Masonic Welfare Assoc. - History

The Tweed Valley Masonic Welfare Association was originally The District 66 Masonic Welfare Association and was formed in 1983 under the guidance of the DGIW for that term (1982 to 1984) Ian Manwaring as the President. Since formation the DGIW for the District has been the Association President.

The Association was originally formed to provide support for our Masonic Community and to present Freemasonry to the Community in general and the members of Lodges meeting at Tweed Heads, Murwillumbah, Uki and Mullumbimby provided enthusiastic support for its activities.

In its original form the Association had two arms, the first providing support for Lodge activities and guidance for protocols and procedures. The second arm was responsible for the various Social activities that were arranged.

Debutante Balls were held each year at various venues, with the young ladies being presented to a prominent Freemason, on many occasions, the Grand Master of the day made himself available for these prominent community functions. These Balls were a highlight of the Social Calendar for many years and continued until the late 1990’s.

In the year 2000 there was a reallocation of Lodges to Districts and District 66 became District 55 and the Association members decided that a locality name was the best option, the entity changed to Tweed Valley from District 66. This proved to be a wise decision as the District number changed to 57 and in September 2014 our District will be numbered 11.

Since its inception the Association has taken pride in raising charity funds for needy causes in our Community and within Freemasonry. Indeed our generous community members have strongly supported our endeavour’s to carry out our objectives of providing this support to our fellow man.

In addition to the Masonic Ball initiatives there were many other fundraising activities conducted for the benefit of various activities. The list is long so too mention all would not be sensible but there are two prominent events that attracted great support.

During the DGIW term of George King (1984 to 1986) an initiative to host a Camp Quality for seriously ill children at Tweed Heads was undertaken with great success.  Funds were raised with several ventures including a giant ‘Garage’ sale at the Murwillumbah Turf Club. The business houses of our area were wonderful with their support. In particular the Sullivan Family provided the facilities at The Smokehouse at no cost. Surfside provided bus transport and their drivers donated their time, the various Theme Parks allowed free entry and also the Butchers, Bakers and Norco with Dairy products were very generous.

The outcome was wonderful with the Children having a nice break and their families having a week of respite.

In 2011 the DGIW Les Hicks promoted a project to raise funds for the Tweed Heads and Murwillumbah Hospitals.  A major raffle for a Boat and trailer was conducted over several months. The generosity of our Community allowed us to present cheques for $15,000.00 each to the two Hospital Auxiliaries for important equipment purchases.

We must acknowledge the wonderful support we get from Masonicare which is the arm of Grand Lodge that manages Masonic Charities. Masonicare now supports us dollar for dollar when we raise funds for an approved recipient.

Our most recent project was to raise funds to support local branches of NSW Rural Fire Service and this Raffle was drawn by the Grand Master at the official opening of the refurbishment of Twin Towns Masonic Centre on Saturday, 2 August 2014 raising approx $10,000.