Australian Unity Company

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Australian Unity Company

Australian Unity, rooted in the friendly societies movement, is an Australian mutual company. Its origins date back to the formation of the Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows (MUIOOF) on 7 December 1840 in Melbourne, Victoria. This initiative was driven by eight individuals, including Thomas Strode, the publisher of the Port Phillip Gazette, and Augustus Greeves. They were inspired by the Independent Order of Oddfellows Manchester Unity. Over the years, Australian Unity underwent several significant mergers to evolve into its current form.

In 1993, the merger between Manchester Unity and the Australian Natives’ Association gave rise to Australian Unity. Subsequent mergers followed, including those with the Grand United Friendly Society in 2005, Lifeplan Australia Friendly Society in 2009, and Big Sky Credit Union in 2012. Today, Australian Unity operates across various sectors, with approximately 8,500 employees spanning healthcare, insurance, and banking, the latter represented by Big Sky Credit Union.

In 2012, Australian Unity expanded its banking services through the merger with Big Sky, which became the banking division of Australian Unity. This merger led to the transfer of ownership of Big Sky Credit Union Limited to Australian Unity Limited’s subsidiary, Lifeplan Australia Building Society Limited, subsequently renamed as Big Sky Building Society Limited. Members of Big Sky Credit Union seamlessly transitioned to become part of Australian Unity.

Furthermore, the iconic Manchester Unity Building, a neo-Gothic Art Deco skyscraper in Melbourne, has remained a prominent part of the city’s architectural heritage. Additionally, another Melbourne property previously owned by Manchester Unity Oddfellows was constructed in 1940–41, but it was compulsorily acquired by the Commonwealth government in 1947.

Australian Unity Company

Australian Unity Company Logo




Area Served

Number Of Employees



 Mutual Company

7 December 1840

Melbourne, Australia


7,500 (2018)

Health, Living , Wealth⊕


The Australia Felix Lodge of the Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows (MUIOOF) held its inaugural meeting on 7 December 1840 in Melbourne. The lodge’s establishment was initiated by its founder, Thomas Strode, who was a printer and owner of Melbourne’s first legally recognized newspaper, the Port Phillip Gazette. Strode placed an advertisement in his newspaper, inviting former members of the Oddfellows Society of Manchester to gather and explore the formation of a Melbourne-based lodge. Notable individuals involved in founding Manchester Unity in Australia included Dr. Augustus Greeves, a surgeon who later became the Mayor of Melbourne; John Marzagor, a carpenter; John Shepperd, a painter and glazier; and William Johnson Sugden, a sheriff’s bailiff who would eventually assume the role of the colony’s chief constable.

On 1 January 1932, construction commenced on the Manchester Unity Building in Melbourne. Despite the prevailing economic hardships caused by the Great Depression, the directors of Manchester Unity decided to proceed with the project. As a benevolent society, they wanted to demonstrate confidence in the eventual economic recovery and provide much-needed employment opportunities.

In 1993, Manchester Unity (Victoria) merged with the Australian Natives’ Association to create Australian Unity Friendly Society Limited, now operating under the name Australian Unity Limited.


  • Manchester Unity Independent Order of Oddfellows (MUIOOF),
  • Australian Natives’ Association (ANA)


  • Thomas Strode
  • Augustus Greeves
  • John Marzagor
  • John Shepperd
  • William Johnson
  • Sugden


  •  Aged care
  • Banking
  • Financial services
  • Home care
  • Life insurance
  • NDIS provider
  • Private health
  • insurance
  • Retirement
  • communities

Australian Natives' Association

Established in April 1871, the Australian Natives’ Association (ANA) was a mutual society with its roots in Melbourne, Australia. Its foundation was driven by the interests of native-born White Australians, and the organization’s membership was exclusively limited to this group.

The primary goals of the Association centered around raising funds through subscriptions and donations for specific purposes. These included providing assistance to unwell members, covering the expenses related to members’ funerals and those of their spouses, aiding distressed widows and orphans, and managing the society’s general operations. The formation of the Australian Natives Association evolved through multiple stages, stemming from the establishment of the six Australian colonies, the discovery of substantial gold reserves and the wealth it generated, and the growing number of locally born citizens. The initial concept revolved around creating a Friendly Society aimed at offering support during times of illness and adversity, exclusively for individuals born in Melbourne.

Read More : Australian Natives’ Association

Grand United Friendly Society

The Grand United Order of Oddfellows Friendly Society (GUOOFS) is a venerable Odd Fellows grand lodge with its roots dating back to its founding in 1798. Headquartered in Manchester, England, GUOOFS holds a rich history within the Odd Fellows tradition. It emerged as a significant branch from the early days of Odd Fellowship, giving rise to two distinct fraternal orders: the ‘Patriotic Order’ and the ‘Ancient Order.’ The existence of the ‘Patriotic’ Order has been well-documented, with historical records indicating the existence of rituals that were revised during a Grand Lodge meeting held in London in 1797.

GUOOFS, with its enduring legacy, has played a vital role in fostering fellowship, community support, and charitable endeavors over the centuries. As part of the wider Odd Fellows movement, it upholds principles of mutual aid, benevolence, and mutual support among its members.

Through its longstanding presence and dedication to the well-being of its members and the community, GUOOFS continues to honor and perpetuate the traditions of Odd Fellowship, making a positive impact on the lives of its members and the communities they serve.

Read More : Grand United Order of Oddfellows Friendly Society (GUOOFS)

Lifeplan Australia Friendly Society

Big Sky Credit Union (BSCU) was initially established in Australia, serving as a credit union founded by individuals with affiliations to BHP, BP, the Royal Automobile Club of Victoria, as well as their respective employees, contractors, and service providers, along with subsidiaries and affiliated or divested entities. BSCU took pride in its commitment to these groups. However, in 2012, Big Sky Credit Union became a part of Australian Unity, a significant development in its history. Following this merger, it was subsequently merged with Lifeplan Australia Building Society, an Australian Unity subsidiary, which was then rebranded as Big Sky Building Society.

The year 2016 marked a pivotal moment for Big Sky, as its operations, services, and online presence were seamlessly integrated into Australian Unity’s extensive framework. This integration aimed to provide a unified and streamlined experience for all members and customers, while leveraging the combined strengths of both organizations.

Two years later, in 2018, Big Sky Building Society underwent a transformation and emerged as Australian Unity Bank, aligning itself even more closely with the parent company. This rebranding aimed to reflect the institution’s broader financial services offerings, underscoring its commitment to providing a wide array of banking solutions to its members and customers. Australian Unity Bank continued to uphold its values and dedication to serving the needs of its diverse clientele.

Read More : Big Sky Credit Union

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