Historical information

A copy of an address given at a Foundation Day Luncheon by a long standing Legatee and past President Legatee Rob Allison. He had joined Legacy in 1950, and he comments that only 5 members remain active that were with him in 1950. In 1950 they were all posted as member of various committees, he got Welfare and Friday night girls' classes. There were 9 boys' classes throughout Melbourne, and girls' twice a week at Legacy Headquarters at 24 Market St. There were 230 active members and each legatee had 4 or 5 families with children.
He mentions that in 1950 the President was 62 years old but only 5 years after the end of the war, the tide had begun to turn towards the 39ers. (He called the older legatees '1914ers' or 'the Bow and Arrow boys').
He applauded the 'founding fathers' for limiting the numbers of members, in 1929 it was 230 and in 1959 a limit of 300. They used a classification method to classify the members so they had a diverse range of skills and community representation. Areas were: Production, Distribution, Services Public Authority, Services Other, and Board List. The President had a Secret Committee of 3, no one knew who was on the committee, even those members didn't know the identity of the other 2. This committee vetted the background and integrity of new members.
In 1950 the budget was £27,000 plus a capital budget of £3,500.
Legatee Allison tells a good story of his induction into Legacy, including his wife joining other Legatees wives in fundraising.
In 1951 Comradeship meetings moved to Thursday nights at the instigation of Burt Nathan. 'Birthday boy' invitations started in 1958 when John Cooper was Chairman of the Comradeship. After some years of discussion the first paid Social Worker was employed in 1953 and as a result her efforts the first Senior Widows' Group got underway.
Until the 1950s Legacy had always found the money it required, from big companies, wealthy members of the community, Estates, or Trusts. In 1951 it tried to copy a Sydney Legacy idea (Certificate of Adoption Plan) and called it 'The Endowment Scheme'. Other fundraisers included films, premiere showing and musicals were very much a part of the social life of Legatees. One premiere show in 1952, 'The Greatest Show on Earth' was sold at £100 a double. In 1959 Sir Frank and Lady Tait were kind enough for give us a premiere of 'My Fair Lady'.
As the 50s progressed cash flow was not enough and it was decided in 1957 to have the first public appeal (he says 1957 but it was 1956). The first Badge day was 1958 (according to this account). He says it grossed £21,000 (net £17,000). And the Legacy story was becoming better known.
'Legacy has never been a one man band. The strength has been in the resourceful ability of those of its members.'
He was well placed to tell the story of the donation towards Dureau House. BG Corporation in New York used 'Brown and Dureau' as agents in Melbourne for their spark plug manufacturing (for the American aircraft based in Australia during the war). A royalty of two shillings and sixpence was agreed. The entrepreneur President of BG Corporation was Richard Goldsmith. L/ Grat Grattan had a friend Mr Edwards who was managing director at Brown and Dureau and heard of the desire by Goldsmith to leave a permanent memorial to ex-servicemen in Australia (Children's Hospital was considered). Grat took Edwards to Market St and showed him the inadequacy of the building. It was agreed if Melbourne Legacy could come up with a purchased building in 10 days they would get the money needed. The property purchased was 'Storey Hall' in Swanston St (also called Hibernian Hall in other documents). After the war it turned out not to be suitable and a new building was required.
The speaker is identified as Rob Allison based on two things; at one stage he refers to himself as 'Rob' and this copy of the speech has been faxed to Legacy from the offices of John Allison Monkhouse.
Another copy of this address has been located with the date of September 1988 that was filed with information on Past Presidents and the lives prominent legatees.
The notation H59 in black pen shows that it was part of the archive project that was trying to capture the history of Legacy.


A record of Legatee Rob Allison speaking at a Legacy luncheon about significant events since he joined in 1950. Speakers at Legacy luncheons were from very different walks of life and the subjects spoken on were many and varied. Foundation Day was celebrated with a special luncheon.

Physical description

White A4 photocopy with black type x 8 pages of an address about Legacy history written in 1987.

Inscriptions & markings

Handwritten H59 in black pen.