History of the Centre

Spelling Corrections

This is a 25 page document at 11 pnt font size in a word document. Quite an undertaking to retype for our volunteer.

I see spelling errors and have fixed many, but if you see another, please copy the sentence with the error and click here to correct

This is the only place you can read this history so I thought I would get it on the web before fully proofing it, people have been asking for it.

The Ringwood Masonic Centre was officially opened in July 1981.

 

It was built by Freemasons for the use of Lodges and the Community and this use continues to this day.

 

The below content is taken from a booklet called “A History of the Ringwood Lodge No 382 1925-1985” and was “complied” by Bro Chivers PSGD and presumably published in 1985. The booklet contains photos, not reproduced here, and 40 pages. It has a light blue cardboard cover and measures 15 cm x 21 cm (A4). It is bound by two staples.

 

As the Booklet was written to commemorate 60 years of the Ringwood Lodge, the Lodge History is the focus, but pages 23-37 contain the only known history of the Maroondah Masonic Centre. The content below is hyperlinked to allow you to move quickly to the building history.

 

Punctuations for Masonic acronyms and first and second names have been removed to make retyping easier. The meaning of the acronyms are readily available on the web. Italics have been added for the convenience  of current readers.

 

The buildings Freemasons built were once called “Temples” but in the 1980’s this was changed to “Centre” because temple has religious connotations. Freemasonry is not a religion but a secular fraternity. Wikipedia’s article on Freemasonry is quite good if you need to know what Freemasonry is.

 

The booklet has been retyped as a valuable source for local historians and for the interest of the general public.

 

Freemasonry remains a relevant and vibrant organization. Our peak body is the United Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Freemasons of Victoria. Click here for UGLV web site. Click here for UGLV youtube channel.

 

For those mainly interested in the building, skip to “THE RINGWOOD MASONIC HALL COMPANY PTY LTD” below however the history of Ringwood Lodge also contains information on the process leading to the foundation of the Ringwood Masonic Centre.

 

 

Table of Contents

A History of the Ringwood Lodge No 382 1925-1985

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT (page 2 in booklet)

FORMATION (Page 3 in booklet)

CONSECRATION (Page 6 in booklet)

THE RINGWOOD MASONIC HALL COMPANY PTY LTD (page 23 in booklet)

 

 

A History of the Ringwood Lodge No 382 1925-1985

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT (page 2 in booklet)

The History of the first sixty years of the Ringwood Lodge No 382 was compiled by WBro ME Chivers PSGD, who wishes to express his thanks to the following;

WBro HF Lambert PM of Healesville Lodge No. 247 for his generous donation of the complete type setting.

WBro  BH Whitaker PGSwdB of the East Ringwood Lodge No. 668 for his assistance with the Hall Company  section of this history.

WBro A Sommerville PM of Lodge Symphony No. 690 and WBro LC Radford PGSwdB of the Warrandyte Lodge No. 772 for their valuable assistance in preparation and layout

The Ringwood Historical Research Group for the photographs of early Ringwood.

 

Although records show that Lodge meetings were held and Freemasonry was in practice in Victorian inn  1839, also that Lodge of Australia Felix No 1 received its Warrant from England 2-4-1841, I shall commence the history of our Lodge from the time  the United Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masonic of Victoria was founded on 20-3-1889.

 

The Constituent Lodges forming Grand Lodge were allocated numbers according to the dates on which they received their Warrants, regardless of the origin i.e. English, Scottish, Irish or Victorian Constitution. The founding of Lodges prior to the formation of Grand Lodge has been well documented by WBro Peter Thornton in his book, “The History of Freemasonry in Victoria”, and it is a simple matter to obtain information on Lodges in our Constitution from Grand Lodge records.

Shakespeare Lodge 124 sponsored Emulation 141 – 22 July 1889

Emulation sponsored Box Hill 221 – 10 August 1912

Box Hill sponsored Acacia 276 – 7 March 1921

Acacia sponsored Ringwood 382 – 29 June 1925.

 

FORMATION (Page 3 in booklet)

 

The building of the Warburton Temple and the formation of the Donna Buang Lodge had reawaken the interest of Freemasons resident in Ringwood to the need for building their own Temple and forming a lodge. With an eye to the future a Brother obtained the necessary particulars of the new Temple for further consideration. Those ideas were changed, however, when early in 1923, the Education Department, having built a new School in Greenwood Avenue, called for tenders for the purchase of the original School and land on the corner of Ringwood and Main Streets.

 

A meeting was called for on the 4 May 1923. There was an attendance of twelve Brethren to whom it was explained that the meeting has been called as the convener “considered that the time was at hand when the formation of a Masonic Lodge at Ringwood should be suitably considered”. As it was thought that the school building would be suitable as a meeting place, a tender was submitted and to show the earnestness of those present, each undertook to act as a guarantor to a bank to secure the money required to purchase the building. It proved as slip, but interest did not wane and information and particulars of other Temples were obtained.

 

The next active step was the holding of a meeting on  25 August 1924, when it was reported that the Church of England has been the successful tendered. Negotiations, however, had taken place and it was confidently anticipated that the building  would be made available if a Lodge was formed. Form this meeting the Lodge was conceived and on 3 September 1924 a number of Brethren accepted an invitation to meet, and they decided unanimously to form a Lodge and to meet in the school building, when had then become known as the Parish Hall.

 

I do not have the Minutes or notes of the convening Committee: those enthusiasts who convinced Grand Lodge of the necessity and viability of the said Lodge, found a Sponsor Lodge, a meeting place and raise the finance for the purchase of the necessary furnishings, regalia, stationery, etc/ Many items were donated by the foundation members.

 

Ione the other hand we have the letter from the Grand Secretary, dated 12 May 1925, addressed to Bro Locke, most probably the concerning Secretary, advising him of the proposed date, time and place. Bro  Locke, the Manger of the Ringwood Branch of the Bank of Victoria, was invested as Foundation Senior Warden.

 

We can well imagine the excitement among the Brethren involved, the founders being:-

WBro AJ Mann, PM 182

WBro S Gill, PM 202

WBro C Jenkin, PM 30

WBro  H Robinson PM 463 I.C.

Bro AHB Locke

Bro CE Godbehear

Bro H Brinkman

Bro AJ Tann

Bro HA Heighway

Bro GF Coughlan

Bro CH Leleux

Bro AJ Sugden

Bro TJ Reid

Bro F Dark

Bro DG McClelland

Bro TR McClelland

Bro N Ferguson

Bro JL Skerrett

Bro CW Moulden

Bro AC Ostrom

Bro EW Mudd

Bro AW Ford

Bro JH Costar

Bro FJ Knox

Bro PJ Hennessey

Bro HJ Richards

Bro AGP Brown

Bro TS Williams

Bro ED Knights

 

 

(Notes under a photo of the Ringwood States School. “Corner Ringwood and Main Streets, opening 15 August 1889. Purchased 1924 b St Paul’s Church of England for use as Parish Hall. St Paul’s was moved (1925) from its previous position (corner Pratt Street and Maroondah Highway) to a position adjacent to the school. This site was behind present Coles Store, The Church in Common with the Parish Hall, Town Hall, football ground and many stores was absorbed in the development of “Eastland”, the first stage of which opened in 1967).

CONSECRATION (Page 6 in booklet)

 

The Ringwood Lodge UGLV No 382 was consecrated in The Box Hill Masonic Centre on Monday 9 June 1925 by MW Bro FT Hickford, Pro Grand Master. Our Sponsor Lodge,  the Acacia Lodge, No 273, has kindly provided a copy of the minutes of this special meeting which should be included in our lodge history:

 

“Minutes of Emergency Meeting of the Acacia Lodge No 276, held at the Box Hill Temple for the purpose of assisting in the Ceremony of Consecration of the new Ringwood Lodge at the Temple on Monday June 29 1925.

 

The Lodge was opened in the first degree by the Master WBro Daiglelsh. At 4:30 pm

 

After the Lodge was opened in the second and third degrees the Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies, WBro AE Ringwood, announced the attendance of the MWPro GM Most WBro Hickford.

 

The WM on receiving the MWPro GM who was accompanied  by many Grand Officers, presented the Gavel to the Pro Grand Master, who having appointed the Grand Officers, to the chairs, consecrated the new Ringwood Lodge and installed WBro AJ Mann as the first master of the Lodge no. 382

Confirmed 27/7/1925. Signed EJ Dalgleish. “

 

The Acacia Lodge made a gift of the Warrant to Ringwood.

 

The first officers of the Ringwood Lodge were:-

WBro AJ Mann – WM

WBro – W McClelland – Acting IPM

Bro AHB Locke – SW

Bro Rev CE Godbehear – JW

Bro Rev CJT Martin – Chaplain

Bro H Brinkman – Treasurer

WBro H Robinson -  Secretary

WBro TA Allen – DC

Bro WA Broben – Almoner

Bro HA Heighway – SD

Bro AJ Tann – JD

Bro FW Whiteway – Organist

Bro AFB Long – Choirmaster

Bro GF Cougland – IG

Bro CH LeLeux -   Steward

Bro AJ Sugden – Steward

Bro TJ Reid – Steward

Bro F Dark – Tyler

 

Worthy of record is that the proclamations were made by WBro AE Ringwood AGDC

 

In proposing the Toast of the Ringwood Lodge, the MWPro GM was optimistic of the future of the Lodge, which had started well with 32 members, 3 proposals, and 12 joining members.

 

In appreciation of the assistance given to Ringwood by the WM of Acacia WBro EJ (Ted) Dalgleish, was made an honourary member at  our November ’25 meeting – Ted became a joining member later, 7 September 1932 and served this Lodge with distinction for a period of 41 years,

 

 

The founders considered a Centre a necessity for the Lodge. Accordingly arrangements were made to purchase from WBro W McCelland a block of land on the corner of Ringwood and Bond Streets and a contract was made 27 January 1926. (It should be noted, however, that due to a number of circumstances the final payment was delayed for many years, the Land Title being handed to the Worshipful Master of the Lodge on 4 June 1941).

 

The Minutes of 7 September 1927 record that a motion was passed “that a standing Building and Finance Committee be appointed to devise ways and means for the ultimate erection  of a suitable Temple. The committee to have attached in a purely  advisory capacity, one finance expert and one Master Builder. The Committee to be four in number and to submit progress reports in open Lodge quarterly”. Note The finance expert was WBro Locke, a Bank Manager the Building expert was Bro Roy Wilkins, a well know local builder. Locke was Manager of the Ringwood Branch of the Bank of Victoria.

 

It was doubtful whether a Temple could be built for a considerable period, efforts were made to induce the Vestry to enlarge the Lodge room. As a result, an Emergency Meeting of the Lodge was held 22 April 1928 to discuss (a) the purchase of the Rechabite Hall, Station St (now RSL) or (b) propose alterations to the current meeting place. The price of the Rachabite hall was 900 pounds. The purchase, however, did not go ahead. One of the conditions was to allow the Rechabites free usage of the Hall for 3 years.

 

At the Lodge meeting of 7 November, 1928 the Building Committee advised having reached agreement with the Parish Hall Committee for a storage room to be built on the back verandah with a rental increase to 26 pounds per annum (previously 20 pounds) for the use of the room – fifty two (52) times per year.

 

Although the Lodge was making steady progress, the severe economic depression was making life very difficult and I quote from the Minutes of our Regular Meeting of 6  May 1931:

“Secretary to see printer for reduction in printing charges (then one pound seventeen shillings).

 

Committee to interview Church Board for reduction in rent (As advised six pounds teen shillings quarterly plus four pounds ten shillings for the Installation at the Box Hill Temple).

 

Cater be approached to make arrangements for supper with guarantee of 50 at 1/- per head and nine pence per head over that figure”

 

Resultant on these approaches, a rent reduction was achieved, possibly because of negotiations which had been taking place with Blackburn Lodge for three years. Our rent at Blackburn would have cost twenty pounds per year. Staying at Ringwood, however, and retaining our independence and identity, and with Installations at Box Hill cost us an additional five pounds eight shillings and six pence per annum, (minutes 3 October 1934).

 

Despite the struggle to survive, the spirit of Masonry was kept alive and each year the lodge made donations the Ringwood Unemployment Relief Committee, Children’s Hospital, Free Kindergarten of Victoria and similar charities.. Many unemployed Brethren has their dues written off during this period.

 

The depression over, candidates were coming forward, and the lodge seemed assured of a bring future. In 1939 the horrendous bush fires claimed the homes of many of our Brethren. One who lost his home and orchard  was WBro Oliver Dwight, our WM 1934-35. The lodge was able to help some of these Brethren both practically and financially.

 

The declaration of war again put a brake on our progress and a further strain on our finances, with contributions to patriotic funds, purchase of War Bonds, remittance of serving members dues etc.

 

A bright spot in those dark days was recorded in the minutes (7-2-1940) when it was announced that final payment had been made on our land and it was to be registered  as a Trust under part 11 of the Religious Successory and Charitable Trusts Act 1928. Thank you, Arthur Aird.

 

The minutes of the 6-3-1940 show that a building Fund Account has been opened and it was moved that the sum of five pounds of every initiation fee and 5/ over ever joining  fee be paid into that account.

 

The minutes of the 4 March 1942 show that it was agreed to change the supper to sandwiches, biscuits and cheese at 1/1 per head and that the difference between the full meal (5 pence per head!) be paid into the Freemasons Patriot Fund. Extra insurance was taken out to cover air raid damage.

 

During the War period we have correspondence from Bros CR Wright and JC Tann advising receipt of their Grand Lodge Certificates whilst in Palestine on active service

 

In August 1943 our WM WBro RC Stoney, paid and official visit to his brother, WBro HA Stoney, The WM of Nunawading Lodge that same year. WBro Harold Stone and his team returned the visit when they passed four of our Candidates to the second degree, on the 6 October 1944, It is pleasing to record that these official visited have continued and are very well supported by both lodges

 

At the meeting 1 March 1944, it was moved that we apply to Grand Lode  for a License to from a Lodge of Instruction with WBro EJ Dalglieish PG Purs as Lecture Master (First Meeting 14-4-1944).

 

The November 1977 meeting was the night on which it was moved that a Past Masters jewel be purchased to replace the one lost by WBro Dwight when his house was burnt in the bush fires.

 

Worth noting is that at our Regular Meeting 5 September 1945 we initiated 3 candidates, two of them members of the Services, one Army, one RAAF (My brother Harold). Another candidate , a member of the RAAF was unable to attend and I can find no record of his Initiation at a later date. After the Initiation a Thanksgiving ceremony was held to mark the end of the war.

 

The minutes of 9 January 1946 record our congratulations to WM of Ringwood 1942-43 WBro the Rev TJ Riddle on being appointed Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria.

 

WBrio AJ (Bert) Tann PG Persuivant, Founder Junior Deacon, WM 1929-30 and Secretary from 1934, passed to the Grand Lodge above on 11 December 1947. There is no doubt that Bert was one of the prime movers in the formation of the Lodge. Bert was an enthusiastic Freemason. He loved and worked for the Craft. As Engineer in Charge at the Ringwood Cool Store, his influence was felt far and wide and it could be truly said that the Cool Store was the hub of Masonic activity in Ringwood. I am pleased to have been associated with Bert.

 

With a membership at 148 , WBro AJB Aird moved on the 1st September 1948 that we sponsor the proposed East Ringwood Lodge, provide the Charter and give them  the use of our furniture and regalia. This motion was carried and WBro Aird thanked the Lodge on behalf of the proposed new Lodge. Subsequently our fist daughter Lodge, the East Ringwood Lodge No 668, was Consecrated at a Special Meeting of our Lodge held at the Box Hill Temple on Monday 15 August, 1949.

 

MWBro RA Rowe Grand Master and the 1949-50 Grand Team carried out the Consecration Ceremony and later the Installation of our Treasurer, WBro AJB Aird as the Foundation WM. Most of the Foundation Officers were members of Ringwood.

 

An inspiring, magnificent ceremony, the first Consecration I had witnessed, and what was important it had doubled the number of Lodge meeting in Ringwood.

 

These were wonderful days and Freemasonry was at its peak – when you battled to become a Steward and performed to remain one. They were also “fun” days,. The stewards *(and I was one of them), on being released from the Lodge room, would have a word with WBro “Olly” Dwight, our Tyler for many years, receive our instructions and race up the Main Street, past the Cool Store to Pop Harcourt’s milk bar to collect the sandwiches, pies , pastries, cakes, the urns of tea and coffee, whatever our supper was to be.

 

Then followed the battle to convert the lodge room into a super room, helping Olly restack the furniture, organ included, into the store room putting up trestles and tables.

 

We worked. We loved it. We were involved.

 

xxxxx

 

 

“An undoubted highlight” in our history was the Meeting of Friday 7 June 1949 held at the Ringwood Town Hall where the Lodge combined with the Orient Lodge of Lilydale, the Baden Powell Lodge and the Lodge of Croydon to initiate two candidates and give a Masonic evening to a large number of Scouting Brethren, including interstate and international visitors from the Pan-Pacific Jamboree at Wonga Park. A total of 541 signed the Appearance Book.

 

Of great importance was the meeting of 1 February 1950 which endorsed the actions of the Trustees in paying a preliminary deposit on the Holeproof property in Pratt (Aird) Street.

 

At the meeting of 1 March 1950, the following resolutions were adopted

a)      This Lodge (Ringwood Lodge) co-operate with the other Lodges in the control and maintenance of the Masonic Hall recently acquired by the Trustees of Ringwood Lodge

b)      A Company be formed to acquire and control the building

c)       A recommendation be made to the promoters that the Company be a Public Company and the share capital be divided into one pound shares

d)      Monies advanced by Brethren and the Lodges be accepted for the purchase of the Shares in the Company

e)      Pending the formation and functioning of the Company the existing Trustees of Ringwood Lodge be authorized to do all thing necessary to acquire and manage the building and make it availible for lodge meetings.

f)       The Trustees of Ringwood Lodge be authorized and directed to transfer the hall property and the proper time to the proposed Company.

These resolutions we adopted and the Ringwood Masonic Hall Company was formed with Wor Bro A.J.B. Aird as Chairman. An entire section of this history relation to the Hall Company follows at the end of this volume.

 

Twenty-five years after our Consecration a Special Meeting of the Lodge was held on Wednesday, 14 July 1950 to mark the Official Opening of the Ringwood Masonic Hall. Our Wor Master, WBro SA (Sam) Brown welcomed visitors , amongst whom were the WM of the East Ringwood Lodge, who was accompanied by many of his Officers’ and Brethren. The Three Principals of the Ringwood Royal Arch Chapter, also accompanied by Officers and Companions and dressed in Chapter regalia, received a special welcome. The Grand Lodge delegation was led b RWBro Evan Richard, PDGM, VWBro Philip, Grand Superintendent of Works, gave an appropriate address for this special occasion.

 

The first regular meeting of the Lodge in the Ringwood Masonic Hall was held on Wednesday, 2 August, 1950 and we still have one of the candidates of that meeting as a member, Bro Charles Frederick Shambrook.

 

We continued to grow in numerical strength, and our next milestone was the holding our first Installation Ceremony in the newly enlarged Masonic Hall. Appropriately it was the Installation of John Tann (the late Bert’s son) on Wednesday 7 July 1954. Previous Installations had been held at the Box Hill Temple.

 

With a membership of 170, Ringwood sponsored Warrandyte Lodge, No 772, which was Consecrated on Friday, 9th September, 1955 at the Masonic Temple, Rochester Road, Canterbury,. VWBro GS Storey, our Worshipful Master, in 1955-56 considered this to be one of the very important occasions in his year of office.

 

MW Bro GB Bearham, Pro Grand Master and the 1955-56 Grand Lodge Team carried out the Consecration Ceremony and later the Installation  of WBro Samuel Alexander Brown as Worshipful Master.

 

It was my (Bro ME Chivers) privilege to be present on this occasion (as Ringwood’s Choirmaster) and again many of the Foundation Officers and Brethren were Ringwood Members.

 

This was another wonderful inspiring occasion.

 

In Gordon’s year the Regular meeting in January was altered to Thursday 5 January, 1956 and the meeting place was changed to the Ringwood Town Hall to enable s to accommodate suitably Scouting Brethren attending the Pan Pacific Jamboree. On this occasion a lecture was delivered by VWBro FRG Sanders PBB the appearance book being signed by 495 Brethren, many from overseas and interstate.

 

The minutes of the 7 May, 1958 recorded the purchase of a block of land at the rear of the Masonic Hall by the Hall Company. This block was later filled and leveled for use as a car park.

 

For quite a few years all was plain sailing, our Lodge enjoying a membership of 172 in July 1957, and then years later 1793

 

Worthy of note is that the minutes of our meeting of 4th October 61 record our appreciation of the services rendered by VWBro HE Caron PGIWkgs, during his fourteen (14) years as Assistant Inspector of Workings of our Lodge. The Inspector of Workings appointed to replace VWBRo Harold Carson was WBro ADH (Arch) Moses PGSwdB and we are delighted that Arch, Bor RWBro Moses PSGW is still our Inspector of Workings, our loved mentor, advisor and inspiration to all.

 

The minutes of 13 January 1965 record that the Fellowcraft degree was carried out by Past Masters of the Lodge. This was not unusual. On this occasion however, the Acing WM was WBro EJL Dalgleish, PSGD who was the WM  of our sponsor Lodge Acacia, when our Lodge was Consecrated. A time lapse of nearly forty (40) years between his duties as Wor Master.

 

On 5 May, 1965, Ted Dalgleish received his fifty year jewel from WBro Frank Bennet who spoke in glowing terms of the work  done by WBro Ted during his forty year membership of our Lodge

 

The meeting of 1 December. 1965, as the occasion for a lecture by WBro AJB Aird PSGD “Recalling some of the early history of the Ringwood Lodge no. 362”. Think how much time and effort would have been saved if this lecture has been recorded in the minutes instead of our thanks !

 

The Ceremony of the Dedication of the Ringwood Temple was carried out by MWBro The Honourable MR Justice Gillard, Grand Master and Grand Officers on Monday 31 October 1966.

 

The 500th Meeting of the Lodge was on the night of the Installation of Bro WG (Geoff) Hall, most of the installing team being members of the Ringwood Temple Lodges. The date was 5 July 1967. It was on the 2 August, 1967, however, the 501st meeting that WBro Aird delivered a lecture “Looking Backwards”. Again our appreciation was recorded, but no details.

 

The minutes of 2 July, 1969, the Installation  of TRG Halls as WM recorded that the Secretary was requested to convey to WBro WC (Bill) Brady our congratulations on his being honoured with the MBE. Brady House, a rehabilitation house for released prisoners, is a testament to the time and efforts spent in this cause.

 

The minutes of the next meeting, 6 August 1969, record the sudden death of WBro AJB Aird PSGD, our Treasurer. Arthur was one of our early candidates, Initiated 6 January 1926 WM 1937-38, a tireless worker in many orders and degrees and, indeed, in many Craft lodges. Arthur was doubtless the prime mover in the purchase of the Masonic Hall and the formation of the Ringwood Masonic Hall Company. Our appreciation of Arthur’s contribution is shown in our minutes (3 April 1957) where it is recorded the Lodge made a presentation of the full regalia of PSGD and congratulated him on the honour which had been conferred on him.

 

Arthur, a Crown Solicitor, later a senior Crown Prosecutor, held Office in several of the Craft Lodges meeting in Ringwood, and, as advised previously, was the Foundation Master of East Ringwood Lodge. Arthur was Foundation First Principal of the Ringwood Royal Arch Chapter and Foundation Master of the Ringwood Mark Lodge, holding office in these degrees until his death. I wish to place on record his service to the Ringwood Lodge.

 

At the age of 32, Arthur was Initiated 6 January 1926.

Passed 17 February 1926.

Raised 6 October 1926

Invested              Almoner              July 1927

“ “                           Choirmaster       July 1928

“ “                           Steward               July 1929

“ “                           Treasurer            July 1930-33

“ “                           Chaplain              July 1934

“ “                           Junior Warden  July 1935

“ “                           Senior Warden July 1936

Installed              Wor Master        July 1937

Invested              IPM                        July 1938

“ “                           Chaplain              July 1941-42

“ “                           Treasurer            July 1943

 

in which Office he served until his death in 1969 – a truly remarkable record of service to this lodge. I am sure his other Lodges and Orders would also have benefited from his membership and with it his dedication, enthusiasm and expertise, especially in the legal field.

 

Our Lodge progressed steadily in the 70’s, with enough candidates to provide work for each year. Lodge fees were rising to keep up with cost and Hall maintenance. It must not be overloaded that the Ringwood Masonic Hall was originally the Odd-fellows Hall and a lot of maintenance was required. Additional money was also needed to purchase the homes adjacent to the Hall to provide a buffer zone as well as to make room for future expansion. A most sensible move on the part of the Ringwood Masonic Hall Company.

 

In Len Kelly’s year as WM 72-73 our first “Ladies in the South” was held (7 Feb 1973), also the first Combined Ringwood Temple Lodges Meeting. A Ladies in the South has continued (with Grand Lodge approval) as an eagerly looked for :”Annual”, as had the Combined Temple Lodges meeting each Temple Lodge taking its turn to act as host. Grand Lodge has co-operated, arranging for a speaker of the highest caliber to address each meeting. For those who have missed this event, the first meeting was addressed by RWBro GL Jackson PDGM, the Grand Secretary, and we have been privileged over the years to be addressed y Grand Masters, Past Grand Masters and other distinguished Brethren each whom has kept us in touch with current events and answered fully each and every question put to him.

 

Thank you WBro Len Kelly for your initiative.

 

XXXxx

 

An event of importance was the Golden Jubilee of our Lodge, when on the 2 July 1975. Bro Ron Butler was installed as the 51 Worshipful Master by Most Worshipful Brother, Sir Roger Davall CBE, Past Grand Master. A milestone in our history and a night to be long remembered. At fifty years of age we were still in our prime, a progressive and viable Lodge with 109 members.

 

Of vey great importance in our history was the building of the Maroondah Masonic Centre the first sod being turned on 8 September, 1980, with the bulldozer in the background to start the excavation and leveling. The foundation stone was laid on 22  November, 1980, by Most WBro NL Colbran, Grand Master, who opened the Centre on the 25th July 1981, again officiating at the Dedication on the following Saturday 1 August 1981.

 

This information on the Maroondah Masonic Centre may appear somewhat brief, but as I advised earlier, all events pertaining to the Masonic Hall will be covered in a separate section.

 

The first Ringwood Lodge regular meeting to be held in the new Temple was 5 August 1981. Our WM 81-82 WBro JF Thomas, had the pleasure of being in the Chair for the Lodge opening on the occasion of the Dedication of the Centre.

 

We are now, in 1985, firmly entrenched in our magnificent Centre which we share with ten other Craft lodges. Fortunately Candidates are still forthcoming and our future is assured for the time. Let us not be complacent. It is not the duty of the Master or the Secretary to produce candidates. It is up to each and every one of use to find among his friends and acquaintances, gentlemen worthy of an introduction to Freemasonry. Assistance in these matters can be obtained from your Past Masters and Senior Brethren, also from Grand Lodge.

 

The advancement of the Lodge has been guided by some very worth Secretaries;

WBro                     H Robinson                         1925

Bro                         AJ Sugden                           1926-1934

WBro                     AJ Tann PF Purs                                1934-1947

WBro                     JC Tann                                 1948-2

RWBro                  KA McLaughlin PJGW     1952-59

Bro                         HA Grant                              1959-61

WBro                     TC Hannan PSGD              1961-73

WBro                     ME Chivers PSGD             1973-83

WBro                     BJ Joy PJGD                         1983-84

WBro                     JF Thomas                           1984-

 

We can deem ourselves fortunate that we have had so few Secretaries in 60 years.

 

We have also been fortunate in the respect that in our entire existence, competition for the Master’s Chair has been keen, and only once, has a Master had the opportunity of serving for more than his one year. In the middle of the depression George Coughlan, Our WM 30-31 was called to serve as WM 35-36.

 

In listing the Worshipful Masters who have directed the destiny of this Lodge over the years, it was pleasing to record that all have made a contribution to the improvement and employment of Freemasonry, none to its detriment.

 

1925       WBro     AJ Mann

1926       WBro     AHB Locke

1927       WBro     Rev CE Godbehear

1928       WBro     HA Heighway

1929       WBro     AJ Tann Purs.

1930       WBro     GF Coughlan PG Stwd

1931       WBro     CH Leleux

1932       WBro     JL Skerrett

1933       WBro     WH Robinson

1934       WBro     O Dwight

1935       WBro     GF Coughlan PGStwd

1936       WBro     NH Cooper

1937       WBro     AJB Aird PSGD

1938       WBro     H Peake PGSwd B

1939       WBro     LFA Hall

1940       WBro     LC Allen

1941       WBro     AF Raymond

1942       WBro     Rev TJ Riddle

1943       WBro     RC Stoney

1944       WBro     FR Pollard

1945       WBro     WC Bradly

1946       WBro     Fb Bennett PGI Wkgs

1947       WBro     CS Tate

1948       WBro     JS Mann

1949       WBro     L Retchford

1950       WBro     SA Brown PG SwdB, G Herald

1951       WBro     GW Spingett

1952       WBro     LAS Tucknott

1953       WBro     RW Mahoney

1954       WBro     JC Tann

1955       WBro     GS Storey PGI Wkgs

1956       WBro     CE Rawson

1957       WBro     JJ Gallienne

1958       WBro     RA Hobbs

1959       WBro     TC Hannan PSGD

1960       WBro     JR Myles

1961       WBro     RT Clark PG Std B

1962       WBro     MLG Ritchie

1963       WBro     CG Beal PSGD

1964       WBro     AG Clegg

1965       WBro     AR Nelson

1966       WBro     CF Hall

1967       WBro     WG Hall

1968       WBro     A Swain

1969       WBro     TRG Halls

1970       WBro     ME Chivers PSGD

1971       WBro     IM Cook

1972       WBro     LR Kelly PG Swd B

1973       WBro     JC Shambrook

1974       WBro     LR Javris

1975       WBro     Rh Butler

1976       WBro     GB Foers PG Swd B

1977       WBro     KR Hately

1978       WBro     MM Kempton

1979       WBro     J Guy

1980       WBro     BJ Joy PJGD

1981       WBro     JF Thomas

1982       WBro     F Moffatt

1983       WBro     RN Batten

1984       WBro     RG Grierson

 

Past Masters

RtWBro                KA McLaughlin PJGW

WBro                     AB Clayton PG Swd B

WBro                     LJ Dodd

WBro                     LJ Hamilton

WBro                     TF Salmon

 

Almost without exception these worshipful masters have remained members and made a very considerable contribution to the betterment of the lodge, using their skills and expertise in the ceremonial work and administrative duties of the lodge.

 

It will be noted while reading the list that quite a number have been honoured with Grand Rank, and whilst many have received Past Grand Rank, four of our Past Masters have been appointed to active Grand Teams.

 

WBro AJJ Tann PGG Pursuivant was Grand Pursuivant in the 1937-38 Grand Team.

 

WBro SA Coughlan, PG Steward was appointed Grand Steward in the 1939-40 Grand Team.

 

WBro SA Brown appointed to the Grand Team as Grand Herald, holding that rank unil January 1969 do you to a boating accident

 

WBro BJ Joy PJGD was appointed Grand Sword Bearer in the 1982-83 Grand Team.

 

We are delighted that the Ringwood Past Masters have been so honoured.

 

It is not my intention to list names of those considered to have made a greater contribution than others. Much has already been made of this special contributions however there must be exceptions to every rule . I list the names of WBro OLIVER DWIGHT for special mention, “Olly” being our longest serving member. Initiated in 1926, Master 1934, Tyler 1941-1951, Chaplain 1952-1956 and from 1976 to the present (1985) time. In his 59 years of Freemasonry “Olly” has been in office for 33 years. It can also be said that for another 20 years Olly also made a valuable contribution as an active Past Master, very rarely missing a meeting. During his years as Tyler, meetings were held in the Parish Hall. All furnishings, organ included, had to be taken from a small storage room and the Lodge laid out. After the meeting everything, including blackout shutters for the windows, had to be restacked. Thank you, Olly, for your many years of excellent service.

 

The name RWBro KS McLaughlin PJGW, although one of our best known Past Masters does not appear on the roll of Masters. Keith was initiated in Ringwood ion 1942, and soon after took office as a as Steward. Retaining his membership at Ringwood, Keith was invested as a foundation officer of the Lodge of Croydon, at its Consecration in 1947, and was installed as Worshipful Master in 1952. Within three years of his installation, Keith took on the duties of Secretary of Ringwood, carrying out his duties very competently and with satisfaction to all. Keith also found time to bring up a family, run a business, be and active Councilor and Shire President of the Shire of Lillydale and sit on the Bench as an active Justice of the Peace. Keith remained a member for years, was made a Special member, then an Honourary Member, still retaining his affiliation with us. Thank you, Keith,  for your contribution, not only to Ringwood but to the many other Degrees and Orders with which you were associated – the culmination being your appointment as Sovereign Grand Inspector General 33⁰.

 

Other joining Past Masters have made valuable contributions to our progress and well being. Mention has been made of the excellent service of WBro EJL Dalgleish PJGD. We are also grateful for the good work done by WBros EC Chisholm, PG Std B, FA Poyser and EV White, all being very active workers in the 40’s and 50’s.

 

Special mention should be made of RWBro JF Corr PJGW who joined us as Past Master in 1948. Frank was the Foundation Secretary of East Ringwood but remained a member of Ringwood for 12 years. During those years Frank held the office of Assistance Director of Ceremonies on a number of occasions, and always assisted with impeccable ritual. Frank was Foundation 2 Principal of the Ringwood Chapter and a Foundation Member of the Ringwood Mark – Frank’s delivery of ritual would be among the best I have ever heard.

 

A busy family man, a Primary School Principal, Frank also took an active interest in civic affairs as a Councilor, and was made Mayor of Ringwood in 1952. Frank’s health is causing some concern at the moment, but we say “thank you” for your very valuable contribution.

 

Although not recorded on the list of WMs of this Lodge WBro HE Parker merits a special mention. Initiated in Ringwood in 1944, Harry took an active interest in the Lodge as Auditor, and whilst still retaining his membership of Ringwood, joined East Ringwood as Foundation Inner Guard, and was Installed as Wor Master of 668 in 1953. Harry remained as Auditor of Ringwood, and soon assumed the additional responsibility of our ADC, 1955-57 and DC 1957-58. Harry was Foundation Scribe of Ringwood Royal Arch Chapter and you will doubtless be aware of the work entailed in that job alone.

 

A Company Director and a busy family man, Harry was very active in Civic affairs. A Councilor and active Justice of the Peace for many years, he was Mayor of Ringwood in 1940 and again in 1945. Unfortunately, Harry was killed in a car accident in September, 1958. He will not be forgotten in Ringwood, in however. The H E Parker Reserve with its huge sporting complex has been named in his honour.

 

The example of the Past Masters alone justified the phrase “Freemasonry, synonymous with service”. I should make it quite clear that these contributions in the community and civic affairs were not, and are still not confined to Past Masters alone. Many of our Master Mason members have been and are prominent in these fields. I cite for example Bro BJ (Ben) Hubbard MBD, JP, and Bro Peter Vergers JP, both of whom served on the Ringwood Council for years, each being a Mayor in several occasions, Ben was an active RSL member and was known throughout Australian as a chrysanthemum grower and judge.

 

Peter, and orchardist, was well known as the Secretary of the Ringwood Co-operative Cool Stores and as a sportsman of local fame, remembered best as the Captain of the Ringwood Cricket Club. Each of these Brothers had a sporting reserved named after him.

 

Many of our Brethren have been and are prominent in organizations such as Scouting, Red Cross, St. John Ambulance, Legacy, Lions, RSL etc. We are justly proud of them.

 

In August 1980 WBro AB (Arthur) Clayton  PGSwdB became a joining member and assisted with his excellent ritual and ceremonial work; in addition contributing with his musical ability as a Herald, blending with our organist in the musical portions of our ceremonies. Unfortunately, Arthur has been on the sick list for some time. We look forward to his joining us again in the not too distant future.

 

We are fortunate that over the years we have had excellent Organists. Our present Organist WBro HF (Harry) Roberts is the Grand Organist of Grand Chapter and Harry took over as our Organist from WBro NL (Neville) Brickell, the present Grand Organist of Grand Mark and one of the Assistant Grand Organist appointed to the 1985-86 Grand Craft Team.

 

In July 1982, WBro LJ (Les) Dodd joined the ranks of our P.M.’s and has already made a significant contribution with his fluent, impeccable ritual and immaculate ceremonial work. We say “thank you” to Les for passing on to the Ringwood Officers some of the expertise gained from having been DC in his previous Craft Lodge and his further training as a result of his many years in the Grand Mark Team.

 

WBro Laurie Hamilton and WBro Terry Salmon are newer additions to our P.M.’s list and I am sure they too, will be of great assistance to us, and in due time each will make his mark in the history of this lodge.

 

Past Masters or Master Masons, each and every member of Ringwood has made a  contribution to our history in some form or other.

 

I do not think it necessary to give the annual membership numbers,  however, our numerical strength and the end of each decade could prove of interest.

1925 June – 30

1935 June – 58

1945 June – 114

1955 June – 170

1965 June – 184

1975  June – 108

1985 June – 90

 

These figures certainly indicate that we are not as strong numerically as we were twenty years ago. The pessimist will wisely say that this downturn is to be expected with the introduction of the sophisticated entertainment now available, i.e. television and it s associated V.C.R equipment, freeways and fast motor cars to take us to the multimillion dollar entertainment centres, licensed restaurants and clubs. Even the increase in the number of home swimming pools will be blamed for absenteeism in the warm weather. On the positive side, let us take our minds back sixty years when twelve Brethren met, all from different lodges, their common interest being that they resided in Ringwood and desired their own Temple in Ringwood to meet “and enjoy that happiness which true friendship and brotherly affection can afford”. Their enthusiasm and determination enabled them to overcome the many obstacles and reach that goal. Thanks to their enterprise, sixty years on, we have, I repeat, a magnificent Temple, all the furnishings, regalia and equipment we desire and many times the original number of Brethren. We have as our Head a capable Wor Master leading and equally capable team of enthusiastic Officers, and everyone of our meetings is a happy occasion.

 

To make this lodge even more successful we need you, your attendance, your support at both our Lodge and social functions, as it is only with our active co-operation that we can continue to grow, as we must if we are to live.

 

Determine to renew and consolidate your friendships, and I re-iterate, do not hesitate to promote our Order to suitable neighbours, friends, relatives, workmates of fellow executives, and thus secure our future. Information leaflets are available and should be used.

 

It has given me a great deal of pleasure to go through the Minute Books and relive the past thirty-nine years, to sit again in the Parish Hall, the Ringwood Masonic Hall and the Masonic Centre, to visualize the faces, to hear again the healthy debates, to results of which determined, amongst other things, the future of our lodge, the birth of new Lodges, the advisability of paying rent or purchasing a place of our own. A great deal of debate was on the question of building on our own land or purchasing a suitable building which we did.

 

These were exciting times and I consider myself fortunate to have been associated with, and enjoyed the company of,  most of the Brethren mentioned in this history. As many of the foundation members were still active in 1946 when I was initiated. I am one of those privileged in having in effect a direct link with our very beginnings. It was also my privilege to be one of the original shareholders in the Hall Company.

 

We still live in exciting times when all around is change, but too few of our Brethren are involved in the debating of the changes in our lodges. In the past, I remember quite a heated debate when it was moved that we challenge another Lodge to a social cricket match on a Sunday. A Brother opposing the motion won, as recorded in the minutes, but the point I wish to stress is that we were all in the debate. Today it is normal to accept without question recommendations from Past Masters’ meeting, Social Committees, building Committees etc. Is that good or bad ?

 

At all times, especially when I was Lodge Secretary, I was only too pleased to be one of those who accepted without question the recommendations of the Masonic Hall Company. It is a pleasure to place on record our thanks for the very professional manner in which the Hall Company has carried out its duties since its formation.

 

We applaud the system of a Director from each of the Temple Lodges and appreciate that the Brethren selected to represent their respective Lodge have been chosen primarily for their expertise in the fields of engineering, building and finance, as well as possessing plain common sense.

 

Thanks to their dedication, enthusiasm and hard work the old Hall was enlarged, improved and maintained , but always in sight was a new Temple. After years of hard work and with the assistance and support of Grand Lodge, the Maroondah Masonic Centre came into being, and to qualify the statement  I must now tell you how the Hall Company came into being...

 

 

 

THE RINGWOOD MASONIC HALL COMPANY PTY LTD (page 23 in booklet)

 

The Hall Company merits a separate section in our history and although too many it appear to be a somewhat remote, separate body, telling us how much rent we have to pay, we are very much part of the whole company and share in the management of it.

 

I am pleased to record the information I have regarding the Hall Company, especially the facts relation to its formation, and to the duties and responsibilities vested in the Company as recorded in our Lodge Minutes and as I remember them, having been present at the meetings when these decisions were made.

 

The History of the Hall Company, in many respects, is parallel with the history of the Ringwood Lodge and the repetitions in recording events are deliberate and save you the trouble of looking back to verify happenings.

 

I have already advised you of the importance our foundation members placed on the ownership of their own Temple, and the frustrating delays experienced in obtaining the same, due to the lack of finance.

 

Early in 1950 an opportunity arose that was to convert their dream into reality. One of our Past Masters, WBro Bob Stoney, a prominent Ringwood businessman, learned that the Oddfellows Hall in Pratt Street had been placed on the market by its owners. Holeproof, the clothing manufacturers, who had previously purchase the Hall and concerted it for use as a wartime emergency clothing factory.

 

A meeting of the Trustees was quickly arranged and a deposit paid to secure the property. The Trustees were congratulated and their actions endorsed by the Members of Ringwood at the Regular Meeting on Wednesday, 1 February, 1950. Subsequently our original land on the corner of Ringwood and Bond Streets was sold and the purchase of the Hall arranged.

 

Things really started to move and on the 15 February, 1950 a meeting was held to enable members of the Ringwood, East Ringwood Lodges, and Ringwood Royal Arch Chapter to discuss the question of whether the new Lodges join with Ringwood in financing the repairs and alterations necessary to make the Hall suitable for Masonry or for Ringwood to retain solve ownership and responsibility, with the others entering into a landlord-tenant agreement.

 

The meeting, being in favour of joint ownership, decided to recommend a number of resolutions for consideration at the next regular meeting of Ringwood Lodge on 1 March 1950.

 

[We certainly had a Hall, but there was a lot of work to be done. It should be remembered that for a start most of the floor needed replacing as the Holeproof machines has been bolted to it and other holes has been made for electric leads, etc]

 

As the Lodge summons listed these resolutions, you can well imagine there was a great deal of debate even before the meeting. All were aware that any decisions arrived at would have far reaching effects. It has taken the Lodge 25 years to purchase a hall and who was going to let it go within a month ?

 

Wor, Bro Aird was given the opportunity of outlining the type of Company envisaged; its duties and responsibilities, the benefits of a Co-operative, the appointing of Directors, share holding etc,. Many, however, did not wish to relinquish ownership claiming that having paid into the Building Fund for years Ringwood should retain ownership. Others intending to transfer to East Ringwood claimed that they too had paid into the Fund and were equally entitled to share in the ownership.

 

In the absence of the WM, our IPM./ Wor.Bro Spencer Mann, (Geology, Mel. University) was the ideal Chairman, and ensured that the debate was conducted in accordance with business procedure. The words and rhetoric of the lawyer and the academic, the less fluently expressed opinions of the orchardist and the labourer, the enthusiast, the conservative, all were given the same fair hearing and their contributions equated.

 

Quite rightly, there should have been the enthusiasm. With Wor Bro Aird as Foundation Master, East Ringwood, only seven months old, was attracting candidates and joining members and was assured of a bring future. With MEx.Compa. Aird as Foundation First Principal, Ringwood Chapter, meeting at Box Hill, had yet to celebrate its first birthday, Nevertheless, many candidates had been exalted, including yours truly, and with joining members swelling our ranks, the Chapter was also assured of success.

 

Our records show that the mover of the motion to adopt the resolutions as a PM not associated with other lodges, the seconder, our S.D.. The motion was carried by an overwhelming majority and Arthur Aird was charged with the responsibility of drawing up the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

 

Directors were appointed and in recording their names you will note from their respective vocations that the Board o Directors formed had adequate expertise to carry out its appointed duties. You will also see that a balance of the interests of all Lodges was assured.

 

Name                                    Occupation                         Lodges Represented

WBro  Aird                          Solicitor                               Ringwood           East Ringwood                  Chapter

WBro Peake                       Builder                                 Ringwood

WBro Allen                         Builder                                 Ringwood

WBro  Corr                          Teacher                                                Ringwood           East Ringwood

WBro  Stoney                    Electrical Contractor       Ringwood           East Ringwood

Bro Tann                              Clerk                                     Ringwood

Bro Bamford                      Timber Merchant             Ringwood

Bro Parker                           Company Director           Ringwood           Ringwood East  Chapter

Bro McLeod                        Manager                              Ringwood           Ringwood East Chapter

Bro McLaughlin                 Merchant                            Ringwood           Chapter.

 

The Statutory Report from the Directors was issued on the 5 July, 1950, advising that the number of Shares issued was 2,543, that they were paid up in cash and that there was a credit balance of seventy two pounds and nine shillings after payment of the land, buildings, charges, furniture, alterations, printing and stationery. It should be mentioned that the only reason there was a credit balance was because Authur Aird carried out all the legal work at only a minimal charge to the Hall Company, and to Ringwood Lodge. We owe a great deal to Arthur and our thanks to him are recorded quite often in our Lodge Minutes as he was generous to a fault.

 

The original Shareholders were the three aforementioned Lodges and individual Lodge members. Simple rules existed:- The Company reserved the right to issue Shares. You were required to be a Freemason before you could purchase Shares. Directors were required to be holders of at least 5 shares.

 

These are only some of the Articles of Association, but I quote them as being examples of the good commonsense used in drawing up the Articles.

 

The Statutory Meeting of the Hall Company was held on the 19 July, 1950. WBro Aird’s appointment as Chairman caused no surprise as during the formation of the Company, Arthur was Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Legal Advisor, Manager and everything else that was required to  make the Company function.

 

With the Hall Company legally sound, if not financially so, working bees continued as in the previous few months to make the Hall presentable and more suitable for Freemasonry. Renovations, alterations and additions were the order of the day. The smell of paint was ever present. What enthusiast of the time would have dreamed we would be doing exactly the same for the next 31 years ?

 

I qualify my statement re the Hall Company’s precarious financial position by advising that money was just as hard to come by in those days as it is today. On a number of occasions the Chairman of the Hall Company, Arthur Aird, has had a battle to persuade the Treasurer of Ringwood Lodge, Arthur Aid, that Ringwood Lodge could afford to make a  further loan to the Hall Company. In the line of fire, Arthur took all the rubbishing with a smile, and  it was the Chairman of the Hall Company who won, the Treasurer conceding gracefully. (Summary; Minutes 5.8.53)

New lodges were formed and together with the existing Lodges, Bayswater, and Croydon, decided to the use of the Masonic Hall as their meeting place.

 

In 1961, the Directors of the Ringwood Masonic Hall Co Pty Ltd, decided to restructure the share holdings of the Company. It was arranged for all the Lodges and Orders meeting at Ringwood to purchase the shares  held by individual Freemasons. I am please to place on record our thanks to a number of the original Shareholders who made a donation of their shares to the Hall Company. Their generosity was , and is very much appreciated. The Blue Lodges all had equal shareholding, and the other  Orders a lesser number. The Articles of the Company were also changed to allow each Blue Lodge to appoint a Director and for the Orders to appoint 2 Directors to represent them. It was also decided than any new Lodge or Orders wishing to meet at Ringwood would be entitled to take up a similar share holding as the existing Lodges. These shares were to be issued at Par Value.

 

The decisions by the Directors of the time were the foundation for development of the Ringwood Temple, as they created a co-operative amongst the Lodges and overcame the Tenant and Landlord situation which plagues so many Temples in Melbourne

 

It should be noted that all the Lodge and Orders took up their Share entitlements.

 

The Ringwood Masonic Hall, our home for 31 years, was altered and enlarged on three occasions, the last being the addition of the brick front to Pratt Street and the brick side, i.e. the west side adjacent to the laneway. This addition saw also the inclusion of internal toilets.

 

The “East”, originally at the South end of the building, was changed to the North end. In earlier days and before this alteration you entered the building through a side doorway, where in my younger days, I paid a shilling, later two, for admission to Saturday night dances.

 

These latest additions sealed off that doorway, but enclosed an area for the Lodge regalia cupboards, with room for the Brethren to assemble and on nights with many visitors their chatter would drown out the Lodge proceedings prior to their admission. Think back to Installation nights and be thankful for your new Temple. You now entered through the impressive front doors in Aird Street, having first muddied your shoes waling up the lane from the car park. Despite its many drawbacks, we ‘oldies’ loved the place as we were responsible for changing it from a dirt old factory, neglected after being closed own, to a smart brink fronted Masonic Hall, and we had done much of that work with our own hands.

 

Those who are reading this will have perhaps noticed the street name was changed from Pratt Street to Aird Street as a fitting tribute to the work done by Wor Bro Arthur Aird.

 

Soon after the acquisition of the Hall, land in Warrandyte Road was given to the Country Woman’s Association for the purpose of building a meeting hall. This land was flood prone and the C.W.A was advised that it could not obtain building permit for that site. The executive of the C.W.A accepted the offer from the Hall Company to purchase the site and the land was slowly filled and leveled with overburden obtain form road works in the area. This site eventually became the Temple car park.

 

Our Lodge Minutes of 7 May, 1985 record this purchase and compliments paid to the Hall Company on their good business sense. This good work was  continued with the purchase of houses adjoining the Temple, No 3 Aird Street in 1961 and no 5 in 1972, this last purchase being made possible through bridging finance provided by VWBro Harry Garret of North Bayswater Lodge. Thank you, Harry for your timely assistance.

 

The old Hall served us well. I can remember the excitement of all on that wonderful night of the 14 July, 1950 when WBro Sam Brown, WM 50/51, welcome RWBro Evan Richard PDGM, on the occasion of the Official Opening of the Hall, my first real contact with Grand Lodge; retirement of many members to be readmitted as members of East Ringwood, retiring with other members to be readmitted as a Companion of the Ringwood Holy Royal Arch Chapter.

 

An address by VWBro H Philip, Grand Superintendent of Works, I don’t remember the subject of his talk, but we were inspired.

 

The first Regular Meeting of Ringwood in the Hall was on Wednesday, 2 August, 1950.

 

Wednesday, the 7 July, 1954 saw the end of an era with the Installation of Bro Jack Tann in our own Hall, previous Installations having been held at Box Hill.

 

There was pomp and grandeur of the Dedication of the Hall in a Ceremony conducted by MWBRo The Honourable Mr Justice Gillard, GM on Monday 31 October, 1966.

 

I have many happy memories of the old Masonic Hall.

 

Early in 1970’s it was realized that the present Temple was deteriorating rapidly and would have to be replaced. Many attempts were made to get a new Temple project off the ground, but these ran into problems of zoning, freeway sitting etc. The joining together of the Ringwood Masonic Hall Co, Pty Ltd and the East Burwood Lodge (who were then tenants of the Blackburn Temple) gave the project the impetus and finance it needed to proceed. Permits were finally obtained to build a Temple on the rear of the car park facing Warrandyte Road. Objections were lodged by people living in Aird Street, and backing onto the proposed Temple. While the appeals were being heard, discussions were held with the Ringwood City Council regarding the possibility of acquiring nos 20,22 and 24 Warrandyte Road and using the land for the erection of the new Temple.

 

This site had the added advantage of not requiring deep foundations, reducing considerably the cost of construction. The Directors, therefore, purchased no 20 Warrandye Road (corner Aird Street) for $60,000.00, No 24 Warrandyte Road for $35,000.00 and exchanged No 22 Warrandyte Road (owned by the Ringwood City Council) for the car park site which adjoined the Ringwood City Library. The Ringwood City Council made a cash settlement of $12,500.00 upon the exchange. After the new building was completed and occupied the original land owned by the Hall Company in Aird Street was sold to the Ringwood City Council for $120,000.00

 

Congratulations, Directors and executives, on this example of financial wizardry. In mentioning finance it should be recorded that, consequent upon the commitment to proceed with the building of the Centre, Bayswater Lodge sold the land which they had purchased many years previously for their proposed Temple. The money from the sale was donated to the Hall Company. Thank you, Bayswater, for your generosity and practical demonstration of Freemasonry.

 

Whilst on finance, it is perhaps appropriate to record now that some of the furnishings were again donated by Lodges and individuals. I am sure that the Hall Company Directors would wish me to express their thanks for this further support and endorsement of their efforts. These donations, whether in the form of cash or useful equipment, have been acknowledged and recorded by the Hall Company.

 

New plans were drawn, and after further appeals by residents of Pratt Street were rejected, Town Planning and Building Permits were issued. Work commenced on the project in August, 1980. The Official Turning of the First Sod was carried out by the Chairman of the Building Committee, VWBro A.A. Williams, PGIWkgs, on the 8 September, 1980.

 

The Foundation Stone was laid on Saturday, 22nd November by MWBro N.L. Colbran, GM, The Heads of all other Orders and Degrees meeting in the Temple were in attendance on this very special occasion. A brief history of the Hall Company is enclosed in a capsule which has been encased in a space behind the Foundation Stone.

 

The Official Opening of the Maroondah Masonic Centre took place on 25th July 1981, and the Dedication Ceremony on Saturday 1st August 1981.

 

That sounds very simple, but few will be aware of the amount of work involved in negotiating, compromising and inevitably complying with the many instrumentalities and Bodies whose demands has to be met. The City Council Building and Health Inspectors, Town Planning Boards, Road Authorities, Board of Works, State Electricity Commission to name but  a few. We must not forget that the Centre was built on a project management basis and the Company achieved a relatively rare feat. The Centre was completed on budget and on time, and this was due to the work of the Building Committee of three:- RWB Alan Williams, PJGW, Chairman, WBro Fred Dodd, PGSwdB, Secretary, and BBro Ken Field PGSwdB, Treasurer. This Committee negotiated the purchase of land, etc, and spent countless hours  supervising every detail of the construction of the Temple. We congratulate them for a wonderful job and than them sincerely for their efforts.

 

Here we say “thank you” to our very understanding and capable architect, WBro Roy Colomb, PGSwdB, who did an excellent job and co-operated in every way, although his patience must have been sorely tried with the many changes to his plans because of the Court appeals and the resultant directives issued.

 

Our thanks to Grand Lodge for their ready and generous assistance in arranging the various loans which enabled us to proceed with this ambitious but necessary project. I am please to record the extent of their generosity:-

1 Grand Lodge Building Committee $100.000 interest Free Loan.

2 Grand Lodge Benevolent Fund $200.000 at 8% interest per annum

3 Grand Lodge Building Committee $30,000 repayable at $3,000 per annum principal and interest.

Thank you in particular MWBro Henry Nathan, PGM and VWBro John Carter PGDC. We appreciate the personal interest you have shown and the assistance and support given unstintingly over a very long period of time. Thank you also WBro Ken Gilford, PGStdB, QC for your assistance at the appeals before the Tribunal. Your efforts on our behalf were very much appreciated.

 

Our very special thanks go to the Secretary of the Masonic Hall Co. WBro HW Whitaker, PGSwdB, who has contributed an enormous amount of his time, talents, resources and energy in an honorary capacity during the last twenty-four years. A qualified Accountant and Companies Secretary, Bruce, as a relatively new Master Mason, found himself with the job of Auditor in 1961 and took over as Secretary from WBro Bob McClean, PJGD, in 1977 just in time to carry the biggest work load than could be imposed on any Secretary. Thank you, Bruce, for a job well done and your continuing support.

 

The Official Opening of the Centre was on Saturday, 25 July, 1981 by MWBro N L Colbran, GM, was an occasion to which Civic Dignitaries were invited and it is with great pleasure I record that the Mayor of the City of Ringwood who addressed the assembly was Councilor WBrro Frank Corr, JP, Past Master of the East Ringwood Lodge. Frank, as a Lewis, was one of the first two candidates to be initiated in the East Ringwood Lodge,  shortly after its Consecration.

 

Frank’s father, RWBro Frank Corr, PJGW, Mayor of the Borough of Ringwood 1952, foundation Secretary of East Ringwood Lodge and a foundation Director of the Ringwood Masonic Hall Company, was in attendance. He has never had reason to be more proud of his son on that occasion.  

 

The fitting finale to the many years of hard work was the Dedication of the Maroondah Masonic Centre on Saturday 1 August 1981. The Ceremony was carried out by MWBro NL Colbran, who was accompanied by  RWBro HJ Nathan DGM, and the 1981/82 Grand Team. It was a magnificent ceremony, colourful and impressive, carried out to perfection, and inspiration to all in attendance, an night never to be forgotten.

 

The pomp, pageantry and festivities over, quite a number of Brethren heaved a sigh of relief, none more so that our illustrious Secretary, Bruce, as there would have  been an inordinate amount of printing and correspondence in relation to these functions.

 

The Hall Company Directors, especially those who formed the Building Committee, again resumed their normal life styles (if Masons do have one) and to them we express our thanks and appreciation for their continued enthusiasm, patience, tolerance and perseverance during this very busy period. It is with pleasure I place their names of the record with their rank at the time of building the Centre. It is more pleasing still, however, to advise that the Grand Master honoured some of these Brethren with Grand Rank as a tangible expression of appreciation.

 

CHAIRMAN

WBro GA Clarke

DIRECTORS

WBro MK Capon

WBro FG Dodd

WBro KA Field

WBro BJ Joy

WBro A McK Oliver

Bro IM Penney

WBro JP Richards

WBro GF Saunders

WBro NJ Sutherland

VWBro AA Williams

WBro RG Woodward

SECRETARY

WBro BH Whitaker

 

The Executive Officers who have helped guide the destiny of the Hall Company since its formation are as follows:

CHAIRMAN

WBro AJB Aird, 1950-69

WBro FJ Corr, 1969-1971

WBro CF Hall, 1971-1976

WBro  GA Clarke, 1976-

 

SECRETARY

Bro M Rawson, 1950-1955

Bro G McKemmish, 1956-1958

Bro G Hayward, 1958-1964

WBro CW Smith, 1964-1972

WBro ER McClean, 1972-1976

WBro BH Whitaker, 1976-

 

LIST OF LODGES MEETING AT RINGWOOD

Ringwood Lodge No 382

Bayswater Lodge No 587

Lodge of Croydon No 607

East Ringwood Lodge No 668

East Burwood Lodge No 686

Lodge of Concentration No 753

Jonadab Lodge No 771

Warrandyte Lodge No 772

North Bayswater Lodge No 753

Amaroo Lodge No 826

Mullum Valley Lodge No 856

Ringwood Royal Arch Chapter No 97

Ringwood Mark Lodge No 135

Fraternal Affection Mark Lodge No 141

Ringwood Conclave Order of the Secret Monitor No 122

Ringwood Chapter Rose Crois No 344

Ringwood Preceptory Knights Templar No 344

Maroondah Conclave Red Cross of Constantine No 275

 

Having listed the Directors, it is perhaps opportune to remind our Brethren that the Directors’ worries have not ceased with the completion of our new Centre. The prime function of the Hall Company, as defined in the resolutions adopted in 1950, was to control and maintain the Masonic Hall, and I assume this function applies similar to the Centre.

 

The high standards of maintenance can be seen at a glance, beautiful gardens and shrubberies, clean and tidy paved areas and car park, immaculate paint work and gleaming windows, spotless  carpet and kitchen, shining floors. These don’t happen automatically, they require constant attention and supervision.

 

Our maintenance costs are considerably reduced, thanks to the continuing assistance of a few hard-working volunteers who seem to be forever repairing fittings, replacing lights, etc, damaged in senseless acts of vandalism. To those these stalwarts, we say “thank you indeed”.

 

Although we hate the Hall Company and the Directors when our rent is increased as it necessarily must with rising costs, we must not overlook one very important point. All the work involved in that control, supervision and administration is carried out on an honorary basis. There are no fat cats to feed and it is done in your best interest

 

Remember also you have the finals say. You annually elect our Lodge Directors and he is there to represent the interest of your Lodge, as indeed every Director is there to represent the interest of this Lodge. All decisions, therefore, are in the common interests of all Brethren meeting in the Centre, the purpose of a Co-operative.

 

I have every respect for and the utmost confidence in the ability  of our Lodge Director, WBro Barry Joy. PJGD and I hope he will continue to represent us for many years.

 

Thank you, Barry. Thank you, Directors all. Long may you continues your good work. Thank you also WBro Bruce Whitaker, for your assistance in providing the information necessary to enable me to finish this section of our History.

 

 

 


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