Oddly Oakey

This week I thought I would dedicate the blog article to the Oakey Show, and the history of the Oakey Agricultural and Pastoral Society. It was pretty much a no brainer topic choice given that the Oakey Show is this weekend. So I dug out a couple of boxes of “stuff”, which is the technical term, to see what I could find. Things like, when did the show go from two days to one (2000-ish) and interesting exhibits, or images of previous show girls (not that I would ever make fun of fashion and hair styles… much).

I thought I was on a winner with the March 23rd 1937 meeting minute book. There was an entry that showed that the show hasn’t always been in March. The motion was passed that Children’s Day would be held on Wednesday April 7 and that any school child under 14 would be admitted free to the show. And then I started reading the opening of the meeting just in case there was something else discussed that I could use as fodder for my blog entry (fodder – Ag Show – see what I did there?….. sorry).minutes

The meeting was held at the Oddfellows Hall, and I turned around to Jen and asked which building out there that was. It turns out that none of them are. The Oddfellows hall was in Oakey, and never having heard of it, I thought to myself who/what/where are the Oddfellows? And so the search began.

The Grand United Order of Oddfellows (GUOOF) was a friendly society (think Freemasons) that was originally established in England in the late 1700’s, and opened it’s first lodge in Australia around 1844. Following the formation of Queensland in 1859, the Queensland lodges separated from the New South Wales branch in 1877. By 1986 the Queensland and New South Wales lodges had merged again. The Manchester Unity Independent Order of Odd Fellows (MUIOOF), formed in 1840, was an offshoot of the original order and also had lodges throughout Australia. In 1993 the MUIOOF merged with Australian Native Association forming the Australian Unity Limited, followed by the integration of the Queensland and New South Wales groups in 2005.

With this year being the ANZAC 100 year commemoration I thought it interesting to note that from 1914 – 1928 the annual district meeting of the Darling Downs M.U.I.O.O.F. lodges wasn’t held. At the 1928 conference the Darling Downs Lodges met at Stanthorpe and held a grand ball celebrating the 55th anniversary of the formation of the Loyal Stannum Lodge. It was also mentioned that membership of lodges were on the rise and the District Grand Master welcomed delegates from the new Hope of Oakey Lodge.

And where is the odd hall that derailed me from my Oakey show story? Well, after asking around, the nearest I can fathom is it’s the Masonic hall in York Street.

That’s me for this week, catch you all next time.

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