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Freemasonry In Queensland

BRIEF HISTORY OF FREEMASONRY IN QUEENSLAND

United Grand Lodge of Queensland - Ann St, Brisbane

UGLQ - Ann St, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

Freemasonry has existed in Queensland, one of the six States and two Territories in Australia, for just over 150 years. In fact, the first Masonic Lodge to be established in what is now the State of Queensland was established six months before Queensland was separated in late 1859 from the then Colony of New South Wales.

This was North Australian Lodge, formed in July 1859 under the Grand Lodge of England Constitution and registered as No 796 on their roll. Later when Queensland Freemasonry had its own Grand Lodge and its own constitution, this lodge became No 1 under the Queensland Constitution.

In 1863, St Patrick’s Lodge was established under the Grand Lodge of Ireland Constitution as No 279 on its roll. And in 1864, St Andrew Lodge was formed under the Grand Lodge of Scotland Constitution as No 435 on its roll.

By 1862 the Queensland Provincial Grand Lodge of England had four lodges in Queensland; by 1866, the Queensland Provincial Grand Lodges of Scotland and Ireland had three and six lodges respectively in Queensland.

In 1904, 39 lodges previously under the Provincial Grand Lodges of Scotland or Ireland successfully formed what was then called the Grand Lodge of Queensland and were united under it, thus establishing their independence from the original overseas Grand Lodges. By 1921, other Queensland lodges joined or were formed under this new Grand Lodge so it then had 79 lodges under its banner.

Similarly in 1920, 187 lodges previously under the Provincial Grand Lodges of England or Scotland formed the Queensland Grand Lodge and by 1921, there were 202 lodges under its banner.

In 1921, the two Queensland-based Grand Lodges united to form one body – the United Grand Lodge of Queensland (UGLQ), which exists to this day. Lodge numbers and Freemason numbers increased to peak levels sometime in the 1950s and 1960s, with about 34,000 Freemasons registered at one time. Since the 1960s, numbers of lodges and members has slowly decreased and there are at present around 9,000 Freemasons in 304 lodges spread over the State.

In Queensland today, as in other States and Nations, there are many other Orders in Freemasonry. Once they are a Freemason, a person may join one or more of these to further expand their understanding of the principles and practices involved. Some of the more popular orders for men are: Mark Master Lodges, Royal Arch Chapters, Rose Croix Sovereign Chapters, 30th Sovereign Councils, Knights Templar Preceptories, Secret Monitor Conclaves and Knights of the Red Cross of Constantine Conclaves. Each of these has a Queensland Grand Lodge/Chapter/etc to administer the order.

There are also Orders for women, girls and boys, all focussing on attributes of good citizenship. For ladies, there are: Order of the Eastern Star Chapters, Order of the Amaranth Courts and Order of the White Shrine of Jerusalem Shrines. For girls and young women there are: Order of Job’s Daughters Bethels and Order of the Rainbows Assemblies. For boys and young men there are: DeMolay Councils. Each of these has its equivalent Grand body.

The modern mission statement of UGLQ summarises many of the aims of Freemasonry and its associated Orders world-wide:

To practise Freemasonry as a progressive philosophy of life, which encourages tolerance, integrity and self-improvement of its members, while promoting service to the community’.