The Benevolent Society | State Library of New South Wales

The Benevolent Society

The Benevolent Society of New South Wales was originally known as the New South Wales Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge and Benevolence in these Territories and Neighbouring Islands. The original Society was founded by a group of evangelical Christians including Edward Smith Hall (1786–1860) in 1813. In 1818 the Society promoting Christian knowledge and Benevolence lapsed and the Benevolent Society was formed with Governor Macquarie as Patron. The income for the Society was organised in a similar way to many English charities. Funds for the relief work were raised from donations with some additional funds provided by the Government.
Only a subscriber to the Society could recommend someone for assistance.
The Society's first objective was

To relieve the Poor, the Distressed, the Aged, the Infirm and thereby discountenance, as much as possible, Mendacity and Vagrancy, and to encourage industrious habits amongst indigent poor, as well as afford them religious instruction and consolation in their distresses.

Between 1813 and 1818 over 250 people were assisted by the Society. Tea, sugar, arrowroot and bread were distributed regularly to the needy as well as shoes, blankets and occasionally financial assistance.

Their extensive archive is held in the Mitchell Library: Benevolent Society of New South Wales, Records 1813-1995. The Library also holds the Report of the New South Wales Society for promoting Christian Knowledge and Benevolence published in 1814. The report includes a list of Society Donors as well as a list of cases including a widow with five children who was supplied with a 'Double allowance of Tea & Sugar, from 1st Jan. to 25th June; also Jackets & Trowsers for 3 children.'

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> Also view the Report of the New South Wales Society for promoting Christian knowledge, via the Library's catalogue Catalogue link