The Sons of Australia Benefit Society

A Work in Progress..

The Sons of Australia Benefit Society was an ever present yet idiosyncratic presence in the early years of Western Australia’s colonial history—simultaneously vital yet utterly irrelevant to most of the community it was supposed to serve.

The Sons of Australia Benefit Society was founded in 1837 and dissolved in 1897. It never had more than 92 members at any one time and sometimes there may have been as few as 37 on the roll, nevertheless over the sixty years of its existence it provided medical care, limited income protection, funeral expenses and a basic pension for some of its members, when they required it, during an era when such services were utterly unavailable for workers on a lower scale of income.

While their numbers may have been few, the Society had acquired some choice assets such as the Perth residential block Q2 upon which was constructed some cottages that were rented out, and the society’s club house. In the Society’s last years they stopped signing up new members altogether and the last cohort of younger members bided their time until enough of the old guard had died off so they could liquidate the society’s assets for their own (dubious) profit.

It should come as no surprise that a Dyson— Joseph Dyson the Elder, in this instance, — was involved in the shenanigans surrounding the society’s last days. But this is not what this article is about. The records of the society are lost and to recreate the member-list of the society it is necessary to comb the newspapers for mentions of the society’s activities. This list of names are confirmed members of the Sons of Australia Benefit Society from it’s founding to its dissolution. The problem is that this list is not quite comprehensive. Charting the fluctuation in member numbers over the decades (when they were made public) there were probably not more than 120 members of the Sons of Australia Benefit Society over the course of its life. So far I have 100 confirmed member names and 10 possibilities:—

Confirmed Members

Member Name: Member from: till: First Mentioned: Cause of
Stephen Allpike 1885 1845 death
Frederick Backshall (Beckshell) 1881 1855 death Trustee
H Baker 1897 1897 dissolution of SOA
Robert Bell 1889 death
Henry Rice Bond 1863 1839 death
Frederick William Brittain 1897 1888 dissolution of SOA Secretary
James Bryant 1867 1852 death Secretary
Matthew Burnett 1883 death
Thomas Campbell 1887 death
Frederick Caporn 1897 1852 dissolution of SOA
George Frederick Whidby Chipper 1878 death
Henry Charles Chipper 1887 death
Henry Richard Chipper 1885 1892 1892 death
(SOA Funeral)
John Charles Chipper 1887 death Vice-Chairman,
Henry Laroche Cole 1866 1845 death
Joshua (John) Crane 1881 1852 death
(SOA Funeral)
James Dobbins 1839
John Dudley 1862 1845 death
James Dyson 1860 (guess) 1888 1860 death
(SOA Funeral)
Joseph Dyson 1865
1897 1880 dissolution of SOA
or resigned 1895)
Henry Eves 1881 1881 death
Joseph Charles Farmaner 1897 1852 dissolution of SOA Chairman
Charles Farmer 1844
Thomas Farmer 1837 1891 1878 death
(SOA Funeral)
James George Flindell 1850 1892 1850
? Finlay 1885
William H Foster 1874 1844 death
Charles Foulkes 1837 1845 1837 resigned, left colony
Neil Galbraith 1877
Thomas Gee 1872 1863 death
William John Gibbs 1895 1845
William Henry Gilbert 1884 1852 death
(SOA Funeral)
Frederick Glaskin 1897 1885 dissolution of SOA Last Trustee
John Joseph Glaskin 1897 1885 dissolution of SOA
William Glover 1880 1850 death
(SOA Funeral)
William Graves 1877
Frederick Greaves 1878
Thomas Grigson 1890 1890 death
(SOA Funeral)
Joseph Harris 1839 1897 1837 dissolution of SOA
Richard Septimus Haynes 1888
George Haysom 1868 1850 chairman
Dennis Healey 1890
Thomas Hokin 1850
William Holmes 1844
George Hoskin 1844
? Howard 1889
James Inkpen 1878 1850 death
William Inkpen 1889 1885 death
(SOA Funeral)
J Jones 1883
James William Joyce 1897 1853 Chairman
R King 1850
Charles King 1874 1887
William John Langridge 1897 1897 Chairman,
Richard Leonard (Lennard) 1853 1850 death Trustee
Frederick John Liddelow 1892 1853 death
(SOA Funeral)
John Liddelow 1877
John Augustus Liddelow 1887
Harry Burningham Lousada 1887 1885 left colony
William Martin 1838 1893 1838 death
John Mason 1894 1894 death
(SOA Funeral)
John A Mellows 1894 1897 dissolution of SOA Vice-Chairman
Robert Michael Minson 1837 1868 1868 death
James Moore 1855
James Nairn 1837 1897 1837 dissolution of SOA
William Nairn 1837 1855 1837 death Trustee
? Ogbourne 1887
E Parker 1887 Steward
? Passmore 1889
Thomas Henry Strang Poland 1842 1896 1842 death
(SOA Funeral)
Thomas Roach 1849 1853 1849 resigned,
left colony
William Rogers 1837 1867 1837 death Trustee
John James Roper (Ropper) 1876 1876 death Trustee
Thomas Rowe 1883
Thomas Salkild 1880 1877 death
Thomas William Salkild 1887 Vice-Chairman,
Sylvester Francis Schryver 1897 1897 Secretary
Baldwin Knight Stirling 1887 Secretary
Horace George Stirling 1887 Chairman
Moses Stokes 1838 1897 1838 dissolution of SOA
William Stokes 1850
John Stokes 1852
George Frederick Stone 1837 1875 1837 death Chairman
Frank Mends Stone 1887 1887
Henry Robert Strickland 1852 Treasurer
? Suppen 1884 Trustee
Frederick Tapper 1852
John Robert Thomson 1837 1877 1837 death
(may have resigned 1845)
Henry Tichbon 1849 1897 1849 dissolution of SOA
John Tichbon 1885
Henry Alexander Towton 1877 1852 death
John Trevithick Tredrea 1897 1887 dissolution of SOA Secretary,
Henry Stirling Trigg 1887
John Besley Veryard 1855
? Walker 1887
William Ward 1851 1839
John Watson 1877
W Webb 1850
Edward Wells 1886 1886 death
(SOA Funeral)
William Thomas Wimbridge 1888 1883 death
(SOA Funeral)
S Woods 1897 1897 dissolution of SOA


These gentlemen might also be members but I can find no independent corroboration :—

Possible Members

Francis Fraser Armstrong
Launcelot Taylor Cook
T Cooper
Robert Ferris
Edward Flaharty
John Flaharty
William Heard
Robert Moore
John Spencer


Can you help?

If you have an ancestor who was a member of the SOA and is not on any of these lists please let me know. If you do have an ancestor who was involved in the society I would very much like to hear your story as well.

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