Open Houses Melbourne 2016 at CMC; 1,000th OHM Visitor

The Collingwood Masonic Centre has participated in Open Houses Melbourne for the last three years. In 2014 we saw about 500 visitors, 2015 300 and this year 200, or 208 to be exact. That means this year we showed our 1,000th OHM visitor the lodge room at the Collingwood Masonic Centre. Any Lodge run event with over 100 people would be seen as large, but few claim engaging such a diverse and large group outside our normal social circles.

In 2014 we had a man visit us from Cranbourne, return home to collect his family and return to the centre so they could see it - that’s about a 240 km round trip and about 3 hours driving !... This year we had a lady from Geelong drive up specially to see our building. People come from far and wide to view out special “cubby house”; many visitors are surprised to see the large number of young Freemasons – OHM dispels the myth that Freemasonry is a retired or old man’s game – we know it’s for everyone.

Numbers were down, but in 2015 about 70 buildings were open, this year over 150 and Open Houses has spread its wings with buildings not only open in Kew, but as far afield as Sunbury. 2017 might be the year to open Prahran or Ivalda and I strongly recommend those buildings think about opening their doors as official participants in the Open Houses Melbourne event…

Every year I enjoy the moments I get to look around and see Freemasons working together and socializing at Open Houses, sharing the Craft with fascinated visitors, some of whom will join us, others reconnecting with a important part of their Father’s or Grandfather’s life, some of whom did participate in lodge functions, some even at Gipps Street itself recalling Christmas Parties and Santa’s visit there, others for whom Freemasonry was a closed lodge case and closed mouth – unshared and mysterious….

Our worthy undertaking of showing off our living history and building would not be possible without the support of volunteers. About 30 helped this year by donating their time. It was particularly notable that the Naval and Military Family of Lodges were well represented, both in the display in the South and by their members volunteering their time, Barry M taking lodge tours expanding the group of tour leaders.

I close by thanking Libby and Stephen, my sister and brother in law. They’ve done 5 of our 6 days of Open House. Neither are members of the Craft, but certainly Freemasons in spirit and I hope they feel part of the Lodge Devotion Family. Thank you to them and thank you to all who helped make this year a success..