Monday, August 27, 2007

Order of the Old Bastards

I found this old photo (1977) taken of Don and some friends at the old Royal hotel in Port Macquarie. He used to be a member of the Old Bastards... but I didn't realise the history of this group and of what good they did do. It appears there is no order here in PM anymore but the old working class hotel has now been "renovated" into a trendy eatery and I rather doubt that this group of old bastards would have been welcome here in the dirty work clothes and singlets... how much we have changed since then.
(don is second from right)

I found this information on the net about them this morning and am pleased that somewhere in our rapidly changing Australia it is still an honourable thing to be called an old bastard. The history stemming from WW2 is interesting.

"What is an Old Bastard?
Day by day enquiries pour in from all States and from overseas, what is the OB’s and what do we stand for. In brief, the Order is dedicated to joviality and good fellowship, and raising money for charity. Our Watchword might very well be – “WHILST EVER HOPS GROW ON THIS EARTH, LET NO PLAIN WATER MAR OUR MIRTH”.
Membership qualifications are quite simple and demand only adherence to five elementary rules:
Rule 1. Marital status of parents (not-withstanding our glorious name) is irrelevant.
Rule 2. It is sufficient to have been acclaimed at least once by friends as an Old Bastard (and what man worth his salt hasn’t, despite his actual age).
Rule 3. Drinking habits must be jovial and hearty (which includes shouting in your turn, otherwise you will earn the reputation of being a stingy old bastard).
Rule 4. On encountering other OB’s one must administer a hearty slap on the back, accompanied by the cheerful salutation, “Hello, you old bastard” (some intrepid OB’s feel that a gentle hearty slap would suffice).
Rule 5. Membership card or badge must be carried on the person at all times. Failure to produce same when challenged by another OB incurs a penalty of one round of drinks for the table – not the bar (be especially careful when getting out of the bath to answer the doorbell – unwary OB’s have been trapped like that before).
If you sincerely feel you can live up to these conditions and henceforth be known as a Good Old Bastard only one thing more is required.

Short History of The Australasian Order of Old Bastards
Leo Bradshaw started off as a member of the I.O.O.B. (International Order Of Old Bastards). This organisation was started by Allied Servicemen who had been based here in Australia during the Second World War. They were amazed that the old Aussie saying ‘Hello you Old Bastard’ was considered a term of endearment and not an insult.
After received legal advice, Leo with a small band of other Old Bastards, started the A.O.O.B. in 1968 at the British Lion Hotel in Glebe with the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children – Camperdown, the major beneficiary. This was only the beginning. Then came years of trying to convince the ‘powers that be’ that the A.O.O.B. would be an asset to the registered charities. The name, of course, was the main stumbling block – “what would the good people of the community think?”
By July 1973, the N.S.W. Chief Secretary was convinced that because of the wonderful work the Australasian Order of Old Bastards was doing for charity, it should be recognised and registered – so the organization which believed in joviality, good fellowship and charity was official.
The Queen honoured Leo in 1982 for service to the community, particularly Children’s Welfare. Leo Bradshaw M.B.E., Archbastard and Founder passed away on August 4th 1992. His name will remain on membership cards.
The Renal Research Laboratory at the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children (The New Children’s Hospital – Westmead) has been named in his memory. "

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