Fremantle Stuff > organisations > Ugly Men's Association
The Ugly Men's Association's purpose was to raise money to alleviate community suffering caused by World War I. Despite its silly name, the association was formed by community leaders. The spelling varies, with 'Ugly' or 'Uglie' sometimes being joined into one word with 'Men' and 'Land'.
Ugly Men's Association (Fremantle) Executive 1924
Fremantle History Centre photo #4875, nd, with this caption: Members of the executive of the Ugly Men's Association, a charitable group formed after World War I to raise money for the community. They provided money and housing assistance to war widows and other needy citizens. Across the top: from left: A Gurley; T Smith; W B Farrell; B Silbert; A Ethell. Second row: A Dowden; J M Farrell, President; G Woodhouse. Third row: F Rowe; J Cobb; E J Randle; M C Bradbury; A Smith. Bottom row: W C Sweet; W A Murphy; B Bockley; R Piercy.
A photo of some of the most distinguished men of their day, in the early 1930s, including mayors and councillors. William Wauhop, East Fremantle Mayor 1944-64 is at the left-hand end of the middle row. Frank Gibson, Fremantle Mayor 1929-1951 is the tall man to left of centre in the front row. And Arthur Turton, mayor of North Fremantle 1932-1945, is three in from the top right. Richard Rennie, the builder, is two to the left of Turton.
Fremantle Library Local History Collection photo #1462, nd, with this caption: The Fremantle Uglymen's Association was a charitable fund raising group. Among those identified in the photo are: J Farrell, Rob Gordon, Dick Rennie, G Fraser, Bill Wauhop, Jim Burgess, J Shepherd, S Thompson, Frank E Gibson, Tom Carter, J Chalmers ...
Fremantle Library Local History Collection photo #1276, 1920s, with this caption: The Ugly Men's Association was a charitable organisation fomed to raise money to alleviate suffering in the community caused by World War I. A fairground with chocolate wheels, merry-go-rounds etc was opened on the corner of Market and Phillimore Streets, by the Mayor, Frank Gibson, on 31.03.1922. It operated until about 1936. The area later became Pioneer Reserve, opened by the Lieutenant Governor Sir James Mitchell on 3.07.1942. [The Heritage Council page has 3 July 1940 as the date.]
What follows is taken from a Facebook page called 'Lost Perth'. It appears to have been written by Tim Southgate: no other details are given, and the footnotes are missing.
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.  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. 
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.
Annual Uglyland carnivals organised by the association were held in Perth and Fremantle and raised about ₤12,000 each year. "Ugly 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 Uglyland fairground on the corner of Market and Phillimore Streets in Fremantle (now Pioneer Park, opposite Fremantle Railway Station) was run from 1922 to 1936 by the Fremantle Uglymen's Association to raise funds for underprivileged children. It was a popular nightlife venue in the area and hosted regular dances.
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.
See also: Pioneer Park.
Heritage Council page for Pioneer Reserve.
Garry Gillard | New: 20 November, 2015 | Now: 1 August, 2019