What was the Australian Natives Association?
The Australian Natives Association began in Melbourne in April 1871. It started as a ‘friendly society’ to provide medical insurance and friendship to its members. Its membership was restricted to Australian-born, white men. Women and Indigenous Australians were not allowed to join. Most of the Association’s branches were in Victoria. It would go on to organise and provide funds for the federation leagues. These leagues would lead the campaign for Federation of the six Australian colonies. By 1900, the Association had around 17, 000 members, mainly in Victoria.
Explore how an organisation such as the Australian Natives Association encouraged pride in an Australian identity.
- Examine the Australian Natives Association certificate. Form small groups to discuss the following questions and record your responses.
- Why do you think the words ‘prosperity’, ‘unity’ and ‘peace’ appear on the membership certificate?
- What symbols and images on the certificate show that the Association was proudly Australian?
- What evidence is there to suggest that the Association supported the Federation of the six Australian colonies?
- Individually or with a partner, design two Victorian membership certificates – one for people living in Victoria in the late 1800s, and one for people living in Victoria today. When developing your certificates, consider:
- the sorts of things that were important and valued by the people of Victoria in the past;
- the sorts of things that are important and valued by the people of Victoria today; and
- the words and pictures you can use to illustrate your ideas.
- Share your membership certificates with the class. Provide reasons for the words and pictures that you have included. Have the list of things that are important and valued stayed the same or changed over time? Why might this be the case?