Modern management & meeting places
(Modern management & meeting places)
Would 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?
I 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.
Once 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.
Is 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:
www.business.gov.au/info/plan-and-start/develop-your-business-plans/marketing/the-5-ps-of-marketing with “Place” as the start point. We are not running an on-line business where a shopfront is not needed.
The 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 about.
I 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.