Lodge Pacific No. 298 History
Part 3 (1970’s – 1990’s)
Centre finances received a boost in 1970 with TAFE renting the lower room in an arrangement that lasted many years. This year also heralded the introduction of summer dress.
A milestone in the building’s use occurred in 1974 with Lodge Coolangatta selling their Temple and meeting at Tweed Heads from 11 April.
With the growth of the licensed club industry, discussion was held in 1974 with Lodge Pacific proposing the establishment of a Masonic Club in Desmond’s Reception Lounge on the corner of Francis and Powell Streets. As the building was not deemed suitable, attention turned to the original Tweed Heads Bowls Club in Coral Street as that club was in the process of building its current premises.
Following the sale of Lodge Coolangatta’s building and their injection of finances into the Twin Towns Temple Co, plans were drawn up by C F Merrin and Partners for the building’s extension to the east and preliminary negotiations were made for the Grand Masters of NSW and Queensland to open the extensions.
These extensions made provision for an extra 90 brethren. The Temple Co was incorporated and certified in June 1975. To finance the extensions Lodges Coolangatta, Dawn and Pacific contributed $6000 each with younger members being asked to contribute voluntary labour to reduce costs.
In 1975 the Grand Secretary’s communication included the ban on using cigarettes, fermented or spirituous liquors as raffle prizes. 21 May 1975 witnessed the Installation of W Bro Wilson Tebbutt who ushered in the Lodge’s Centenary in 2015. It was attended by the Grand Master, MW Bro V C N Blight.
By March 1976 all building materials were on site to commence extensions. The pre-extension Installation photo indicates the need for increased space with brethren seated on the Tessellated Pavement.
The ladies night in November 1976 was a great success and the Dedication of the extensions was carried out by DGIW, VW Bro J E W Walker and VW Bro R Sheppherd AGSW (Qld Constitution), assisted by representatives from Lodges Coolangatta, Dawn and Pacific.
The first Installation in the 1976 extensions was that of W Bro Ian Manwaring on 14 May 1977, with a banquet charge of $2 and 86 Masons in attendance.
In 1978 it was moved that a historian be appointed and with the decline of organists across the state, Grand Lodge made available recorded music.
In the minutes of June 1979 it was recorded that W Bro (Dr) D Read lacerated his hand while taking a bottle of beer from the fridge. Lodge fees in 1980 were $40 for initiations and $12 for affiliation.
Membership and attendance has always varied and an attempt was made in September 1980 to resolve the problem by asking regular attendees to visit 10 brethren with the offer of transport to the next meeting. This was obviously unsuccessful so in February 1981 W Bro Cook invited members to his home to discuss the problem, to speed up the business session and allow early entry of visitors.
In May 1981, A Building Sub Committee was formed to ascertain members wishes for Stage 3 of the buildings extensions. (These obviously did not eventuate until 2014, 33 years later!) Once again exemplifications and lectures formed the basis of lodge work. Socially the annual Christmas Party was a huge success with 130 parents and children in attendance.
Further building maintenance took place with the cladding of external walls and fitting of aluminium windows.
The Installation of W Bro John Moir on 12 May 1984 attracted 22 Grand Lodge Officers, 25 Members and 59 Visiting Masons. Due to his enthusiasm and visitations he ushered in the Lodge’s 70th year and the Installation of W Bro O Brunner with an attendance of 22 Grand Lodge Officers led by VW Bro Dezentje, 100 brethren and 30 ladies. W Bro Moir went on the lead the establishment of the district’s newest Lodge, Twin Towns Daylight 981 (now 436).
A highlight of W Bro Brunner’s year was the visit of the most senior Mason in NSW, MW Bro Harold Coates, Grand Master, who visited Lodge Pacific on 2 October prior to attending a Civic Reception given by Tweed Shire President, Max Boyd, and then attending Lodge Tweed’s Centenary Installation on 3 October.
Another across border issue occurred in November 1984 with Lodge Pacific tyling at 8.00pm due to Daylight Savings but after several years reverted to the normal time of 7.30pm.
At the March meeting in 1985, an enquiry was received from Grand Lodge regarding the financial status and suitability of 13 members who had indicated their desire to become foundation members of the new Daylight Lodge. Sponsored by Lodge Tweed 136, having previously sponsored all Lodges on the Tweed, Grand Master, MW Bro Harold Coates dedicated Lodge Twin Towns Daylight 981 on 22 June 1985 with W Bro John Moir, a PM of Lodge Pacific, as the foundation Master of the Lodge. The Lodge opened with 75 members. The dedication was attended by 200 Masons and 50 wives.
During the 1980’s, ever increasing knowledge, both positive and negative, was being shared with the wider community, however positive knowledge of the craft was being shared with this district’s wider community with an increasing number of social functions such as the very successful Family and Friends Night held in March 1985.
With the escalating increase of other avenues for camaraderie, with the increase in licensed clubs and their associated groups and the continuing growth of service clubs, it was becoming harder to attract younger people to Freemasonry. As a result meetings centred upon exemplifications and lectures. During this period, with W Bro John Fraser as Master (1986-88), it was deemed and proved that frequent ladies and social nights did more to promote attendance than lectures or short talks when there was lack of degree work.
On 15 January 1986, correspondence was received from Grand Lodge warning brethren against becoming associated with the body styling itself “The NSW Mark Master Masons”.
In May 1989, VW Bro I Manwaring, PDGIW, was again installed as WM of Lodge Pacific by W Bro R Slade. On 20 December 1989, a Lodge of Sorrow, attended by 70 brethren was conducted for Bro Mitch Wilkinson, a rather colourful character from Lodge Coorparoo 80 (Qld) who was a very prolific visitor. The Annual ANZAC Meeting continued to draw excellent attendances.
W Bro John White was Installed in May 1992, and in May 1993 W Bro L Brown was Installed as Master with a Grand Lodge Delegation of 15 and 55 Masons in attendance.
VW Bro J Walker was Installed on 18 May 1994 with 15 GL members and 30 Masons in attendance. On 17th August 1994, VW Bro Walker opened the Lodge in due form with the work of the evening being the Raising of Bro Brendon Arnol, with his father, W Bro Bruce Arnol the first to congratulate his son as a Master Mason. During this period, Bingo continued to be a major charity fundraiser with 5 members on roster each month and Lodge dues were $75 a year.
In February 1995 special dispensation was granted for Bro L Melbourne, a member of the English Constitution for 38 years, to be installed as the Worshipful Master. In June RW Bro Darnie Thompson retired after 40 years of continuous Masonic Office, and in November the first initiation for a long while took place.
By June 1996 degree work had increased and three members were admitted to Grand Lodge Rank, VW Bro Ian Manwaring, PJGW, VW Bro John Moir, PDGDC and VW Bro Bruce Arnol, DGIW for District 66.
Due to a very successful ANZAC Meeting $340 was gifted to the War Veterans Homes. Third degrees were worked in July, August and September, leading up to the Installation of W Bro R Dawes in May 1997. During the year PM, W Bro J P Johnson had served 25 years as Treasurer.
Social occasions were again held with 20 people attending a gathering at W Bro Dawes’ farm. In the same year RW Bro Darnie Thompson was declared Tweed Citizen of the Year.
W Bro John White was re-installed in May 1998, however his second term as Master was marred by the tragic accidental death of his daughter Renay Appleby.
During this year standardisation of dress at Masonic meetings was mentioned in Grand Lodge correspondence:
“At no time either in Lodge or in the South are ties to be removed, shirt sleeves rolled up or braces to be worn without jackets.”
and “Summer dress to be permitted at the discretion of the Master is to be a plain white, long sleeved business shirt, black bow tie, trousers, shoes and socks. Coats, waistcoats and braces must be removed before entering the Lodge.”
During 1999 a Masonic Awareness Week was held with an open night aimed at creating greater awareness of the craft. RW Bro J Walker, PJGW was invited to attend and address the gathering. This was conducted on 17 March with 23 Masons in attendance.
At the Installation in May 1999, W Bro Dawes returned as WM and although efforts were made to increase attendances it remained at an average of 20+ a meeting. There also appears to have been problems with the concern of loss of items from Lodge cupboards and with other orders paying only 50% of Craft Lodge rent. This was recorded in the August minutes.