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Freemasonry's Big Day Out!

28 February 24

Over 300 Freemasons from New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory stepped away from their usual weekend comforts for an extraordinary adventure, lured by three special Masonic events.

Instead of their typical Friday and Saturday night routines, they convened to witness three key events: the initiation of a 5th Generation Mason, a unique Third Degree/Raising under the Stars, and the Installation of a Brother Master Mason into the Chair of King Solomon.
On Friday night, Lodge Condobolin, situated in the west of NSW's Central West, hosted the initiation of Mr Andrew Gavel. Andrew is a 5th-generation Mason and the 4th Lewis in his family lineage.

The initiation, led by his grandfather, RW Bro Richard Gavel, with his father, Bro Paul Gavel also participating, was more than a mere ceremony. It represented the continuation of a deep-rooted family legacy within the Masonic tradition. The Grand Master, in attendance, was notably impressed by the strong influence of Freemasonry in Condobolin, signalling its lasting relevance in the community.

Saturday's event redefined the traditional Third Degree ceremony, usually a theatrical event confined within the four walls of a lodge room. The Raising under the Stars took this ceremony outdoors, beneath the moon and stars, crafting a vivid and immersive experience for everyone involved.

The night sky, acting as a spectacular backdrop, enhanced the ceremony's theatrical elements. This setting transformed it into more than just a rite for the candidate; it became a significant moment for all the 150+ brethren present. Amid the Australian countryside, the phrase "Continue to listen to the voice of Nature" from the ceremony gained special significance. As the natural sounds of the countryside blended into the ritual, the brethren paused to reflect on the omnipresence of the Great Architect of the Universe.

This ceremony culminated in a Banquet under the Stars, further accentuating the event's uniqueness. At this banquet, Deputy Grand Master RW Bro Bernie Khris Albano honoured The Grand Master with a customary toast. The Grand Master, responding, praised RW Bro Joe Corrigan, RW Bro Joshua Newman and the Brethren of Lodge Highway for organizing this unique event.

Meanwhile, in Sydney, a significant ceremony unfolded at The Cedars Lodge. Bro Ugur Can Igdeci was installed into the prestigious Chair of King Solomon, marking a notable transition in leadership. This ceremony recognized Bro Igdeci's humility, fairness, and commitment to both the lodge and the wider community. The event was further dignified by the presence of the 37th & 39th Grand Master, MW Bro Derek Robson AM CMH, highlighting the ceremony's importance in Masonic leadership.

However, The Cedars Lodge also hosted a more sombre event: a heartfelt tribute to VW Bro Max Abdallah, who had recently passed away after a courageous battle with brain cancer at the age of 42. The Brethren paid their respects through The Tribute to the Empty Chair of King Solomon, a service dedicated to honouring the life of a departed Past Master of the Lodge. This tribute, profoundly moving and respectful, emphasized the fraternity's deep respect and admiration for VW Bro Abdallah, commemorating him not only for his Masonic achievements but also for the significant impact he had on the lives of those he encountered.

After these deeply moving experiences, each Mason returned home, their hearts and minds filled with the memories and lessons of the weekend. The events they witnessed and participated in transcended mere ceremonies; they were moments of profound connection with their Masonic heritage and fellowship.

As the celebrations and experiences of the weekend extended late into the night, each Mason returned safely to their respective corners of NSW & ACT. The joyous celebration left a lasting impression, with each brother eagerly anticipating their next gathering. The extraordinary events of the weekend served as a powerful reminder of the enduring spirit and communal bond of Freemasonry.


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