Grand Lodge of Australia


On 6 January 1927, Aleister Crowley wrote to an unnamed woman in Australia who he simply addressed as “Dear and Supremely honoured sister!” The unpublished letter survives in a private collection, a copy of which was given to the Australian OTO archives in the early 1990s.

Our research indicates that the lady in question was in fact the wife of Melbourne bookseller Norman Robb (Nathan Rabinowitz). Robb was an early Australian collector of Crowley’s works, having been introduced to his books when in a Surry Hills Café in Sydney, by none other than Frank Bennett, Crowley’s Australian disciple and OTO head.

According to Robb, Bennett (who he did not know) just came straight up to him and said, ‘you may be interested in these,’ showing him some of Crowley’s books. After Crowley’s death in 1947, Robb became an important archivist, copying and sharing files and manuscripts with Gerald Yorke in the UK and Crowley’s OTO successor Karl Germer, in the USA. In the post-war atomic age, for a while, there was even a serious discussion about moving the Crowley archive from Germer to Robb in Australia, that it might survive in the event of a nuclear war!

Crowley writes to Mrs Robb, “I should very much like to come to Melbourne,” saying “Melbourne is certainly a place for a great spiritual revival, for it has, without knowing it, for many years adored the sacred symbol of our Lady BABALON, and I should like to be present at this tremendous event.”

What is this tremendous event of adoration? It continues to this day – the Melbourne Cup. Let us call it in Crowleyesque language, the Melbourne Graal!

Crowley may well have been introduced to the Melbourne Cup by his one time Australian lover and disciple, the violinist and writer, Leila Waddell. In his 1915 essay on the sensationalistic Revival-meeting evangelist Billy Sunday, Crowley wrote: “I asked about the preacher. “Billy Sunday” was the answer, and I felt like the man at Melbourne who was told that the people were all going to see the race for the cup, and an instant before his extermination, asked “What cup?”

It is rumoured the present Australian Grand Master refers to Cup day as “Our Lady’s Day,” with other members having observed the same for several decades.