Thomas Nevin and the Loyal United Brothers Lodge

THOMAS J. NEVIN medical services to members

The Loyal United Brothers’ Lodge Anniversary Ball
Thomas J. Nevin became a Lodge member in 1869, sponsored by Inspector of Police and Chief Police Magistrate, John Forster, among others including his solicitor and mentor Attorney-General W.R. Giblin. In August 1875, Nevin was listed as a Committee member responsible for the organisation of the Lodge’s Anniversary Ball.

Loyal United Brothers Lodge Anniversary Ball
Committee members, Mercury, 23 August 1875


of the
A. & I.O.O.F.,
Under the Patronage of
Brothers the Hon. Sir J.M. Wilson, M.L.C.,
and D. Lewis, Esq., M.H.A.
Vice-Patrons of the Order
Will take place at
At 9 p.m. sharp,
Dentith and Fowler’s Band is engaged.
Tickets (including refreshments) single 5s.;
double (lady and gentleman), 7s 6d., to be had
from the following members of the Committee:-
Brothers R. Young, M.H.A., C.H. Elliston,
J.G. Davies, J. Anderson, J. Swain, E.
Johnston, T. Nevin, T. Gillon; and Geo. W.
Rex. Hon. Secretary.

Source: Mercury, 23 August 1875

Thomas Nevin may well have provided attendees with a souvenir carte-de-visite of their evening’s entertainment, especially group photographs taken in situ. This extant photograph of a “Brother” or Lodge member is held in a private collection,The Lucy Batchelor Collection.. It may be a photograph of visiting Lodge member Mr. H. E. Wright from Brisbane who attended the Lodge’s anniversary in 1870. Thomas Nevin produced a photograph of the Lodge’s meeting rooms at the Odd Fellow’s building , taken at their opening in 1871, which received much praise in the press.

A Lodge member in masonic apron and medals, perhaps Mr. Wright visiting from Brisbane, 1870
Copyright © The Lucy Batchelor Collection 2009 (courtesy of the Bishop family)

This account, printed in the Mercury, 18 May 1870, identifies a visitor who wore a medal at the Lodge’s 1870 anniversary:


ODD FELLOWS’ ANNIVERSARY. The eleventh anniversary of the Loyal Tasmania’s Hope Lodge, of the Manchester Unity, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was celebrated last evening by a tea and concert, at the Alliance Rooms. The tea, which was satisfactorily got up, having been disposed of, it was proposed by P. G. M. Mitchell, and seconded by P. P. G. M. Noah, that Mr. Davies, M.H.A., do take the chair, which was passed unanimously. The Chair-man was supported by the Provincial and other Officers of the Order, who wore their insignia. Mr. Davies wore the insignia of the G.M. of the A. 1.0.0. F. There was present a visiting officer of the M.U. from Queensland, P. P. G. M., H. E. Wright, who wore a handsome gold medal, presented to him by members of the Order in Brisbane, in acknowledgment of his services in introducing Odd Fellowship into Queensland, where there are two districts, Brisbane and Rockhampton, numbering five hundred members, who had been enrolled since Mr. Wright went to that colony in 1863.

The Chairman opened the business by an address in which he said he felt highly flattered and honoured by being called upon to preside, although as a member of another Order of Odd Fellows, he had not the honour of belonging to the Manchester Unity, therefore he felt it to be the greater honour to have been selected to preside at an institution of so much importance as the Manchester Unity in this colony. Though he had not the pleasure of being a member of that Order he well understood the tenets, constitution, and working of it. Having jocularly referred to the American Order of Rebecca which was officered and presided over by ladies, who carried out the principles of Odd Fellows, the same as the brethren of this Order, and all kindred Societies, and also spoken of Adam as an Odd Fellow, especially until he succeeded, according to Scripture, in obtaining a better half, he said he felt disposed, for the benefit of the ladies present to divulge the secret of Odd Fellowship, provided they would not talk about it till they got outside that Hall. (A laugh.)

Having appealed to the officers around him whether he should do so, he proceeded to say the peculiarity of Odd Fellowship was to do what good they could, (cheers) that was the essence of Odd Fellowship, and if the brethren quarrelled at all, it was to see which should do the most good (a laugh) ; that was the secret, and the ladies might divulge it as much as they liked outside ; it was to succour the widow and orphan, relieve the sick and distressed, and to be guilty of all sorts of benevolent actions. (Laughter and cheers.) Now, they knew the whole history of Odd Fellowship, he thought the ladies would agree with him that men who devoted their time and attention for the benefit of their fellow men, to do good to the community at large, deserved their approval and if so, it was high time that their friends, brothers, and sweethearts – he was now addressing young ladies – should join a Society endowed with those advantages. Too much could not be said on such a matter, and the (the Chairman) recommended every one who was not an Odd Follow to join this or some kindred Society.

He then pointed out some of the advantages derived from membership by working men ; as for instance in case of accident, a working man belonging to the Society procured medical aid and comforts, and the Lodge contributed to his wants till he should recover; and his children were properly attended to, supposing things did not go so nicely as he could wish. Mr. Davies gave an instance of a young man in his employ, a member of the Manchester Unity, who had met with an accident, and was now enjoying the benefits of belonging to such a Society ; he asked them to look at the position of that young man supposing he had not joined the Order (he did not say what his own views might have been as to personally affording aid), and supposing he had had no other means, what would have become of him? The chances were that he would have been hurried to a premature grave, he noticed this as an instance of the benefits conferred by the Manchester Unity within the last few hours, and he pointed it out that those who were not members should join without delay ; for, according to the adage, ” we are born, but not buried.” In leaving that Hall some accident might overtake them, but when in a Society, rich in wealth, and in benevolence, with hearts willing to do good, there would be succour and sympathy; and in fact every man in Tasmania should join this or some kindred Society. (Cheers.) He would do injury to himself and to his family not to do so. He had thought it necessary to draw attention to one or two of the advantages of joining an Odd Fellows’ Society, and having done so, he would call on the Secretary to read the report. (Applause)

Pro. G. Secretary Smallhorn, then read the report, which congratulated the Lodge on the increase of members during the year. Since the opening in 1859, 95 members had been initiated, of whom 57 had left by clearance, death, or going out of compliance, leaving 39 now upon the books. 10 initiations had taken place during the past year, and a hope was expressed that members would use their utmost endeavours to advocate the claims of the society on the working men. Since the formation of the Lodge £259 153. 4d. had been paid for medical attendance on members, their wives, and families, £92 1s. 4d. as sick pay, and to the district as levies for funerals, incidental, and widow and orphan funds, £224 14s., making a total of £576 10s. 8d. At the half yearly auditing of accounts the total value of Lodge funds was found to be £185 3s. 1d,, of which £153 was invested in the Savings Bank and in the Treasurer’s hands. The Chairman put the adoption of the report to the members of the Lodge which was agreed to.

An excellent programme of glees, songs, and choruses was then presented, a number of ladies and gentlemen taking part, Mr. James Brown presiding at the grand piano. By way of interlude between the parts, occasion was taken to make two presentations, certificates of merit, one to P. D. G. M. Thomas Noah, presented by P. P. G .M. Prescott, and the other to P.D.G.M. Charles Green presented by P .D. G. M. Cooper. At the conclusion of the programme a vote of thanks was given to the lady and gentleman amateurs, on the motion of P .G. M. Mitchell, seconded by P. P. G. M. Noah, and acknowledged by Sec. Wilkins. A similar vote to the Stewards was passed on the motion of P. P. G. M. Prescott, seconded by P. P. G. M. Cooper, which was also acknowledged. P. P. G. M. Noah proposed a cordial vote of thanks to the Chairman, and expressed the sense of the officers and brethren of the kindness of Mr. Davies in casting aside all conventionalities, and going into the business of the meeting so heartily. The motion was seconded by P.P.G.M Prescott, and carried by acclamation. Mr. Davies thanked the meeting for the vote, and said it at all times afforded him pleasure to assist in meetings of the kind, whether in connection with the Manchester Unity or any other Order This was the fourth time that he had been elected Grand Master of his Order, and he presumed that honor was done him in the know-ledge of his anxiety at all times to advance the interests of the Order. Again he thanked them for the vote, and wished the Manchester Unity all success. (Applause.) The proceedings closed with the singing of ” God Save the Queen.”

Source: Mercury (Hobart, Tas. : 1860 – 1954), Wednesday 18 May 1870, page 2

Established in Hobart in 1859, the Lodge was a business charity with British Royalist affiliations and offices located in Harrington Street. The organization was supported by a large membership of Tasmania’s professional classes, including the influential newspaper proprietor of the Hobart Mercury, John Davies. Lodge members were renowned for their fabulous Anniversary dinners held at the Bird-in-Hand Hotel (see, for example, the Mercury Tuesday 12 October 1869, page 3). Thomas Nevin was an early and active member during his professional, commercial and civil service photographic career.

Bird-in-Hand Hotel, Argyle St, Hobart
Attributed to Beattie ca. 1900
State Library of Tasmania

Dr Edward L. Crowther (1843-1931)

Dr Edward L. Crowther ca. 1880
Printed by the Anson Brothers
State Library of Tasmania

Thomas Nevin, photographer, 140 Elizabeth-street, Hobart, inserted an advertisement in the Hobart Mercury which appeared over several weeks during September 1875, soliciting applications from the medical profession for services to members and families of the Loyal United Brothers’ Lodge.


APPLICATIONS will be received until the 1st October next, from Gentlemen willing to attend and supply medicines to the members, their wives and families, of the LOYAL UNITED BROTHERS’ LODGE
Further information may be received from Mr. THOS.NEVIN, Phototgrapher, Elizabeth-street, or by letter, addressed to the Secretary, Oddfellows’ Hall.

The same issue of the Mercury, 30 September, 1875 which ran Thomas Nevin’s notice to the medical profession also ran a number of advertisements by chemists such as Weavers and Wilkinsons which touted potions for improving health, including the names of doctors who certified their efficacy. This “card” inserted by Dr Edward L. Crowther in the same edition advertised his services. He responded to Nevin’s advertisement, and became the medical officer appointed by the Loyal United Brothers’ Lodge within the year.

Dr E. L. Crowther’s “card” advertisement, Mercury, 30 September 1875


(A Card)
DE. E. L. CROWTHER may be consulted in all DISEASES of the EYE and EAR at his residence, Hanly Villa, Macquarie-street, on WEDNESDAYS and FRIDAYS, from 2 to 3.30 p.m.

Source: Mercury, 30 September 1875.


This Special Advertisement in the Hobart Mercury of 30th October, 1876, confirmed Dr E.L. Crowther’s appointment as Medical Officer of the Loyal United Brothers’ Lodge, A & I.O.O.F..

Another medical member of the Loyal United Brothers’ Lodge, Dr George Turnley, took the positions of Resident Medical Officer at the General Hospital, Hobart; the Medical Officer at the Hobart Gaol for males; and the Brickfields establishment for paupers, as well as the position of Public Vaccinator at the end of May, 1870.

Provident and Benevolent
Mercury 19 May 1870

Dr. Turnley has been appointed by the Government to the situation of Resident Medical Officer at the General Hospital Hobart Town … he will be the medical officer at the gaol for males …

In 1875, Dr George Turnley was invited to report on the sanitary state of the Tasmanian two cities, Hobart and Launceston. He reported that –

‘Tasmania stood ‘almost alone as a British Colony in having no legislative enactments nor any organization for the protection of the Public Health’, except quarantine.’

Source: The Companion to Tasmanian History online

In 1878, Dr Turnley conducted a post-mortem on the brain of a youth, Richard Copping, who was executed at the Hobart Gaol on 21st October 1878 for the murder of Susannah Stacey. Copping’s medical defence, Dr Benjafield, who sought clemency for the 19 yr old youth and was mindful of public discontent with the continuance of capital punishment, asserted Copping had softening of the brain. Dr Turnley disagreed, declared the youth sane, and the execution went ahead. Turnley’s post-mortem found no disease located in Copping’s brain (Source: Mercury, May-October 1878).

Dr. E. L. Crowther, 1910
Photo by Vandyke
State Library of Tasmania

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