History of Golden Fleece Orchestra

Masonic Lodges vary greatly and reflect the interest (and budget) of their members. One lodge in Victoria known for its fine dining experience is the Lodge of the Golden Fleece No 300 . The lodge also has a Orchestra which sometimes plays during its Festive Board (dinner).

All too often, a great document like the below is lost when a web site is not longer continued, for this reason, I reproduced the below;

History of Golden Fleece Orchestra

Wor Bro Weston Pett, a professional flautist, assembled a small orchestra of musical masons, when the Lodge was formed in 1922. Fellow flautists, Bro Les Barklamb and Radiologist and Bro Dr Kaye Scott joined the Lodge in 1930 and assisted the orchestra, when practicable.

In 1932, South Brunswick Lodge No 484 with the co-operation of the Wor Master, Bill McPherson and Bro Jack Lazarus also decided to form an orchestra with professional musicians, who were Lodge members. Many were unemployed because of the depression of the 30's. The arrangement was that Bill McPherson (who had a printing business) would provide transport for the orchestra in return for the orchestra providing harmony at meetings of South Brunswick Lodge.

This arrangement allowed the orchestra to travel around both suburban and country lodges - mainly to Installations and Master's last nights. Masters who could afford to do so engaged the orchestra, but they also passed around the hat amongst the members, and funds raised this way were evenly divided amongst the unemployed musicians. The orchestra became known as the Temple Orchestra and traveled as far as Broardford, Seymour Castlemaine, Powelltown, Warburton and Hamilton.

In the 1930's there was no such thing as the unemployment benefits as paid these days - the only income they would have would be what they earned teaching music and playing at lodge functions.

In 1943, because of the effects of the war, membership of both orchestras had declined and Bro Les Barklamb of Golden Fleece approached Bro Jack Lazarus to see if it was feasible for the Temple Orchestra to combine with the Golden Fleece orchestra. The approach was successful and the two orchestras amalgamated shortly afterwards. One legacy of this amalgamation is the unusually fine collection of light orchestral music that we now own, some dating back to these early days.

In addition to playing at meetings of the Golden Fleece, the orchestra for some years gave an afternoon concert in September or October to residents and friends of the Royal Freemasons' Homes of Victoria in Punt Road Prahran.

The combined orchestra in 1943 consisted of the following members:

    • Bro H Dempster - Organist & Pianist

    • Wor Bro Ted Rawlins - Conductor

    • Bro Bill Morris - Violin

    • Bro Harold Winstanley - Violin

    • Bro Bob Herrod - Violin

    • Bro Reg Lazarus - Violin

    • Bro Cecil Hargreaves - Violin

    • Bro Capt Snape - Viola

    • Bro Stan Haycroft - Cello

    • Bro Fred Earp - Bass

    • Bro Bill Graf - Clarinet

    • Bro Dr Kaye Scott - Flute

    • Wor Bro Xarv Rosenhain - Flute

    • Bro Arthur Maddern - Flute

    • Bro Geo Stewart - Trumpet

    • Bro Les Iverson - Trumpet

    • Bro Jack Lazarus - Trombone

    • Bro Bill Lehmann - Drums

With a combination such as this, the orchestra was able to attract other fine musicians to assist on occasions.

Past Players of The Golden Fleece Orchestra

This is an incomplete list of the fine musicians who have played with the Golden Fleece Orchestra over the past 90 years.

    • Bro Les Barklamb - Flute player and renowned flute teacher. Was principal flute player with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and also Senior Tutor and Examiner of Flute at the Melbourne University Conservatorium of Music. He conducted the orchestra on many occasions. Les was a member of the Lodge over 60 years and played an important part in combining the 2 orchestras in 1943.

    • Bro Keith Bulman - Trumpet player - qualified accountant. Very well known as a cornet player of distinction with a number of "A" Grade Brass bands in Melbourne. He played with the Fleece orchestra from the 1950's until 2006.

    • Wor Bro Stan Code - Trombone player of distinction. Played with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for many years.

    • Wor Bro Lewis Coleman - Conductor and Trombone- player - a qualified accountant, worked as a programmer for a leading oil company and played in Brass Bands and for the Preston Orchestra for many years. Played in many other orchestras formed for a number of musical comedy societies. He was conductor of the Golden Fleece orchestra for many years until he retired due to ill health in 2006.

    • Bro Fred Earp - Bass player and baritone singer, who was also responsible for arranging some of the music that is still played in Masonic services.

    • Bro Jim Fletcher - Trombone - also a business man, played with the orchestra in 1970's and 80's.

    • Bro Bill Glasford Formerly lead violinist of the- Melbourne Symphony Orchestra and played regularly with the Golden Fleece orchestra in the 1980's.

    • Bro Lorenzo (Laurie) Grimmett - Drummer - had a hairdressing business in Williamstown. He played the drums in the orchestra from the early 1980's until the late 1990s.

    • VWor Bro Bert Guy - Clarinet player. A very highly respected person in the retail music world in particular and in music generally. He played regularly with the orchestra from the 1950's until his death.

    • Bro Cecil Hargreaves - Violinist (& Trombone) - played with Golden Fleece orchestra for many years from the 1940' until the 1970's.

    • Bro Stan Haycroft - Cello player - professional musician and also a business man. Stan played with the orchestra until he moved to the Gold Coast in the early 1970's.

    • Bro Bob Herrod - Violin and Viola - a professional musician also a qualified electrician - father of Bill and Harold Herrod (both q.v.)

    • RWor Bro Harold Herrod - Violin and viola - a qualified electrician and business man. Harold in later years turned his hand to painting and had several paintings hung in various galleries around Melbourne. Harold played with the orchestra from the 1950's until the 1980s

    • Wor Bro Bill Herrod - Pianist, Organist & String Bass player and a brother of Harold above. A qualified electrician and Past Master of the Lodge. Bill played with this orchestra from the 1950's until his death in 2006 and was also a regular player with the Zelman orchestra.

    • Wor Bro Les Ivorson - Trumpet player - a Technical School teacher (vice principal of Yallourn and Swinburne Technical colleges) played with the Lodge orchestra in 1950's & 60's.

    • Bro Owen Jones - Flute and String Bass player - a qualified aeronautical Engineer, Own played regularly with the orchestra from the 1970's. He was also a very capable music arranger and in addition to many other harmonious pieces, arranged the music to play the Worshipful Master into the South.

    • Bro Colin Kerr Principal viola player in the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for 32 years and continued to play with the orchestra for some years after he stepped down as Principle. He was a member of Golden Fleece and played regularly with the orchestra and the Melbourne University Conservatorium Orchestra. He trained as a violin maker with Bill Dolphin in Melbourne and was a recognized repairer of bows and all stringed instruments.

    • Bro Jack Lazarus - Trombone and String Bass. He played in the theatre orchestras for many years. A very fine musician and citizen, he was a person responsible for forming the Temple orchestra that later combined with the Golden Fleece Orchestra in 1943. Played with the Golden Fleece Orchestra in the 1940's, 50's and 60's. He was the father of Reg Lazarus who is mentioned below.

    • Bro Harry N Lazaraus - was musical director of Hoyts Theatres and the musician who was responsible for the- installation of the Wurlitzer Organs in various Hoyts Theatres in the 'silent' film days. He was also the musical director and accompanist to "Ella Shields" of Burlington Bertie fame and toured the world several times with her. He was also a member of the musical team known as the "3 Australian Boys" that toured England in the 1930's. He returned to Australia in 1939 as musical director of the Tivoli Theatre. He conducted the Lodge orchestra in the 1970's.

    • Bro Reg Lazarus - violinist and Fleece librarian and son of Jack Lazarus. He was a textile engineer and was responsible for installing and maintaining machinery for a leading textile company for many years, He was initiated into South Brunswick Lodge in 1933 and played his violin at many lodge meeting over the years. Reg and his wife- Dorothy, plus Dudley Smith (see below) and Lew Coleman's father, Marc, played together as a Dance Orchestra in the 30's. Reg was also responsible for arranging the programs for each Golden Fleece meeting for many years as well as acting as General Manager of the orchestra.

    • Bro Wally Martin - Clarinet - Taxation investigator - played with orchestra in 1950's &1960's.

    • Bro William Morris - Conductor and violinist - a professional musician in the evenings and watchmaker and repairer during the day. The Lodge now also has a large collection of his music.

    • Wor Bro Ted Rawlins - Conductor - Musical Director at the Princess Theatre 'in the "Heydays" of musical comedy.

    • Bro Bill Rodgers -Clarinet - builder and contractor. Played the clarinet with the orchestra from the 1980's.

    • Bro Len Rosenthal - Violinist and French Horn player - was a Tool maker with the Govt. Aircraft Corporation. Len played with the orchestra since the 1960's until he retired due to age and infirmity in recent years. Quite a large amount of the music we play comes from Len's private Music Library.

    • Wor Bro Xavier Rosenhain - Flute player - a very fine musician also a prominent business man had a customs agency business in Melbourne.

    • Bro Dr Kaye Scott - Flute & Piccolo and Conductor - a brilliant medical practitioner and musician - a member of the Lodge of the Golden Fleece from 1930 to the mid -1980s. He conducted the orchestra in the 1970's and 1980"s and made his home in Hawthorn available for orchestra rehearsals. The orchestra rehearsed there from 1968 to 1989.

    • VWor Bro Ern Shade Clarinet- the Past Grand Director of Music and conductor of the Grand Lodge Choir. Conducted the Lodge orchestra in the latter 1970's

    • Bro Dudley Smith - Drummer - also chief diesel mechanical engineer for the Tramways at their Central Bus Depot played drums for many years in 1950's & 60's until retirement to Eddington Vic (near Bendigo).

    • Bro Vic Sykes - French Horn player - civil and construction engineer. He has played with a number of symphony orchestras around Melbourne and was a member of the Fleece ensemble from the late 1980s until recent years.

    • Wor Bro George Trueman - Organist and Pianist - Real Estate agent, Past Master of the Lodge of the Golden Fleece. Past Grand Organist. A very capable organist, who iwas licensed to play the organ in the Melbourne Town Hall. He was organist at a leading Melbourne Church and played with the Golden Fleece orchestra for many years.

    • Wor Bro Maurie Turk - Trumpet - Grand Lodge Herald & Grand Mark D.C - played with the Golden Fleece orchestra during 1980's

    • Bro Bill Webb - Trumpet player and former member of many A-grade Brass Bands. He was the soprano cornet player in the Footscray-Yarraville Band that won the World Championship in Canada in 1975. He played with the Fleece orchestra from the mid 1980's until the late 1990s. He commuted from Anglesea to Lodge for many years.

In the past, as happens more regularly today, the Orchestra was assisted on many occasions by capable professional musicians who were not members of the Lodge. Some of these were:

    • Merv Simpson - Trumpet (M.S.O. and Footscray-Yarraville Brass Band)

    • Ernest Lighten - Percussionist Xylophone - M.S.O.

    • Frank Thorn - Violinist - Conductor A.B.C. Show Band

    • lan McDonough - Violinist, moved to work with the London Symphony Orchestra

Authorship of these notes.The History of the Orchestra was first complied by Bro Reg Lasarus many years ago. It was updated by Wor Bro Lewis Coleman in November 1991 and further revised and updated by Bro. Dr. Richard Shiell in August 2008.

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