History of Lodges and the Co-operative Movement in Bowral
On the 28th of May 1888 the Lodge Carnarvon was consecrated at the Grand Hotel in Bowral with the Worshipful Master being Wor. Bro. Holmes and the first secretary being Bro. GM Pugh. In August Lodge meetings were being held in the Association Hall were HE Jones conducted the Young Men's Organisation. The Lodge moved its meeting place to the Town Hall in September 1891 as Council had agreed to rent out a couple of rooms. It was decided to buy the Association Hall in September 1917 and as of February 1918 meetings were held there. In 1953 a new brick front was added to the front section of the temple that was used for the first time on the 28th of November.
Sons of Temperance Lodge were the first friendly society that met in the old stone school built in 1863. There were 4 Temperance Societies in Bowral in 1882. In August 1885 a Good Templars' Lodge was formed but closed at a later date. This Lodge re-opened again in September 1902 at held meetings in the Wesleyan schoolroom. On the 3rd of July 1891 a branch of the Order of Free Gardeners was formed.
On the 10th of June 1882 a meeting was held at the School of Arts to form an Oddfellows Lodge and so it was decided to form the Loyal Lighthouse Lodge that was opened on the 5th of August 1882 with 8 being initiated. Bro. WH George was the first Noble Grand. In May 1886 a hall for the Lodge was built in Station Street.
The Protestant Alliance Friendly Society Onward Lodge was formed in 1887 with its charter being dated the 19th of July 1887. The first Worshipful Master was Bro. EJ Field and the secretary was Bro Stokes. Meetings took place in the School of Arts.
The Gibraltar Branch of the Grand United Order of Oddfellows opened on the 30th of September 1904 with 34 members. Bro. M Jones was the first Grand Noble and the secretary was Bro. Thos Chapman.
Bowral was one of the first country towns to take an interest in the Labour Movement when it came into existence in the 1890's. A branch of the Operative Stonemasons Union was organized in town in April 1981. The Quarrymen formed a District Workman's Accident and Relief Endowment Fund with it proposed to admit all workmen in the Bowral District. The fee to enter into the fund was 2/6 and just after it began they had 60 enrolled. A news item told in March 1882 a meeting was held in Bowral to form a "specialist league" and a year later it was known as the "Bowral Labour Electoral League" but this did not last long. The Labour League established a co-operative store in July 1892 and it had 84 shareholders who held 395 shares by October 1892. For the first three months it was opened they made £355. All goods were paid for with cash and profits were divided half yearly.