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Timeless Traditions at Lodge Bland No. 337: A Glimpse into History

08 September 23

Timeless Traditions at Lodge Bland No. 337: A Glimpse into History

Saturday the 2nd of September, history came to life in West Wyalong, the main town of the Bland Shire in the Riverina region of New South Wales, nearly 500km from the Sydney Masonic Centre.

Our Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of NSW & ACT Most Worshipful Brother Lesley Hicks accompanied by Ceremonial Team members visited West Wyalong for a very special event.

These leaders of the Ancient Order of Freemasons were in town to Re-Enact the time-honoured ritual of laying a Foundation Stone of a Masonic Hall.

The occasion was a celebration of the Centenary of the Laying of the original Foundation Stone by the then Grand Master, Most Worshipful Brother William Thompson on 1st September 1923.

Ceremonial Team were a splendid and colourful sight in full regalia as they gave the assembled throng a brief, but revealing insight into some of the symbolism of the Ancient Craft of Freemasonry.

The first part of the Ceremony involved the testing of the Stone with the traditional Working Tools of a Fellow Craft Freemason, The Square, The Level and The Plumb.

The Deputy Grand Master, Right Worshipful Brother Khris Albano Applied the Square to the Stone explaining that it symbolises our obligation to Square our actions by the Square of Virtue.

The Senior Grand Warden, Right Worshipful Brother Arnel Landicho Applied the Level declaring that morally it reminds us of Equality.

The Junior Grand Warden, Right Worshipful Brother Christian Tejadh Applied the Plumb declaring that it teaches us Rectitude of Conduct.

The Elements of Consecration, Corn, Wine and Oil; in Ancient Times, common articles of subsistence, were then scattered and poured onto the Stone by The Grand Master with the following words:

First, “I scatter this Corn as an emblem of Plenty and Abundance. I solemnly dedicate the Foundation Stone and Lodge room to Masonry”.

Then, “I pour this Wine as a Symbol of Joy and Cheerfulness. I solemnly dedicate the Foundation Stone and Lodge Room to Virtue”.

Finally, “I pour this Oil as an Emblem of Peace and Unanimity. I solemnly dedicate the Foundation Stone and Lodge Room to Universal Benevolence”.

The gathering then adjourned to the Regal Estate Winery to enjoy a picnic lunch, and shared memories of times past.

Lodge Bland No337 History

Lodge Bland was consecrated on 19th November ,1919 in response to the interest of returned servicemen seeking a continuation of the mateship forged on the field of conflict and some moral structure to rely on.

In the first year, there were 22 meetings with 27 initiates as the membership rose from 39 to 65.

On 29/3/22 a tender of £2,706 was accepted but the contractor would not sign demanding an extra £500. Dues were raised from £2.2.0 to £3. Funds were raised for the building by the sale of debentures.

The foundation stone was laid by MW Bro William Thompson Grand Master on 1/9/23. The Lodge met in the Oddfellows Hall until the new temple was built and dedicated by MW Bro W Thompson the Immediate Past Grand Master on 9/10/24 in the presence of 205 brethren.

This was a remarkable achievement considering the country was in depression. There were 13 initiations in that year the membership surging from 119-135. The peak membership was 168 in 1954 following another surge in initiations post WW2. There have been 662 members in the Lodge’s in the 104-year history.

The building served for many years as the District’s Social Hub with Debutante Balls, Batchelor & Spinster Balls, Wedding Receptions, 21st. Birthday Parties & many other happy occasions being celebrated within its welcoming walls.

This tradition has recently been revived by the energetic work of the Tivoli Theatre Committee.


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