Our History
Part 2 – The Past (1900-2000’s)

Part 1 – The Foundation (1880’s)
Part 2 – The Past (1900-2000’s)
Part 3 – The Present (2010’s +)

Lodges on the Tweed (1888-Present)

All lodges formed on the Tweed owe their existence to:

Established in 1888 – Murwillumbah

Historically met on the 2nd Thursday

Established in 1915 – Tweed Heads

Meets on the 3rd Wednesday

Established in 1923 – Murwillumbah

Historically met on the 4th Thursday

Established in May 1924 – Uki

Historically met on the 3rd Saturday

Established in November 1924 – Tweed Heads

Meets on the 1st Wednesday

Established in 1953 – Murwillumbah

Historically met on the 3rd Monday

Established in 1984 – Tweed Heads

Meets on the 2nd Friday

Established in 1999 – Tweed Heads

(Formed through the amalgamation of
Lodges Tweed, Wollumbin and Uki)

Meets on the 2nd Wednesday

Of the three centres once on the Tweed, at Uki, Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads,
only the Twin Towns Masonic Centre in Tweed Heads remains in use.

Other Fraternal Organisations On The Tweed

The Orange Lodge

During the era of the transfer of Masonic activities from Tumbulgum to Murwillumbah, the Protestant Hall was constructed on the upper corner of Nullum and Wollumbin Streets (current site of government offices below the TAFE). It was purpose built for the Orange Lodge with raised pedestals for the Master and Wardens. In the aftermath of the 1907 fire it was used as the Court House and Police Station and again in 1930 for Murwillumbah Primary School classrooms. It was removed in the late 1940’s to a site adjacent to the Croquet Club in Knox Park, as a Scout Hall, and demolished in the early 1950’s.

Little is known of their long term existence on the Tweed but Chapters still exist across Australia. The Orange Lodge was formed in County Armagh, Ireland, during the period of Protestant and Catholic conflict. It exists primarily in Ireland and the Scottish Lowlands and was established in N.S.W. in 1845 as a fraternal organisation promoting the Protestant Faith. Tradition still dictates in many areas of the wearing of orange on St. Patrick’s Day by Protestants with Catholics wearing green.

The Orange Lodge has no links with Freemasonry.

Orange Lodge Members outside the Protestant Hall

“The Liberties of England and the Protestant Religion, I will maintain.”

– William, Prince of Orange

Chinese Masonic Lodge

In the 1850’s during the Victorian Gold Rush the Chinese Masonic Lodge established chapters. In 1911, their building was opened in Mary Street, Sydney. This spread to the Tweed and in the 1920’s Chinese Masons met in private premises in South Murwillumbah. The Lodge catered for the large number of Chinese Market Gardeners, Banana Growers and Merchants who made the Tweed and Brunswick areas their home. Whilst no mention is made of the address it is widely assumed to be the premises of Wing Yuen Lee. Well known Chinese Herbalist who traded until 1958 on a site now occupied by the Tourist Information Centre.

Chinese Masonic Society, Sydney

Tourist Information Centre, Murwillumbah (present day)

Chinese Masonic Funeral

(Murwillumbah, 1924)

Rejoicing, followed by gloom, marked the annual meeting of members of Chinese Masonic lodges on the Brunswick and Tweed rivers at South Murwillumbah on Sunday night. Shortly after the festivities had subsided, gloom took the place of rejoicing for one of the party, Fong Sam Yuen, aged 64, had died. The funeral took place at 5 o’clock on Monday afternoon and is thus described by the “Tweed Daily.” “Members of the lodge, each wearing pieces of pink and white ribbon, preceded the cortege, The remains were interred in the Church of England portion of Murwillumbah general cemetery. Rev. H. P. Lomas read the burial service. In addition, the officials of the lodge conducted a short service in conformity with the rites of the order.

Preparatory to the coffin being lowered into the grave, the deceased’s bed was thrown in. A number of small red coloured candles, attached to sticks, were then lighted and stuck in the ground at the eastern end of the grave. Incense was strewn liberally about. The chief member of the order then uttered some words in Chinese, some of the bystanders joining in at times. The remains were then lowered into the grave. Several articles of food including a whole cooked fowl, were thrown in, together with the remaining contents of the incense bottle. The lodge members discarded their bunting and this, with coins was also donated to deceased, with a view to assisting him in the life hereafter.

Prior to his death, deceased was employed on Gee Wall Hong’s banana farm in the Brunswick district. He had resided there for about five years.

(‘The Daily Examiner’ Grafton, Thursday 4 September 1924 – Trove)

More Orders

The Order Of The
Eastern Star

The Royal Antedeluvian
Order Of Buffaloes

The Manchester Unity
Independent Order
Of Odd Fellows

A Freemasonic appendant body established in 1850 and open to both men and women. The group’s teachings are based on biblical references.

The Order works toward the benefit of the greater community, extending generous support for charitable purposes. Members respond to the needs of others by giving assistance and support in day to day living.

In Australia, members in NSW and QLD have established and operate their own aged care facilities, while giving additional support to Masonic and other Aged Care facilities.

This order was founded in 1822 and is still very big in the United Kingdom where they usually meet in community halls. The organisation aids members, their families, dependents of former members and other charitable organisations. During the 19th century the order spread throughout the British Commonwealth and was established in Australia.

The Order has a Rule Book, Manual of Instruction and Ceremony Lectures. The ‘lodge’ description of the organisation and headquarters was adopted in imitation of Freemasonry.

This benevolent society was founded in Manchester UK, in 1810. Set up to protect and care for their members and communities at a time when there was no welfare state. They provided help to members and communities when they needed it. Oddfellows lodges would fundraise for local causes and charities.

In Australia the order was established in 1840. During the Great Depression the Gothic Art Deco inspired Manchester Unity Building was built in Melbourne in an effort to show confidence that the economy would improve, and provide a source of employment.

Masonic Social Functions

Debutante Balls

Over the decades, Masonic Debutante Balls were the social calendar highlights at Uki, Murwillumbah and Tweed Heads. They were reported in great detail in local and Brisbane papers. Early reports are of Lodge Pacific’s Debutante Ball of 7th September 1927.

On the Lower Tweed, 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.

Debutante Ball (1987)

1986 Lodge Tweed Masonic Centenary Ball

Debs were presented to Rt.W.Bro Colin Merrin of Lodge Dawn and DGIW at the time.

Celebrating the centenary of Lodge Tweed 136 at the Murwillumbah Civic Centre (Lodge’s Tweed, Wollumbin and Uki).

The 25 debutantes were presented to R.Wor. Bro. Colin Merrin and escorted to the presentation by R.Wor. Bro Les Pearce.

Debutante Balls on the Upper Tweed were initially held at Uki in the Local Hall, and Murwillumbah in the School of Arts, until Lodge’s Uki, Tweed and Wollumbin combined to present the gala occasions in the Murwillumbah Civic Centre.

(Left) In keeping with the centenary theme
the debutantes performed a minuet.

1986 Lodge Tweed Centenary Masonic Ball

Lisa Johnson aided by VW.Bro Les Pearce (ex Lodge Wollumbin)

Continue Reading Our History

Part 1 – The Foundation (1880’s)
Part 3 – The Present (2010’s +)

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