Phillip Blashki, Blashki Masonic Regalia
The name “Blashki” is well known to Melbourne Freemasons. I am sure many have written on the Company which supplies all sorts of regalia and the man who founded the enterprise. That said, many of us do not know the history of “P Blaskki and Sons Pty Ltd” and on looking it up on the internet, I was surprised to discover that Phillip Blashki was such an important Melbournian, so much so, he has a fairly well developed Wikipedia article on his life and activities. “The name Phiilip Blashki is synonymous with the history of Freemasonry in Victoria. “ Here are some extracts from that piece;
Phillip Blashki (21 February 1837 – 21 October 1916) was a Polish immigrant to Australia who rose to be a successful businessman, magistrate, J.P., holder of many positions of public responsibility and associated with numerous community and charitable events in Melbourne.
Phillip Blashki's life was summarised on the center front page of The Herald on 21 October 1916, which read in part, "For 39 years, he was a justice of the peace, and for a lengthy period he was chairman of the City Court Bench... 58 years ago he came to Victoria, and took a leading part in many public affairs. He founded the Melbourne Jewish Aid Society, was a trustee of the Brighton Cemetery, and a prominent Freemason. He was also one of the founders of the Charity Organisation Society."
Phillip was primarily a silversmith and had a stall at Melbourne's Great Exhibition of 1888. He was also an optician, watch repairer, jeweler and maker of masonic regalia. He produced several notable items of public importance, including Australian cricket's Sheffield Shield commissioned by Lord Sheffield in 1894, He also produced the NSW Cricketers Association's 'Horden Shield'.
Around 1875 he opened his city store in Bourke Street Melbourne and grew it into a thriving business making jewelry, Masonic regalia and significant ceremonial medals and chains. His sons took over the business, 'P. Blashki and Sons', in 1893 which still continues today.
Some other things of note;
· Phillip Blashki was a Justice of the peace for nearly 40 years.
· He was appointed a Magistrate in March 1911.
· On 20 January 1914, he was one of Lord Mayor Hennesey's invited dignitaries at the opening of the Melbourne City Court at Russell St.
· He was appointed the first Chairman of the City Court Bench (which became the Melbourne Magistrates Court).
· As recognition for his work as a J.P., philanthropist & community leader, Blashki was one of the invited guests at the opening of the first Federal Parliament at the Exhibition Buildings.
· Blashki was a council member of the Victorian Chamber of Manufacturers and instrumental in founding and development of a number of communal and charitable organizations.
· Whilst working in Geelong in the 1860's he was active on the Stephen St. Melbourne branch of the Jewish Philanthropic Society (est.1848).
· He co-founded the Melbourne Jewish Aid Society in 1888 and the Melbourne Cemetery Trust
· Phillip Blashki was the first Trustee for the Jewish section of Brighton Cemetery.
· He was president of the Melbourne Freemason's Homes.
· Blashki held various offices in several Lodges over a period of 40+ years and was appointed District Grand Warden under the British Constitution
· He established the Tahara house for Jewish burials and set a precedent for purchasing half sized graves for children.
· In 1909 he co-founded the Jewish Burial Society (Chevra Kadisha)
· Decades after the Corio Bay drowning of his wife's son Hyman, his position as Magistrate enabled him to order that the Melbourne City Baths Corporation Swimming Pool would be open free for all children to learn to swim
· The success of the Jewish Aid Society, for which he received an illuminated address, led to the Victorian government establishing a Charity Organisation Society with similar objectives and he remained on their committee for many years.
· On his 70th birthday another illuminated address signed by thirty solicitors practising in the Russell St. court, was handed to him by the then Prime Minister, Alfred Deakin.
· He was first president of the Board of the East Melbourne Hebrew School which became the United Jewish Education Board, with Victorian Attorney General Isaac Isaacs as its president and Phillip Blashki as its treasurer and succeeding president.
· He also acted as Chairman to the Board of Advice to the Victorian Education Department for the East Melbourne District.
· Blashki was a foundation member and a term vice president of the Victorian Employer’s Federation , co-founded the Jewish Herald Association and was on the board of the Benevolent Asylum and the Montefiore Homes.