Originally Published: October 1984
Freemasonry’s main work is charity, according to the New South Wales Grand Master, Harold Coates.
He visited the Twin Towns Masonic Temple in Boyd Street, Tweed Heads yesterday and took time out at the start of a busy weekend with Tweed Masons, who are launching the centenary celebrations of Lodge Tweed, to give an insight into Lodge activities.
Mr Coates, who is in his fifth year as Grand Master and his 50th year as a Mason, said he wanted to remove some false impressions about Freemasonry.
“Its main work is charity and this can be defined in two ways,” he said.
“There is the Biblical form of charity, the development of love for our fellowman and fellowwoman. And there is the practical form of charity – helping people in need.”
He said the Masonic Lodge helped many children from broken homes from the age of five years.
“We look after them and when they leave school we help many of them through tertiary education.”
No group in Australia had a better record in the field of care for the elderly than the Masonic Lodge, he added.
“We have 23 homes either started or approved in this State. Last year we accepted responsibility for $25 million of capital expenditure alone on homes for the elderly — we are committed to it.”
The Lodge did not place any restrictions on the people it helped. “It does not matter what colour or religion they are,” he said.
Contrary to popular belief, he said, there were many Catholic members of Masonic lodges.
Mr Coates said he was very happy to visit the Tweed. It is very beautiful and the Masons here are very keen — and I want to encourage that,” he said.
However, he pointed out that there are nearly 800 Masonic Lodges in NSW and he tried to visit them all so it was not surprising that he had not previously visited the Tweed.
Mr Coates was given a civic welcome at Murwillumbah’s Civic Centre yesterday afternoon by Tweed Shire Council. It was attended by Mr and Mrs Coates, members of his official party, lodge officers from various parts of the Tweed including George King who will be installed this weekend as the new leader of Lodge Tweed, the first to be established in the Tweed Valley.
Also present was the Byron MLA Don Beck and Mrs Beck and Mr Coates and other visitors to the Tweed for the lodge’s centenary year celebrations. All were welcomed by the council president, Cr. Max Boyd.