Bob James Fraternal Societies collection

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Special Collections at the University Library have launched the Bob James Fraternal Societies Collections online exhibition and collection.

Bob James fraternal societies collection
Independent Order of Rechabites, building and tour bus

This fascinating collection is now digitally available for researchers and students interested in investigating early Australian working-class history and especially early efforts in shaping what we know today as our welfare system.

Over the last five years, a team of specialists and student project assistants have tirelessly worked on the documentation, digitisation and preservation of a collection of photographs, certificates, honor boards, regalia and badges belonging to fraternal societies active in the Newcastle and Hunter region. The collection was donated by university alumnus, Dr Bob James and his generous financial contribution has provided the opportunity for students to gain valuable paid experience working with these unique heritage items.

Dr Bob James is an avid researcher of the history of Fraternalism in Australia. He has dedicated 40 years to building a collection that illustrates a history of community self-help and mutual aid.

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