Lodge Pacific No. 298 History
A core value of Freemasonry is the caring for others and helping them in times of need. During its 99 years of existence the Brethren of Lodge Pacific have played a pivotal role in Masonic Charity.
Early records indicate support for brethren and families in need, to those serving overseas and the support of recognised NSW major Masonic Charities as well as local ones. Before rationalisation of all Lodges that meet in the centre into the Masonic Welfare Association, Lodge Pacific was supportive of national disasters, (bush fires, floods, Cyclone Tracey) as well as those closer to home.
The success of many years of fundraising and member contributions remains a highlight of Lodge Pacific Masons.
The district’s first nursing home “Kewarra”, constructed in the early 1960’s between Tooloona and Kent Streets, Tweed Heads was a regular recipient. In October 1962, children of a local deceased mason were admitted to the W Thompson Masonic School to ensure their security and education. (At its peak the school was home to 364 children but with changing attitudes towards child care it closed in 1972). 1981 saw a donation of $275 to the Salvation Army Red Shield Appeal as the result of a successful ANZAC Meeting.
In 1983 the District 66 Masonic Welfare Association was formed with President VW Bro I Manwaring DGIW of District 66 and a PM of Lodge Pacific.
It has been a continuing tradition that the district DGIW chairs this association with VW Bro B Smith DGIW District 11 as centenary chairperson. The Association’s role was to support NSW and ACT Freemasons’ recognised charities as well as local needs. Its establishment also aimed at increasing awareness of the work of Freemasons in the wider community.
During the 1980’s and 1990’s, Bingo was a major fundraiser.
Through members contributions, wider charitable work includes the support of the Frank Whiddon Group, one of the largest providers of nonsectarian aged care, the Royal Freemasons Benevolent Institution and its support of retirement villages and the NSW Surf Lifesaving Association and families experiencing hardship.
In 1993, The Welfare Association, under DGIW, VW Bro G Marr and Patron, VW Bro G King, a $2,000 water bed wheel chair was presented to Jayson Mathiou, at 22 years, the youngest resident in the Terranora Nursing Home.
The Tweed Valley Masonic Welfare Association, working in conjunction with MasoniCare that provides additional financial contributions to money raised locally, annual support is provided to local secondary school students. For the past 7 years, $200 scholarships have been awarded to Year 11 students entering Year 12 at Tweed River, Lindisfarne, Kingscliff, Banora Point, Murwillumbah and Wollumbin Secondary Schools. For the past 5 years, $1,000 plus an additional $1,000 from MasoniCare has been awarded to High Schools for Special Needs classes.
In 2011, under the leadership of RGC, RW Bro Bruce Arnol, and DGIW, VW Bro Les Hicks, two TAFE staff, also masons (Bros Phil Fisher and Peter Hulme) a very successful District Masonic Conference was held at Kingscliff TAFE. As a result of a boat and trailer raffle, co-ordinated by VW Bro G Moon, with proceeds supplemented by MasoniCare, $15,000 each was given to the Auxiliaries at Tweed Heads and Murwillumbah Hospitals.
In 2014, under the leadership of RGC, RW Bro Les Hicks and DGIW, VW Bro Bruce Smith and co-ordinated by VW Bro Graham Moon another successful fundraiser, again supplemented by MasoniCare, $10,000 was presented to the Tweed Valley Rural Fires Service. This was done at the Official Opening of the refurbished Twin Towns Masonic and Function Centre.
Major support in the past years has included raising $27,000 for Camp Quality to enable a camp for children suffering from cancer, to be held at Tweed Heads in 1994. Incredible support was received from many other clubs and organisations including Seagulls Leagues Club, resulting in a cheque being presented by the Grand Master elect, RW Bro Noel Dunn to Vera Entwhistle, founder of Camp Quality.
“Local Masons have been doing a magnificent job raising funds for Camp Quality.”
(Daily News, 2 April 1994)
Lodge Pacific Social Functions
Social functions in the early years were not only Lodge highlights but major events in the fledgling town. The very detailed and regular publicity in the print media brought the Lodge to the notice of the wider community.
The first mention of a Debutante Ball was in 1921. On 7 September 1925, The Brisbane Courier reported on the 5 September Ball:
“The annual Masonic Ball held under the auspices of Lodges Pacific and Dawn, and which is generally regarded as the chief social function on the lower Tweed, took place in the Empire Theatre, Tweed Heads, (now the site of the Bowling Alley.) on Friday evening and proved a brilliant success. — Suspended above the dancers was an immense spider’s web in white with numbers of large spiders apparently awaiting their prey. Numerous en-meshed butterflies added to the reality. A similar effect was produced on the stage along with various Masonic emblems. — The guests numbering over 200, on entering the hall, passed under an arch of ‘steel’ provided by the Brethren.”
Details of the gowns worn by the Debs and the attire of the women was described in great detail.
The Debutante Balls were initially commenced by Lodge Pacific but were later joined by Lodges Dawn and Coolangatta and continued well into the late 1980’s as a major fundraiser and social event held in the PCYC Hall and then the Civic Centre.
They are now completely off the social scene being replaced by High School Formals.
The Annual Christmas Tree
The Annual Christmas Tree is still an activity enjoyed by the children and the ‘young at heart’ but in recent years organised by Lodge Tweed United 136. Initially started by Lodge Pacific with the support of centre lodges and as reported in the Lodge’s minutes:
“The 1981 Christmas Party was a highlight with 130 parents and children attending.”
The Annual Church Parade
The Annual Church Parade, now organised by W Bro Reverend John Reid at the Anglican Church, was first mentioned in 1958 and then held in the Methodist Church. This fine Mason is still very involved with ANZAC and Remembrance Day Services, including the recent ANZAC Centenary re-enactment.
Other Official Events
Lodge Pacific Official Masonic Ceremonies:
- The Annual Robbie Burn’s Night, in January
- The Annual ANZAC Memorial Service, in April
- The Annual Installation, in May
All now hold a great celebration banquet in the ‘south’, to which ladies are invited. At Installations they no longer have to sit at a table at the back alone but enjoy joining their Masons as family groups.
Ladies’ Nights and Lodge Re-unions were also big on the social scene:
“There was an attendance of over 140 at the Masonic Ladies’ Night which is one of the most popular social functions held at Tweed Heads. The function was organised by the members of Lodge Pacific. The guests were received by the WM W Bro R W Warbrooke. A limited toast list was honoured at the supper including The Grand Lodge, The Ladies and The Masonic Brethren.”
(The Brisbane Courier, 22 November 1927)
It is interesting to note that Lodge Pacific still hosts a similar function around this time each year, at the TAFE Caldera Restaurant or other local restaurants!
An interesting social event was the Annual Social Reunion:
“Over 200 guests accepted invitations to the third annual social reunion, when members of the craft entertained their wives and lady friends, at the Empire Theatre. An excellent program of musical and elocutionary items were contributed, the whole of the items (with two exceptions) being contributed by members of the craft and their families.”
(The Brisbane Courier, 8 October 1928)
The Twin Towns Masonic Centre
Originally controlled by Lodge Pacific as the sole owners from 1916, joint control merged with the inclusion of Lodge Dawn in 1951 and later Lodge Coolangatta in 1974. In 2014, Lodge Coolangatta’s share was purchased by Lodge Tweed United with three representatives from each of the current three owners managing the centre affairs under the Presidency of RW Bro L Hicks.
Over the years dedicated Masons have stepped forward to ensure the members are provided with a venue of a standard to set an example for Freemasonry in this district. They all deserve to be congratulated! The culmination of many years of hard work and with the proceeds of the sale of Centres at Bangalow and Murwillumbah, the refurbishments were opened by the Grand Master, MW Bro D Robson on 2 August 2014.
- Lodge Pacific Records (Trove)
- Tweed Heads Historical Society
- “Lodge Pacific, The First Forty Years”
(C.K. Martyn, Official Historian, Appointed 20-07-1955)
- Johnson Family Records
- Tweed Heads Historical Society (Jan & Ray Duke)
- Tweed Regional Museum
- B. Breckenridge
- J. Fraser
- L. Hicks
- D. Hutchinson
- R. Johnson
- G. King
- I. Manwaring
- G. Michael
- W. Tebbutt
- J. White
- L. Wilkinson
Past Masters of Lodge Pacific No. 298
Lodge Pacific No. 298 Centenary
(1915 – 2015)
Centenary Office Bearers
Wor. Bro. P. FISHER
Wor. Bro. W. TEBBUTT
Bro. M. RENNIE
Wor. Bro. N. MAINEY
Rt.Wor. Bro. I. MANWARING
V.Wor. Bro. J. FRASER
Wor. Bro. T. GUNTON
Wor. Bro. D. HUTCHINSON
Bro. S. HILLMAN
Wor. Bro. R. DAWES
Rt.Wor. Bro. R. JOHNSON
Bro. A. THOMPSON
V.Wor. Bro. LEN WILKINSON
Rt.Wor. Bro. GRAHAM MOON
Bro. SHANE HILLMAN
RGC REGION 1
DGIW DISTRICT 11
Rt.Wor. Bro. LES HICKS
V.Wor. Bro. BRUCE SMITH
Lodge Pacific No. 298
Celebrating over a Century on the Tweed
As the sunsets on a century of Freemasonry at Lodge Pacific, Tweed Heads, and the sun rises on a new era, it is the hope of every Mason that Freemasonry in this district will prosper into the next century along with the growth of the Tweed.
Compiled in 2015 for the Lodge Pacific No. 298 Centenary by:
Rt. Wor.Bro R.W. Johnson (Lodge Pacific No. 298)
A 4th Generation Tweed Mason