Australasian No 1 Lodges - History

Below is information on some of the Oldest Warranted Lodges in Australia

Freemasonry was first practiced in Australia by Lodges No. 227 and 218, Irish Constitution, attached respectively to the 46th and 48th British Regiments.


The 46th left Sydney in August, 1817, and was replaced by the 48th, which remained here on duty a few years after that date. Although the Grand Lodge of England promulgated an Edict in 1815 that Military Lodges under its jurisdiction must no longer initiate civilians, those under the Irish Constitution still continued to introduce candidates who were not employed upon military service, and in that way several Sydney townspeople were admitted to Freemasonry. These Brethren naturally desired a Lodge of their own, in view of the certain removal of Lodger No. 218, they petitioned the Grand Lodge of Ireland for a Charter, this petition was supported by the members of Lodge No. 218. 


On the 12th August, 1820, the new Lodge Australian Social Mother No. 260 (IC) conducted its inaugural meeting with twelve members in attendance thus becoming the first Lodge to be formed in Australia. The meeting was held in a tavern on the Circular Quay. The honour of becoming the first Australian Worshipful Master was thus afforded to WBro Matthew Bacon.


The first two Freemasons admitted into Freemasonry in Australia were Bros. James Campbell and Henry Lewis, each a Chief Officer from the Calcutta brigs then lying in Sydney Cove. Both were initiated and passed in the presence of the 12 members of the Lodge on the 30th August and just a week later they were both raised to the Third Degree.


The original Warrant dated 6th January, 1820, is signed by His Grace Augustus Frederick, Duke of Leinster, Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Ireland, and was received on the 20th August, 1820, being brought out from Ireland in charge of Surgeon Price, of the Royal Navy. The Lodge continued under the name of Australian Social Lodge No. 260 Irish Constitution until 1878, when it took the name of Australian Social Mother Lodge No. 0 under the N.S.W. constitution, until the formation of the U.G.L of N.S.W. in 1888, when its title was changed to Australian Social Mother Lodge No. 1.


The name was again changed in 1920 to Lodge Antiquity No. 1 by a motion proposed by Bro Henley to mark the 100th anniversary of the lodge. On the 5th September 1988 Lodge Antiquity No 1 consolidated with Lodge Celestial No 512.

(Formerly No 613 EC)


The Lodge of Friendship is South Australia's first Masonic Lodge. Indeed the Lodge of Friendship traces its origin back before South Australia itself.


In August 1834, under pressure from the Duke of Wellington, the British House of Lords began to seriously discuss the formation of a new colony in Australia's southern lands.


Within two months a number of those who would become intimately involved in the new colony petitioned the Grand Master of the Lodge of England for the formation of a Lodge to be carried on and established in the new land and on the 22nd October 1834 the Lodge of Friendship was consecrated in London as No.613 in the English Constitution and its first three candidates initiated.


Well over a year was to pass before South Australia was officially proclaimed by the British Government in 1836 and within a month the first settlers left, including Friendship's first Master carrying the Lodge's Warrant and other bits and pieces with him.


On the 28th December 1836 Governor Hindmarsh read out the Proclamation of South Australia to the assembled immigrants who had disembarked from the sailing ship, the Buffalo, at Gleneig, with one of those taking a prominent part in the ceremony being the Master of the Lodge of Friendship, a Lodge already two years old. This is the reason that even today the Master of the Lodge of Friendship remains one of the dignitaries who assemble each year at Gleneig to commemorate the Proclamation of South Australia.


In 1884 all of the Lodges existing in South Australia, with the exception of The Duke of Leinster (IC), surrendered their Warrants to their various Grand Lodges and took Warrants issued by the Grand Lodge of South Australia, Australia's first Grand Lodge, with The Lodge of Friendship being assigned No. 1.


Today The Lodge of Friendship stands proudly as the first Member Lodge of the Grand Lodge of South Australia and the Northern Territory, a jurisdiction where the origins of its Lodges and members have not been lost with differing jewels and traces of tartan and green seen in many Lodges, some practicing Scottish, Irish, German, Italian and London ritual.



(Formerly No 697 EC later renumbered No 474 EC)


Lodge of Australia Felix founded on the 23rd December, 1839, when a meeting of Freemasons
was convened to form a Lodge to be denominated ‘The Lodge of Australia Felix’. The first Lodge Meeting was held on Monday 6th January 1840.


Foundation Master WBro George Brunswick Smythe, a member of St Mary’s of London Lodge, rode from Sydney to Melbourne on horseback to deliver the dispensation warrant that would allow the Lodge of Australia Felix to meet. However he resigned after the conclusion of the consecration ceremony. He felt that as he was the Police Magistrate there could be a conflict of interest.


Brunswick Street in Fitzroy Victoria is named after our Foundation Master WBro George Brunswick Smythe.


Foundation Senior Warden of the Lodge William Meek was the first lawyer to settle in Melbourne, he was also the foundation secretary of the Melbourne Club.


The Fourth Master was John Thomas Smith, who opened the first theatre in Melbourne, the Queens Theatre Royale, and served seven terms as Mayor. Smith Street which divides the cities of Fitzroy and Collingwood was named after him.


In the early development of Melbourne, Freemasons played an important part in many civic ceremonies, more particularly in the laying of foundation stones of public buildings and bridges.


On the 25th July 1842 the brethren of Australia Felix led the first non military parade through the streets of Melbourne to lay the foundation of the new courthouse on the corner of Russell and Latrobe streets. This building stood until the early 1900’s when it was demolished to make way for the sandstone building that currently occupies the site - the Magistrates Court. The trowel, used at this and many other civic stone laying ceremonies, is currently in the custodianship of the United Grand Lodge of Victoria.


On 20th March 1846 the foundation stone for the Princess Bridge was laid. The Lodge trowel mentioned above was also used in this ceremony.


These days the Lodge meets on the second Thursday of every month except January at the Box Hill Masonic Centre. The Lodge holds its installation in February each year.

See this page for further history

(Formerly No 1098 EC later renumbered No 796 EC)

Freemasonry has existed in Queensland, for just over 150 years. In fact, the first Masonic Lodge to be established in the State of Queensland was established six months before Queensland was separated in late 1859 from the then Colony of New South Wales when a Petition was signed and forwarded to the Provincial Grand Lodge of New South Wales requesting that a lodge to be constituted.


A dispensation was granted authorizing the establishment of "North Australian Lodge" and the Lodge was opened by commission on the 13th of. July 1859.


The foundation Master was James Watkin Jackson a member of Cambrian Lodge No. 656 E.C. (N.S.W.) He was installed at an emergency meeting on the October 26 1859.


Worshipful Brother Jackson left Brisbane for Warwick at the end of 1862 and died suddenly there on July 18th 1863, aged 29 years. He was buried in Warwick cemetery and his grave and headstone there are cared for by Brethren in Warwick, and by Brethren of the North Australian Lodge.


The warrant No. 1098 E.C. which was dated 17 August 1859 was received from the Grand lodge of England , This number was retained until September 1863 when communication was received from the M.W. Grand Master the Earl of Zetland altering the Number to 796 (EC). North Australian Lodge became No. l UGLQ when the United Grand Lodge of Queensland was formed in 1921 The Lodge meetings were held in various Hotels before moving to the Albert Street Hall, the Alice Street Temple and in 1930 the Masonic Memorial Centre in Ann Street Brisbane, where it holds its regular meeting on the Third Thursday of each month except December.


Australia Felix Leads The Lodges in the Street Parade at North Australia No 1 150 Celebration




       (Formerly No 712 EC later renumbered No 485 EC)

It was on 1st September, 1841 that His Excellency the Governor, Bro John Hutt, met with six other men, including the then Colonial Secretary, Peter Broun, at Government House to begin the process which first brought Freemasonry to Western Australia.


On 15 September 1841, it was decided to forward a petition to the United Grand Lodge of England, requesting a charter to establish a Lodge in Western Australia. A warrant was received in March 1843 to establish a Lodge to be called The Lodge of St John No: 712, and Freemasonry was born in Western Australia. The Lodge met officially for the first time on 4th April 1843. Later, when English Lodges were renumbered, it was reassigned number 485.


Several meetings of the new Lodge were held in Government House, but it was realised that it would not be wise to continue there and so moved to Leeder's Tavern, which was situated on the corner of St George's Terrace and William Street, which later became The Palace Hotel. Mr Leeder built a room on the Tavern especially for the use of the Lodge members and the Tavern's name was subsequently changed to the Freemasons Hotel.


When the room at the Freemasons Hotel became inadequate, a block of land was granted by the Government in Hay Street, opposite where the Criterion Hotel was established in later years. Here, the members of The Lodge of St John built their own Temple. The Lodge later built Freemasons' Hall on a site in Hay Street, just east of Pier Street. This fine building was completed in 1898 and it also housed the Masonic Club.


By the late 1890's, the growth of Freemasonry warranted the formation of a Grand Lodge of Western Australia and this supreme governing body came into existence in February 1900. It was considered that Grand Lodge should own the main Masonic Hall, so Grand Lodge purchased the site and buildings from The Lodge of St John, paying one thousand pounds and taking over the mortgage. This building served Freemasonry well until 1967 when premises in Terrace Road were completed, next to the ABC building.


With the formation of the Grand Lodge of Western Australia, The Lodge of St John being the oldest Lodge was honoured by being granted No: 1 on the register. Today, the members are particularly proud of the part that their predecessors played in the early days of the developing colony. They were active, contributing members in the community and worked along with many others both in and out of the craft, to shape the development of the Colony and the State. The successful merging with The Lodge of Perseverance in 1999 and Lodge Stirling in 2001 ensured the continuation of that tradition. The amalgamation with The Lodge of Sportsmen in 2008 not only gave the Lodge the name it carries today but also brought together history, tradition and an enviable record for charity which continues to this day. The strategic alliances forged with other Lodges over the years has given the Lodge stability and secured the future for generations to come.     



             (No 348 (IC) No 1 New Zealand Constitution)

The Ara Lodge 348 (IC) has been the premier Freemasons' lodge in New Zealand, both through its foundation and subsequent history and influence.


It was the first lodge to apply for and obtain a dispensation to practice ancient craft masonry. This was obtained on the 12th September 1842 from the Australian Social Lodge No 260 (IC) now Lodge Antiquity No 1, UGL of NSW & ACT in Sydney,


 A significant number of Freemasons were among the new government officials who arrived in Auckland with Lieutenant Governor Hobson to found New Zealand's first capital city of Auckland in 1840.


The New Zealand Herald reported that at the laying of the foundation stone of the first church in Auckland, St Paul’s, 24th July 1841:

"The gentlemen in Auckland who are Freemasons appeared with the decorations and insignia of their Order".


The first meeting under the Dispensation was held on the 9th February 1843.


As none of the Brethren who requested the Dispensation were present Brother Frederick Whitaker later a premier of the colony and a knight of the Realm, was appointed by vote to act as Worshipful Master until the arrival of those who had applied for the Dispensation, and were qualified by rank to fulfil the offices of the Lodge.


Until 1850 the Lodge was known as the Auckland or Auckland Social Lodge in honour of its mother lodge in Sydney, but as from 8th October of that year without flourish or fanfare, it began referring to itself as Ara in its minutes.


A movement to constitute a United Grand Lodge of NZ in 1890 created a momentous dilemma for the members of the Lodge. By the narrow margin of one, the members of the Lodge voted to support the foundation of the new Grand Lodge of New Zealand.  Forty brethren forthwith became members of Ara No 1, New Zealand Constitution (June 1890).


In 2001, Ara No. 1 consolidated with Lodge Taimau and became The Ara Taimau Lodge No. 1, New Zealand Constitution.
Source; Program issued to attendees of the
Triennial Reunion Australasian No 1 Lodges
& Installation Bro Troy Dedman   
Fri 11 Feb 2011 – Sun 13 Feb 2011
Australias First Lodges
The first lodges in Australia
The Oldest Lodges