The text below comes from Dr Roger Logan in the UK and was sent in response to a query from Norm Stevens in Blackbutt, Queensland.
"Thank you for your e-mail of 16/10/05 re the above sent to Foresters Head Office which has been passed to me for response. I am one of the Trustees of the Foresters Heritage Trust, a registered Charity, which deals with matters of an historic or heritage nature relating to the Ancient Order of Foresters (AOF).
"What a wonderful picture you have of your ancestor. The quality of detail is quite outstanding, given its age. Having looked at it closely, and compared the ornamentation on the collar, and indeed the collar itself, with anything that I have come across before, I am inclined to think that, rather than being personal regalia associated with the Ancient Order of Foresters this may be connected with the Royal Order of Foresters.
"The Royal Order was the antecedent of the Ancient Order in England. A reasonable formation date for the Royal Order is 1813. From it, the majority of branches (Courts) withdrew to form the Ancient Order in 1834. Both Orders found their way to Australia as emigrants from the UK took the friendly society idea with them. Both Orders had Courts in Sydney around the late 1870's. The Ancient Order had some 19 Courts and the Royal Order 3.
"My reason for favouring the Royal Order is simply a feeling that the style of collar was not one that I am familiar with as being used by members of the Ancient Order. Nor is there any evidence of initials such as AOF, or PCR, meaning Past Chief Ranger. There are the symbols of stags heads, and hunting horns which are found in the AOF but I have never seen a collar so heavily decorated. Of course, both Orders, as established in Australia, developed local characteristics and variations and this could account for the style.
"I regret not being able to be more definite about identifying the regalia. I will consult with others whose experience may shed some light on the matter, but in the meantime if you have any comments on the above, or have any further queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Best wishes and regards