Tuesday 17 April 2012


Samuel Mauger Jr (pronounced "Major" - 12 November 1857 – 26 June 1936) was an Australian social reformer, hat manufacturing unionist and a Protectionist politician. He was born in Geelong, Victoria, son of immigrants from Guernsey, Channel Islands, Samuel Mauger Senior and Caroline née Liz who migrated to Australia in the 1850s. Mauger junior was educated at the Geelong National School, but left school early to become an errand boy for a hat maker when his father contracted rheumatic fever. Mauger later owned the hat manufacturing business. Mauger was a Bible class teacher at St Mark's Church of England in Fitzroy. He later became the Sunday-school superintendent at St Paul's Congregational Church in North Fitzroy. On 13 May 1880, Mauger married Hanna Rice who he had metat St Mark's; they eventually had four sons and four daughters.

Mauger held various memberships to various organisations. He was a superintendent in the Fire Brigades' Association of Victoria and four times president of the Metropolitan Fire Brigades Board. Mauger was one of the founders and secretary of the Anti-Sweating League (against sweatshops in manufacturing) from 1895. Mauger was on the Board enquiry for unemployment in 1899 and involved in the royal commission of Victorian factories and shops law in 1900.

Being a devout Christian of the Australian Church, Mauger was president of the Young Men's Christian Association and president of the Melbourne Total Abstinence Society. Mauger attempted to run for politics in various State electorates before becoming a Member of Parliament. He stood for the seat of Fitzroy in 1892, South Melbourne in 1896 and Portland in 1897. In 1900, Mauger was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly to the seat of Footscray. He held the seat of Footscray until May 1901, where he resigned from State politics and ran for Federal politics. Mauger was the first member for Melbourne Ports in 1901 until his defeat to ALP candidate James Mathews in 1906. Mauger then shortly got elected to the Federal seat of Maribyrnong and became the electorate's first Federal Member of Parliament. He was a Minister without a Portfolio from 1906 until 1907 and then Postmaster-General until 1908.

Mauger lost his seat of Maribyrnong to ALP candidate James Fenton in 1910. Mauger ran for the Victorian Senate in 1913 and 1914, but failed to get elected. He was an ardent protectionist and was for some time honorary secretary of the protectionists' association of Victoria; he was for a time president of the Melbourne Total Abstinence Society, and chairman of the Indeterminate Sentences Board; and he presumably found some time for his business as a hatter and mercer. For about 50 years in every movement in Melbourne intended to better the conditions of the mass of the people, Mauger was to be found working incessantly and showing much organising ability.

In 1934 Mauger wrote a brochure on "The Rise and Progress of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Victoria, Australia", on page 29 some verses relating to the success of the staff fund illustrate his philosophy of life. Basically it was that if anything is brought forward for the good of humanity, difficulties will vanish if the problem is tackled with sufficient courage. Mauger died in Elsternwick, Victoria and is buried in the Melbourne General Cemetery. At his funeral, he was given a fire guard honour.

In East Melbourne, adjacent to the city on Victoria Parade, there is a monument to Mauger opposite the old Eastern Hill Fire Station, which is now the Fire Services Museum.

This post is part of the Taphophile tragics meme hosted by Julie,
and also part of the Our World Tuesday meme.
The central reserve of Victoria Parade in East Melbourne, along which the tram tracks run
The monument to Samuel Mauger in the central reserve of Victoria Parade, opposite the Eastern Hill Fire Station. In the background is St Vincent's Hospital
The inscription reads: "Erected by Commonwealth Admirers in Memory of Samuel Mauger, Born 1857 - Died 1936. Industrial, Prison, Temperance & Social Reformer. He Gave His Life to the Service of Mankind. This Memorial is Erected to Commemorate the Life and Achievement of one who Spent his Years in Seeking to Serve his Fellow-Men. 'Go Thou and Do Likewise'. 26th June 1937." 
The old Eastern Hill Fire Station, now the Fire Services Museum

The Board Room in the Museum. The figure on the left is Samuel Mauger, in his role as president of the Metropolitan Fire Brigades Board
Painting titled "1891-1991 Celebration of a Century" by R Horne (an ex-fireman), installed on 25th August 1992
The Fire Chief's Office
The first floor Watchroom
Fire Services Museum Victoria provides a home and focus for the history of fire fighting services in Victoria. The Museum includes a collection of over 10,000 fire related items, the largest collection in Australia, featuring fire brigades, fire appliances, personnel histories, memorabilia and associated items.
Part of the protective equipment display
The international fire services room
Country Fire Authority room - Large painting by Jamie Cooper titled: "Spirit of CFA"


  1. Another great post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  2. Oh, yes! Another great post indeed, Nick! I always enjoy not only your superb photos but the history and background that you include. Terrific museum and pays such well deserved praise to your fire fighters! Hope your week is off to a great start!


  3. What a wonderful bit of history you have shared with us! Nice that his work is recognized and honored!

  4. Hi Nick,
    Thank you for sharing an interesting story about a great man and a wonderful museum.

  5. Excellent info Nick, and beautifully shown. I looooove those paintings how impressive are they!!

  6. Fascinating post and great shots.

  7. Wow, great post and photographs Nick.

  8. What a fascinating place! Thank you for the images and history.

  9. Hallo Nick.
    Great pictures you show.
    Want dg a good day.
    Hanne Bente / hbt.finus.dk

  10. A great post- so interesting and informative!Thanks for sharing.

  11. A wonderful informative post Nick and Bravo! to Jamie Cooper for that delightful painting depicting the spirit of the CFA.

  12. Oh.. Nice post with photographs. Nice to know a little about the Department , for their wonderful service.

  13. Great post Nick. Gee there is a lot of detail in the Celebration of a Century painting.

  14. Fantastic and interesting post. Brilliant pictures.

    Herding Cats


  15. Fascinating! But I wonder if I'd be as intrigued by fire fighting paraphernalia without the preponderence of RED?!?!

  16. Wow what a post! I don't think that there is a comparable memorial - in size and grandeur - to fire fighting operations!

  17. It's great that city remembers this man who gave so much to his community.

  18. Great post! The tram reminds me of Lisbon: :-)

  19. Thank you for this journey. Can't wait until my son will speak of becoming one ;) The first picture is indeed wonderful. Please have a good Wednesday.

  20. What an intruiging life Samuel Maugher led, Nick. Intruiging because so many things that he became involved with would stamp him as a potential Labor politician, rather than a conservative.

    I love the name of the Anti-Sweating League. I thought you had written Anti-Swearing to start with and thought what a harbinger of things to come! I wonder what happened to the Anti-sweating League and what led to its demise?

    I agree with other commenters that one would be hard-pressed to find a more worthy museum to firefighters the world over - perhaps in NYC. I do love the facade of the museum and how it is picked out in gold (or painted, perhaps).

    Both those paintings, the CFA and the MFB, deserve to be shown to a wider audience.

    Samuel Maugher had 8 children. I do hope his descendents are aware and proud of their lineage.

    Terrific detail and effort in this post, Nick. Taa ...

  21. My goodness, I am exhausted just reading about this Samuel Maugher's ambitions and accomplishments! But altough, reading between the lines, I surmise this would have been a strict man, his deeds are laudable and his legacy impressive. More leaders today could be reminded that "if anything is brought forward for the good of humanity, difficulties will vanish if the problem is tackled with sufficient courage". An interesting bio well told, Nick, in words and images. The firehall-turned-museum is very attractive.


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