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Biding by the rules

June 27, 2019

Behind every successful Association are rules and regulations. The Old Colonists’ was no exception – with a total of 23 rules laid out in its first annual report.

The 23 rules were a mixture of constitutional agreements, who could stand as officers of the Association, and who could become a life governor.

The catalogue of instructions provides an interesting glimpse into the thinking of the Founders, with equity and social justice evident throughout the document. The election of President, Vice-President and Treasurer were to be elected annually by the Council and one-third of the members of Council were to retire annually by rotation. However, they could also stand for re-election.

Part of the driving force behind the rules was the essential need to raise funds. Rule 5, for instance, insists that all annual subscriptions are payable in advance from 1 July of each year. Rule 4 spells out that none of the 15-member Council should be paid for their services to the Association.

Ship Captains trading regularly to the colony before 1 July 1851 were to be viewed as Old Colonists once they became resident in Victoria.

A registration book was established for members. The book – still in existence today – notes the date of the arrival in the colony, their profession or occupation, their deaths, births of children, and any public mark of distinction or honour conferred.

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