Was the Smith Family Charity Founded by Freemasons at Christmas?

From WBro Damien of Lodge Devotion

The December 2015 Wikipedia page and official web site of the independent non-profit children's charity “The Smith Family” tell the same story:

“On Christmas eve 1922, five businessmen walked into a Sydney orphanage carrying armfuls of toys and sweets. When asked who the children could thank, one of the men, preferring to remain anonymous, said “Smith”.  “What about the others?” the matron asked. “They’re Smiths too”, replied the man. “We’re all Smiths. We’re The Smith Family.” .. “A concept… and a family… was born.”

I had been told this same story by one of our Devotion members with one slight Masonic twist – “The Smiths” were Freemasons returning from a Lodge Meeting. I’ve since heard the story several times. Initially, I’d googled and indeed discovered a reference to this on a Smith Family’s official web but that is now gone. Researching a charity and the Freemasons in the one google search can be tricky due to the Freemasons wide financial support of the community, but I plan to try and solve the mystery; did Freemasons founded this charity?


Today (23 December 2015), with some blank space in Devotion News, I thought I would check further…

I’ve found the obituary of MR. A. W. FLEMING. (The Sydney Morning Herald Wed 18 March 1931, page 18). According to the same, Mr Fleming was indeed both a Brother and one of the Founding members of the Smith Family. 

Funeral Notices for the same Mr Flemming call for the  Brethren of Lodge Leinster Marine # 2 NSW and Sedgwick Rose Croix # 15 to attend. 

Reports on the funeral such as 19 March also mention the Freemasons.

Further, in “Philanthropy and Settler Colonialism” by Anne O'Brien (Palgrave Macmillan 2014 page 118);  The Smith Family was founded by a small group of business and professional men with Masonic Connections in Sydney in 1922…. “

The Smith Family added “Joyspreaders Unlimited” to their name in 1924, again becoming The Smith Family in the 1960’s. An undated Constitution of the Smith Family Joyspreaders Unlimited listed under its OBJECTS "To encourage and foster throughout the whole year the spirit of true charity letting not the right hand know what the left hand doeth”. Listing other "Objects" the next heading is OBLIGATIONS OF A SMITH.


This originally all male organization many not have been “a concept.. and a family.. was born” but rather a charitable lesson central to Freemasonry that was being lived ???


I would love to conclusively prove that the Smith Family was born by brothers, possibly on their way home from a lodge meeting.


Please contact Damien via editor AT lodgedevotion.net if you can help.

We will keep you updated on our progress through the below blog.

Baulkham Hills seems an epicentre of Masonic Benevolance. Masonic Orphan Schools, William Thompson Masonic School

posted Mar 22, 2016, 9:44 PM by Devotion News Editor   [ updated Mar 23, 2016, 1:41 AM ]


The William Thompson Masonic School was founded in 1922 at Baulkham Hills (in Sydney's north west) for the care and education of the children of deceased Freemasons. It had previously been the Masonic Orphan Schools. Different sources give different dates when the school was closed. The site was sold to the Hills Shire Council in December 1973. The Masons opened family group homes in Baulkham Hills and Castle Hill following the closure of the Masonic School. In 2010 the Hills District Historical Society Museum and Research Centre opened in a former girls' cottage, Building 10. The Museum includes a display about the Masonic School including furniture, honour roll boards, magazines, minute books and photographs.

In 2012 Find and Connect staff were advised by the United Grand Lodge of the Masons NSW/ACT that all records relating to the Masonic Orphan Schools, William Thompson Masonic School and related institutions Orana, Boronia and Wybalenna were destroyed by accident in 2002, during construction works.

The Masonic Orphan School was the brainchild of William Thompson who was the Liberal Party member for Ryde from 1913-20, and Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons from 1914-24. Thompson's aim was to establish cottage homes for orphans. Land was purchased at Baulkham Hills in 1921 and the first stage of what was originally known as 'The Masonic Orphan Schools' was opened on 11 November 1922. The opening of the institution drew such a crowd of Masons that it was reported in Tasmania's The Mercury;

'There was a long procession of Masons in regalia on Saturday at the opening of the Masonic School for Orphans at Baulkham Hills. It was estimated that 10,000 Masons and friends attended the ceremony.

Most Worshipful Brother William Thompson, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge, announced that Mr RS Cropley, a successful Sydney businessman and his wife had decided to give their services in superintending the school, which when completed would accommodate 100 boys and girls.

The institution is being financed by voluntary contributions from Masons in New South Wales and is modeled on the latest principles for the welfare of children. The school has a commanding position on the hills, and has 150 acres of land. Mr Cropley, who is a member of Cropley's Ltd, boot merchants, is giving up a lucrative business to devote his time to the welfare of orphans.'

In recognition of Thompson's leadership and service to the project, the school was renamed 'William Thompson Masonic Schools'. Please see the entry on William Thompson Masonic Schools for more information

From http://www.findandconnect.gov.au/guide/nsw/NE00398

Baulkam Hills certainly seems an epicenter of Masonic Benevolent activity. Not only do we have the above school opening in Nov 11 Nov 1922,  "near Christmas" that year we also have five (5) unnamed businessmen (not always mentioned as Freemasons) returning from a trip via Parramatta Road and arrival at the Woolpack Hotel for a drink in 1922 to "wash away the dust of Baulkham Hills". Later those five plus another visit the "Home for mentally deficient boys at Carlingford" on 24 Dec 1922 and it is from these two events the Smith Family is born. You can read an account published in 1932 here. Baulkham Hills is just slightly North East of Carlingford and there is about 1 kilometer between the boundaries of the two suburbs. Both are in the "Hills District" of North Western Sydney.

It's also interesting to note that two of the five men credited with founding the Smith Family, Rupert Cropley (1881-1949) and J G Bannerman were members of Lodge Fortitude No. 439. Cropley was the Foundation Master, and Bannerman also a Foundation Member and later the Master in 1925. Oh, and naturally the lodge was founded in 1922 (same year as the Smith Family) and you will never guess where... yep, Baulkham Hills.

This seems to link the Smith Family's foundation not just in narrative, but also by geography.

Baulkham Hills Carlington NSW MAp

1935: Memorandum of Association of THE SMITH FAMILY JOYSPREADERS and Articles of Association of THE SMITH FAMILY JOYSPREADERS 1935 00206B9B9BA8160208064107.pdf

posted Feb 29, 2016, 3:25 AM by Devotion News Editor

I now have

Memorandum of Association of THE SMITH FAMILY JOYSPREADERS and Articles of Association of THE SMITH FAMILY JOYSPREADERS 1935 

Thanks to a contact at the Smith Family for supplying this document.

This document is dated 24 April 1935 with the above two titles within a single document, sequentially numbered pages 3 to 21.

This means I am missing pages 1 and 2, although page 3 does start with the title Memorandum of Association of THE SMITH FAMILY JOYSPREADERS. Pages 18 & 19 are also missing, their content unknown, with the last clause on page 17 being 62 (g) which seems to continue on the next page, and page 20 starting with clause 79. Hence I am missing the balance of clause 62 and clauses  63-78.

The Memorandum of Association runs pages 3-7 and appears complete. I will refer to that as the Memorandum.

Articles of Association runs pages 8- 21, pages 18 & 19 missing. I will refer to that as the Articles.

Each of the two documents above carry signature and witness pages which are almost  identical with a single variation with an address, only "Sydney" being omitted. They do not carry any signatures and at this point I cannot confirm if the document was adopted nor lodged with the relevant authorities.

The Memorandum of Association signature page is on page number 7 .
Articles of Association signature page is on the page numbered 21 (the last page).

As it is kept on file by the Smith Family, let's assume the document was executed.

The Articles are essentially procedural but on the second page (page 9 of the two documents) clause 6 does record the "MORAL OBLIGATIONS OF A MEMBER" immediately following clause 5 which offer operational and legal definitions.

Clause 6 of the Articles has three sub-clauses which read;


6     (a) To devote at lease one whole day or its equivalent in 365 to the other fellow.
       (b) When engages in the official work of The Family at no time to reveal his true identity
       (c) To personally do all in his power to live up to the principles of The Family in his daily walks of life.

Clause 6 (b) is consistent with other documents but makes research hard. That said, because these are executable legal documents, they both record names and addresses. These names are identical in both the Memorandum and Articles. These names are;
Names, Addresses and Descriptions of Subscribers

Laurence H Hughes
193 Macqaurie Street

R E Orchard
101 Yarranabee Road
Darling Point

S E Chatterton
Market Street

Ernest Albert Laurence
No 6 Wynyard Street

Harry Brisbane Jamieson
115 Pitt Street
Chartered Accountant (Aust.)

D McNeill
142a Brook Street
Staff Manager

Raymond John Sands
17 O'Connell Street
Chartered Accountant (Aust.)

Let us examine these names

Names, Addresses and Descriptions of Subscribers

1. Laurence H Hughes, 193 Macquarie Street, Sydney, Physician
I suspect the above is Laurence Hugh Hughes MB ChM Syd (1912) MD Syd (1921) FRACP (1938) (Foundation) who lived (1980-1973). There are details on the roll of The Royal Australasian College of Physicians here and interestingly "He had a special interest in rheumatic fever and was instrumental with Dr RAR Green in establishing the Smith Family Home".  There is no mention of Freemasonry in that biography.

A "LH Hughes" attends several funerals of Freemasons, but never in the masonic party and always listed under "other mourners"

There is no evidence that Laurence H Hughes was a Freemason.

2. (A Freemason) R E Orchard, 101 Yarranabee Road, Darling Point

R E Orchard appears in newspaper sources and a Smith and Freemason from 1926. That's noted here from newspaper sources.

3. S E Chatterton, Market Street, Sydney, Merchant
A Stanley Chatterton was one of 5 founders of Woolworths on 2 December 1924. "Percy Christmas and Stanley Chatterton had opened a first-floor Frock Salon in the Queen Victoria
Markets (now the Queen Victoria Building) at the corner of Market and George Streets, Sydney..... By 1924 it was obvious that the premises of S.E. Chatterton were too small and another branch seemed the solution. Chatterton and Christmas were offered portion of the basement of Imperial Arcade currently occupied by the newspaper, ‘Smith’s Weekly’ and a billiard saloon
". Source of this is here

There is no evidence that Stanley Chatterton was a Freemason.

4. Ernest Albert Laurence, No 6 Wynyard Street, Sydney, Solicitor
Charles Albert Laurence and Ernest Albert Laurence operated the business of Laurence and Laurence. Source here.

There is no evidence that
Ernest Albert Laurence was a Freemason.

5. Harry Brisbane Jamieson, 115 Pitt Street, Sydney, Chartered Accountant (Aust.)
Ald. Harry Brisbane JAMIESON,Prospect and Sherwood Municipal Council (Holroyd)
and his ward was  Guildford 1895-1901. Found that here.

JAMIESON. —November 22, 1932, at a private hospital, suddenly, Ella Lillian, eldest daughter of Mrs. H. B. Jamieson, of Hunter's Hill, aged 35.
1932 'Family Notices.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 23 November, p. 12, viewed 10 February, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article28029720

Mr. H. B. Jamieson~ chairman of directors of Monier Industries Limited From Estimates,1937-1938.  Found here

There is no evidence that Harry Brisbane Jamieson was a Freemason

6. D McNeill, 142a Brook Street, Coogee, Staff Manager
At that address, there are "three-storey Art Deco flats, late 1930s" Source here

I cannot identify this man from this information, hence there is no evidence that D McNeill was a Freemason.

7. Raymond John Sands, 17 O'Connell Street, Sydney, Chartered Accountant (Aust.)
Messrs R J SANDS and JUNIOR selling Shop fittings in;
1934 'Advertising.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 12 May, p. 1, viewed 10 February, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article17071631


There is no evidence that Raymond John Sands was a Freemason.

Hence only one of the seven above is known to be a Freemason.
Witness to Signatures

A. Coyne
193 Macquarie Street

H. J Hiller
81 Pitt Street

H. J Hiller
81 Pitt Street

J Bruce Ferguson
1 Veret Street
Hunter's Hill

A K Paterson
115 Pitt Street

R W Bindolf
24 Huntley's Point Road
Huntley's Point

J Glasson
Carabella Street

Let us examine these names

Witness to Signatures

1A) A. Coyne, 193 Macquarie Street, Sydney

I cannot identify this man from this information, hence there is no evidence that A Coyne  was a Freemason.

2A & 3A) (A Freemason) H. J Hiller, 81 Pitt Street, Sydney

Hiller is interesting, being a witness to two signatures. Unfortunately he was not one of the  subscribers, but witnesses two signatures, showing he was willing to travel to execute the document... and yes, he appears to have been a Freemason.

Ah-HA ! H J Hiller was recorded as a Masonic Representative at a funeral noted here on our web site I think that is quite significant but unfortunately we can only match the initials and not the full name... 1931 'MR. A. W. FLEMING.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 19 March, p. 13, viewed 9 February, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16763263 I've noted this article before. Not only is he a Freemason - but look at the address which is the same as The Smith Family.

4A) J Bruce Ferguson, 1 Veret Street, Hunter's Hill
This is proving a difficult name to research....

In the Will of HERBERT CARRINGTON STREET late of Balgowlah retired postal inspector, seeking probate to Isabella Jane Street, the Executrix. J Bruce Ferguson is  the Proctor for the Executrix, 11c Castlereagh street Sydney
1953 'Advertising.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 13 November, p. 16, viewed 10 February, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article27522574

Retired Salesman, Mary Oxley Gilbert the Executrix, a J Bruce Ferguson is the Proctor, Hosking House, Hosking Place Sydney
1947 'Advertising.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 13 January, p. 11, viewed 10 February, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18017243

In the Estate of ELIZABETH MARY, married woman,  Married Woman, deceased interstate, administration of the estate to be granted to John Joseph Leahy the widower of the said deceased, a J Bruce Ferguson is the Proctor
1948 'Advertising.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 12 April, p. 6, viewed 10 February, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article29762561

IN the Will of PHILLIP HENRY RUTLIDGE late of Artarmon  NSW, probate of a will dated 30th June 1937, may be granted to Margery Rutlidge, the Executrix. A J Bruce Ferguson is the Proctor, Hosking House, Hosking Place Sydney.
1950 'Advertising.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 24 August, p. 15, viewed 10 February, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18181932

There is a JB Ferguson of Melbourne.
There is more than one JB Ferguson of NSW. Here and here and here and
There is a Dr J B Ferguson mentioned in the below
1930 'TUBERCULOSIS BUREAU.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 21 May, p. 7, viewed 10 February, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article4088591

A Boolean search of Trove give 2,909 results for "JB Ferguson"
There are simply too many JB Fergusons to use the initials.

J. Bruce Ferguson, Solicitor, of 84 Pitt Street,
1954 'Advertising.', The Courier-Mail (Brisbane, Qld. : 1933 - 1954), 30 October, p. 14, viewed 10 February, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article50622813
Pitt Street is interesting... being the official address of the Smiths some 20 years prior

J. BRUCE FERGUSON, Solicitor, 11c Castlereagh Street, Sydney
1953 'Advertising.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 9 July, p. 11, viewed 10 February, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article18382408

There is also a man in America "J. Bruce Ferguson" circa 1907

5A) A K Paterson, 115 Pitt Street,Sydney
The 1923 Sands Directory has several businesses listed at the above address but I can find scant detail on the man above, hence
There is no evidence that A K Paterson, was a Freemason

6A) R W Bindolf, 24 Huntley's Point Road, Huntley's Point
I cannot identify this man from this information.

7A) J Glasson, Carabella Street, Kirribilli, Sydney
I cannot identify this man from this information.

Hence only one of the six witnesses was a Freemason

1932 Book; The Smith Family, Its work and story 1932

posted Feb 8, 2016, 6:10 PM by Devotion News Editor   [ updated Feb 13, 2016, 2:31 PM ]

Cover Book; The Smith Family, Its work and story 1932
Via the National Library of Australia's "Copies Direct" program, I recently obtained an e-copy of The Smith Family, its work and story which carries the date of 1932. The book carries no copyright claim and even if it did, I understand it would now be in the public domain.

The author is not recorded, but the Preface notes;

"With their customary modesty, The Smith Family did not write this little book themselves. They left it to someone outside the organisation, who was supplied with scrapbooks, annual reports, and documents for the purpose. He has, of course, ended up a Smith....

The primary author gives an overview of the history, activities, values and psychology of the early Smith Family. There are two authors, the main writing the body of the text and another author for the Preface.

The book records few names. The first chapter with the title, "The Beginning of It", records five (5) unnamed businessmen (not Freemasons) returning from a trip via Parramatta Road and arrival at the Woolpack Hotel for a drink in 1922 "near Christmas". A conversation is recorded between a "jovial man" and the car's "driver". Prior to arriving at the Woolpack and while still driving on the road, the "jovial fellow" gives an account of what he has purchased for his son for Christmas - a toy monkey. The account focuses on "the jovial fellow", who later appears at the Orphanage as Santa, and the driver of the car ("an argumentative cuss like all his ilk") who in reply to the jovial man's "there isn't a kid  who hasn't got something to look for at Christmas!" the driver says there are some who do not.... and how ".... the Jovial Man, within two or three days, was feeling glad he had agreed to join the committee of investigation instead of putting money on his opinion."

This of course differs from some accounts, where the men's the trip takes place on 24 Dec 1922. In the account in this book, it is days prior and the men organise and later six visit the "Home for mentally deficient boys at Carlingford" on 24 Dec 1922 giving a charming account of their visit with the Jovial Man as Santa wondering how he got himself into a very uncomfortable situation until the joy brought to the children becomes apparent.

"Like most of those kindhearted people who do good in this world, they were painfully shy and self-conscious, and the spectacle of these forty small, stolid boys, washed and brushed, and sitting open-mouthed, with a cynical look of unbelief on their faces, was not reassuring"

It later gives a the usual account of the Matron questioning who the men are and the final response of "We're the Smith Family - that's who we are!"

The critical reader may say this book, published in the tenth year after the business trip, is an advertisement of the work of The Smith Family, noting it concludes with a call to action; "And now - your part!" It certainly explains the goal and methods of the Family and it's value on anonymous and personal benevolence.

While the book does not specifically claim to be authorised by the Smith Family, the Preface describes the author in the Third Person and is presumably written by a Smith. The body copy is likewise written in the Third Person. As noted above, the Preface records how the author "was supplied with scrapbooks, annual reports, and documents for the purpose. He has, of course, ended up a Smith" indicating the Smith Family's support for the book and their indirect unofficial endorsement of the same. However there is nothing official within the book to  confirm the Smith Family's involvement or endorsement of the book.

The Preface is followed by five chapters and a call to action at the end.

The Contents on page 4 show 5 chapters;

Chapter 1 runs pages 5-10
Chapter 2 runs pages 11-18
Chapter 3 runs pages 19-25
Chapter 4 runs pages 26-36
Chapter 5 runs pages 37-42

"And now - your part" is one page (page 43) while the Preface is one page (page 3)
The book has two pictures, page 1 and page 44 being the first and last page.

"And how - your part" has records the name as THE SMITH FAMILY JOYSPREADERS UNLIMITED at 81 Pitt Street, Sydney, Box 328-F G.P.O. and phone B3948

Chapter 3 & 4 contain subheadings which are

  • The Pensioner's Party
  • The Last Present
  • Tommy Tuckwell's Monument
  • The Musical Roller
  • A Party with an Admiral
  • The Hardness of Life

  • The Smith Gatherings
  • Wireless for the Sick
  • For Hungry Girls
  • Boots ! Boots ! Boots !
  • The Ladies - Bless Them !

As mentioned earlier, there is no mention of Freemasonry in the book. Nor are there any conclusive hints of Freemasonry.

The book also mentions very few names. It does record that "Governor Generals, Governors, Railway Commissions, cobblers, politicians, journalists, musicians, broadcasting announcers .... every walk of life has its Smiths..." however there is nothing to say that "Smith" is been used as an adjective rather than denoting members of the organisation.

Central to "Smithing" is anonymity, however over the books 44 pages, we are given a few names, but scant detail. The name Tommy Tuckwell might be a Smith, but is probably rather given as an example of Smithing. Interesting he is described as an "Oriental" but may have been long dead by 1932.

In "A Party with an Admiral" pages 23-4 records a party on MAS Canberra "where 500 kiddies were entertained by the captain, officer, and crew, and shook hands with that doughy adventurer and writer of adventurers' books, Admiral E R G R Evans, the in command of the Fleet " but while Evans' presence is noted, he is not overtly claimed as a member of the Smith Family. Evans does not appear to have been a Freemason.

Sir Dudley de Chair is mentioned. He was Governor of New South Wales 1923-1930
Page 31 describes a large radio installation completed  at "the big Coast Hospital... its turnover of 10,000 patients a year" where " ...a speedy installation of the radio equipment enabled Sir Dudley de Chair to declare the last section open on April 1,1930, before he left for England. Sir Dudley does not appear to have been a Freemason.

Page 44 records the books is "Wholly set up and Printed in Australia, by D S Ford. 44-50 Reservoir Street Sydney" but does not claim DS Ford as a Smith or the DS Ford donated the work, the business could simply could have been a contractor. DS Ford did publish some Masonic Works, but this hardly allows us to conclude he was a Freemason.

None of the names given in the book are known Freemasons.

So, from a Masonic perspective, the book is a step in elimination rather than confirmation of any Masonic origins for the Smith Family. Still, that perhaps is progress towards "The Truth"...

Reading the book was of great interest and certainly added to my view on the Smith's operations and history. It also revealed much about the thinking of the organization. I am now even more keen to read the earlier publication The Smith Family : bringers of cheer, makers of mirth, purveyors of joy. Sydney : Smith Family, [1924?]. Being an earlier publication, it is more likely to be closer to the founders than The Smith Family, Its work and story of 1932

For a moment, let's consider the hypothesis that the Smith Family was founded by Freemasons. If that was the case, then is it clear that the author of this book did not want the Smith Family to be seen as a Masonic Group. (And not forgetting there was a NSW Masonic Benevolence Society). It is also clear that other contemporary accounts examined so far do not link the Smith Family with any specific Masonic Lodge or group, but there are Freemasons who are working hard as Smiths - according to newspaper reports, one as a Founder..

It is clear the Smith Family's history tells that it was founded by men. This book clearly states that the discussion between .."five business men in their motor car.." returning  "a little tired of their trip" gave birth to the Smith Family. I also note it does not say "business trip", does include a visit to the Woolpack pub (with early closing times back them, so afternoon at the latest, arrival at the pub also cut the discussion short) and they make an investigation over several days, and later visit the Home for Boys. This means the trip was not taken on 24 Dec as later sources report. The visit to the pub also to "wash away the dust of Baulkham Hills" does not mean that is where they conclusively came from, but certainly indicates they had been to or traveled through Baulkham HIlls."

In Chapter four in "Ladies - Bless Them!" P 33 & 34 we have an account of how females became involved in the operations of the Smith Family. Here it is retyped in full

Finally, it is, perhaps, necessary to say something about Mrs. Smith and Miss Smith. Do not imagine for one moment that the male Smiths went down on their knees and pleaded to these ladies to join them in their work. Rather it was their policy to keep what they were doing to their self-conscious selves.

But - have you ever tried to keep a secret from your Mrs. Smith ?

"James, where are you going to-night ?... "Darling, I am going to the Stadium"... "James, you know quite well that this is Thursday, and there is a no fight on Thursday ... and last week you went to the Capitol and came home with an enthusiastic description of a picture called "She Loves Me Not," which was being shown EXCLUSIVELY at the Prince Edward. ... Now, James, exactly - wh're - ARE - you going ?"

The real difference between the bad and the good husbands is that no good husband ever risks having to face a conversation like this, even in a worthy cause, so the wise Smiths told their wives confidentially what there were doing; and most wives, being good-hearted, decided to take a had in the game.

You can bet it was not very long under those circumstances before the Ladies' Auxiliary and the Younger Smith Set were in existence.

On page 24, there is mention of the "Girl Smith organizers" and an account of their good work.

Many organizations like Rotary were closed to women at the time, and it is interesting to note woman are very involved in the Smith Family from the early days...

The book reports that on 18 September 1923 the Smith Family came into formal existence with about sixty members.  Quoting from page 12;

"On September 18,1923, the Smith Family came into formal existence with sixty members, and  sub-title to its name to explain itself : -


Its objects were set out clearly:

"To maintain throughout the whole year the spirit of true charity, letting not the right hand know what the left hand doeth.

"To maintain a continuous campaign of good cheer and goodwill, to brighten the lives of the afflicted, distressed, sick and needy, and to restore confidence in those whom misfortune hath dealt with.

"To develop a centre of service so that the spirit of the Family shall radiate throughout the length and breadth of the country.

"To develop a definite interest in the other fellow."

This are the same goals (with one missing) in the copy of the Constitution I have, which you can read here. However he Constitution stored at that link has an additional clause omitted from the above which appears in the subject book. This reads

"To develop a definite interest in the welfare of, and to help in all ways possible, children who thorough misfortune are in need of the advice, help and care of a friend.

The above is inserted between the third and fourth clause in the above recorded in The Smith Family; its work and story  of 1932.

For clarity, here is page

Aims of the Smith Familiy Historical

The activities of the Smiths were obviously to assist the poor. This can easily be viewed according to a political paradigm. The text refers to making people self reliant. Offering more than just presents at Christmas, the Smiths are also tending to the clothing and health needs of those they assist (including supplying tobacco; a document of its times). One comment did stand out from a political perspective. On page 41 we read "Good Health is the greatest cure for all the evils of the world. The best panacea for Bolshevism in content." This web site being a Masonic one and Freemasonry not engaging in politics, I will leave it at that but mention this because of the historical nature of the document and this interesting comment, particularly in the context of the inter-war years.. It is on page 41 is below;

Good Health is the greatest cure for all the evils of the world. The best panacea for Bolshevism in content

In conclusion; there is nothing in the book to confirm the Smith Family was founded by Freemasons. If the book's account of the founding is true (and it is yet to be corroborated), although the men visited the Home for Boys on 24 December 1922 (a Sunday) the visit to the pub took place prior to the 24 December "near Christmas" of 1922. I understand for here, that Sunday trading in Hotels did not commence until 1979, so the traditional history of the pub and Boys' Home visit on the same day (Sunday) can be questioned, and the book gives a different account with the pub visit not less than "within two or three days" of the visit to the Homes, but probably within December. This fits more with the facts and is clearly stated in the book. Given the days of the early Hotel close (6 pm I believe), the men would have been traveling on a day of trade. It is possible they were returning from a Masonic Event, but likely the evening prior. You would think it would be unlikely to have a daytime Masonic Event in the morning, but it is possible. All we can say is there is nothing in this book confirming the oral history of  Freemasons founding the Smith Family. However the book does describe "five business men" (page 5)  present during the initial discussions and six "males" (on page 7, we have an extra man) visiting the Home, any and all who may, or may not have been Freemasons. However, never before have I noticed the extra male, it seems our five business man wasted no time adding another to their number and the Smith Family grew to become a Nationally significant organisation, and remains so to this day.


After consultation with the National Library of Australia, and speaking to the Smith Family itself, I was able to supply a copy to the family for their archives.

To allow other researchers access to this publication, it is attached below. Given it's size of 10 Meg, I may not be able to host it indefinitely. I supply it with a strong belief there is no copyright claim over the book and it is in the public domain having discussed the same with the National Library of Australia and briefly with the currently Secretary of the Smith Family where any claim would reasonably expect to originate.

See below for
Full PDF Copy of The Smith Family, its work and story 1932.

The Five; Wikipedia as the sources of names; Rupert Cropley, Benjamin Drummer, HB Carrington, JG Bannerman and LC Packer

posted Jan 21, 2016, 9:42 PM by Devotion News Editor   [ updated Mar 23, 2016, 5:40 PM ]

22 Jan 2016

Yesterday I found the page http://www.thefullwiki.org/The_Smith_Family which draws from Wikipedia.

This page claims five Freemasons (Rupert Cropley, Benjamin Drummer, HB Carrington, JG Bannerman and LC Packer) as the men who went to the orphanage on 24 Dec 1922  hence founding The Smith Family.

(Note, there is a March 2016 update here which notes all these men as Freemasons)

Going to the current source Wikipedia page of the above, the names and reference to Freemasonry has been removed. Examining the revision history of the article shows;

On 9 Oct 2009. an unregistered user with the Australian IP address ( changes "five businessmen" to "five Freemasons" also adding their specific names. You can see that here. User does not provide a source for this claim. The IP address is Australian and does not appear dynamic, but I am not going to chase the user.

This change made on 9 Oct 2009 was altered at 21:07 on 30 June 2010 by Hinem24, an unsubscribed user. The word "Freemasons" was replaced with "businessmen" .  That user likewise does not provide sources.

Generally, the Wikipedia page is claimed to be plagiarized and not of a high standard, with few references.

Using the Wayback Machine to search the urls given as end-notes in the article about
I found no references to Freemasons but only "businessmen" as founders....

Putting the above issue aside, let's look at the names inserted into the Wikipedia article.

Rupert Cropley (1881/2 ? - 1949) appears to have been a Freemason

There is a stain glass window in his honour. Source is here http://www.mof.org.au/articles/sydney-masonic-centre/56-stained-glass-school-window.html

The Grand Master said they were specially privileged, In as much as Bro R S Cropley, who, at the zenith of his business career, and when there was a great commercial future be- fore him, had relinquished it all in order that he and his wife might devote the future of their lives to the care of the orphans of New South Wales Mason
1922 'MASONIC SCHOOLS.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 13 November, p. 10, viewed 21 January, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16027361

This 1922 article is of interest
Smith Family Founded by Freemasons

Quoting from the above
"Mr. Cropley is a son of Mr. R. B. Cropley, the well-known builder. He is 41 years of age, and is a native of Sydney. He has always been keenly interested in children. He has no children of his own, his son Jack having died when hewas but six and a half years of age. Early this year Mr. Cropley sold a prosperous boot and shoe business at Marrickville to take up the honorary superintendency of the school."
1922 'Masonic Orphan Schools Opened!.', The Richmond River Herald and Northern Districts Advertiser (NSW : 1886 - 1942), 17 November, p. 8, viewed 21 January, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article126125762

The school referred to above and below is the William Thompson Masonic School at Baulkham Hills
1926 'N S. Wales Masonic Schools.', The Richmond River Herald and Northern Districts Advertiser (NSW : 1886 - 1942), 2 April, p. 7, viewed 21 January, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article125953493

R. S. Cropley (Superintendent of Masonic Schools) from
1931 'MRS. E. M. HALLORAN.', Daily Advertiser (Wagga Wagga, NSW : 1911 - 1954), 19 May, p. 2, viewed 21 January, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article142773293

In this article we read of
" R.W. Bro. and Mrs. R. S. Cropley, who have for many years given their time and labor gratuitously to the superintendency of the Masonic Schools at Baulkham Hills." and how  the school was founded in 1922. From

1933 'THE MASONIC SCHOOLS.', Glen Innes Examiner (NSW : 1908 - 1954), 11 November, p. 7, viewed 21 January, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article183556627

We have "R S Cropley" present in
1937 'LATE MR. WILLIAM THOMPSON.', Windsor and Richmond Gazette (NSW : 1888 - 1954), 22 October, p. 10, viewed 21 January, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article86049299

HB Carrington

There is a Master of Lodge Cosmopolitan # 67 in 1919
1919 'Advertising.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 8 January, p. 9, viewed 21 January, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article15819112

JG Bannerman

There is a Freemason called J Bannerman here
1923 'MR. T. DONALD.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 7 September, p. 5, viewed 21 January, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16091731

Benjamin Drummer
 and described as " Mr Benjamin Drummer (secretary of the Welfare Department).  "

Interesting association and activity and date in the above. The Source is

1923 'THE MASONIC HOMES AT BAULKHAM HILLS.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 17 December, p. 12, viewed 21 January, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article1611267

LC Packer

There certainly was a Sydney Freemason "L Packer" around the critical date(s) in question, especially 1922, but nothing conclusive so far.

The Five; The Smith Family was founded in 1922 by five NSW Freemasons

posted Jan 20, 2016, 4:02 PM by Devotion News Editor   [ updated Jun 22, 2016, 7:06 AM ]

Right ! Nice Find - now we have some names !!!!!

I knew I had read that the Smith Family was founded by Freemasons and was pretty sure I'd seen it on the Smith Family web site, which the below cites as a source.... however the sources pages are now redirecting to a new page....

The next task is to work out if I can back it up with some more facts, but the names will help..  I note Fleming is not mentioned.. but he might have been a "founder" when the Smith Family was Incorporated or just an early supporter .


The Smith Family history

The Smith Family was founded in 1922 by five NSW Freemasons, who identified a need and responded accordingly. In many ways, this typifies The Smith Family today - an organisation that is enterprising and evidence based. Freemasons are still actively involved with The Smith Family in many senior management roles in addition to the many generous lodges who donate their time and funds annually.

Shortly before Christmas in 1922, the five freemasons, from western Sydney (Rupert Cropley, Benjamin Drummer, HB Carrington, JG Bannerman and LC Packer) were returning from a trip to the Blue Mountains. They debated whether everyone was enjoying the Christmas spirit but rather than go on their opinion only, they established that there was disadvantage and decided to do something about it.

They believed that all children should be able to join in at Christmas so they went to an orphanage where children were without the love of families surrounding them and gave them the joys of Christmas - toys and sweets. They were happy to do this anonymously and when the matron asked them their names so that the children could write a letter of thanks, one of the men replied:

"Er .. Smith." "What about the others?" asked the matron. "They're Smiths too," replied the man "We're all Smiths. We're The Smith Family..."

And so The Smith Family came into existence.

During the Depression of the late 1920s and early 30s, The Smith Family assisted with the food and clothing needs of thousands of Australians as unemployment soared and responsibility for the care of children and families fell to organisations such as The Smith Family.

In 1933 when rheumatic fever became a major health issue affecting children, The Smith Family set up a special hospital to care for them. Mt Arcadia operated in North Parramatta until 1958.

In 1960, The Smith Family, under the leadership of General Secretary George Forbes, founded VIEW Clubs Australia (Voice, Interest and Education of Women) to provide a support network for women to meet in friendship and to support the work of The Smith Family. Today, over 23,000 women are members of a VIEW Club in their local community.

The 1970s saw The Smith Family react to the needs of refugee families fleeing war in Vietnam and Timor and supporting the residents of Darwin recover from the devastation inflicted by Cyclone Tracey.

Throughout the 1970s and 80s The Smith Family was spending more than ever before on direct financial relief - in many cases to generations of the same family. In 1987, The Smith Family asked their emergency help clients what they believed needed to be done to put an end to intergenerational disadvantage. They replied "help us help our children to get an education."

In response, The Smith Family set up EDU-CATE for students in the junior secondary years. The program was designed to ensure kids didn't miss out at school just because of their family's financial situation.

During the 1990s the program was extended as Learning for Life which has so far supported 40,000 children and young people to make the most of their educational opportunities and break the cycle of disadvantage.

Throughout the past 85 years, The Smith Family has continued to review the needs of disadvantaged children and families and responded accordingly.

Source here on 20 Jan 2016
And I will attach a print out of the page.

This source draws on Wikipedia and these names would have come from an old revision of the Wikipedia  page.  I've got over excited on seeing some names,.... but there is no source for them. My cognitive bias has overlooked that someone could have fabricated these mens' involvement..... because I just don't think like that and hence had a short term blind spot to the possibility.  These names are a lead, but prove nothing. I'm very keen to read some of the family's early writings and expect have have at least one of them soon.


Yesterday I obtained more information on these brothers. This came via email from the Smith Family's files and was a PDF showing a creation date of 2003.

Also attached were news articles;
Hills News - Tuesday 8 August 2009 Page 6 "Masons keep reaching out" by Amanda Keane. This article mentions the men by name as starting the Smith Family
Northern News - Tues 18 August 2009 "Who are Freemasons". This article mentions "Rubert Cropley and four others Masons" starting the Smith Family.

The main attachment of interest is produced below in full and I am trying to contact the author who still resides in NSW.

A Story of Brotherly Love and Relief

M W bro. R S Cropley PGM UGLNSW is well remembered in NSW for his 30 years service as Superintendent of the William Thompson Masonic School, which cared for the orphans of Masons. But there much more to the story of this truly caring Mason.

In 1922, together with 4 other Masons, Cropley decided to share their business successes with an orphanage. Arriving with a car load of presents, they were asked, "What is your name?" They replied "Smith, we are all Smiths, in fact we are the Smith Family" So was born one of the most fantastic public charities in out land today.

From that beginning, the SMITH FAMILY has grown to a charitable organisation, distributing food, clothes and presents etc. until in 2001, more than $30 million was spent on its community programs and Christmas hampers. There were 650 paid staff and 2000 volunteers.

The Five Founders.

RUPERT CROPLEY, born 1881 died 1949.

Initiated on 28/1/1909 in Lodge Manoah No.41 UGLNSW. Installed as foundation Master of Lodge Fortitude No. 439, Baulkham Hills in 1922. The rank of PGM was conferred upon him in September 1938.

Was he a Royal Arch Mason? Yes ! Exalted in Chapter Temperance No.219 Scottish Constitution and was foundation First Principal in Chapter Hurlestone No. 444 where he remained a member until his death.


BENJAMIN DRUMMER was also a member of Lodge Manoah No. 41, was WM in 1899 and secretary from 1908 to 1926.

H B CARRINGTON became a Mason on 4/9/1912 in Lodge Cosmopolitan NO. 67 he died 23/4/1946.

J G BANNERMAN was a member of Lodge Manoah No.41 and a foundation member of Lodge Fortitude No.439 serving as WM in 1925.

L C PACKER served as a Grand Steward in the UGLNSW in1890.

Lodge Manoah was a strictly temperance Lodge and remain so throughout its 113 years, however not all its members were so devout. As legend has it that the idea of the SMITH FAMILY was conceived over a beer in a Parramatta hotel!

 We are grateful for the time and energy spent in researching this piece by Rt. Ex. Comp. Graham Cumming PGH, SGC of M and RA Masons of NSW and ACT and thank him for his permission to reproduce this fascinating piece of Australian and Masonic history.

Note from early April 2016 - I've had a representative of Grand Lodge NSW confirm the above document after speaking to its author and am trying to make telephone contact with Graham Cumming to see if he can shed any further light on the history of the Masonic connection with the Smith Family.

Thinking About MR. A. W. FLEMING. The Smith Family Founded in NZ and another name...

posted Jan 11, 2016, 7:54 AM by Devotion News Editor   [ updated Mar 23, 2016, 5:46 PM ]

A hot night and I'm up poking around the internet and my mind turns back to the origins of the Smith Family and the one firm name I have; MR. A. W. FLEMING.

Founding Member of the Smith Family Charity
Fleming died 8 years and about 4 months after the first visit by the Smiths at Christmas Eve 1922. He was certainly recorded as a Freemason.

He is recorded in his obituary as a "foundation member" of the Smith Family, but the obit does not record he was there on 24 Dec 1922. There is nothing to say the Founding Members of a formal organisation, albeit one comprised of "Smiths", were the same men as those who had visited the orphanage on Christmas Eve in '22.

I wonder at the reaction of the Smith Family to the Obituary. It may have been an important moment in the evolution of the Smiths where they raised an objection to a real name being recorded as a member. This certainly contravened the organisation's Constitution, but I do not have a firm date for that Constitution. Certainly this Obituary is the sole one of its type I can find. Perhaps the other foundation members did not warrant such an Obituary, perhaps the other names were not known, perhaps linking a clearly identified person was not in keeping with the ways of the Mr and Mrs Smiths, perhaps, perhaps... it's a common theme here..

The Great Depression start date is generally accepted as Black Tuesday 29 Oct 1929. The effects took some time to be felt but when Brother Fleming died in March 1931 it was being felt in Australia. Wikipedia tells me unemployment reached a record high of 29% in 1932 in Australia. Flemming died as the Depression  would have been biting into Sydney's workers but just before its peak. The Depression would have created much work for the Smiths as it did for all such organizations through the world. A year after Flemming's death, a book was published on the Smiths "its work and story" (1932). Sometimes such books are written to promote rather than to record an organization, I am keen to read this book written as the Depression raged and while most of the founders of The Smith Family would have all been alive. It is worth noting it was published the year following Flemmings death.

In 1932, I understand the Smith Family was also founded in New Zealand. I've just discovered that via google.

The Fabric of Welfare: Voluntary Organisations, Government and Welfare in New Zealand, 1840-2005, Margaret Tennant, Bridget Williams Books, 2007 Page 112-113 gives us some more crumbs and another book to examine..

Joyspeadking and Mothers' Rests

Depression, on a communal as well as an individual level, prompts the prescription of good cheer. 'Cheer-up weeks' were tried in some New Zealand Centres, while 'Sunshine' and 'Happiness' clubs proliferated. One of the standard images of 1930's New Zealand involved men and woman, many in cheap sandshoes, lining up outside the 'Smith Family Joyspreaders' - a relief organisation founded by Wellington businessmen in February 1932, but inspired by an association that is sill a significant element among Sydney's social services.

'Joyspreading' involved a two-pronged approach for the Smith Family; boosting community morale while relieving individual destitution, During the Depression the organization subsidized children's attendance at health camps, sending unemployed youths out possum-trapping, provided a boot repair facility, acted as an intermediary in tenancy and debt collection disputes, distributed food orders, organized community singalongs, ad ran Christmas parties and free picture shows for needy children...... ... .... The "Smith Family' of the title did not refer to a related group of philanthropists, but to the 'anonymous and universal' application of the organization itself. 'Smith' was a name redolent of the ordinary and the recurrent, and participants in the Smith Family's work were supposed to be enveloped in the anonymity of a common surname. Hence there was not only "Chairman Smith', but 'Secretary Smith' and anonymous women workers, such as 'Mrs Hope Smith', who made a thousand garment for distribution among the poor of Wellington in 1933. The Smith Family aimed to replicate the 'kindly-disposed neigbour' what came out to light when things were at there blackest, and some of those helped during the Depression apparently did not know the source of their assistance.... .... In May 1935 the Smith Family Inc (the 'Joyspreaders' having faded from usage) amalgamated with the Mayors' Metropolitan Relief Committee. Having been so closely associated with depression conditions, the organization had to chart new waters after 1935. By 1938 Peter Fraser was the Smith Family' titular president, and close links with his office became apparent in the records..... in 1941 the Minister of Internal Affairs, Bill Parry, instructed his department to appoint an officer to liaise with the organization over an extended 'Mothers' Rest' scheme..... Peter Fraser later supported the schemes extension.."

The above was sourced here

The Smith Family seemed busy in Depression New Zealand as well as in Australia.

Of the names above, Peter Fraser, NZ Prime Minister, nor Bill Parry appear to have been a Freemason. Pity, that might have been another circumstantial link..

Still... business and philanthropy,,, automatically makes me think of Rotary (founded in 1905 in Chicago USA. Rotary was founded in Melbourne in 1921 and soon after Sydney... Women were not admired to Rotary until 1989... but they seemed involved in the Smith Family from its early formation..

For the Record there are two Fleming Notices;
"OBITUARY. MR. A. W. FLEMING." The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954) 18 Mar 1931: 18. Web. 10 Feb 2016 http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16762928

1931 'MR. A. W. FLEMING.', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 19 March, p. 13, viewed 10 February, 2016, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article16763263

It is the first of the above which appears on this page as a jpg.

It's late... the search will have to continue another day.

Looking for Early Books, Documents & Writting on the Smith Family, Pre WW2

posted Dec 25, 2015, 10:22 PM by Devotion News Editor   [ updated Feb 29, 2016, 9:45 PM ]

I am looking for early writings about the Smith Family Charity, especially writings from the 1920's....


The Smith Family : bringers of cheer, makers of mirth, purveyors of joy. Sydney : Smith Family, [1924?]

Any early DATED Constitutions or similar of The Family, especially ones with individual's names in them.

I will add any other book and document titles I find to this page

If someone had an electronic copies of these, I would love you to email it to me. Alternatively I do have a Post Office Box..


The Smith Family : its work and story

I have obtained the above book and comment on it is here. A full copy PDF of The Smith Family, Its work and story 1932 can be found as an attachment on the same page here

Memorandum of Association of THE SMITH FAMILY JOYSPREADERS and Articles of Association of THE SMITH FAMILY JOYSPREADERS 1935 .
This document is hosted on our site and can be found as an attaachment on this page here.



posted Dec 25, 2015, 10:05 PM by Devotion News Editor   [ updated Feb 12, 2016, 7:09 PM ]

Via Facebook, I was able to obtain presumably the first section of the CONSTITUTION of the SMITH FAMILY JOYSPREADERS UNLIMITED. The date of this document is unknown but associated with the 1930's on the Smith Family web site where a smaller cropped version appears. The larger section obtained on Facebook appears below. They have the same tear and appear pasted in a book of lined pages, they look like the same document.

Under the "Obligations of a Smith" we see No 2. "When engaged in the official work of The Family at no time to reveal his true identify" is of particular interest. We find names associated with the Smith Family in news articles in the 1930's, but many reports simply speak of "Smiths". The names mentioned are high profile people such as the Governor General at official events where they would have been well known. However this second obligation of a Smith to maintain anonymity will prove an obstacle to research, but if there are trusts and bank accounts associated with this organisation, then names must have been used (such as the lease or title for their HQ in Sydney's Pitts Street.. and I am assuming there is not a history of the Smith Family which I am yet to discover... I may prove to be on a path someone has already tread).

The fourth obligation is "To undertake to endeavour to introduce to the Smith Family a new member within six months of the acceptance of his application for membership."

There are echoes of Freemasonry here, the "Obligations" and a restriction to males over 18 years of age, but there is nothing purely masonic in these things.


Looking at Newspaper Sources

posted Dec 25, 2015, 7:39 PM by Devotion News Editor   [ updated Apr 22, 2016, 7:25 PM ]

Firstly, we have an authoritative list of famous Freemasons here... unless noted, we are using that as our source for Masonic Membership...

According to the Newspapers, we have the President of the Smith Family in 1930 introducing Sir Kelso King. This appears in a Sunday Times article here. Sir Kelso King was a Freemason and The Smith Family was 8 years old at that point....Perhaps his presence was not remarkable as the man was involved in many philanthropic endeavors. ..The Governor General, Baron Stonehaven,  was made a Presentation at the meeting... guess what ? He was both GG and Grand Master of NSW at the time. This puts two leading Freemasons, Kelso King and Baron Stonehaven central to a Smith Family event about eight years after it was founded.

In the same article above we have The Chief Commissioner of Scouts,  Mr. E. Trenchard Miller. Googling him, I've found little information on him. Not helpful

In 1923 THE SMITH FAMILY Evening News (Sydney NSW) Wed 19 Sept. The Smith Family just visited an institution and next weekend will be visiting the jail to spread joy.

In 1923 THE "SMITH FAMILY" The Cumberland Argus and Fruit growers Advocate Sat 29 Dec distributing presents and a Christmas cake at the Girls Industrial School

In 1924 THE SMITH FAMILY The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate Fri 5 Dec talks of how a special Christmas Cheer account has been opened at the Commonwealth Bank and talks of  a membership fee of 1/,5/, or .£1 The address of the Secretary Smith is given as 89 Phillip Street Sydney. In 1924 that was the Highland Society's Hall.

In 1925 THE SMITH FAMILY  The Cumberland Argus and Fruit growers Advocate Fri 2 Jan accounts for a 20 Dec visit to Liverpool State Hospital. Nine parties of the Smiths were visiting different institutions at the same time.

In 1925  was have SMITH FAMILY WORK AT CHRISTMAS The Sydney Morning Herald 21 Dec page 10 speaking of "four lorries" full of presents not no name beyond "350 Smiths" being mentioned

In 1925 The Smith Family at Liverpool Hospital The Cumberland Argus and Fruitgrowers Advocate (Parramatta, NSW Wed 23 Dec 1925 - The Family "assisted 18 Hospitals that day which speaks volumes for their Charity and Organization".

In 1926 THE SMITH FAMILY ANNUAL DINNER The Sydney Morning Herald Fri 20 August talks of "the second annual dinner" held at Marlborough, King Street

In 1926 "Christmas Cheer" The Sydney Morning Herald 21 Dec page 15
We have several names in conjunction with a Christmas Concert.
Madam Vera Tasma, Miss Muriel Humphries, Mr R B Orchard, Mr Ross Garling, Alfred Cunningham, Jack Lumsdaine, Desmond Tanner, Norman Francis and Messrs Raine & Powell.
R B Orchard is was recorded as a member of Leinster Marine Lodge in the Funeral Notice of A W Flemming

In 1927 JOYSPREADERS UNLIMITED WILL YOU BE A CHRISTMAS SMITH Sunday Times 13 Nov Page 5, talks of the foundation on Christmas Eve "born in a motor car" looking for members which is limited to "males over eighteen..... BUT at Christmas they relent and allow everyone - man, woman and child to join... but to get to the spirit in which it was conceived they must drop their identity ...".... Interesting if you need information - they invite you to contact "this office" ie - The Sunday Times...

Brigadier-General Lloyd and the Rabbi Cohen also spoke. Rabbi Cohen is a bit vague, but there is a couple of potentials for Lloyd, but no Freemason matching that rank with that name, the closest being Lieutenant-Colonel Herbert William LLOYD, C.B.,C.M.G.,C.V.O.,D.S.O (1883 - 1957)**  but the ranks do not correspond...

In 1928 THE SMITH FAMILY The Sydney Morning Herald Thurs 13 Sept we have "About 200 people attended the fourth annaul reunion of the "Smith Family Joyspreaders Unlimited" at the Cartlon Hotel". Although only a short article, it's interesting who proposes the different toasts. The "toast of the Smith Family" was proposed by the Attorney General. "The Visitors was responded to by the Minister of Health". The descriptors are interesting...
Francis Stewart Boyce was the Attorney General of the day in NSW. BINGO ! He was a Freemason and according to Masonic Convention of today (are presumably then) would need to be a member of The Smith Family to propose such a toast... we might have another good crumb here... Notable he was Grand Master NSW 1926-27

In 1928 THE SMITH FAMILY The Sydney Morning Herald Wed 10 Oct
"Fifth Annual Report of The Smith Family Joyspreaders Unlimited" speaks of membership increased from 750 to 984 and collection for Christmas Cheer to £1,058 compared with last years £ 530.

In 1928 The Smith Family The Register SA Tues 16 Oct  a letter from "S Smith" looking for information on "a Smith Family was formed in Adelaide" asking for information on the group that adopted a title " .. "similar to that of The Smith Family Joyspreaders Unlimited". The papers editor gives the 81 Pitt Street Address in Sydney suggesting people with information write to that address.

For noting of year and place only, The Smith Family appear in Adelaide in 1928

1929 The Smith Family Ball
This has a large list of names which should be checked


1929 SMITH FAMILY WIRELESS FOR THE SICK (Sydney Morning Herald  27 June Page 14)
We have the GG on behalf of the Smith Family presenting radio headphones to Dr Arthur, the Minister for Health

Names need checking

1930- Christmas Pantomime for Poor Kiddies names "Dr Arthur" and Ernest C Rolls as entertainer.
Ernest C Rolls ((born Ernest Dareweski)) worked with Roy Rene (A Freemason). I can find no evidence of him being a Freemason
Dr Arthur - a 1929 article here describes a "Dr Arthur" as in conjunction with the Smith Family as as "Minister for Health".      Dr. Richard Arthur (1865-1932), medical practitioner and parliamentarian. Arthur was NSW Minister for Public Health (1927-1930) in the Bavin government. Despite a long Obit and looking at other sources, no suggestion he was a Freemason.
Article above further reported in "Children's Treat" and mentions Dr Arthur
Article above further reported in TREAT FOR CHILDREN OR WORKLESS.

1931 APPEALS TO COMMUNITY The Sydney Morning Herald 5 Dec page 17 speaks of the Smith Family appealing for 100 motor cars for 19 Dec. Mentions the office at 81 Pitt St. It also mentions the Governor Sir Philip Game and Lord Mayor Alderman Jackson will attend the Smith Gathering at David Jones. Neither men appear to have been Freemasons

1933 Plea for Blankets sees the Smith Family described as a "band of business and professional men..... it is a cardinal point that no one should appear in his own name."

By 1933 it is claimed here "The best known welfare organisations in Sydney are the Benevolent Society of N.S.W., Thomas Street, Sydney, and the Smith Family Joyspreaders Unlimited, 81 Pitt Street, Sydney" Notable as the Smith Family has been operating for 11 years.

In 1933 THE SMITH FAMILY Sydney Morning Herald Wed 15 Nov claims "it has been conservatively estimated that more than 20,000 persons" participated in the Christmas distributions last year. This is claimed in the annual report this is said. This 1933 Annual report needs to be located.

In 1933 in a Sydney Morning Herald we have another article with another GG, Sir Isaac Isaacs, presenting at the 10th Anniversary of the Smith Family. Isaac Isaacs, is another well documented Freemason. Sir Isaacs says

"It bears the initial letters of your chief aims and aspirations," Sir Isaac Isaacs said. "Your aspirations are sympathy for the unfortunate, mercy for the distressed, Inspiration for others to go and do likewise, tenderness for the afflicted, and, above all, happiness all round. That is a good reason why the name of Smith should be immortal. You do not seek even the reward of personal praise. You hide your Identity, as the chairman has put It, under anonymity, but you cannot escape your real reward, which Tennyson re- ferred to so appropriately when he wrote, 'The wages of virtue is the glory of going on."

For Freemasons reading the above, "sympathy", "afflicted" and happiness all round will ring out from Masonic Ritual. The real reward in terms of "Wages" will be recognizable to Felow Craft Freemasons, although I do not believe Tennyson was a Freemason, Sir Isaac was and while I cannot say what he was thinking, that quote on wages makes me certainly think of the Second Degree in Freemasonry.

Others present Included Sir Joseph Cook, Sir Henry Braddon, and Rabbi Cohen.

Cook was a Freemason, Henry Braddon was not, "Rabbi Cohen" is not really enough to go on....

In 1934, Eye Clinic for Poor Patients
Secretary of the Smith Family Joy Spreaders is Mr E J Wyett. An unusual name but I cannot find him as a Freemason using google.

In 1934 THE SMITH FAMILY The Sydney Morning Herald Fri 6 July we the celbration ofthe first anniversary of the establishment of the Arcadia Hospital Recovery Home with two functions. Greetings from The Premier (Mr Stevens) and the Chief Secretary (Mr Chaffey) with a list of contributing artists.

1935 Christmas Appeal where Mr W M Hughes MP makes and appeal on behalf of the Smith Family. This is would be William Morris or "Billy" Hughes Australian Prime Minister 1916-22. There is no evidence Billy Hughes was a Freemason and he is never claimed as one.

Kit Kingsley, 'life member of the Smith Family, Joyspreaders Unlimited" mentioned in this article I cannot find information on

1936 Christmas Parties talked of the Gardens of Mrs A E Whitfield 25 Beaconsfield Pde Lindfield open to local branches of the Smith Family

I will come back and edit this page once I do some more digging...

Looking for Information on the Smith Family and the Freemasons

posted Dec 23, 2015, 11:43 PM by Devotion News Editor   [ updated Apr 22, 2016, 7:34 PM ]

In response to our recent edition of Devotion News, it's clear some Freemasons have been told that our Fraternity had a hand in founding The Smith Family. This oral tradition can be found in Victoria, Queensland and New South Wales where the Family was born.

Perhaps references to this have been removed; some folk think the Freemasons are a bad group to be associated with (LOL, such people know nothing about us, and are shocked to find I am a member - because I'm Catholic and apparently Freemasonry does not let us in.. more laughs...). OR perhaps the story of the Freemasons founding the Smith Family are not true... on the long lists of goals for 2016 is to see if we can prove this either way... Perhaps it will be in the middle ground, some men who were Freemasons comprised some of the founders...

I've discovered a book titled "The Smith Family : its work and story" from 1932. ( Edit; I later came by this book and you can read about it here )

I would also love to read Constitution of the Smith Family Joyspreaders Unlimited from the 1930's. I cannot find it on the web, but the snippets I've seen got my Masonic Antenna tingling, but far from enough to put this issue to bed... The Official Smith Family web site has a jpg of a section of it... (Edit; I have a 1935 edition you can see here)

We might be lucky enough to find a direct statement that the Freemasons founded this great Australian Charity, or we might be able to deduct all six founders were Freemasons - that would be a good indication. One thing is for sure to date, the men who founded it did not perceive the group's actions restricted as simply within our Craft, but to be engaged with the wider business world to support disadvantaged children. Ninety years on, we have a landmark benevolent organisation..

Let's keep digging !

Did I mention I LOVE TROVE ?

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