Our History

Our History

Dedicated to Advancing Australia since 1871.

Since its founding in Victoria in 1871, the Australian Natives’ Association, the very organisation which gave birth to the great nation of Australia, has continued to provide a fraternal brotherhood to its Native Born members.

The Early Days

A small meeting in Grimwood's Hotel on April 24, 1871, in answer only to an even smaller newspaper advertisement, was the catalyst that gave birth to the ANA. Founded originally as "The Victorian Natives' Association", a benefit society solely for Victorian Natives, the association had begun accepting all Australian Natives of European-descent by early 1872. On the 16th of July, 1873, the already rapidly growing organisation changed its name to that by which we know it today - the "Australian Natives' Association".

Towards Federation

It could fairly be said that federation would not have been achieved when it was, if it had not been for the work of the ANA. Their devotion to federation contributed greatly to altering popular opinion, resulting in the 1898 to 1900 referenda landslides. At its 1890 intercolonial conference, the association resolved "that the time has now arrived for the federation of the Australasian colonies". Over the next decade, the association would devote itself to winning over the minds of the Australian public. In Victoria alone, Alfred Deakin, ANA life-member and Australia's second Prime Minister, delivered an 1898 speech which is said to have "been the turning-point in the Victorian campaign, [after which] the success of the Bill in [Victoria] was assured".

January 1st, 1901: The Commonwealth of Australia begins

Early 20th Century

Following Federation in 1901, the ANA continued to play an important role in Australian politics and society. The association continued to support many initiatives beneficial to the working class, including the White Australia Policy. Continuing the fight to Advance Australia, it also lobbied for policies to protect local industry, and promote Australian economic growth. Socially, the ANA took up issues including the teaching Australian history in schools, founding national parks, water conservation, afforestation and protecting native fish and fauna.

The Post-war ANA

Post-war Australia for the most part turned it's back on the Australian Natives' Association. The boomer generation, and society at large, had less interest in Nationalist Organisations, particularly after the events of the second world war. Despite this, in 1952 the ANA overcame opposition to secure the 26th of January as Australia Day. Membership begun to shrink throughout the following decades, and social causes, once at the heart of the organisation, were abandoned. With dwindling numbers, in 1990, the ANA merged with Manchester Unity IOOF of Victoria, to form Australian Unity. Following this merger, many of the social functions of the association continued on with ANA Fraternal, with few banches remaining.


The ANA's membership continued to decline into the mid-2010's, with the final ANA Branch closing in 2007. After this, only ANA Fraternal remained, existing as a shell of its former self. In 2015, a group of Canberrans set their goal to be the reestablishment of the organisation. In 2018, the first new branch of the ANA was launched, which saw rapid membership growth, including both old and new members of the ANA. In the less than a decade since, the organisation has formed branches across Australia, with the resurgence of the ANA being seen as a flourishing success by its members.

Become a part of our story

The next chapter in the history of the Australian Natives' Association awaits. Join us today, and leave your mark.