Vale, RWBro Colin M Gronn PJGW,

27 April 1936 – 20 April 2020

RWBro Colin Matthieson Gronn PJGW, was Initiated into Freemasonry on 14 May 1959 at Lodge Gratitude No 592, Passed 9 July 1959 and Raised 8 Oct 1959.

Lodge Gratitude amalgamated with Burwood No 527 to become Carinya No 527 in 1980 with Carinya Lodge handing its Warrant in 1996 ending the journey of those three Warrants, but certainly not Colin’s. Indeed, Colin had resigned from Gratitude in 1962 and it seems he had a break from Freemasonry, but soon went on to be a member of many lodges, often concurrently. We understand these were Clifton Hill Lodge 335, Garbaldi Lodge 890, Amity 339, Mozart Lodge 857, Lodge Pacific 590 and when those two lodges merged, Pacific Mozart No 590. He joined Devotion in 2006 but later also Aboreal 641 and Brae Dale 936.

Bro Colin at one of Devotion’s Souths at the Carringbush Hotel

Bro Colin on the night he joined Lodge Devotion in July 2006

Bro Colin was a talented ritualist and helped Devotion as a frequent visitor and stand-in through hard times in the early 2000’s when our attendance was low and later he became a member. He helped keep Devotion alive and operating and our Lodge is a small part of his legacy. He also mentored Freemasons such as me, sometimes in Lodge but also over lunch at the RACV Club.

Colin was proposed into Devotion by WBros Stephen Paterson (as WM), seconded by Andy McKay (DC). Andy and Colin had been Masters on the Road together and were good friends. On the night he joined Devotion in 2006, Colin was acting as Master, retired from the Lodge for the vote, and after assumed the Master’s Chair. Knowing Colin’s sense of humour, he probably most earnestly welcomed himself as a joining member.

Colin could be mistaken as a stern man, until you realised he was a reserved gentleman equipped with a very dry wit with lines delivered with perfect timing. Andy and Colin made a great comic duo. His company was a true pleasure.

Colin first served as Worshipful Master at Clifton Hill (1989/88) and was a member of the 1991-92 Grand Ceremonial Team in the office of Assistant Grand Pursuivant.

Colin had been the Master of a Lodge 6 times. After Clifton Hill, he had been Installed at Gariblaldi (94/95), Amity (95/96), and was the founding Master of Pacific Mozart (2000/1 & 01/02 & 02/03). Pacific Mozart handed its Warrant back at the end of 2004, and Colin acquired the Master’s Collar and it is now worn by the Master of Lodge Devotion, inscribed as to its history and carrying on the tradition of that lodge. Colin is the reason and conduit for that Master’s Collar being worn by our Masters since 2004.

In 2011, Garibaldi and Devotion both came together twice to celebrate Colin’s 50th Year as a Freemason. This does not marry with his initiation date, but probably because of Colin’s short break in Freemasonry after resigning from Lodge Gratitude. The back edition (No 55) of Devotion News only mentions a 50 Year Certificate not a Jewel. Regardless, in February 2011 several members including myself (then Master), Andy McKay (DC), and Drew McIntryre (then an EA now our Almoner) visited Garibaldi for an Initiation and to celebrate Colin’s milestone. The Master of Garibaldi, then WBro Gerry Agosta and about 12 of his members including the EA we had seen made at their last meeting, visited us in honour of Colin. Colin did us the great honour of choosing Devotion as the Lodge to have his 50 Year Certificate presented in, and we later did him the very rare honour of electing him as a Special Member of Lodge Devotion.

As he got older, Colin’s the workload, early rising to feed horses and the distance from Melbourne precluded his frequent attendance at lodge and sadly his eyesight and general health all precluded him from coming to Collingwood. Recently, we had lost contact with Colin, but were able to find him again through his wife and their business. Judy and Colin worked together on their horse stud in Olinda, breeding horses for Dressage and Jumping. Colin was particularly proud of a horse “Ashleigh Drossel Dan” which represented Australia internationally. Colin (and no doubt Judy) was particularly proud that his horse had represented Australia Beijing Olympics. There is an account of the horse in Devotion News (Nov 2007 - Jan 2008).”Colin and Judy work as a team in the selection of breeding stallions. Colin spends endless hours pouring over the German Stallion Book and other tomes published each year. Judy trawls the internet reading up on the latest news on stallions and overseas shows. They have travelled extensively throughout Europe over the decades, attending shows and visiting studs to look at prospective stallions”.

Colin began his involvement with breeding horses, when in 1977 he bought a mare called Fleur by Flaneur (the first Warmblood stallion imported into Australia) and bred her to the Holsteiner stallion Romedio imp. (Ramzes line). The impressive Ashleigh Brigadier was the product of this union. Brigadier went on to sire many successful and competitive sporthorses for both amateurs and professionals. A number of his progeny were sold overseas. Several times Colin had whispered to me the story of how he had sold a horse to Jackie Onassis for a princely sum, but he seemed more proud of seeing one of his horses represent our Nation.

Colin passed away during the COVID-19 and the resulting restrictions on the size of funerals. He is one of many respected Freemasons who left us during this time. I wonder of anyone has considered having a collective Memorial Service for all of them when restrictions ease? I might be a good way for all of us to honour departed merit.

Reading one of the Tributes to Colin moved me. Having spoken to him about his health over recent years, he knew the end was approaching. It summoned up our conversations and something of Colin’s character;

“He did not balk when faced with the final hurdle and ambled off into the sunset, leaving memories gold.”

May those who loved him feel the pain of his loss fade and be left with memories of gold, as I have been.

Rest in peace Brother, your course and race is run, and run well.