Articles on Tartan Kilts and Freemasonry.

From Damien, Editor of Devotion News

The second edition of Devotion News was produced for April - May 2006 and carried an article “On Kilts and their Tartan patterns”. It was quite topical as the WM of the day, WBro Stephen P, along with his then fiancé (now wife) Sue, had organised and held “Robbie Burns Night” on 28 May 2006. It was a successful and enjoyable night, with Scottish dancers, haggis, piper and tartan aplenty. WBro Don P introduced the Lodge to the drink Athole Brose. The recipe for Athole Brose was the first “food” article in the newsletter.

Over a year ago, I contacted Bro Robert Cooper, curator of the Grand Lodge of Scotland’s museum and library on his interesting article “Why no Masonic Tartan”. With his permission, I’ve reprinted his article below which not only explains why GL Scotland does not have an official single tartan but also gives a brief account of  the formation of  his Grand Lodge and insight into why Scottish Lodges, and Scottish Freemasons, have a different approach and the great autonomy enjoyed by local lodges in the Scottish system.


Three Masonic Tartans

Freemasons' Universal

Above - Freemasons' Universal

French Freemasons' Pride

Above - French Freemasons' Pride

Tartan used by Grand Lodge Scotland

 Above -Tartan used by Grand Lodge Scotland

At the time, I was not aware that an American Grand Lodge (Utah) had registered an official tartan for Freemasonry. The Scottish Register of Tartans now shows two;
  1. Freemasons' Universal, commissioned by the Grand Lodge, Free & Accepted Masons of Utah for the use of all Masons worldwide. Designed by Anne Carroll Gilmour of Park City, the colours relate to the various 'Masonic organisations and appendant bodies.'.
  2. French Freemasons' Pride, Created for all French freemasons who wish to honour Scotland and Celtic culture.


In addition to these two, the Grand Lodge of Scotland, since its inception in 1736, has used a “splendid tartan”. The main colours are Thistle Green and Gold. The minor colours are blue and black.

The Scottish Tartans Authority returns 12 results when you search “Freemasonry” including a Tartan registered to Lodge Dunblane Australis 966 in New South Wales.

Victorian Lodges, including Devotion, are no stranger to kilts. Our two WMs Paterson, were installed wearing one and our own WBro Todd R, with a Masonic Origin in South Africa generally wears his. Even our Filipino Brother WBro Greg T of Robbie Burns Lodge often wears a kilt to Masonic meetings.

Our own Nick C is also no stranger to Tartan. He was initiated in Lodge Ionic Prudence No. 77 UGLQ. In that lodge, each officer wears a tartan apron owned by the lodge for that specific office. If initiated in that lodge, you wear the lodge’s tartan apron and they also have tartan bow ties and collars. The lodge was consecrated on 13th November 1893 and named “Valley Ionic”. The original Charter was No. 802 Scottish Constitution. The name Valley Ionic was changed to “Ionic” in June, 1896; this alteration was made due to the meeting place changing from the Valley to a large room in the Old Colonial Mutual Building in Queen St Brisbane.  When the Grand Lodge of Queensland (GLQ) was formed in 1904 the lodge was renumbered to 54.  Mirroring the Victoria experience, only one-third of Scottish lodges in Queensland joined the new Grand Lodge, while only one Irish lodge declined to join, yet no English lodge could be persuaded to exchange its charter. Later (1920) Queensland Grand Lodge (QGL) was formed. According to WBro Kent Henderson “as a prelude to unity, sixty-three of the English lodges then working in Queensland, together with the remaining Scottish lodges, formed the Queensland Grand Lodge”. In 1921 the two Grand Lodges merged into the United Grand Lodge of Queensland (UGLQ) which operates today. Under this Grand Lodge, Valley Ionic was renumbered to 77 superseding the previous No. 54. The Lodge gave rise to two others, “Progress” (in 1926) and later “Prudence Lodge” (in 1957). The second daughter lodge amalgamated with its mother lodge No. 77 with a another name change; becoming Ionic Prudence Lodge No. 77 in 2004, thus preserving the Lodge Charter number 77 and incorporating the names of both Lodges.

Despite all its name and number, and no double many other changes, Lodge Ionic Prudence No. 77 UGLQ has preserved and perpetuated the Lodge Founders’ decision at a meeting on 5 January 1894 to use the Tartan of the McDuff Clan as that of the lodge.

Members of Lodge Ionic Prudence No. 77 in Queensland wearing their regalia incorporating the McDuff Clan Tartan.  Note the Tartan bow ties

Members of Lodge Ionic Prudence No. 77in Queensland wearing their regalia incorporating the McDuff Clan Tartan. Note the Tartan bow ties