When the Knights of the Southern Cross formed in Queensland a century ago – in October 1921 – the prospects for a Catholic working man were very different. Source: The Catholic Leader.
A scan of The Courier-Mail from a century ago shows that job advertisements regularly appeared with the acronym CNNA (Catholics Need Not Apply).
“A lot of Catholics were discriminated against at that time – especially as far as employment was concerned,” Knights state chairman, Eddie Radke, said.
“The Protestants and Catholics were sceptical of each other in those days. I think a lot of it was ignorance on both sides.”
The Knights were formed in an effort by committed Catholic laymen to end discrimination, bigotry and injustice.
On October 29, 1921, the order’s first Queensland meeting was held across from Brisbane’s St Stephen’s Cathedral at St Stephen’s School, now known as Mercy House.
“These men were prepared to step forward to sacrifice their time, talent and their hard-earned cash to build ‘a better world for their families and for ‘us’,” Mr Radke said.
Guided by the Catholic faith and the virtues of prudence, justice, fortitude and temperance, the Knights took on the mission of serving the wider community and supporting those in need.
“They faced many difficulties, trials and tribulations, but they also had many successes,” Mr Radke said. “They had to operate in secret, often with their good works unrecognised.
The Knights were at the forefront of efforts to break down discrimination against Catholics in the public service and business.
Today there are more than 500 members of the Knights in 25 branches across Queensland.
Knights working for the good of all under the glow of Southern Cross (By Mark Bowling, The Catholic Leader)