(Formally 799 EC Originally 1101 EC)
The discovery of Gold 1851/2 in Victoria brought many Masons to the region. Prior to the 1859 foundation decision, on 14 February 1856 “A petition was received from brothers at Creswick Creek addressed to Provincial GM..”
The booklet is full of history and also comments on events in Victorian Freemasonry like the formation of UGLV, the ritual we use, and much other information too extensive to cover here. However it must be said that the History of the Lodge, and the Centre it built, are inseparable.
By 1857 there were 12 lodges in Victoria 9 under United Grand Lodge England, 2 under Ireland and 1 under Scotland. “As an indication is the delays in communication that were suffered, it might be mentioned that All Nations Lodge, Clunes, was formed under the Irish Constitution a year earlier than Creswick Havilah, but, whereas
The Lodge was “held at Bro T.W Anthony’s American Hotel, Creswick, on the Monday on or before the full moon”. Edward and myself had a beer at the American Hotel and the proprietor told us of the lodge room upstairs which is now decommissioned. Creswick Havilah met there for over 31 years prior to the current Temple being erected by that lodge.
The lodge was not officially constituted until 13 June 1859, the Warrant was not issued until 21 September 1859 and was not received until 2 July 1860. There was a provisional Warrantdated 28 April 1859. The first meeting under the English Warrant was held on 30 July 1860, but the first meeting (by dispensation) was on Monday 16 May 1859 and the minutes “First Regular Meeting held at the Lodge Room, American Hotel on Monday May 16 5859 with a
The Lodge almost closed three times under threat from financial distress and poor attendance with 1864 seeing cost cutting and accounts running 6 months in arrears. Attendance between 1859/60 was about 22 or 23 but in 1862/3 it fell away - income barely met expenses. Thoughts were given to returning the warrant and in 1865 notice of motion to do so was given but happily failed. From 1865 and in 1869 there were only two
The Grand Lodge of Victoria (as opposed to the later United Grand Lodge of Victoria) was formed in 1883, but “Creswick Havilah, on this occasion, stood aloof, remaining loyal to the Provincial GL under UGLE”.
Later, a letter was sent to the Lodge to “elect three Past Master to attend the Inaugural Meeting” of United Grand Lodge of Victoria.. Later the WM was authorized to surrender the UGLE warrant and this was done, together with the original Provincial Warrant.
The UGLV Foundation Warrant for Creswick Havilah was received on 13 May 1889 but the lodge was not given its number until September. A member of the lodge was offered Gl Junior Deacon which was accepted.
The foundation stone of the Centre was laid 14th May 1890 (the AL in the picture refers to “Anno Lucis” “Year of Light” to which you add 4,000 to current year.. there are other ideas on this, see Devotion News Feb-March 2007). Construction was finished by late August when the lodge has its last meeting at the American Hotel where it has met for 31 years.
Uniform ritual - a special Meeting of UGLV to which the officers of Creswick were summoned, was held on 22 March 1892 to hear an exemplification of the new ritual, generally approved but not adopted. This was not settled until the turn of the century “a large amount of the credit for which has been given to the MW Bro Sir Alexander Peacock when here was Grand Master.”
MW GM Peacock had been master of Creswick Havilah lodge in 1888-1889, a member for more than 50 years, “took an active part in the formation of UGLV” and held the office of Grand Master 1900-1905. At 39 he was the youngest person ever to obtain that position in Australian Freemasonry. He was also 20thPremier of Victoria, a post he held three times. His widow Lady (Millie) Peacock won the by-election at Allandale caused by his death, becoming the first woman member of the Legislative Assembly.
Back to the Centre… in 1894 the supper room and the murals adorning the lodge room were finished,
Worth noting that in 1939 it was proposed that for the period of the war “all alcoholic and soft drink be dispensed with in the South” which was defeated in a ballot but in 1940 it was passed that any brother enlisting in the AIF have his dues remitted from date of enlistment for the duration of the war.
225 brethren attended the Centenary of the lodge in 1959
In Jan 1978 a building committee was formed and approached the GL Masonic Buildings Committee on the subject of a new kitchen and indoor toilets. “The deputation soon discovered that the Grand Lodge building Committee did not favor speeding so much and proposed the temple should be closed and the lodge to meet at Ballarat, In 1980 the committee reconvened where it should be noted GL did loan $5,000 of the $11,498 cost – a $200 donation from the lady’s committee helping fund the work.