Academic journal article Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society

A Little Beady Snippet from the Past

Academic journal article Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society

A Little Beady Snippet from the Past

Article excerpt

On 13 August 1952 the Minister for Trade and Customs referred to the Commonwealth Tariff Board a reference to examine whether articles used in the practice of religion should be admitted duty free or at some determined rate. Australia used to have a very protective tariff regime to protect Australian industry. In 1952 imported apparel (i.e. vestments etc) endured a 22.5% British Preferential Tariff (BPT), and a 57.5% maximum general rate. Rosary beads (ie, 'fancy goods, being beads unstrung or strung') had 27.5% BPT and 52.5% General, holy medals 27.5% BPT and 62.5% General, and holy pictures free BPT and 12.5% General. A public inquiry duly was held, with hearings in Sydney on 25 November 1952, and in Melbourne on 11 December 1952 and 10 March 1953. An E W Dwyer family member appeared, representing the company and the Archdiocese of Canberra-Goulburn, and supporting reduction of the tariff, as also did a representative from Melbourne of several major overseas religious publishers, such as Burns & Oates. Mr Denis Ambrose Bergin of Sydney represented his firm opposing reductions. His firm made one type of rosary beads and plastic holy water fonts. The firm made one line of rosary beads by employing invalids and others 'who have spare time to engage in the process of linking the beads'. …

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