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ODDFELLOWSHIP.

Tin: half-yeuvly meeting of the Otagn district of the M.U.1.0.0.1'', was held at Oamarii to-day, when the district officers pre Hunted the following report:—

In presenting their usual half - yearly report, your officers hope that it will not be deemed out of place on their part to indulge in a few remarks by way of introduction, apart from the immediate business which you are called together to consider, or other matters which it is customary to refer to, as bearing upon the welfare of our society in a general sense. About nine and a-half years have elapsed 'since a district meeting wa3 held in Oamaru, and it is hardly necessary to state that during such an interval many changes have taken place, both in regard to the affairs of the society aud of the general community. For example, on looking over the list of officers and delegates who attended the Oamaru meeting in March, 1880—numbering twenty-one in all—we find that two have left the district for the purpose of bettering their fortunes elsewhere, whilst no less than four have joined the great majority, and of the latter the hand of the ruthless destroyer was laid upon two of them after their having attained the position of Deputy-prov. G. M. of the district. Such is the mutability of human affairs ! The Oamaru meeting of ISBO is remarkable as having passed the necessary resolution appointing valuers to carry out the first valuation of the Bociety ; and as a coincidence, it now happens that an Oamaru meeting is called upon to make arrangements for the third valuation. As connected with the first valuation, the following remarks, copied from the address of the then Prov. G.M., Bro. H. S. Fish, will doubtless be read with interest:—

" Probably the most important matter you have to consider to-day, having regard to its operation on the future of lodges and the Order generally, is the appointment of valuers for the purpose of valuing the lodges in accordance with District Rules Nos. 10 and 50. The valuation is a most wise and necessary step in the right direction; but I may, however, point out that it will be most unwiso for members generally to imagine the result will be as favorable as some may expect. Through the agency of this valuation, we shall in six months' time be able to know exactly how we stand, and it is possible the result may be the dispelling of those pleasing theories indulged in by so many as 1o the financial soundness of their lodges. If, however, such should prove the case, I have suificient faith in the selfreliance and manliness of my brethren to believe that they will boldly look their position in the face, and will, without delay, adopt such remedial measures as will at an early date place our society in such a position as will enable us, withoutdoubt, to easily and honorably meet our future engagements." It is simply repeating the history of after events to inform you that the warning conveyed in these remarks, as to the probable result of that valuation, was exceedingly well timed and appropriate. The result revealed the unpleasant fact, that with a total prospective liability on account of the then members amounting to L 72.084 3s 4d there existed a net prospective deficiency of i L11,13G 3s 7d. At the same time it is necessary to state that previous to the date of this valuation we had endeavored to put our house in order to some extent by adopting our present graduated scale of contributions for incoming members, but a sufficient time had not then elapsed to admit of this improvement having any appreciable effect. At our second valuation, however, which was made five years later, we were afforded an illustration of the good effect of that measure, aided by the policy of prudence and care in the management of our financial afi'iirs so persistently advocated by successive officers of the society. The result of the second valuation made as at the end of 18S4 showed that with a total prospective j liability of L76,j>64 15s lid,'the net prospective deficiency had been reduced to L 3.907 14s 10d—or an improvement in the financial position of the Bociety to the extent of L 7,228 Ss 9d as the result of five years' operations ; and further, that by taking the total funds of the society into account our actual deficiency would only amount to L 360 18s 9d. Let us hope, worthy delegates and brethren, that the valuation to be made at the end of the present year, which you are called upon to make the necessary arrangements for, will result in removing from us altogether the reproach which under any circumstances must attach to the existence of a deficiency, no matter how small may be its amount, andaß by the resolution of an Oamaru meeting in 1880 we were shown the weakness of our then financial condition, so may the resolution of an Oamaru meeting in ISS9 bo the means of showing us that our endeavors to strengthen our position have resulted in placing us entirely beyond reproach. In regard to the operations of the society during the past half-year, your officers are pleased at being able to congratulate you upon a fair amount of progress, both numerically and financially, as the following particulars drawn from the tabulated returns of lodges to the 30th Juno last will show : The number of members admitted during the half-year was 10f> by initiation, and 4 by clearance, making a total of 109, as against 72 for the corresponding period of last year. The number of members who left the society was 56 by arrears, 10 clearance, and 4 by death, making a total of 70 ; as against 48 by. arrears, 7 by clearance, and 8 by death—being a total of 63 ioc the corresponding period of last year. The total number of members on the 30th of June last was 1,747, as against 1,708 on tho 31st of December, 1888; thus showing a net gain in membership of 39 for the half-year, as compared with a net gain of 9 for the corresponding period of last year. As to the financial transactions |the following summary shows the receipts and expenditure of the society for the half-year, and the value of the funds as at the 30th June last:—

RECEIPTS, Total value of fundp, Ist January, 1889 .. £47,601 To entrance locs, slok and funeral fund .. V 0 ~ Contribution* .. .. ..' 1,197 ~ [•uneralqlalmsreiunded by district .. 140 „ Interest and rents, eick and funeral fund 1,238 „ OUior sick and funeral recoipts .. 23 „ Contributions and levies, management fund 1,329 ~ Interest and rents, management fund .. 37 „ Other management fund receipts .. ir>7 £51,b.0 EXPENDITURE. By sick pay .. .. .. .. 882 „ Funeral claims .. .. .. 170 „ District funoral levies.. .. .. 149 „ Oiher sick and funeral fund expenditure 87 ~ Medical attendance and medicine .. OliS „ Salari a and allowances .. .. 231 „ Other management fund expenditure .. 373 „ Expenditure on account of'other (undo 40 Total value of funds, 39th June, 188,9 ' .. 48,893

£51,80 (j Including the funds of thp central body the total value of the district is L 49,585 3s sd, as against 148,279 18s lid at the beginning of the year, being an increase of L 1,305 4a 6d for tho half-year, EnteriDg into further details in connection with the returns for the half-year, we may mention that the number of members' wives who have died is seven, as compared with six for the corresponding period of last year. The average amount per member of the society paid for sickness is 10s Id as against 10s 2Jd for the half-year ended June, 1888. The average under this heading varies in the several lodges from L2 2s| 2d, in the'ease of the Band of Friendship Lodge, to lid in the Valley Lodge, whilst in the Naseby Lodge no sickness whatever has been experienced. The following lodges may be singled out as having suffered to an exceptionally severe extent in the matter of sickness:—

Average amount per member for half-year. 1 £ b. d. ! Band of Friendship Lodgo .. ..222 Waitahuna Lodge 2 14 Prince Alt od Lodje 19 1 Waiuori 11l The indebtedness of management funds to j sictc and funeral has been decreased during the half-year by the sum of L 4 17s 3d, and i now amounts to LlOl 2s sd, as compared j with LlO5 19s 8d at the beginning of tho 1 year. Two of our lodges have been. gtfUty ; of further borrowing from th.o sick and funeral fund for management purposes, but j these having been taken to task upon the 1 jwbject by your officers, • we hope'to be able to report by the date of meeting that effective steps have been taken to repay amounts borrowed. « Early in the month o£ June last your officers received a communication from the Registrar, in which amongst other ques-

tions he pointed out that a number of our lodges were not in compliance with the pro- \ isions of the FriencllyJ Societies Act in the mattf r of obtaining security for the fidelity of secretaries and treasurers. Recognising the importance of complying with the law in this respect, your officers caused a circular to he issued requiring that immediate steps bo taken by all the lodges concerned to obtain the necessary guarantees or bonds, and as a result we believe that all of them have done so, or aro taking action in the matter, but under any circumstances we intend to be watchful that none shall continue to evade the law in this particular. In July last we received a circular from the Prov. C.S. of the Wellington District, sent on behalf of a, conference of friendly societies in Wellington, asking our cooperation and assistance in the matter of obtaining during the current session of Parliament an amendment of the Friendly Societies Act, exempting the halls or offices of friendly societies from local or general taxation. As it was impossible for us to maintain the opinion of a general meeting of the society on the subject in time to be of any practical use, your officers took what appeared to them to be the next best course, and submitted the circular to the meeting of District Purple Lodge held on the 31st July. The Purple Lodge, having considered and'discusaed the circular, passed a resolution entirely condemning the proposal of our Wellington friends and brethren, and that resolution has by instruction been forwarded to the Wellington District. Seeing that the said resolution was at the time published in our local newspapers, and has doubtless been read by most of you, it is needless for us to quote it in full here. Suffice it to say that the substance of the resolution was to the effect that it was neither consistent with the true interests of friendly societies nor in keeping with their dignity to ask the Government for the concession specified in the circular referred to. Wo can only add that we entirely concur with the opinion of the Purple Lodge on this matter, and have to state that previous to their resolution we, on our own behalf, had written to the Wellington District expressing views substantially the same. The annual report of the Registrar of Friendly Societies presented during the current session of Parliament is an important and interesting document, containing as it does a variety of useful information in regard to the affairs of friendly societies throughout the colony. From it we learn that on the Ist January, ISBB, the total membership of registered friendly societies in the colony was 24.925, with funds to the amount of L 383,515 9a 2d, as compared with a membership of 21,079, and funds of the value of L 334.675 12a Cd on the Ist January, 1887 — thus showing an increase for the year 1887 of 3,249 in point of membership, and L 45.839 16s 8d in point of funds. The position of our own Order is shown as having 9,995 members m the Ist January, 1888, with funds of the value of L 215.663 7s Bd, as against a membership of 9,620, and funds amounting to L 206.025 6s 5d on the Ist January, 1887 ; being an increase in membership for the year 1887 of 375, and an increase of funds to the amount of L 12.638 Is 3d. The remarks of the Registrar in his report are particularly interesting, conveying, as they do, some very severe strictures in regard to certain societies that have previously been valued, and found to have serious deficiencies, and yet have neglected to adopt remedial measures for the improvement of their financial condition. Whilst agreeing with every word of the Registrar's strictures as applic able to these societies, we cannot resist the conviction that he has left something unsaid, in the matter of guiding eligible members of the community, as to which societies it is safe or prudent for them to join, without going through several of his reports and wading through n labyrinth of figures for sucb purpose, which few will take the trouble to do. His remarks seem also to have created a feeling of uneasiness in the minds of our Parliamentary representatives iu regard to the condition of friendly societies, which we think by no means justified by the actual circumstances of the case, and as a consequeuce we hear rumors of the appointment of a commission to inquire into the affairs of friendly societies. In regard to this proposal, wo most unhesitatingly Say that we see no necessity for it at the present time. As things are, we can see no good that could be done by a commission which cannot be accomplished just as well without it. We are free to admit that the existing Friendly Societies Act may be amended in some minor details with advantage to honest societies and the community, but wo thing that such amendments could be formulated by the Registrar hi'nself, and with the sanction of a majority of the societies passed into law, without putting the colony to the expense, of a com: mission upon the subject. We desire to thank the Registrar (Mr Mason) for having forwarded us printed copies ot an address recently delivered by him at a gathering of members of friendly societies in Wellington. We understand that similar copies have been circulated amongst societies and branches generally, and wo need therefore only say that a careful perusal of the address will be found both interesting and instructive, containing, as it does, sound, practical, and common sense advice in regard to th,e conduct of friendly society affairs,. From reports just to hand wo le«tm that the meeting of the A.M.O. of our Order, held this year in, the town of Hull, in Juno last, was in several respects the most successful that has yet taken place. The number of deputies attending the meeting was 473, being five in excess of any previous A.M.C. The report of the G.M. and Board of Directors gives the following particulars in regard to the progress and positipn of the Unity :—Tho number of members admitted during the year 188,8, was 3(11,864,, and the number who left by arrears, clearance, death, etp., w.as 29,, 106,, Jeavjqg a. total membership at the end of the year of $38,3,52, and showing &. net inorease for the year of i 0,758. During the year 1887 the total amount disbursed by the Unity for sick and funeral benefits was LC66,636 17s s<l, and at the end of that year (the latest date up to which the financial returns have been compiled) the total value of the funds of the Order amounted to L 6.806.736 18s Id thus popping the accumulated funds of any othersociety in the world by a very considerable amount. Owing to its being the pioneer society in the matter of financial reform, our Order has in past years had 1;o suffer very severely from the secession of branches who have declin.ed to abide by its decisions upon the subject and, as a consequence, wo fall sho.rt of ranking first in the. world in ppin/j; of membership by a few thousands, because other large affiliated Qrdera who have followed in our footsteps at a respeotful distance have, for obvious reasons, not nufferod from secessions in a like degree throughout. We are happy to state, however, that these remarks only apply in the main to the position of affairs in Great Britain, since in New Zealand and the Australian colonies the Manchester Unity heads the list of friendly societies by a long way, both in point of membership and funds. Moreover, after taking uito account the wealth and certified financial condition of the Manchester Unity as a whole, we feel justified in claiming for our Order the premier position among the friendly societies of the world. As to the business of the A.M.C, we think it unnecessary to take up your time with any lengthened account of it, since it seems that only one item immediately concerns us. A great deal of the time of the meeting appears to have been taken up by the question of relief to distressed lodges and districts. This is happily a matter witU which we at the present time have «a oouoern ; but as reports of the meeting have been circulated, it would bo well for our members to study closely the report of the Relief Committee and the discussion thereon, so as to guide them as far as possiblo In striving to. *vx>id the errors which have forced so.ijiauy lodges in Great Britain to reaorij W an appeal to the Unity for assistance. The question before the waving whioh more immediately concern oa is that of, clearances as connected, with the system' of surrender value. In accordance with a resolution of, the Gloucester A.M.O. last year, tiha G.M. and Board of Directory submitted a draft rule upon tha. subject,' to which was attached, « table for the purpose of calculating the amount of surrender value to'oe I 'granted in the'case of each clearance member, prepared by the acts,a,«:y of the Unity, P.G-.M. Bro. RsuVpa Watson. Bro. Watson's table certainly appears' to be a very ingenious one for tjfie pqrgoße, and. is

quite worthy of his well deserved reputation. It seems to us, however, that theG.M. and Board of Directors), in drawiug up their rule, have \m,m only half-hearted in their work ; and it in therefore not surprising to find that the A. M.C. were not alow in discovering such defects in tha proposed rule aB necessitated its being referred back to the G.M. and Board of Directors for further consideration and amendment. Thus Unity legislation upon the question of surrender value in conection with clearance members has been postponed for another year. In conclusion, we desire to say that the town of Oainaru appears lately to have been .specially favored in regard to friendly society meetings, as ours will constitute the third general meeting of an important affiliated Order that has been held there within the last six months. It is possible that this has been brought about by a conviction that the dormant energies of the community in Oamarn require stirring up a little in the matter of taking a greater interest in friendly society affairs ; but whether this is the case or not, we hope that these meetings will be the means of attracting more attention to the advantages afforded by friendly societies as a means of enabling eligible members of the community to exercise the principle of common prudence and thrift, and by joining such a society as ours secure for themselves moral independence by providing against the day of adversity. John Wood, Pro v. G.M. Peter Miller, Deputy Prov. G.M. Peter Black, Prov. G.S. James Robin, Treasurer. William Smellie, P.P.G.M. Dunedin, August 31, 1839.

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Bibliographic details

ODDFELLOWSHIP., Evening Star, Issue 8018, 21 September 1889, Supplement

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ODDFELLOWSHIP. Evening Star, Issue 8018, 21 September 1889, Supplement

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