During World War II some American servicemen stationed in Australia were intrigued to discover that the local greeting "G'day you old bastard!" was a term of endearment, not an invitation to start a fight. They took the expression home with them and started the International Order Of Old Bastards, several Branches of which are still active across the USA.
Leo Bradshaw was an Australian serviceman who was a member of the IOOB. In 1968 Leo and a small band of mates got together in the British Lion Hotel in Glebe to start the AOOB. They were raising funds for the Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children - Camperdown.
The name caused a few problems. It was (and still is) hard to convince some people to take seriously a charitable organisation that so clearly doesn't take itself too seriously.
But Arch-Bastard Leo and his mates stuck to their guns. By July 1973 the good work they'd already done won over the NSW Chief Secretary and the AOOB was officially recognised and registered as a charity.
Leo passed away in 1992, ten years after being honoured with an MBE for his service to the community, particularly Children’s Welfare. His wife Joan, who’d worked alongside Leo since the organisation was formed, carried on as General Secretary after he died. On Australia Day in 2001 Joan was named in the Australia Day Honours List, being awarded an OAM for services to charity. Sadly Joan passed away in January 2003 after which the National Office was relocated to the Gold Coast.
Since 1968 over 100 branches, both local and international - Ireland and Arkansas USA worked hard to raise funds for The Children's Hospital at Westmead. Over time many of these branches have closed and we are grateful that new members are keen to set up a new branch in their local area. Branches have directed their attentions to raising funds for causes and charities close to home, and close to the hearts of their members.
Camperdown Children's is now the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, but is still vitally important to the AOOB. Important enough to have received over $1.4 million from us. Our contribution to the hospital was recognised with the naming of the Leo Bradshaw Renal Research Laboratory, which like the AOOB is continuing to develop and undertake wonderful research into genetic kidney disease in children.
In 2017 the head of the Leo Bradshaw Renal Research Laboratory, Professor Dr. Stephen Alexander, announced the implementation of the Australasian Register of Rare Kidney Diseases (the ARRK Project) which is being been funded by the AOOB. This is a two year project and has the potential to become an International Register.
In 2003 we started recording memberships on computer. It’s a daunting challenge but all of the membership records prior to then are gradually being transferred to computer too. But realistically it’s still an impossible task to locate an original number from before 2003 if an OB has lost their membership card and wants a replacement.
But the good news is you can rejoin for only $15, get a new membership card and keyring badge, and know that the money is going to charity!
We haven't lost touch with our past, and we haven't lost sight of our future. Join us and be a part of it!