A Life in Freemasonry: Stanley's 70-Year Journey
23 October 23
By Bro Christopher hahn
In a world that seems to constantly change, some things remain steadfast and unwavering. Stanley Nicholas Keough's journey in Freemasonry is a testament to that. On September 3, 1953, a young 21yo Stan Keough was initiated into Lodge Eastwood No. 390, embarking on a remarkable journey that has spanned an incredible seven decades. As we celebrate the presentation of his 70-year Jewel at Lodge Kiama on September 14, 2023, we take a closer look at the life and Masonic career of this remarkable man.
Born on November 29, 1932, in a rural setting, Stan’s early years were shaped by the simplicity of life on a dairy farm. He attended a one-teacher primary school, cherishing the values of hard work and dedication instilled in him by his parents. Yet, Stan's life would soon take a significant turn.
To pursue an education beyond primary school and to avoid taking the daily journey of car, bus then steam train the decision was made for Stan to board and attend high school in Coffs Harbour. In December 1947, he received his Intermediate Certificate, and this marked the beginning of a new chapter in his life.
Shortly thereafter, Stan along with his parents and young brother moved to Sydney. Stan commenced his aircraft engineering apprenticeship with Qantas Airways in 1949. It was during this time that he crossed paths with another apprentice who unknowingly would unveil the world of Freemasonry. Monthly dances, ladies' nights, balls, and outings filled their social calendar. Young and full of energy, the teenage boys donned dinner suits, often borrowed, while the girls wore elegant "After 5" or evening dresses. It was a world of sophistication and camaraderie that captured Stan's heart.
What he soon discovered was that many of the fathers and older men at these gatherings were Freemasons. The allure of the secretive society, steeped in tradition and values, piqued his interest. Stan decided that he too wanted to be a part of this ancient brotherhood.
At the age of 20, Stan was accepted into Lodge Eastwood No. 390 on September 3, 1953, marking the beginning of a lifelong journey within the world of Freemasonry. Interestingly, it was only after his initiation that he learned that his own father was a Mason, a testament to the level of secrecy maintained within the fraternity at that time. Stan’s enthusiasm for Freemasonry knew no bounds and as a result his three degrees were condensed so that he could travel as a Master Mason. As a Master Mason, he had the privilege of traveling to various lodges across the world. His
Masonic journey took him to Brisbane, Darwin, Djakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Madras, India, and London. His dedication to the craft was evident during his tenure as District Grand Inspector of Workings for district 37 in September 1980, and his contributions extended to the Committee of Masonic Education.
In 1981 during his time as DGIW, RW Bro Keough attended the opening and dedication of the Tokyo Masonic centre; Stan was tasked by the Grand Lodge of New South Wales to donate two sandstone ashlars each over 12 inches cube and heavy. Being an employee of Qantas Stan had the duty to include these ashlars in his personal baggage causing the Japanese customs officers to be quite suspicious and mystified.
On September 10, 1986, RW Bro Stanley Keough was honoured with conferred Grand rank of Past Junior Grand Warden, signifying his dedication and service to the Masonic community. His devotion to Freemasonry was unwavering, and his commitment to the principles of brotherhood and self-improvement were evident in his actions. In 1990, Stan decided to prioritize his family over his Masonic responsibilities and promotions. Over the previous 25 years, he had dedicated himself to both his career with Qantas and Freemasonry. Now, his focus shifted to creating a balanced life.
In July 2004, Stan became the Worshipful Master of Lodge Kiama No. 35, embracing the historical significance of the lodge. It has been present in Kiama for over 150 years and has met in the same building for 114 years. Stan has taken great pride in being part of this tradition.
Lodge Eastwood No. 390, Stan’s mother lodge had undergone transformations, changes in name, and relocations over the years. In contrast, Lodge Kiama has maintained a steadfast presence in the community for over 150 years. As membership stabilizes post-Covid, Stan remains confident in the future of Freemasonry in Kiama, with new members and affiliates breathing life into the lodge.
RW Brother Stanley Nicholas Keough's remarkable journey in Freemasonry serves as an inspiration to us all. His 70-year dedication to the principles of brotherhood and self-improvement is a testament to the enduring values of the Masonic fraternity. As we celebrate this milestone, we are reminded that some things in life, like the bonds of Freemasonry, remain constant and unchanging, transcending the boundaries of time.
The District Grand Inspector of Wotrkings, VW Bro Greg Smith had the honour to Present RW Bro Keough's 70-year service certificate and jewel recently at Lodge Kiama.
With the Lodge at Refreshment - RW Bro Stanley Keough's family joined the celebrations and presentation.