The Order began in Australia with the institution of Sarah Chapter No 31 in Queensland in 1912, Southern Cross Chapter No 33 and Hartford Chapter No 34 in New South Wales in 1913.
Sydney District Grand Chapter was instituted in 1923 and for several years had jurisdiction over all Chapters in New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory and was responsible directly to the Supreme Grand Chapter of Scotland. In 1946/47 the Sydney District Grand Chapter divided into a number of Districts to enable a more efficient operation. Subsequently, after lengthy negotiations, the Grand Chapter of New South Wales was instituted in 1951 as the governing body of the Order in New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory, under the Supreme Grand Chapter of Scotland. In June 2003 the title was officially changed to the Grand Chapter of New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory. In 1946 the Brisbane District Grand Chapter was formed in Queensland and it was also subsequently split into 5 Districts to cover the vast State of Queensland. On Australia Day in 1985 the Grand Chapter of Queensland was instituted as the governing body of the Chapters and the 5 Districts in that State, under the Supreme Grand Chapter of Scotland.
The Melbourne District Grand Chapter was instituted in 1954 and has jurisdiction over the Chapters in Victoria. Chapters have been established in Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia, and these were directly administered by The Supreme Grand Chapter of Scotland until June 1985 when the United Grand Chapter of Australia was instituted. Deputy Grand Matron’s Committees in each of South Australia, Tasmania and Western Australia were also established at this time. The Deputy Grand Matron’s Committee in Western Australia was discontinued in 2001. The United Grand Chapter of Australia is the governing body for the Grand Chapters of NSW and ACT, Grand Chapter of Queensland, Melbourne District Grand Chapter, Deputy Grand Matrons Committees in South Australia and Tasmania and 2 Chapters in Western Australia. In addition to fulfilling the aims and objectives for which the Order was established, the members have always supported local and state-wide charitable appeals, and worked extensively for relief funds set up during depression years and World War II. Assistance has been given to the victims of State and National disasters over the years. Because of their larger membership, Chapters in New South Wales and Queensland have been able to make provision for care for the elderly and in both states have become proud owners of buildings (Star Gardens for the Aged) for that purpose, as well as, in New South Wales, purchasing occupancy of units within the Frank Whiddon Masonic Homes organisation.
The United Grand Chapter of Australia is now the constitutional and administrative authority of the Order of the Eastern Star within Australia. It was granted autonomy by the Supreme Grand Chapter of Scotland in 1985 and was subsequently instituted on the 8th June, 1985.
Current Structure and Operation
The numbers of Chapters determines the structure of the Order in Australia. Grand Chapters, District Grand Chapters or Deputy Grand Matron Committees do not exist in all states as shown in the following diagram.