The Royal Humane Society
The local branch of the Royal Humane Society “for providing a lifeboat and all necessary apparatus for saving life” etc. was established in the early part of the year. When the rules were published an appeal was made to the public in which it was said: “The loss of the sloop Draper on the night of the 7th October, roused us by the cries of drowning men for help to a sense of our carelessness in being so unprovided for such an emergency. The gale was terrific and the sea running so high as to make it impossible to launch an ordinary boat or to reach the vessel by swimming. There were brave hearts and willing hands on the beach, but quite powerless to render help. None of the appliances for rescuing men in such circumstances were at hand, and before they could be brought from a distance, the vessel heeled over and the crew perished. Immediately after this sad occurrence a committee was formed for the purpose of organising a society which should have for its object, the saving of life from shipwreck, and restoring animation produced by immersion in water or other accidental cause”.
The Benefit Societies
As the Whit Monday of 1858 fell upon the Queen’s birthday anniversary, it occasioned a sort of double holiday, in which most of the places of business were closed. The town guns fired a salute, the church bells were rung, booths were erected on the East Hill for members of the benefit societies and other people on pleasure bent, and the chartered fair in the Fishmarket was held on Monday, as well as on its proper days, Tuesday and Wednesday. The Benefit Societies paraded the town as usual with their bands and banners in grand processional order. The Friendly Society established in 1815 afterwards dined at the Swan Hotel, the Victorian Lodge of Oddfellows dined at the Market Hall, and the Benevolent Society dined in a booth in front of the Royal Oak. The Friendly Society went to church, as was its annual custom, but the Victoria and Benevolent did not. The St. Leonards Oddfellows (the Adelaide Lodge) went to the St. Leonards Church, and while parading the town, a halt was made at the house where a member was lying dead, and the band played the “Dead March”. They proceeded into Hastings as far as Robertson Street; but the Hastings societies did not go so far west as the district which the Council-men of the East Ward had previously declared as Hastings. The “Adelaide” dined as usual at the Warriors’ Gate, to the number of nearly 240. The annual state-