The first meeting of the Australian Natives Association was held at Grimwoods Hotel in Melbourne on the evening of the 24th of April 1871. This meeting was the result of wide and varied experiences from the Australian historical, social, economic and political scene.
It had become an existing feeling in the community that a form of dedicated service to one’s fellow citizens and to the nation was needed to meet the needs of the changing scene of Australian life. The discovery of gold in 1851 had not only brought great riches to Australia but also a remarkable influx of migrants and a multitude of other problems.
The young men who held the original meeting of the ANA that fateful night held to the belief in the great purpose and destiny of Australia. This destiny however only attainable to men who take the task at hand resolutely and intelligently. Without any financial backing these young men went on to found a society to help their fellow native-born Australians in times of sickness and death and also to advance the cause of their homeland.
In the time since this founding meeting the Australian Natives Association has gone through ups and downs for over a century. Periods of continued growth in the late 19th century saw the ANA being an instrumental political and social force for the advocacy of organic Australian culture, literature and art. Saw for the advancement of Australian national interests in an era where others with British loyalties held power in most institutions occupying the land.
Much like the famine of the trade union movement in the 1970s the Australian Natives Association suffered through a cycle of declining membership and external political pressure to concede fundamental Australian ideals. Most of the assets of the association ended up in the hands of Australian insurance companies and credit unions who decided to take the path towards aiding Australians through a more specialised methodology.
Some branches of the ANA held firm even in the the early 2000s adhering uncompromisingly to Australian idealism and seeing to the welfare of their membership.
It is in the spirit of the original ANA that a new chapter was founded in Canberra in 2015 to which now many people across the country have given meaningful support, the seedlings of new friendly societies have begun to sprung forth in what is now another springtime for Australian culture and uncompromising Australian action. For an association which has outlived many lives, built many communities, sustained many men and families – we hope and pray that our great organisation will live to see another 100 years and will continue to grow steadily and always uncompromisingly advance Australia fair.