Lodge Pacific No. 298 History
Part 4 (2000’s – 2010’s)
In 2000, Lodge Tweed United 136 was formed with the amalgamation of Lodges Tweed, Uki and Wollumbin. The Lodge paid its first fraternal visit to Lodge Pacific in February. In the same year the District 66 Welfare Committee became the Tweed Valley Masonic Welfare Association.
As the face of Tweed Heads was rapidly changing, discussion centred on the viability of the Boyd St site and the possible sale of the site to developers, relocation to the defunct Tweed Heads Rowing and Aquatic Club, or the lodge redeveloping the Boyd St site.
W Bro T Gunton was installed as WM for 2 terms in May 2001. With an increase in degree work, attendance increased and in July, Bro D Hutchinson was initiated. VW Bro N Duncan was DGIW and in April 2003 attendance at the ANZAC Meeting was 52. In May W. Bro L Wilkinson was installed as WM with 42 Masons and 10 Grand Lodge Officers present.
By May of 2005, W Bro H Fenech installed his son Chris as W Master with VW Bro L Wilkinson as DGIW.
The ANZAC Meeting in April 2006 set an excellent attendance of 69 including 26 non members and ladies.
Seven years after his Initiation, W Bro D Hutchinson was installed in May 2008 with 41 Masons and 11 GL Officers present.
Attendance showed an increase and by 20 May 2009, W Bro Griffiths, was installed for the ensuing 2 years. The January Robbie Burns night attracted an attendance of 68. Regular attendance showed a 25% increase.
On 18 May 2011, W Bro N Mainey was installed with 45 in attendance and RW Bro B Arnol as the Grand Master’s representative and VW Bro L Hicks as DGIW.
With the support of two Murwillumbah-Kingscliff Technical and Further Education (TAFE) staff, also dedicated Masons, Bros P Fisher and P Hulme, and with the support and team work of DGIW VW Bro L Hicks and RGC RW Bro B Arnol, a very comprehensive and successful Masonic Convention was organised at Kingscliff TAFE. This and a successful boat raffle co-ordinated by W Bro G Moon, resulted in cheques for $15,000 each being presented to the Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads Hospital Auxiliaries.
Seventy-three Masons attended the Installation of W Bro G Moon in 2013, VW Bro L Wilkinson having served a second term as WM. VW Bro R Weblin was DGIW.
A highlight of this year was to be the planning of major Masonic Centre renovations with the closure and sale of Masonic Centres at Bangalow and Murwillumbah, providing a major portion of the costs. Frequent, well-supported visitations to Lodges within District 57 and further afield were additional successes of VW Bro G Moon’s year as Master.
In May 2014, VW Bro Moon installed W Bro W Tebbutt as Worshipful Master leading into the Lodge’s Centenary Year. The Grand Master’s Representative was RW Bro J A Walker, PAGM, Regional Grand Councillor, District 1, was RW Bro L Hicks and District Grand Inspector of Workings, District 57, VW Bro R Weblin. W Bro Tebbutt had previously served in the Lodge’s 60th year, 1975-76. Attendance has stabilised with some degree work and the best attended ANZAC meeting for several years with an attendance approaching 70 including numerous non-masons, ladies and children.
As with the energies exhibited in 1916 in building a temple, raising it in 1955 and extending it in 1976, members of Lodge Pacific have been at the ‘cutting edge’ in the most recent refurbishment program.
Ninety-eight years after the building’s construction by Lodge Pacific, the Tweed Heads Masonic Centre, now vested with the Twin Towns Masonic Centre Pty Ltd, and having three representatives of each of the three craft lodges meeting therein on committee, completed a major refurbishment in August 2014. Under the chairmanship of RW Bro L Hicks and with RW Bro G Moon supervising, extensions to the value of $550,000 were carried out by Haigh’s Constructions of Murwillumbah under plans drawn up by Pat Twohill Designs Pty Ltd.
It was an extremely grand occasion, with displays depicting all aspects of Freemasonry and other Orders, when the centre was opened on 2 August 1914 by the Grand Master, MW Bro D J Robson. The Masonic Welfare Association Chairperson, VW Bro B Smith, DGIW, District 11, assisted the Grand Master to present the Rural Fire Service with a cheque for $10,000, who were present with a display.
In 2015 Lodge fees are $100 an Initiation, $240 Annual Fee with $135.50 being Grand Lodge Capitation Fees.
When Lodge Pacific 298 entered its centenary year it had a membership of 31. In its 100 years of existence 607 Masons, 354 Initiates and 253 Affiliates, have passed through the portals of Lodge Pacific 298.