(Modern management & meeting places)
Freemasonry survive and flourish if we did not have any Masonic centres? Are our Masonic Centres best placed for our
members and prospective members? Is our
planning based on guesswork of by a legitimate planning technique?
believe that Freemasonry would survive and may well flourish without Masonic
centres as we know them today. This is
because where will always be men of high integrity who like to meet together
and do things that are worthwhile for society.
The traditional story is that they met in pubs and after a few well
earned ales adjourned up stairs to a private, secure room there they practised
their secret arts and hidden mysteries.
This could happen again in our splendid eastern City of Boroondara
that used to have many Masonic centres.
this large, affluent, leafy, conservative City of Boroondara
would have been home to an enormous number of Freemasons. It had many Masonic Centres but now there are
none. The high land values would have
made their sale attractive. However
residents of Boroondara like me are aged and aging and we are expected to drive
to Box Hill to attend a meeting – it is often beyond our physical
capability. The concept is ridiculous
and defies any marketing logic. When
Freemasonry flourished Freemasonry was taken to the Freemasons, and Freemasons did
not have to travel excessive distances to join in our assemblies. You would be excused for thinking that the property
developers had taken over the marketing department.
there a study of the potential number of Freemasons in each district based on
the age of its male population, the marital status, the socioeconomic group,
the ability to drive or travel, how to contact them and so on? Do we know how far people are prepared to
travel over say 60, 70 and 80 years? Do
we know the locations of Freemasons and potential Freemasons who are
disenfranchised from Freemasonry by the location of Masonic centres and lack of
adequate public transport? Does the
study show the situation now, and in increments of 10 years hence. The 5 “P” of marketing provides a useful
start for analysis:
with “Place” as the start point. We are not running an on-line business where
a shopfront is not needed.
Collingwood Masonic Centre offers “old fashioned” Freemasonry. It is in a building close to 100 years old in
a former working class suburb near a railway station and a tram from the
city. Those who like the developer’s
Pavilion Style or Chicken Coop architecture will not like the building nor
those who prefer tubular steel, vynal upholstered furniture. Those that like claustrophobic low ceilings
and small rooms will be disappointed.
Some will not like the ambience of the rooms displaying the nostalgia of
the past: photographs, commemorative plaques, and so on. And just a block away is the Carringbush
Hotel with all its history and our venue for some memorable suppers after
lodge. To me, the ambience of the
meeting place and meeting with good men with high integrity is what it is all
would like to see more conveniently located Masonic Centres and to feel
confident that their location was based on a rational marketing plan. However, if more services were to be
withdrawn I suppose that I would be happy to meet upstairs in a local pub –
that’s where it all began. But it would
not be the same.