FORMATIVE GEORGIST/FABIAN SOCIALIST HISTORY IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA (SIMILAR ECONOMIC TIMES)

Race-MatthewsHenry George League Commemoration Address 7 September 1990 as delivered by Race Mathews

I take as my theme the proposition that those who preceded us in the cause of social reform have more to offer than has recently been acknowledged. I refer to the common roots from which have originated not only the single tax leagues but the trade union movement, the Labor Party, socialist bodies such as the Fabian Society and such working-class mutual aid mechanisms as co-operatives, credit unions, housing societies and friendly societies.

I recall past co-operation between single taxers and socialists, as exemplified by the South Australian Fabian Society and its founder, the Reverend Charles Latimer Marson. I draw attention to the recent discrediting of both the Gordon Gekoe, “Greed is good” school of market economics and the statutory corporation and command economy models of socialism. I suggest finally that we have much to gain from an open-minded re-examination of ideas and institutions which have been discarded prematurely or are currently unfashionable.

In the first half of the nineteenth century, poverty prompted Robert Owen to establish co-operatives as a means of providing decent working conditions and secure jobs. Further co-operatives on the Rochdale model began as a source for such basic foodstuffs as tea and flour. Credit co-operatives opened-up the first source of low-cost consumer finance. Friendly societies guaranteed workers and their families the cost of their funerals, as they did later sick pay, and, later again, medical attention. Trade unions emerged as a means of protecting – and further improving – wages and working conditions. A Labour Party was formed, to pursue through parliament such gains as could not be made by the trade unions through industrial action.

Intellectually and ideologically, the driving forces behind the labour movement were socialism and the single tax as advocated by Henry George. Henry George brought with him from America to Britain in 1882 the message that the greed of landlords was the cause of poverty. Henry George, no less than Marx or such Fabians as George Bernard Shaw and Sidney Webb, gave rise to what was characterised by Shaw as “an unnamed and unrecognised passion: the hatred in the more generous souls among the respectable and educated section for the middle-class institutions that starved, thwarted, misled and corrupted them spiritually from their cradles”.

Shaw was a single taxer prior to becoming a Fabian, as was Webb. It has been observed repeatedly that Henry George was the bridge by which great multitudes crossed from liberalism to socialism. So much was this the case, that Fabian socialism and the British single tax movement have a common ancestor, in the Land Reform Union. The Land Reform Union was formed in Britain, in 1883, as a means of promoting the single tax outlook. Its co-founders were Henry Hyde Champion, the Marlborough-educated Royal Artillery lieutenant turned journalist and socialist agitator, who shortly afterwards played a key role in the inception of the Fabian Society; and Sydney Olivier, a further founding Fabian and long-serving member of the Society’s Executive. Other future Fabians among the Land Reform Union members included the Society’s inaugural secretary, Frederick Keddell; the Eton schoolmasters James Joynes and Henry Salt; Salt’s wife, Kate, who was also Joynes’ sister and Shaw’s longtime confidante; and Sidney Webb, who was persuaded to join by Shaw. In the sense of having brought together prospective key Society members in the same group for the first time, the Land Reform Union perhaps rivals in significance the meetings in Edward Pease’s rooms in Osnaburgh Square in 1884, to which the origin of both the Fabian Society and its shorter-lived sibling organisation, the Fellowship of the New Life, is more directly attributed. At the same time, members of the socialist Anglican Guild of St Matthew joined the Land Reform Union, at the instigation of the leader, the Reverend Stewart Headlam, who was again a future prominent Fabian and long-serving member of the Society’s Executive. It is likely that these clerical recruits included the Reverend Charles Latimer Marson, who, as will be seen, later established not only Australia’s first Fabian Society, but, in so doing, a model for co-operation between single taxers, Fabian socialists and the labour movement which remains as relevant today as was the case during his brief Australian sojourn, from 1889 to 1892.

In the eyes of some, Marson’s life manifested “truly saintly qualities”. Service as a curate in the heavily working class London parish of Shoreditch from 1882 to 1884, and rector of Whitechapel from 1885 to 1886, introduced him to the depths of urban poverty documented by the research of Charles and Mary Booth, as did a subsequent term as a village curate at Orlestone in Kent from 1886 to 1889 to rural poverty. The result was that his mission in life became to “battle for the Have-nots against the Haves”. Like Headlam, he was among the earliest members of the London Fabian Society – which he joined in November, 1885, and addressed for the first time in early 1886, when he argued that “Religion is the force which binds man to man” following a lecture on “Private Property” by Edward Carpenter – and at Orlestone he came to share Headlam’s robust Anglo-Catholic faith. Further attributes credited to him by associates included a defiance of every form of ecclesiastical convention, and a wisdom and erudition such as prompted the author of the preface of the 1930 edition of his book God’s Co-operative Society, Paul Stacey, to note: “I cannot remember any casual five minutes’ conversation with him that would have been called ordinary; everything he said either informed, arrested, pleased or amused …. he let light in all around”. His “sardonic frivolities” were noted, as was the “characteristic mordancy” with which he dismissed less adventurously-minded fellow Anglicans as “ever learning but never coming to a knowledge of the truth”. He was, in the view of a further observer, “Not a man to hide his light under a bushel, nor to allow anyone to eclipse it; he compelled attention, as much by his caustic wit as by the cogency of his arguments”. He excelled, it is said, in “ridiculing ideas and habits out of existence”.

While such a larger-than-life figure naturally created “an impression on many of his contemporaries the power of which it is impossible to exaggerate”, he was also bound to attract critics and enemies. There was a source of regret for some in his failure to deal with the Bishops and his fellow priests “more in the manner of the Fabians when dealing with capitalist politicians, ignoring their absurdities and prescribing what they ought to do”. His 1884 appointment to a curacy at Petersham was cut short prematurely, when he was “kicked out by a drove of Tories as a seditious heretic”; as was the Orlestone appointment by his Anglo-Catholicism’s giving rise to a situation where “the dread of the Scarlet Woman was now added to the fear of the Red Flag”. By late 1888, both his bishop and the patrons of the Orlestone church were of the view that Marson should again move on. It became known earlier the following year that he had accepted a further curacy in the Adelaide suburb of Glenelg, where his invalid brother, Frank, would accompany him in search of a healthier climate, and they would be joined at a later date by his fiancee, Clotilda Bayne.

MARSON IN AUSTRALIA

Marson’s South Australian sojourn began in the capacity of curate of St Peter’s Church in Glenelg, and he later served at St Jude’s, Brighton, and St Oswald’s in Parkside. A contemporary account describes him as “being in appearance about eighteen years of age”. “He has prominent features, and is a great smoker”, the writer went on, “his pipe and himself being almost inseparable”. His “large, mobile mouth, grey eyes with an indescribable twinkle, and rich, husky yet musical voice” were irresistible, it is said, “to most people of all classes”. His qualities as an outspoken social critic, willing polemicist and deliverer of impassioned sermons were also shortly made plain. Such was the experience of hearing him preach that:
You sat and shivered as blow after blow demolished the moral foundations of your father’s income. References to the servant question made you thankful that your own were not in the church; denunciations of Protestantism made the necks in the pew in front of you grow deep purple, and the whole service meant such an explosive mid-day dinner table that it remains in your memory like a nightmare.

The wider community sat up and took notice when, within a few months of Marson’s arrival, he entertained an aboriginal to tea. The colony’s treatment of the Queen’s aboriginal subjects was a source of grief and outrage to him. “Constant massacres and venality and contempt”, he believed, had left the blacks with “Their tribal organisation broken up, their game all killed, their lands annexed … their sons made slaves of, and all by people who talk about the love of Christ and profess piety”. At a service for Missionary Sunday. he “got wild and said just what came uppermost – reproach, jest, entreaty and appeal” before a congregation which “hung on the words, were impressed, but angry”. “God grant”, he noted afterwards, “It may stir some of the audience to a more chivalrous participation in the Catholic life – of rebellion and reconstruction”.

Further attention was attracted by Marson’s delivering a paper on the defects of State education, which astonished his fellow members of the colonial clergy “by the freedom of the utterances, the unconventionality of the diction and the unexpected smartness of the arguments”. “Stuffing machines for the poor and for their instructors”, Marson argued, were separated by “a great gulf’ from “universities and their training schools for the rich”. Their teachers, in his view, were “pitiable creatures whose minds have been banged into official dullness by blinding showers of rules, codes and regulations”. The “utter badness palmed off on the poor”, was evident, as he saw it, in a course of study where “all subjects requiring most thought and nimbleness of wits come last, ie. educationally the list is upside down”. The measures required to remedy the situation included, he believed, “state-paid education from top to bottom”, such as would “draw into State schools all the more thoughtful parents, and would set such parents zealously struggling to better national education” and “fuse classes and give the unity between men which it effects in Switzerland”; abolition of “the mischievous system of payment by results” in favour of putting “casual, constant and unexpected visits by examiners in the place of the formal fiasco now endured”; and the introduction of gymnasia, music and gardening or swimming into every school.

The appearance of this material in the columns of the Advertiser prompted a flood of replies, and Marson was encouraged to give expression to further strongly held opinions. One subsequent polemic – defending the good name of barmaids – showed a greater familiarity with hotel interiors than might have been expected among clerical circles in Adelaide, while a second attempted in similarly trenchant terms “to give a death blow to that Puritanism which induced and induces parents to give their children only what are known as ‘good’ books to read on the seventh day, and justified the playing of a game of cricket or tennis after church”.

Radical opinion in the colony initially regarded Marson with reserve, and was quick to pounce when his name appeared in an English church periodical, over an article which was construed as conveying that “Our public life is corrupt, our buildings are shoddy, our youths are pale, slight and undisciplined, our birds are songless, our flowers scentless”. The summary if anything understated Marson’s initial distaste for his new surroundings. A letter to his fiancée read in part; “Private life is hideous and hypocritical. The largest profession of piety is allowed to be made by people of equally large and equally open profligacy”. Time, however, gave rise to a mellowing on both sides, such that a handsome apology on behalf of the radicals was offered over the signature of “Quiz”, in the journal of the same name: There is, for instance, the boisterous parson – an assertive and dogmatical creature, who rams his opinions down your throat willy-nilly. Shall I confess that I at one time believed you to belong to this objectionable class? Then there is the sensational parson who adopts the extremist methods of advertising himself and his work, and I am ashamed to own that I was once inclined to consider you a sensationalist. I was mistaken.

Marson’s clerical superiors were less forgiving. “Tiring”, as it is said, “of the strain of working with a curate who always seemed to be in hot water”, the rector of St Jude’s, Canon French, declined to renew his appointment when it expired in June, 1891. Nor was his subsequent passage at St Oswald’s in Parkside necessarily any less stormy. ‘Quiz’ reported on 17 July, 1891, that “He has already so shocked many of the Low Church people of the community that several vow they will not enter the place of worship again so long as he is in the pulpit”. “The great points in dispute”, the report continued, were “the lighting of candles and the number and depth of reverence of the bows made by the new pastor”. Marson’s religious obligations in other respects were taken no more lightly. A Kent Town Literary Society meeting, where he was to lecture, took place in a Wesleyan church hall and commenced with a prayer from its president, who was also the Wesleyan incumbent. Marson demurred. As a priest, he pointed out later, he was “quite willing to dance, eat, drink, run and walk with Turks, Jews, infidels and heretics”, but he could not pray with them.

LUCY AND JAMES MORICE

Meanwhile, Marson was befriended by Lucy and James Morice. Lucy was the niece and constant companion of the influential writer, preacher, reformer and feminist, Kate Spence. Her formative years were shaped powerfully by the Unitarian faith and radical politics of the immediate and extended family circles, and on 20 March, 1886 she became the bride of a fellow radical, in the newly-appointed Librarian of the South Australian Parliament, James Morice, who had worked as a clerk for the South Australian Survey and Crown Lands Department following his arrival in the colony from Britain in 1877. The Unitarian service at the family home in Glenelg marked the beginning of a long-lasting, mutually-supportive and socially constructive partnership in the best tradition of such other notable Fabian couples as the Webbs, the Shaws, the Peases, the Wallases and the Oliviers. The Morices were on visiting terms with Marson and his wife, Clotilda, following their marriage on 20 May, 1890 – where Marson’s composer friend and future fellow London Fabian, Cecil Sharp, served as best man – and it may well be that their embracing of the Fabian cause resulted directly from Marson’s influence. It was a source of pride to Lucy that, as she once told an interviewer, “In our home we have almost every printed line of Shaw”. She and James were natural co-founders for the Fabian Society which Marson’s scrutiny of his new political environment now convinced him was necessary and practicable, and James became its secretary.

THE LABOUR SCENE

Marson’s arrival in South Australia coincided with a watershed in the affairs of the colony’s labour movement. Hitherto, carriage of the political activities of the United Trades and Labour Council had largely rested with the Parliamentary Committee established by the U.T.L.C. as a means of lobbying and disseminating publicity in 1885. A platform – including payment of M.P.s; protection for protective, not revenue purposes; increase in the current land tax; extension of employers liability to merchant seamen; introduction of a factory and workshops act; and a mining on property act – was adopted by the U.T.L.C. at the Committee’s recommendation on 21 January, 1887, and consideration was given by the Committee as early as 1886 to the U.T.L.C.’s raising funds for the support of direct working class representation in parliament. Meanwhile, at the 1887 and 1890 Legislative Assembly elections, U.T.L.C. support was directed to such liberals as broadly endorsed its platform.

The passage of legislation providing for payment of M.P.s for a single parliament in 1887, and its extension on a permanent basis in 1890, together with the defeat of the 1890 maritime strike and the rise of the mass “new unionism” of relatively unskilled workers, played catalytic roles in effectively ruling off the earlier era, and a meeting convened by the U.T.L.C. at the Selborne Hotel, Pirie Street, Adelaide, on 7 January 1891 agreed that a Legislative Council Elections Committee – which shortly became the Council of the United Labor Party of South Australia – should be established.

Committee members included the Parliamentary Committee of the U.T.L.C., together with the secretaries of the Maritime, Building and Iron Trades Councils, the South Australian Democratic Club, the German Workingmen’s Association and the North Adelaide Workingmen’s Social and Patriotic Association. Election funds were raised, and a plebiscite of members of committee affiliates selected a slate of three candidates – Charleston, Guthrie and A.A. Kirkpatrick – of whom at least two Charleston and Guthrie – were, as has been seen, shortly to become prominent South Australian Fabian Society activists.

The election of all three candidates – characterised by some as the “Labor Wedge” – to the Council at the May, 1891, elections marked the parliamentary debut of the U.L.P. A meeting to select U.L.P. candidates for the 1893 Assembly elections was convened on 11 July, 1891, by the secretary of the Legislative Council Elections Committee, McPherson – a figure broadly representative of the senior unionists who shortly became Marson’s key associates and the Fabian Society’s most effective members.

MACPHERSON

Macpherson was also perhaps unique in the number of the labour movement’s most senior political and industrial offices which he was able to occupy simultaneously. At the height of his career, he was president of his union – the South Australian Typographical Society – secretary of the U.T.L.C., secretary of the U.L.P. and chairman of the Parliamentary Labor Party. His towering stature in the movement’s eyes was encapsulated by the colleague who commented at the time of his death from cancer in 1897: “We have lost our best general, and the place he has filled with such conspicuous ability for so many years in labour circles cannot be readily filled”. A second colleague mourned that “The worry of parliamentary life, added to the pain of observing so much distress prevailing all round him and his inability to alleviate it in the way he would have liked, preyed upon his mind more than anyone could have imagined”.

Further attributes which predisposed him to the Fabian cause were reflected in his role, as chairman of the Co-operative Printing and Publishing Company, in the establishment of the U.L.P. newspaper, the Weekly Herald; his membership of the State Children’s Council; and his secretaryship of the Working Women’s Trade Union, where, it is said, “when told of the death of their guide, philosopher and friend on Monday, the grief of many of them found expression in tears”. It may well have been in these latter two capacities that he first met the Morices, who were likewise active in feminist and child welfare circles. His last days were lightened by the success of the campaign against further alienation of Crown land which had been among his major pre-occupations in parliament, and the parting words attributed to him were “Tell the boys to pull together”. The sentiment aptly summarises the path on which Marson had set the South Australian Fabian Society six years earlier.

MARSON’S VIEW

McPherson’s 1891 Assembly pre-selection meeting was followed within weeks by the Marson’s inauguration of the South Australian Fabian Society. The timing was prompted, it seems, by a strong view on his part about the course the U.L.P. should follow, and the dangers to which it was likely to be exposed. A letter, which appeared subsequently over his signature in the Church Reformer, read in part that middle-class socialists “are only half-washed from bourgeois slush, and if we do not keep quite clear of the mud-bath, we soon end by wallowing again in dirty contentment, amid the approving grunts of our friends and relatives”. “Since we want working-class legislation”, the letter continued, “we had better get, as soon as we can, working-class legislators, and since we want Socialist legislation, we had better get Socialist legislators”. It followed that Marson’s whole thrust and purpose in bringing the Society to birth was to develop legislators who were both working-class and socialist – a view, needless to say, which totally contravened the London Society outlook, and would have been stoutly resisted by such “Old Gang” London Society members as Webb and Shaw.

The U.L.P. had at the same time to be preserved from entanglement with the liberals, who were dismissed in the Church Reformer letter as “quite as opposed to Socialism as the Tories, and only differing from the latter by possessing simulation and adroitness”. Consistent with this view, the U.L.P.’s deciding that endorsement for public office should be restricted to such candidates as were “eligible to become a member of a trade or labour society, which trade or labour society is eligible to become affiliated with the U.T.L.C.” caused him no difficulty. “No one else can be trusted, just at present, to grapple with our plutocratic society”, the Church Reformer was informed categorically, because “no one else knows so well where the boot of poverty pinches the toe of labour”. “The Australian Fabian Society has from the first widely gone in for labour members”, Marson concluded proudly, “and it is reaping the reward of its honesty by a far greater proportional power”.

Here too Marson was at variance with his erstwhile London colleagues, who in many instances preferred the Society to eschew unionist contacts, in order to retain its distinctive character and strength.

THE UNIONIST FABIANS

Macpherson, Charleston, Guthrie, Archibald and Price apart, the uniquely high proportion of unionists recruited by Marson for the South Australian Society included labour movement luminaries of the stature of George Henry Buttery, the Adelaide bookseller who, prior to his arriving in Australia, had sat beside Marx and Engels as a fellow delegate to the Council of International Workingmen’s Association. All six were born in Britain; reached South Australia as expatriates at the height of the home country’s depression of the ‘seventies and ‘eighties; rose rapidly through the ranks of what were mostly craft unions, in a period of relative prosperity; and – with the exception of Buttery – became highly-regarded members of parliament. Buttery, Charleston and Archibald were Englishmen, born respectively in 1839, 1848 and 1850, as were Guthrie and Macpherson Scotchmen born respectively in 1857 and 1860, and Price a Welshman born in 1853. Buttery arrived in South Australia in 1877, as did Guthrie in 1878, Macpherson and Archibald in 1882, Price in 1883 and Charleston in 1884.

Macpherson, as has been seen, became president of the South Australian Typographical Society, secretary of the U.T.L.C., founding secretary of the U.L.P. and chairman of the Parliamentary U.L.P.; as did Charleston an Amalgamated Society of Engineers U.T.L.C. delegate and U.T.L.C. president; Guthrie South Australian Secretary and Federal Secretary of the Federated Seamen’s Union of Australasia, founder secretary-treasurer of the Federated Council of Australasian Labor Unions, a Seamen’s Union U.T.L.C. delegate and U.T.L.C. president; Price secretary of the Stonecutters’ Union, a Stonecutters’ Union U.T.L.C. delegate and Premier of South Australia; Buttery a United Furniture Trade Society U.T.L.C. delegate and U.T.L.C. president; and Archibald an Executive member of the Railway Service Mutual Association.

Macpherson and Price saw parliamentary service in the Legislative Assembly, as did Archibald in the Assembly and the House of Representatives, and Charleston and Guthrie in the Legislative Council and the Senate. Archibald became a federal Minister. So impressive a concentration of the cream of South Australia’s trade union leadership recalls the accolade coined in another context by the British Social Democratic Federation leader, H.M. Hyndman – “as promising and capable a set of men as ever threw in their lot with an advanced movement”.

THE SOUTH AUSTRALIAN FABIAN SOCIETY

Marson and the Morices launched the South Australian Society in 1891, with an initial membership of seven. Within a year, a number of those involved also became members of the parent body in Britain, and further recruits in the broad London Fabian mould of middle-class salariat socialism joined from parliamentary, municipal, church and feminist circles.

A report delivered to the Society by Marson on 16 April, 1892, disclosed that numbers had grown to thirty-seven, while in the first six months of the Society’s existence four Tracts had been published and sixteen lectures delivered in Adelaide and its suburbs. The forty-six members who made up the Society at the time of its 1893 Annual General Meeting included two municipal councillors and four M.P.s.

The Working Women’s Trade Union rooms at Victoria Square West provided a venue for regular monthly meetings which were held throughout 1892 and 1893, while in 1892 there were local groups of Society members among the large working-class populations at Port Pirie and Port Augusta The first of the Society’s pamphlets – an adaptation of the London Society’s Tract No. 13 What Socialism Is – was in print as a separate publication by October 1891, after appearing initially as an article in the Pioneer.

The issuing of What Socialism Is as “South Australian Branch Fabian Society’s Tracts – No. 1.” raises interesting questions about when and how the London Society’s policy of never acknowledging branches of itself outside the British Isles was adopted. The South Australian Society was almost certainly the first Fabian body other than in Britain, preceding as it did the Bombay Fabian Society of 1892, and it is at least likely that the issue of whether branches were to be accorded recognition had at the time neither been foreseen nor addressed. In such circumstances, branch status may have been approved unilaterally by the London secretary, Pease, through an executive decision independent of the Executive.

Alternatively, Marson may have interpreted agreement by the London Society to the South Australians’ adapting and re-publishing its pamphlets as an implicit conferral of branch status, or adopted it arbitrarily, on the basis of his “special relationship” with the relatively few London activists who were his seniors in the Society. Irrespective of which explanation is correct, the use of the attribution “South Australian Fabian Society” for subsequent titles suggests strongly that the situation was promptly regretted and rectified, and the general anathema on overseas branches may well have applied as of that date.

The South Australians, however, were said to have “plenty of cash”, and a postscript to What Socialism Is announced accordingly that “Copies of the ‘Fabian Essays’ will be sent gratis to any Institute, Public Library or other institution applying to the Hon. Secretary”. A year later there were reports that “five or six (members) are constantly lecturing on Socialism and similar subjects”. Marson himself apart, the lecturers included an indefatigable Congregational Church minister, the Reverend J. Reed Glasson, and the Wesleyan Reverend G.E. Rowe. The 9 July, 1892, issue of the Pioneer noted that “There are very few men in Australia more capable of expounding Socialism or more conversant with socialist thought than Mr. Glasson”, and Glasson was zealous in living up to its accolade. A lecture on “The Progress and Position of Socialism” which he delivered for the Unley and Parkside Branch of the Single Tax League on 7 June 1892 was followed by a series of six addresses on “Christian Socialism”, which included as topics “The Twofold Mission of Christ”, “The Awakening of the Churches”, “Problems of Poverty”, “Socialism Christian and non-Christian”, “Competition and Co-operation” and “Incentives and Rewards”, while on 1 December 1892 he was reported as speaking at Port Pirie on “Socialism. What It Is and Is Not”. Coverage of his remarks on the latter occasion took up four and a half columns of the Port Pirie Advocate.

Rowe, for his part, had no hesitation in telling the congregation of the Wesleyan Church at Prospect in February the same year that the triumph of the U.L.P. meant the downfall of “individual mammonism” and “the rise of a new social era”, and also lectured for a number of trade unions on “The New Crusade”. Nor were Marson, Glasson and Rowe the only Adelaide clergymen of the day who were willing to speak out in favour of single tax or socialist thought. The Reverend S. Fairey, the Reverend James Bickford, the Reverend A.C. Sutherland, the Reverend J. Day Thompson and the Reverend A.N. McDonald were reported by the Pioneer between June and December, 1892, as bearing witness publicly to the socialist implications of the Christian message, and may well in some cases have followed the example of their colleagues Marson, Glasson and Rowe, in becoming Fabian Society members.

A further regular speaker for the Society was A.W. Rayment, a tailor from Kapunda. The Pioneer numbered Rayment among its most prolific contributors, and regularly carried advertisements for his pamphlets, The Rights of Labor and The Phenomenon of Interest. Addresses by Rayment such as those on “Compensation” at the Democratic Club on 20 September 1891, and on “The Rights of Labor and How to Obtain Them” for the Adelaide Branch of the Single Tax League the following night were punctuated by more sustained efforts such as a prolonged and spirited controversy with the Melbourne Georgist Max Hirsch in the Pioneer and the lecture series on “Land, Labor, Capital and Co-operation” which he gave for the Fabian Society over the three successive nights of 5, 6 and 7 March 1892, respectively, at Marson’s St. Oswald’s Schoolrooms in Parkside, the Democratic Club and the Norwood Town Hall. Later the same year, the topics and speakers for successive monthly meetings of the Society at the Women’s Trade Union Rooms were on 2 July a discussion of the first Fabian essay, on 6 August Charleston on “Exchange, Value and Wages”, on 3 September Guthrie on “Land Taxation”, on 1 October Guthrie on “Wages”, on 5 November the Society’s Annual General Meeting and on 6 December Guthrie for the third time in four months, again on “Wages”. Speakers who addressed the Society in 1893 included W.H. Pope on “Capitalism”, Buttery on “The Social Outlook”, Archibald on “Referendum”, Glasson on “Some Thoughts on the Growing Unrest”, Rayment on “The Unemployed Problem” and Charleston on “Aims of the Fabian Society”.

The presidency was taken over at the Annual General Meeting on 5 November 1892 by Guthrie, and the Society participated vigorously in Labor’s campaign at the 1893 House of Assembly elections, where Archibald’s seat was won. Elections were also the subject of three of the Society’s seven Tracts – South Australian Tract No. 2 Questions for Parliamentary Candidates 1892, Tract No. 4 Questions for Candidates for Municipal Office and Tract No. 5 Questions for Parliamentary Candidates – which were all adaptations of London Fabian Society Tracts with similar titles, as was a later unnumbered publication Vote! Vote! Vote! Nor was Archibald’s seat the only reward which the Society received for its efforts. The Annual Report for the year ended January, 1894, noted that “quite a number of Fabians were successful at the poll in the elections for the House of Assembly in April, and in no single instance was there a failure”, while “In municipal matters our propaganda is beginning to be felt, and in several municipalities our program is all but accepted”.

LAND

While the principles and goals of the South Australian Fabian Society reflected in most respects those of the parent body in Britain, there was also a distinctively local flavour. Radical politics in South Australia had always been coloured heavily by the colony’s experience of the Wakefield colonisation plan. Wakefield and his followers – who opened up South Australia – had the belief that land in new colonies should be offered for sale at a price which made sure that the buyers were men of substance. It followed, they held, that the poorer newcomers, who were unsuccessful in gaining land, would be available as a labour force for the landowners. In the event, matters turned out otherwise. Most of the land sales in South Australia were to absentee rentiers, whose efforts to develop their holdings were minimal. As a result much of the landless workforce found itself impoverished consistently by chronic unemployment and underemployment. The bitterness thus engendered was explicit in the opening paragraph of What Socialism Is, which noted that: We have already parted with eight and a half millions of acres, and so absolutely have we thereby delivered ourselves over bound hand and foot into the hands of these landowners that 66 absentees hold no less than £2,377,016 worth of land in the City of Adelaide alone, and their permission is required before we may build or live thereon … Out of every 64 persons in the colony, 56 are disinherited and own no land, while only one in 64 owns more than £1000 worth.

Alienation of land, together with monopoly ownership of industrial plant and privileged access to education, were seen by the South Australian Fabians as underpinning a great inequality which owed nothing to “personal merit or demerit”:
What do you think of it? An ordinary man thinks it is bad and unjust and cruel. If you are rich you perhaps think it is a good thing that it fosters emulation and enterprise, and prevents things from stagnating at a dead level. If you are poor, or know anything of your neighbours, you know well that it fosters only despair, recklessness and brutality among the very poor; meanness, envy and snobbery among the middle classes; arrogance, wastefulness and callousness among the rich. Great poverty means disease and ugliness, drunkenness and violence, stunted bodies and darkened minds. Great riches means flunkeyism and folly, insolence and servility, too often bad example, false standards of worth, and the destruction of all incentive to noble and useful work in those who could best educate themselves for it. Great poverty and great riches side by side mean the perversion of industry to the production of frippery and luxury, while wholesomeness and useful foods and clothes and dwellings are not possessed by all; while education, music and the arts, learning and refinement are apt to be left out of the count.

What Socialism Is argued that the remedy was for socialists to “try to get the land and machinery made the property of the whole people, to free all education, and to secure the whole product of his work to the worker”. Socialism, the pamphlet asserted confidently, could be brought about by constitutional and parliamentary means: Parliaments, with all their faults, have always well served the class of the majority of their members. The English House of Commons saved the country gentlemen well before 1832. Since then it has served the capitalists and employers, who won a majority at the Reform Bill, and our Parliament has faithfully served the squatters and the speculators and the rich traders in turn. It will serve the workers equally well if they choose.

SOCIALISM

These themes were taken up again in the Society’s Tract No.3, Some Objections to Socialism Considered in the Light of Common Sense. This Tract appeared initially in the Pioneer between 6 February and 5 March 1892 as a three-part series over the by-line of “A Member of the S.A. Fabian Society “. It was the Tract’s view that socialism no longer had to contend generally with religious objections, since the churches had begun to realise – “rather late in the day” – that the Christian message obligated them to “at least inquire into any means suggested for the amelioration of the lot of the toiling and starving millions”. Instead, the Tract singled out first, as “one of the commonest and silliest” objections to socialism, “the belief of “superficial people” that “Socialism is a system devised without a proper consideration of human nature; and that the natural depravity and selfishness of the people must render it unworkable”. In fact, it was argued, the reverse was the case, with socialism being needed precisely in order to curb “that very depravity and selfishness”, so that: The selfish person who wishes to heap up riches for himself, or to collect more than he has rightly earned, will not have, as now, all the Powers of the earth, the law courts, the police and if necessary the soldiery, enlisted in his service, though paid by the whole people. On the contrary, he will have everyone in the community against him, because it will be in every one’s interest that no one else shall get more than his share of the good things, and that he does his fair share of work in return.

A second objection to socialism identified in the Tract was that it would stop progress and take away the incentive for hard work “because everyone will be so happy and comfortable that no one will want to improve his own or the world’s lot any more”. This was refuted by the Tract, on the grounds that fame and job satisfaction had greater importance than wealth as motivators for work, creativity and progress, while “the smart businessman’s capacity is woefully wasted now, for instead of being used for the perfecting of the supply of goods to the people it is simply used to get as much out of the transfer of goods from the producer to the consumer as possible, and often absolutely in preventing a full supply when the goods are required”. Finally, the Tract highlighted a third objection to socialism in the contention that socialist enterprises such as the post office and the railways could not be made to pay, which was rejected because, in the Tract’s view, any surplus of earnings over expenses represented a withholding of a part of the labour value involved, from workers or consumers. It was the Tract’s conclusion that, when all the objections to socialism “are once looked fairly and square in the face in the light of reason and common humanity, they immediately wither up and show themselves for what they are – inconsequent fallacies only fit to be consigned to the limbo of unmasked bogies and exploded superstitions”.

A further re-statement of the South Australian Fabian position was set out in the address on ‘The Rights of Man; and How to Obtain Them’ which Rayment delivered to the Adelaide Branch of the Single Tax League on 21 September 1891 and later had distributed as a Pioneer article and a privately-printed pamphlet. Rayment saw the root of society’s troubles in the fact that “Under our present social arrangements a working man, unless it be an exceptional case, does not get what he earns; the remainder goes to swell the incomes of those who earn little or nothing”. This was morally wrong, in his view, because “No matter whether it be the portion of wealth which is intended for consumption or the other portion of which is intended for production, it is labour that produces it, and it is labour that is the rightful owner”. Moreover, Rayment believed, the practical consequences in terms of overproduction – and therefore unemployment – were disastrous”. “What is called overproduction is not overproduction at all; it is underpay. The value which a working man gives in his labour is greater than the value he receives in the shape of wages; hence the increasing stocks on the one hand and the deficiency of purchasing power on the other”. These considerations led him to argue strongly for “State Socialism”, which he saw as a situation where: The instruments of production and exchange, instead of being owned by separate individuals or separate companies of individuals competing against each other to the injury of all concerned, are thus owned by the State, that is to say, by the people collectively, and the stocks as they are produced are distributed by the State, not for profit but for use and convenience. Instead of things being made to sell, they will be made because people want them, and the quantity produced will be regulated by the demand.

The Society’s point was rammed home finally by reproducing in full in each of its pamphlets the Basis adopted by the London Fabians in 1887, with its eloquent opening passage “The Society consists of Socialists. It therefore aims at the re-organisation of Society by the emancipation of Land and industrial Capital from individual and class ownership, and vesting of them in the community for the general benefit”. Marson, for his part, was unequivocal. In his address to the South Australian Society on 6 April, 1892, he advised its members to be vigilant against “quack nostrums for the social disease”, in whose number he included “especially any measures that may be, and probably will be, brought forward with a view to bursting up monopolies”. It was his strong view that, as evolutionary socialists, Fabians should concentrate on capturing monopolies for the good of the community as a whole, in preference to the killing off of them, which he condemned as a “reactionary step”.

ELECTIONS

The measures which the South Australian Fabians saw as edging society in the direction of socialism were set out in the pledges which their election Tracts sought from candidates for parliamentary and municipal office. Questions for Parliamentary Candidates – Tract No. 2 – pressed for graduation of Income Tax and Death Duties and the abolition of duties on tea, cocoa, coffee and kerosine. Land, the Tract argued, should be nationalised, along with mines and the manufacture of major items for State use, such as locomotives and water pipes, while gas, electricity and the tramways should be taken into municipal ownership.

Municipalities, in the Tract’s view should also be empowered to own markets, build rental housing and compulsorily acquire land for letting out as small tenancies and allotments. A statutory eight hour working day was advocated, as was a Liens Act to protect workingmen’s wages, a Workshop and Factory Act, legislation restricting the employment of children in industrial occupations, the use of day labour by public authorities in preference to employment of contractors, the offer of publicly-funded scholarships and the introduction of age pensions.

Electorally, the Tract favoured enfranchisement of women, proportional representation voting, £50 candidature deposits, the abolitions of the Legislative Council and, in its place, provision for the holding of referenda. Questions for Candidates for Municipal Office – Tract No. 4 – sought, in addition, employment by municipalities of enough inspectorial staff to adequately enforce laws for the sanitation of houses, workrooms and factories; electric lighting of streets; night meetings of Councils so that working people could take part in their proceedings; and the inclusion of particulars of municipal receipts and expenditure in Annual Reports distributed by Councils at the lowest possible price. The second, Questions for Parliamentary Candidates – Tract No. 5 – added to these demands the establishment of State farms to absorb the unemployed; opposition to the Land Grant principle for construction of railways, harbours and other public works; and the raising of Council revenues by taxation of the unimproved capital value of land.

Vote! Vote! Vote! – circulated at the time of the 1893 Legislative Assembly elections – introduced as further requirements opposition to “the influx of Aliens, such as Syrians, Afghans, Chinese and other Asiatics, into the Province”, a State Bank of issue; and a system of State Insurance. This unnumbered Tract was introduced disingenuously with the claim that “This is an Election leaflet; but it is not a Party leaflet. It applies to you, no matter what your politics are. It does not ask you to vote for any particular candidate, but only to use your vote somehow”. “Choose your side according to your conscience”, the Tract continued, “And strike the one blow that the law allows you”. An appropriate concluding note was struck with the query “How will you feel if you neglect to vote, and find, the day after the poll, that the candidate who best represents your interests is beaten by one vote?”.

SINGLE TAXERS

Leading South Australian Fabians like McPherson, Guthrie, Charleston and Archibald were as much at home on Single Tax League platforms as on those of the Society itself, recalling, as will be seen, the association of numbers of their London counterparts with Henry George, and their involvement, early on, in Single Tax groups such as the Land Reform Union. For some of them, indeed, no clear or practical distinction between the philosophies and aims of the respective movements could have been seen to exist. Nor was the cordiality one-sided. The arrival of Fabian Essays in Socialism from Britain in the second half of 1891 drew from the Pioneer the accolade that “This collection of essays and lectures represents the principles, aims and purposes of the modern Socialistic school of reformers in such a way as to disarm all factious opposition”. It was further the view of the Pioneer that “A tone calm and dispassionate, a humanitarian spirit of noble endeavour combined with sound logical reasoning and treatment will make these essays a valuable addition to the library of every student of social science”. The Fabian Society members who spoke at Single Tax League meetings, and in turn were themselves addressed by Single Taxers, likewise were made welcome in the columns of the Pioneer, where Society Tracts such as Some Objections to Socialism first made their appearance. Further hospitality on the part of the Pioneer was extended for protracted controversies which involved Fabians, including Rayment’s exchange of polemics with Hirsch in 1892.

Even so, not all Single Taxers and Socialists were on such amicable terms, nor was the relationship between their respective organisations always easy. On one hand, some Single Taxers – including Henry George – saw lurking behind socialism “spectral horrors of State regimentation”. On the other hand, in the eyes of some Fabians, the Single Taxers themselves constituted simply a socialist sub-set, whose development had in some unaccountable manner been arrested, so that they were unable to countenance any form of nationalisation over and above that of land.

In practical terms, the differences between the two schools of thought, as they existed at the time in South Australia, were inconsequential. The programme to whose advocacy the Pioneer committed itself in its issue for 11 July, 1891 resembled virtually in every significant respect that which was promulgated subsequently in South Australian Fabian Society tracts and other publications. This included – in addition to “Nationalisation of Land by gradually increasing the Tax on all Unimproved Land Values, and the general abolition of all Taxes on Thrift and Industry – such Fabian pre-occupations as “Nationalisation and working of all such branches of industry which are in their nature now or may someday become monopolies, viz, Railways, Post and Telegraphs, National Irrigation and Waterworks, Harbors, Mines and Forests, etc.”, together with adult compulsory education; social security, and the municipalisation of gas, markets, waterworks and tramways. The realpolitik of the Fabians in determining their relationship with a movement which at that stage commanded a following larger by far than their own received eloquent expression in a letter which the Pioneer published on 17 September, 1892, over the signature of “A Fabian Socialist”. The letter concluded: “Let us then – Socialists and Single Taxers – brothers in the sacred cause of God and Humanity – unite our forces and fight shoulder to shoulder against all the powers of evil which unvanquished, will inevitably wreck our civilisation”.

PARLIAMENTARY PERFORMANCE

No such outcome eventuated. Not only did the Fabians and Single Taxers remain divided, but the former failed to make the most of such opportunities for moving in the direction of socialism as were offered to them. While the Society’s unionist core were a formidable sextet, whose phase of Fabian activism was undertaken when their influence within the industrial movement was at its zenith, their fervour waned rapidly once they were in parliament. Irrespective of whether they ultimately turned their backs on the labour movement – like Charleston after a fracas with Price in 1897, and Archibald and Guthrie over conscription in 1916 – or held high office on its behalf like Price, they gave rise to little legislation which could not equally well have originated with Kingston’s liberals, or the British liberals their London counterparts still hoped to permeate.

Their parliamentary careers were seen out innocent of any action which could be construed as advancing the reconstruction of the social order along socialist lines. Guthrie introduced the Marine Board and Navigation Bill 1891, the Marine Board Bill 1894, the Tramways Bill 1895, the Merchant Seamen Bill 1896, the Boiler Explosions Bill 1896, and the Steam Boiler Bill 1897 – as did Archibald bills dealing with free libraries, money-lending, workers compensation and rent – but these measures were all indistinguishable for ideological purposes from the legislation of the ministries of Kingston and earlier liberal leaders. Archibald – perhaps the group’s most effective parliamentary performer – was a member of six commissions and select committees, while Charleston sat on select committees on legislation for the duplication of a private tramway between Adelaide and Unley, and on the unemployment problem, as did Guthrie and Macpherson on a shops and factories investigation committee, where, in the view of some, they were successful to a degree in moderating the views of their more conservative colleagues.

It is held similarly that, in the case of the Chinese Immigration Restriction Act 1891, the Education Act 1891, the Conciliation Act 1894 and the Factories Act 1894, “the U.L.P. vote, giving added strength to the liberal bloc in the Legislative Council, was the force without which neither would have been passed”, but these were government measures, of a purely liberal origin and nature. Far from foreshadowing the capture of monopolies which Marson advocated – or their killing off, which he feared – such references to socialism as occurred in parliamentary debate were of so general a character as to amount to no more than “philanthropy by the State, mutual assistance by its individual members, equality of opportunity for all, moderation, “gradualism” and a certain readiness to compromise”. Price in a sense spoke for the group as a whole, when, at a London business dinner in 1908, he “confessed to certain changes of opinion, and went so far as to say that he was not so radical as he used to be and that in London he does not know what his politics are”.

DEMISE

Marson was by then for all practical purposes forgotten. He returned to Britain in the second half of 1892, a victim of the asthma which was to bring his life to its tragically premature end twenty years later. “To desert the post seems treason”, he noted prior to his departure, “but after all one must look for signs of Divine guidance and these beckon me away”. The Society he had created only briefly survived his severance from its affairs. The London Society’s Fabian News recorded in May, 1893, how “At the annual meeting of the London Society the record of the progress and activity of the South Australian Fabian Society was received with much applause “. Fourteen months later, in July, 1894, there was a further reference to “this flourishing society”, but in the London Society’s 1896 Annual Report it figured only as “one of two Fabian Societies in Australia, of which we have no recent news”. The last recorded action by the Society appears to have been the re-publication of its 1892 leaflet “Land Values Assessment Bill (Part XIX)” as Tract No. 7 in 1895, and its winding-up was effectively finalised in 1902, by the London parent body’s discontinuing the memberships of Guthrie, Pearson, Baker, Bickford and James Morice on the grounds of their failure to respond to a series of three subscription reminders.

The outcome was not altogether surprising. The inroads of the “new unionism” were less marked in South Australia than in colonies such as Victoria or New South Wales, with the result that liberalism remained more deeply entrenched, and the adoption of the socialist cause by such unionists as Guthrie and Charleston flew to a greater degree in the face of the conventional wisdom and peer group pressure of their predominantly craft union parent bodies and fellow U.T.L.C. members. A certain hostility to any form of departure from political orthodoxy was evident in the fact that Charleston was forced to step down prematurely from the U.T.L.C. presidency in December, 1889, in part on the grounds of his Single Tax sympathies, while the defeat of J.N. Birks as a U.L.P. candidate at the 1894 Legislative Council elections similarly was attributed by some to his being a Single Taxer, and used to justify the re-imposition of arrangements which limited U.L.P. pre-selection to candidates from organisations which were eligible to affiliate with the U.T.L.C.. An attempt to bring within the U.L.P. the propaganda and political education functions which had hitherto largely been performed by the Fabian Society may well have been implicit in the establishment of a party newspaper, the Weekly Herald in 1894. Most of all, the unionist Fabians increasingly found themselves over-extended as parliamentarians and party activists, by the fact that, while the U.L.P. had been incomparably the most successful of South Australia’s political groupings in mobilising an extra-parliamentary organisation for campaign purposes in the early ‘nineties, this advantage had long since been diminished by its political adversaries’ adopting its example, and, in some instances, perhaps improving on it. Like the Red Queen in Alice Through the Looking Glass, the U.L.P. found itself obliged to run faster and faster at elections, as much for the sake of retaining past gains as for making new ones, and the energies its Fabian members were able to devote to the Society’s affairs were correspondingly reduced. Macpherson was seen by his contemporaries as having literally worked and worried himself into an early grave.

The unionists’ pullingback from the Society – on top of Marson’s departure – may well have had a demoralising effect on the Society’s more middle-class members, which was perhaps reflected by Lucy Morice’s transferring her involvement to the Women’s League, which she founded in conjunction with Kate Spence for the education of women as citizens, in July, 1895. The South Australian Fabian Society could thrive in the face of adverse factors so long as Marson’s charisma was available to support it, but declined steadily once his presence was withdrawn.

Marson’s outstanding achievement remains that he, to a far greater extent than the other expatriate London Society members who established Fabian bodies in the Australian colonies and states between 1890 and 1910, was able to think laterally, along lines which would have been seen as heretical by many of his erstwhile London associates. It was his clear understanding that such success as attempts to bring about a reconstruction of Australia along socialist lines might hope to achieve would depend wholly on the labour movement’s being solidly behind them; and such class complications as might attend relationships between middle-class radicals and labour activists could be overcome. The South Australian Society was therefore designed primarily to win to the Fabian cause as many as possible of the U.T.L.C.’s leading identities, and involve them actively in socialist advocacy. The Society was likewise to be seen as embracing the U.T.L.C. and U.L.P. platforms, as was evidenced by the pamphlets in its Questions for Candidates series, and campaigning actively in their support, as is implied by its annual reports. The failure of subsequent Fabian ventures, in the more propitious political and industrial climate of Victoria, to embody a similar approach and principles was to exact a heavy price.

__________________________________________

_ Reckitt , Loc. Cit. p. 89.
_ Ibid, p. 94.
_ Practical Socialist, February, 1886. “The card for Rev. C.L. Marson
records that he joined the Society in November, 1885. He undertook to
pay 5/- a year. This he did regularly until 1900, then, in 1903, he paid
10/- to cover the previous four years. He reverted to his previous
subscription until 1912, when he reduced it to 4/-. The following year he
paid the same, but wrote that he had to resign owing to the feminisation
of the Society”. Pugh. Op. Cit.
_ Reckitt M.B. Maurice to Temple: A Century of the Social Movement in
the Church of England. Faber and Faber Limited, London, 1947. p. 148.
_ Ibid, pp. 141, 138.
_ Binyon G.C. The Christian Socialist Movement in England. Society for
Promoting Christian Knowledge, London, 1931. p. 171.
_ Ibid. p. 172.
_ Reckitt, Op. Cit., p. 148.
_ Binyon, Op. Cit., p. 172.
_ Marson C.L. Quoted in Reckitt, Loc. Cit., p. 94.
_ Etherington Rev. F.M. Unpublished biography of Marson. Quoted in
Reckitt, Loc. Cit., p. 101. The manuscript has been located recently, and
a typescript is being prepared at the instigation of Hugh Anderson, whose
assistance with information about Marson and Clotilda Bayne I gratefully
acknowledge.
_ Quiz, 21 February, 1890, p.2.
_ Reckitt, Loc. Cit., p. 102.
_ Etherington. In Ibid, p. 103.
_ Marson C.L. Letter to Clotilda Bayne. Quoted in Ibid, p. 103.
_ Ibid.
_ Quiz, 24 October, 1890. p.3.
_ Advertiser, 15 October, 1889.
_ “And then your letter about the bar maids. That at once stamped you
as an original parson. You see we have been used to only violent
denunciations of the bars and their occupants, and it was most refreshing
to learn that there was at least one member of the clerical body who was
not ashamed to own an acquiaintance with hotel life, and who had a good
word to say for a much-abused section of the community”. Quiz, 24
October, 1890.
_ Ibid
_ Quiz, 21 February, 1890,. p.1.
_ Reckitt. Loc Cit. p. 103.
_ Quiz 24 October, 1890.
_ Reckitt. Loc Cit., p. 106.
_ Quiz, 17 July, 1891.
_ Ibid, 11 March, 1892.
_ A 1935 diary entry by Beatrice Webb reads in part: “Have there ever
been five more respectable, cultivated and mutually devoted, and be it
added, successful couples – the ultra-essence of British morality, comfort
and enlightenment – than the Peases, Shaws, Wallases, Oliviers and
Webbs, who founded and carried on the Fabian Society during the halfcentury
from 1883 onwards?”. Mackenzie N. & J. The Diary of Beatrice
Webb: Volume Four, 1924-1943: “The Wheel of Life”. Virago, London,
1985. pp. 354-5.
_ Notes of visits by the Marsons to the Morices appear in Clotilda Bayne’s
diary for 1889-90. National Library of Australia Ms. 2733.
_ Daily Herald, 28 June, 1913.
_ See Dickey, Op. Cit.; Jaensch D. “South Australia” in Loveday P., Martin
A.W. and Parker R.S. The Emergence of the Australian Party System. Hale
& Iremonger, Sydney, 1977; and Scarfe J. The Labour Wedge: The First
Six Labour Members of the South Australian Legislative Council. B.A.
(Hons) Thesis, University of Adelaide, 1968.
_ While no record of involvement by Kirkpatrick in the affairs of the
Society has been found, it seems unlikely that he remained aloof from a
body to which so many of his close associates were giving strenuous
support.
_ Augmented, at that stage, by representatives from the Port Adelaide
Parlimentary and Vigilance Committee and the Port Adelaide Working
Men’s Association, and shorn of the Maritime Trades Council. Dickey, Op.
Cit., p. 242.
_ Advertiser, 14 December, 1897.
_ Ibid.
_ Ibid.
_ Australasian Typographical Journal, January, 1898.
_ Church Reformer, November, 1893.
_ Wallis F.S. A History of the South Australian Labour Party 1882-1900.
Quoted in Dickey, Op. Cit., p. 239.
_ Church Reformer, Op. Cit.
_ Buttery was an unsuccessful candidate for the Legislative Assembly at
the North Adelaide by-election in May, 1897.
_ Hyndman H.M. The Record of an Adventurous Life. Macmillan & Co.,
London, 1911. p. 306. He was referring to Joynes, Champion and Frost,
at the time of their admission to the S.D.F. The Australian Dictionary of
Biography, Melbourne University Press, provides information on Archibald
and Charleston in Volume 7, 1979, p. 89 and pp 616-7; as it does on
Guthrie in Volume 9, 1983, pp. 145-6; on Macpherson in Volume 10,
1986, pp. 357-8 and on Price in Volume 11, 1988, pp. 287-8. For
Buttery, see Statton J. (ed.) Biographical Index of South Australians
1836-1885. South Australian Geneaology and Heraldry Society Inc.,
1986, Volume 1. p. 217.
_ South Australian Fabian Society members who also belonged to the
London Society were Walter H. Baker (1892-1902), William S. Bickford
(1892-1902), David M. Charleston (1892-1911), John A. McPherson
(1893-1898) James P. Morice (1892-1902), Lucy Morice (1892-1915)
and A.F. Pearson (1892-1902). Pugh P. Letter to the author, 23/2/85.
_ For discussion of the social composition of the London Fabian Society,
see, for example, Hobsbawm E. “The Fabians Reconsidered” in his
Labouring Men: Studies in the History of Labour, Weidenfield and Nicolson,
London, 1964, and Britain I. Fabianism and Culture, Cambridge University
Press, 1982, Introduction and Part I.
_ For example, James Morice’s successor as secretary of the Society,
Arthur F. Pearson, was manager of the booksellers, George Robertson and
Co., and later an Unley municipal councillor; as was William Dankel a
Kensington butcher who served on the Kensington and Norwood Council
prior his election to parliament in 1905 for the State seat of Torrens and
in 1912 for the Federal seat of Boothby; and Walter H. Baker the
proprietor of a Parkside pharmacy and a member of the Royal Society of
South Australia and the Pharmaceutical Society of South Australia Council.
_ What actually happened may never be known, as, although the Minutes
of the Executive Committee of the London Society record receipt of
correspondence from J.P. Morice on behalf of the South Australian
Society on 10 March, 14 April, 16 June, 1 September and 24 November,
1981, and on 5 April, 18 July, 12 December and 30 December, 1892, no
account of the subject matter is given, no decisions are recorded and the
letters have been lost. Information supplied by Patricia Pugh, archivist
and author of the centenary history of the Fabian Society, Educate,
Agitate, Organise: 100 Years of Fabian Socialism. Methuen, London,
1984. Letter to the author 12/1/90.
_ Fabian News, December, 1891. p.3.
_ Anon. What Socialism Is. South Australian Branch Fabian Society’s Tract
No. 1, Adelaide, 1891. p. 4.
_ Fabian News, January, 1893. p.44.
_ Pioneer, 9 July, 1892, p.154.
_ Ibid, 20 February, 1892. p. 73.
_ Fabian News, July, 1894. p.20.
_ Ibid.
_ A useful discussion of the discrepancies between theory and practice in
the Wakefield approach is set out in Moss J. Sound of Trumpets: History
of the Labour Movement in South Australia, Wakefield Press, Netley,
1985. Chapter 3.
_ What Socialism Is. Op. Cit. p.1.
_ Ibid. p.3.
_ Ibid.
_ Ibid.
_ Pioneer, 6 February, 1892. p.62.
_ Ibid, 20 February, 1892. p.71.
_ Rayment, A.W., The Rights of Labour and How to Obtain Them, H.S.
Tayler, Adelaide, N.D. p.5.
_ Ibid, p.7.
_ Ibid, p.9.
_ Ibid, p.11.
_ What Socialism Is. Op. Cit. p.4. Original quoted in Cole. Op. Cit. p. 337.
_ Pioneer, 16 April, 1892, p. 105.
_ Anon. Vote! Vote! Vote!, South Australian Fabian Society, N.D. p.4.
_ Ibid. p.1.
_ Pioneer, 5 September, 1891. p.77.
_ Ibid.
_ Ibid, 17 September, 1891. p.190.
_ Ibid, 11 July, 1891. p.47.
_ Ibid, p.51.
_ Ibid, 17 September, 1892. p.190.
_ Scarfe, Op. Cit., p. 117.
_ Ibid. p. 132.
_ Ibid, p. 102.
_ Observer, 16 May, 1908.
_ Quoted in Reckitt, Loc. Cit., p. 108.
_ Fabian News, May, 1893. p.12.
_ Ibid, July, 1894. p.20.
_ Thirteenth Annual Report of the Executive Committee for the Year
Ending March 31st, 1896. Adopted by the Society at the Annual General
Meeting, May 22nd, 1896. The Fabian Society, London, N.D. p.7.
_ Miller E. M. Australian Literature: A Bibliography to 1938. Angus and
Robertson, Sydney. p. 370.
_ Pugh, 23/2/85. Op. Cit.
_ Scarfe, Op. Cit., p. 15.
_ Ibid, pp. 142-9.
_ Ibid, p. 92.
_ Advertiser, 14 December, 1897.
_ Jones H. “Lucy Spence Morice and Catherine Helen Spence: Partners in
South Australian Social Reform” in Journal of the Historical Society of
South Australia. Number 11. p. 49.
_ Mathews, Op. Cit.