Open Houses Melbourne 2015 at Collingwood Masonic Centre

Open Houses Melbourne 2015 at Collingwood Masonic Centre

On Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 July 2015 the Collingwood Masonic Centre (CMC) was again opened to the public as an official site of Open Houses Melbourne (OHM).

Congratulations to all on another huge success. There could be no Open Houses at CMC without the fantastic support over Saturday and Sunday from our wonderful volunteers. I sincerely thank them !

This year as had about 200 through on Saturday and about 100 through on Sunday for a total of just over 300. Falling short of the 500 visitors in 2014, 300 people is still an excellent number outstripping the attendance at the most successful Open Night by a factor of three.

One family came on Saturday and returned Sunday for a second look and more photos (I think mum fancies her two sons as candidates). For some, CMC was their ONLY OHM destination. The best example of this is a man interested in Freemasonry who drove all the way from Cranbourne to visit us. A long trip. Impressive and it demonstrates people are keen to see the building. BUT he then made the long journey from Collingwood back home to Cranbourne to collect his wife AND THEN RETURN so she could see the building and find out something about us from real live Freemasons. That's about a 240 KM round trip and about 3 hours driving !... I expect I will be seeing him in lodge in the future.

Open Houses Melbourne is a great and rare opportunity to share the Craft and to dispel some people’s negative misconceptions about it while welcoming people to the amazing living time capsule which is the Collingwood Masonic Centre.

OHM focus is to open the building and its lodge room to the general public - a great PR exercise, but in 2014 it did result in men becoming Freemasons (thanks to Vuko who came as an OHM visitor last year and volunteered this year as a EA after being initiated in Lodge Evolution. Evolution would not have him without OHM and Stuart’s efforts speaking to him last year. IF Stuart gets another candidate this year, it would give him a ratio of 2:2 :). Great to see newer Freemasons help and I loved Rob J’s response (he’s an FC) during a tour about how after becoming a Freemason he now has friendships and “wisdom on tap” at Devotion. The involvement of such valuable new members taught me several important lessons over the weekend – it’s great to spend time with them and I hope they realize how important they are to Freemasonry’s future…. On Sunday – we even had a candidate enjoying the camaraderie (and after 4:30 pm, beer) of OHM volunteers at Gipps St. Again Sashi joined us for both days – he’s a keen Freemason from another building – Lodge Observance which meets at Oakleigh.

We had two likely candidates from Saturday, and gave out eight (yes..8) membership packs on Sunday, total 10. Wow.

Thanks to Nick C and Ben Q who helped organise the day. Since May, Nick and Ben have helped chip away at OHM planning. Samantha Fabry, Collections Manager at Freemasonry Victoria, put together the display cases and she and Ben delivered the GL material to Gipps St on Friday with Ange K’s help. The cases and displays looked very professional and will be a great asset to many other Lodges.

This year we wrote to the Grand Sec in April asking for several things, chiefly the appointment of an official liaison officer between CMC and UGLV, and the Grand Sec asked Bruce Stockdale to act in that capacity. Bruce organized things like printing the CMC fliers that Grand Lodge funded this year. (Last year they were funded by me). Thanks to GL for their important, effective and greatly appreciated 2015 support. They should know our District Co-ordinator Peter Borland from Naval and Military Lodge we there all day Saturday and for most of Sunday. Thanks Peter.

Thanks to all who helped - particularly those who responded with phone calls early last week to fill gaps in the schedule.

I hope you rested those sort feet and throats on Sunday night knowing we gave our visitors a great experience and I know many of you enjoyed sharing the craft with the public and hanging out with each other – mentioning names is dangerous because you always miss people but another special final thanks to those who helped Drew in the kitchen and kept us all fed.

You all did us proud.