A Brief History of the Sherlock Holmes Society of Australia and the Sherlock Holmes Society of South Australia

How did our society begin?
Read on for a brief history of the Sherlock Holmes Society of South Australia

Based on an article by past President, John Bushell

The Sherlock Holmes Society of Australia was founded by Alan Olding (BSI).
As with many Holmes enthusiasts, Alan’s interest in Holmes began in UK as a boy, when he read his father’s Sherlock Holmes books. These books were destroyed during the London Blitz but his interest in Holmes continued.
Alan applied for an ex-serviceman’s passage to Australia and moved to Brisbane with his wife Olive in 1951.
Alan’s interest in Holmes was rekindled in 1960’s, when he learned of the Sherlock Holmes Society in London, as well as the Baker Street Irregulars of New York. Alan became a member of both.
Alan and Olive finally settled in Adelaide where was keen to start a Holmes group, so in 1977 he wrote to the Adelaide Advertiser, asking for anyone interested in forming a local Sherlock Holmes Society, to contact him.
As a result, 12 enthusiasts met at the Hotel Adelaide in January 1978, and agreed to form an Australian Society, which became Sherlock Holmes Society of Australia. Thus, the beginning of Sherlock Holmes groups in Australia.
Alan was President, Secretary, Newsletter editor & Treasurer.
Alan became a member of several other Sherlock Holmes groups in Australia, including SHSSA & overseas.
It was with regret that Alan, by 2002, having run SHSA single-handedly for approximately 25 years, and not being able to continue, suggested that he would need to dissolve the society unless a small committee could be formed, to assist in the running of the society.
A group of 4 members was formed in March 2003 and operated for approximately one year, but did not continue and early in 2003 Alan actually did dissolve Sherlock Holmes Society of Australia.

In an all out effort to try to rekindle the Society, after the original SHSA was dissolved; Ray Parkin, Liz van Zanten, Viv Bushell and John Bushell became the new committee. They met, in January 2004 and agreed that the Society must continue.
Ray became President; Liz was newsletter editor; Viv was Secretary; and John was Treasurer.
And so began the Sherlock Holmes Society of SA. It was as a result of a typist error, that our Society was called the SHSSA, which in fact is more correct. It was discussed at length by members, but was decided it should remain as SHSSA, as it was essentially a new Society, because Alan had given the name SHSA to Sydney Passengers, so it could not be used by an new interstate group.
Captain Bill Barnes from Sydney Passengers, was most helpful to me during our early days of SHSSA.
SHSSA had a very rough beginning. For personal reasons, Ray resigned as President after our first lunch meeting in March 2004, but remained a member. Liz then became President. Ray left the committee, but Mark Chellew took his place on the committee and volunteered to be newsletter editor.
Then Liz resigned in January 2005 and John Bushell became President/Treasurer in June 2006.
Alan Olding was made a life member of SHSSA as a tribute to his outstanding Sherlockian knowledge.
John Bushell was President of the Society from 2006 to 2017. Mark Chellew then took over as President and carries on that position to this day.
In a world where many social and special interest groups struggle, our society remains strong and vibrant.
We will continue to make sure that the name of Sherlock Holmes and the artistry of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle will continue to be relevant and respected for generations to come.