Lodged in the Press
James and Margaret had arrived in Dunedin in 1874. Margaret had married Samuel Mee in 1875. James had married Agnes Simpson in July 1878. Together James and Agnes had 9 children - 6 sons and 3 daughters. He was employed by Dalgety and Co in their warehouse, and was to remain in their employ until the late 1980s.
That much is clear from the records of marriages, births and deaths.
And what else do we know about James' life? Not a lot because on the face of it, he left few documentary traces behind
But there are some! He was 'Lodge-man' all of his adult life - a pattern apparently carried on by later generations. This is known not just by repute and family stories, but by stories published in the local newspapers of the time.
Papers Past is a digital store of 68 different newspapers published in New Zealand between 1839 and 1945 provided by the National Library of New Zealand. Amongst those newspapers are editions of the Otago Daily Times and the Otago Witness. A simple search of both finds a number of stories about James.
On 16 May 1879 the ODT carried a report from Timaru dated 15 May, "The half yearly meeting of the Grand Orange Lodge of the Middle Island was held here yesterday, the R.W.G.M., Bro. E. Revell, presiding. About 120 representatives from the various lodges of the Middle Island were present. ... On the motion of Bro. Mulligan, it was resolved that the next meeting of the Grand Lodge be held in Dunedin." So just a few short years after his arrival in Dunedin he was representing his Orange Lodge at a regional level, and was sufficiently confident to be able to propose a resolution.
Later that same year, the Otago Witness reported on the next meeting: "The Grand Lodge of the Loyal Orange Institution, Middle Island of New Zealand, held their annual session in the Odd-Fellows' Hall, Rattray street, yesterday. ... The retiring G.L. officers were re-elected, with the addition of Bro J. Mulligan, of Dunedin, R.W.G.D.M...." So by the end of 1879 he had assumed office within the Lodge at a regional level.
On February 20 1880 the ODT reported on arrangements to be made to welcome a visiting preacher: "The following gentlemen were present at the meeting held in the First Church the other day to arrange for the reception of Pastor Chiniquy:— ... From amongst these a sub-committee has been appointed to carr/ out the neecsssary arrangements, consisting of the Revs. L. Mackie, L. Moore, O. Crump, J. Ward, and Messrs M W. Green, B. Short, D. Wright, A C. Begg, Mulligan, and Inglis." That they were charged with arrangements for the visit of Pastor Chiniquy lifts a the corner of a veil over what may well have been a core set of James' beliefs and views.
1881 saw an odd, defensive notice in the ODT: "James Mulligan, at Messrs Dalgety and Co.'s, is not the James Mulligan charged at the Police Court yesterday.— (Advt.)" The 'other James Mulligan was party to a case of fraud and forgery!
On 11 August 1882, the ODT reported "The monthly meeting of the Loyal orange Lodge, No. 12, Caversham, was held on Monday (7th). There were about 60 members present. The following officers were elected:- ... After the close of the meeting a social reuinion took place, at which Bro. Mulligan, D.G.M., Bro. Martin, and Bro. Edgeworth assisted with songs and recitations. Bro. Philpott also contributed a song on "The Orange Cause," and the company dispersed after singing "God save the Queen." This was another pattern which was to recur in the family.
12 July 1884 saw a report of a concert in Dunedin: "The anniversary concert and ball in connection, with the Loyal Orange Institution was held last evening in the Odd-Fellows' Hall,Rattray street. There was s very good attendance. The proceedings commenced by the Chairman (Sir Knight and Brother J. Mulligan) calling upon the Rev. Bro. Ward, who delivered an eloquent address on William 111, Prince of Orange, " the hero of Protestant liberty." The address was followed by an attractive musical programme, ... The concert was followed by a dance. Tomorrow the members of the Protestant Alliance and Orange Institution meet at the Leith bridge, and then proceed to St. John's Church, York place, where the Grand Chaplain of the Middle Island, the Rev. Mr Ward, will deliver the annual sermon." The 'Glorious 12th' lived on in Dunedin!
December 1887 saw the ODT report on the election of Lodge officers thus: "The yearly meeting of the Loyal Pioneer Lodge, No. 25, P.A.F.S. of A., was held in Farley's Hall, Princes street, on Monday evening last ... The following were appointed to fill the various offices for the ensuing year:- ... chaplain, Bro. J. Mulligan; ..." The PFAS of A appears to have been the 'Protestant Alliance Friendly Society' presumably of Aotearoa.
In November 1889, a report in the ODT commented that "The Independent Order of Oddfellows, The Protestant Alliance Societyq, and the Hibernian Australasian Catholic Benefit Society also turned out well, the members of each of these bodies appearing in their proper regalia. The complete turn out of the friendly socieities is shown below:- Protestant Alliance, 90; Bros Arnold and Mulligan, marshals. ..." So, maybe the sectarian feelings were not as deeply ingrained as it might have appeared.
Less than a month later, the ODT reported that "Pioneer Lodge, No. 25, Protestant Alliance Friendly Society, held their quarterly meeting in Farley's Hall, Princes street, on Monday evening, when the following brethren were elected for the ensuing year:— WM.,J. Mulligan; ..."
In May 1890, there is a significant departure. The ODT reported that "At a special meeting of the General Committee of the United Friendly Societies' Dispensary held at the Coffee Palace last evening, Mr A. S. Adams in the chair, the various delegates reported the decisions arrived at by their lodges, courts, &c. re the advisability of forming a Medical Union. After considerable discussion it was moved by Mr Mulligan, and seconded by Mr Jackson—" That it is desirable that a Medical Union be formed on the lines proposed in the seventh clause of the Dispensary Board's report —viz.: ' That it is desirable that one or more medical practitioners be appointed at a fixed salary, without the right of private practice." The result of the voting was that 14 lodges representing about 1650 members voted in favour of the motion; four lodges, having a membership of about 450, voted against it and six lodges did not vote. It was explained, however, that two of the lodges voting against the motion were in favour of the scheme, but were not prepared to bind themselves until the details were placed before them. Members present were also prepared to guarantee that some of the lodges unrepresented were also In favour of the scheme. It was resolved that the delegates voting in favour of the proposal form a committee to formulate the scheme and arrange the details for its establishment." This is the first instance of repiorts of concerns going beyond 'narrow sectarianism' or enetertainment.
12 months later, the ODT is commenting thus: "The Loyal Orange Lodge, No. 21, after having been closed for about three years, was opened again on Monday evening in the Oddfellows' Hall, Rattray street. There was a good muster of members of tho order to witness the ceremony, which was conducted by the district master, Bro. W. Carrick, assisted by the other officers of No. 3 District Lodge—Bro. Nielson, D.M.; Bro, R. Graham, D. secretary; Bro. Adams, D. chaplain. The application for the revival of warrant No. 21 was read by the D. secretary, and the warrant was then laid on the table by the district master. After the opening ceremony was read, the officers, as follow, were elected:—W.M., Bro. Jonas Kilby; D.M., Bro. James Mulligan; secretary, Bro. W. W. Knox ; treasurer, Bro. K. Wilson; F.C.M., Bro. J. J. Knox. These were then duly installed by the presiding officer, who handed the charge of the meeting over to the new W.M., who delivered a neat speech in returning thanks for the honour conferred on him. The D.M. also spoke in suitable terms, referring to the presence of the R.W.G.M., and the pleasure he felt at the brother holding that distinguished office being a resident in Dunedin. The R.W.G.M. responded, expressing his satisfaction at seeing No. 21 again in working order, and urging the members to unite in the common cause of liberty for all men to speak and act according to their consciences."
There are 3 more references in the newspapers during the 1890s. The most relevant in the current context was from 5 September 1896 in which it reported that The usual monthly meeting of the Loyal Orange Lodge No. 21, No Surrender, was held in the Rattray street Oddfellows' Hall last evening, Bro. Mulligan, W.M., being in the chair, assisted by the various officers. Correspondence was received from the Grand Secretary; also from Timaru, enclosing a brother's certificate, who was then affiliated. The following officers were elected for the year :—Bro. Wills, W.M. ; Bro. Livingstone, D.M.; Bro. Beresford, chaplain; Bro. Mulligan, secretary ; Bro. Paton, treasurer (re-elected); Bro. Robertson, F.C.M.; committee—Bros. Johnston, Ball, and Hitt. Re November 5th celebration, a strong committee was appointed to act and bring in a report to the next lodge meeting. A hearty vote of thanks was passed with acclamation to the visiting brethren, and responded to by Bro. Hawken, from H.M.S. Rapid. A very pleasant evening was then brought to a close by singing 'God save the Queen'." So now the Lodge is called 'No Surrender'!
In 1893 the ODT reported on the results of "The examination of teachers and scholars in connection with the Church of England Sunday School Teachers' Union was held at the close of last year. ... In the scholars' examination 181 competed, and 111 passed, 70 failing. The results of the examinations are as follow: — ... Prizes.— ... Frank Mulligan, St. Matthew's; ...".
And then on 12 January 1897, the ODT, under the Headline "CASUALTIES" reported that "A man named James Mulligan, employed at Dalgety's, had a very narrow escape on Monday. He was going up the lift with a load. The latter shifted on the way, and as the result would be to jamb the lift Mulligan called out to a man to stop its progress. Through some cause this was not done, and Mulligan, foreseeing that if he stayed where he was he would be jambed to death, jumped on to the basement below. He sustained a fracture of the left leg, and was taken to the hospital."
The final 2 reports are Death notices. On 12 June 1901, came "MULLIGAN.— On the 6th June, at the Dunedin Hospital, James, the beloved husband of Agnes Mulligan, Cargill road, Caversham", followed on 20 January 1904, "MULLIGAN. — At her residence, Alexandra street, Caversham, on Wednesday, 13th January, Agnes, relict of the late James Mulligan; aged 47 years. At rest."
So, what is to be made of all this? I would suggest a number of tentative conclusions can be drawn.
Firstly, James had found a joined a 'community' relatively quickly after arriving in Dunedin. That community appears to have been based around the Loyal Orange Lodge. Not only did he join the Lodge, but he took a number of active and significant roles within it and associatedn aggregations. Clearly, he felt, and was seen to be, competent and worhty of performing the roles he assumed.
Secondly, there was a an affiliation with his Church. Evidence from Ireland indicates the family had a reasonably close connection with their local Church of Ireland congregation (see the pictures of memorials); the emphasis in his Lodge on Protestantism and his children's attendance at Sunday School indicate that continued in Dunedin.
Lodge membership probably reflected three strands of James communal life: firstly, an indentification with militant Protestantism ('No Surrender'), and an attachment to British imperialism (evenings finishing with the singing of God Save the Queen); secondly, an opportunity and vehicle for social entertainment, especially musical (see the 1884 story); and thirdly, a need for 'social welfare' provision (the Protestant Alliance Friendly Society and the Medical Dispensary), probably felt more acutely as he aged (and so began to see old age and the need for support around the corner) and as his family grew and grew up.
A brief note about Pastor Chiniquy.
According to the entry in Wikipedia (at 26 December 2011), "Charles P. Chiniquy (30 July 1809 – 16 January 1899) was a Canadian Catholic priest who left the Catholic Church and became a Presbyterian pastor. He is known for his writings and sermons against the Roman Catholic Church. ... During the 1880s his conspiracy theories included the claim to have exposed the Jesuits as the assassins of President Abraham Lincoln, and that, if unchecked, the Jesuits could eventually politically rule the United States.... After leaving the Catholic Church, Chiniquy dedicated his life to trying to win his fellow French Canadians, as well as others, from Catholicism to the Protestant faith. He wrote a number of books and tracts pointing out the errors in the faith and practises of the Roman Catholic Church."
Yves Robey, in the "Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online" writes that " In 1878, as his lungs required care, Chiniquy was advised by doctors to go on a voyage for a rest. He spent two years visiting Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand, and preaching against Rome. In 1880 he was back at St Anne."
His visit prompted a number of newspaper items - 281 articles in the period between January 1878 and February 1880 - not all of which were supportive or welcoming.