Oddfellows down under

In April, Society CEO Jane Nelson was invited to visit New Zealand Oddfellows to celebrate 175 years since the founding of Loyal Nelson Lodge on the South Island. Jane shares their adventure.

The UK Oddfellows delegation: (L-R) Bill Henchliff, now Deputy Chairman of the Society and his wife Margaret Henchliff, Christine Luckett and now Chairman of the Society Tony Luckett, Jane Nelson, Society CEO and her husband Graham, and Flo Munro and Ron Munro, Past Chairman of the Society.

By Jane Nelson, Oddfellows CEO

There are many Oddfellows organisations around the world. Despite their self-governing nature, on occasion we come together to network.

My husband Graham and I were privileged and honoured to be invited by the Loyal Nelson Lodge of New Zealand as their special guests to celebrate 175 years since the Lodge was founded.

Originally established as the ‘Strangers Refuge’, Loyal Nelson Lodge was founded by Thomas Sullivan, a Past District Chairman of Liverpool District. Whilst travelling to New Zealand with his wife and two children he discovered another eight passengers who were also Oddfellows. The rest, as they say, is history – and the group held their first meeting on 7 April 1842, just three days after landing.

The celebrations kicked off with a gathering of representatives from all over New Zealand and Australia, as well as the eight of us from the UK. We also enjoyed a coach trip taking in the sights and a fantastic celebration dinner. The next day we joined members to unveil a commemorative plaque followed by a memorial service for Thomas Sullivan and barbeque in the sunshine.

The whole weekend was superb, with true Oddfellows extending the hand of friendship and love. Everyone was so welcoming and friendly, and it was a delight to celebrate with them all. All the Oddfellows in New Zealand – the friends we already knew and the new friends we made – are so passionate about Oddfellowship and were thrilled that we had travelled all that way to celebrate with them.

A trip never to be forgotten.