March 2016 UPDATE on Bros Cropley, Drummer, Carrington, Bannerman and Packer - all Freemasons

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.

Update 8 April 2016. I spoke to Graham Cumming today. He will post me a copy of the above as what I have may be a summary. He confirms the source of this was a NSW Masonic Magazine from the 1920's or 1930's detailing the information he gives above. Graham says this may take several weeks because he needs to check the archives at Grand Lodge.

Update 12 April 2016. Grand Scribe Ezra of NSW & ACT Tony Wise has forwarded me further information. This is S36C-116041211290.pdf and contains further information inclusing a 1 May 1924 story from THE SQUARE - Masonic Homes Journal on page 55 "Smith and Smithing" . This ends with

We hardly need to say that the moving spirits in the Family are Masons, those recognized at a meeting we attended being W. Bros Drummer and A W Fleming, Bros Bannerman, Louis, Packer, Hiller and W F L Bailey.