A look inside a Freemasonry lodge
THREE thousand years after the symbolism of King Solomon’s Temple continues to inspire Freemasonry on the Fraser Coast, the doors of a local lodge have been opened.
“We don’t drink goat’s blood, we don’t commit murder and we don’t bring down governments,” Pialba Lodge’s RW Bro. Tony Ozanne said yesterday.
“We have only one edict for members and that is they must believe in a supreme being.”
Mr Ozanne (past junior grand warden) and RW Bro. Arnold Horne (past assistant grand master) were speaking to the Chronicle on the eve of the national launch of a new book on Freemasonry.
It’s No Secret – Real Men Wear Aprons, edited by Peter Lazar (pictured below), will be launched in Sydney on Thursday.
“Far from being secret,” said United Lodge of Qld grand master Graeme Ewin, “Freemasons in Australia have worked hard to make the ancient craft more widely known and better understood.”
Mr Horne, a retired dairy farmer who has reached the 33rd Degree, the highest symbolic level of Freemasonry in the world, says the society promotes self-discipline, personal development, compassion and concern for others and the value of community service.
“Men join us because they’ve heard of our intentions to do good, for fellowship, because a family member or friend belongs and because they want more out of life, something with meaning.
“We give away thousands of dollars to good causes and to care for people.”
Tony Ozanne, a manufacturer in Hervey Bay, said Masonic temples are now mostly called lodges and on the Fraser Coast there are two in the Bay and three in Maryborough, including the women’s lodge, Star of the East.
“We meet once a month and, yes, we do have ancient rituals and we share moral and metaphysical ideals.”
Middle Ages stonemasons travelled widely and developed secret handshakes to identify themselves.
Today Freemasonry uses the metaphors of operative stonemasons’ tools and implements, against the allegorical backdrop of King Solomon’s Temple, to convey what has been described by both Masons and critics as “a system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols”.
Mr Horne says a “little black book” does exist in lodges but everything is learnt from memory.
“We learn charges, or parts of the ritual, and pass those on to initiates.”
Both men said Masons and Catholics now got along and Catholics were often Masons.
“You take the vow not to divulge any secrets you’re given but frankly we don’t have very many secrets left.”
Members can also hold their own beliefs and religion and politics are not allowed to be discussed in lodges.
INSIDE THE MASONS
Chips Rafferty was a Mason, and so were Charles “Bud” Tingwell and prime ministers William McMahon, Robert Menzies and John Gorton
The secret handshake and words have no practical meaning or purpose except to identify Mason to Mason
Sixteen Australian VC winners were/are Masons
Modern Masonry began in England in 1717
When a Mason dies a white lambskin apron and a sprig of green leaves are placed on the casket
Men can join at 18
Masonic lodges are oriented east and west
The Master’s chair is in the east, recognising the sun rises there and that learning comes from there
Masonic Lodges in the 1700s and 1800s often met in taverns and it was common to wear swords for protection
Military men brought Masonry to Australia. There are Lodges in Iraq and Afghanistan today
Masons don’t ride goats or drink their blood at Lodges– early documents refer to the supreme being as “God of all Things” – GOAT
Mock murders can be carried out as part of the Third or Master Mason Degree
1816 was the year of the first Lodge in Australia
The floor of a Lodge always features black and white squares like a chessboard
The Masonic apron comes from those worn by stonemasons in the Middle Ages
The Australian Order of the Eastern Star – secret women’s business for Masons but men can come along – began in Qld in 1912