellows Lodge).

The purple velvet collar is adorned with a metal thread and sequin star, metal tassle and embroidered ribbon. Along the ribbon is MU IOOF and a hand holding a heart, which is representative of 'giving or lending a hand to others'.

The standard emblem of the Independent Order of Oddfellows is a shield divided by a cross. Clockwise from the top left are: an hourglass, crossed keys, beehive and the lamb and flag.

Each symbol has a special meaning:
Hourglass – this signified truth, the shortness of time and the certainty of death. It taught promptness in assisting those who were in need and in improving oneself in practical virtues.
Crossed keys – this reflected the security of the order, and the treasures that were laid up in Heaven for those who believed.
Beehive – this illustrated justice as the reward of industry and the prosperity of a society based on right, fitness and justice.
Lamb and flag – this was the emblem of faith, purity and humility.

I hope you have enjoyed learning more of the Oddfellows. I would love to hear from anyone who could shed more light on the Australian Oddfellows or collar.

Thanks for taking the time to visit, and enjoy the rest of the week. It won't be long before the Easter bunny knocks on your door :) Tam x


Flotsam said...

Crikey, it looks as if you have been trawling the history books. It is interesting to hear about the different symbols and their meanings, and good to hear there have always been decent folk around.

Miss Simmonds Says said...

wow, thank you for sharing, that wasn't long at all. The different symbols and the workmanship - or womanship that went into the collar are really interesting x

CityScape Skybaby said...

I've heard a bit about the masons and secret handshakes and suchlike, but I don't know much about them at all, interesting piece of history there Tamara. xx

Anonymous said...

Only a few comments the main emblems of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows are the three links symbolizing friendship, love & truth which has been around since at least it's Independence everything else depends on the regalia. And Odd Fellows is two words never one.

Anonymous said...

I have the the same one as that as well as a front waist one I found at a op shop came with 2 parade poles a wooden shovel a wooden axe a hall banner saying prudence and a heap of books and letters !