A Brief History of the Sherlock Holmes Society of Australia and 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 the UK as a boy, when he read his father’s Sherlock Holmes books. These books were destroyed during the London Blitz but Alan’s interest in Holmes continued. In 1951 he applied for an ex-serviceman’s passage to Australia and moved to Brisbane with his wife Olive.

Alan’s interest in Holmes was rekindled in the 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.

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Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in Adelaide

In 1920 Conan Doyle had been invited to come to Australia to give a series of lectures on spiritualism. On Saturday, 25 September 1920, at the Adelaide Town Hall, Doyle gave his first Australian lecture to a full house of 2000 listeners.

Spiritualism was a subject that intrigued people from all walks of life especially after the horrors of the first World War when so many grieving relatives longed to communicate with their departed loved ones. At a luncheon Conan Doyle attended in Sydney 90% of those present admitted to communicating with the dead.

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