Ugly Men's Association

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Members of the Ugly Men's Association building an extension to a house owned by a WW1 prisoner of war in North Perth in about 1919
Entrance to Uglieland fairground, Fremantle lit up at night
Article from The Argus, 28 November 1923

The Ugly Men's Voluntary Worker's Association of Western Australia Inc., generally shortened to the Ugly Men's Association or Ugly Men was a fund-raising and charitable organisation established in Western Australia in 1917.[1] Previously, a Mrs Alicia Pell had organised an "Uglie Man" competition to raise funds for the Red Cross in Kalgoorlie. The East Perth Football Club then built on the concept to raise funds for the Perth Children's Hospital and the War Patriotic Fund. The football club's work developed into a successful grassroots organisation with the first branch opening in the Perth suburb of Mount Lawley and focussing on supporting cases of hardship caused by war.[2]

The Ugly Men were a major force in the cultural life of Perth in the 1920s, with membership mainly from the lower and middle working-classes. Membership during the 1920s was about 2000, with 21 branches across the Perth metropolitan area. Members organised busy bees and raised funds and built houses for war-widows. Later, fundraising was directed to supporting cases of hardship in the general community.

The White City, Perth amusement park was at times also known as Ugly Land due to the association administering the park at various stages in its history.[3]

Annual Uglieland carnivals organised by the association[4] were held in Perth and Fremantle and raised about ₤12,000 each year. "Uglie Man" competitions were popular events, with nominations and voting requiring a coin donation. A special campaign in 1924 raised £2,000 for infant health clinics.

An Uglieland fairground on the corner of Market and Phillimore Streets in Fremantle (now Pioneer reserve opposite Fremantle Railway Station) was run from 1922 to 1936 by the Fremantle Uglymen's Association[5][6] to raise funds for underprivileged children. It was a popular nightlife venue in the area and hosted regular dances.

During the 1920s the organisation spread to other states, particularly in rural centres, and was closely associated with the New Settlers' League and the United British Immigrants' Association, both established to assist new immigrants from the United Kingdom.

The Lotteries Commission of Western Australia was established in 1933 to raise funds for hospitals and community organisations, taking over many of the activities of the Association. Long-serving president and vice-president of the Ugly Men's Association, Alec Clydesdale and Harry Mann, were both appointed to the first Commission board.

The Western Australian Association became mainly inactive after the mid-1930s and was declared defunct in 1948.


  1. ^ Rita Farrell (1993). "A history of the Ugly Men's Voluntary Worker's. Honours thesis". Murdoch University. Retrieved 2014-07-11. 
  2. ^ Gregory, Jenny; Gothard, Jan, eds. (2009). Historical Encyclopaedia of Western Australia. University of Western Australia Press. ISBN 978-1-921401-15-2. 
  3. ^ "White City". State Library of Western Australia. 23 November 2010. Retrieved 2014-07-11. 
  4. ^ "Uglieland Carnival : The Official Opening". The Sunday Times. 21 January 1923. p. 2. 
  5. ^ Deborah Tout-Smith (1998). The Foundations of Fremantle: Exploring the early history of Western Australia's port city. Perth: Western Australian Museum. p. 63. ISBN 0 7307 3811 6. 
  6. ^ "Phillimore Street Integrated Plan, Heritage Impact Report" (PDF). Fremantle Ports. August 2005. p. 10. Retrieved 2014-07-20. 

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