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What’s the difference?

08 July 24

How is a Grand  Installation different?

With the upcoming Grand Installation in September, the above question was recently asked of one of our Committee members.

Most masons have attended lodge Installations at some time or other, but perhaps not so with a Grand Installation, where a new Grand Master for the Jurisdiction is placed into the Chair.

‘Regular’ lodge Installations:

The lodge is opened in the First, Second and then Third degrees, culminating in a Board of Installed Masters. Entered Apprentices, Fellowcrafts and Master Masons retire as the level of lodge passes beyond their qualification.

The new Worshipful Master is installed, and the lodge works its way back down through the degrees, readmitting the relevant masons as each level is resumed. Once re-admitted, those masons are advised by formal proclamation of the newly installed Master.

When all masons have been readmitted and proclamations given, the investitures are conducted, the charges are delivered, speeches are made and all retire for the Installation Banquet.

Grand Installations:

The thing that struck me most at my first Grand Installation was the absolutely incredible visual splendour. Masonic finery at its most bedazzling! Couple that with the importance of the occasion, the musical interludes and the speeches and you’ll start to wonder if the word ‘Grand’ is sufficient.

The day usually begins with the formal photographs for all key players and delegation group shots. Then it all moves on to the Ceremony.

Unlike lodge installations, where only masons can be present in the lodge room, a Grand Installation can admit family, friends and even media, so we can forget opening the lodge with the usual ritual.

It begins with the entrance of the sitting Grand Master. Then – in a ceremony that is peculiar to Grand Lodge only – it is opened in ‘Ample Form’, meaning that enough ritual criteria have been met to conduct the ceremony, but no more, so none of our secrets and mysteries are revealed.

Then come the visiting delegations. Each delegation enters in a manner similar to that of receiving a fraternal in a regular lodge meeting, but WOW – does this take it to the next level!

The delegation and its head are announced with much pomp, and the leader enters Grand Lodge followed by his entourage, to be received with words of welcome from the Grand Master, after which he and the visiting delegation members are seated.

They come from interstate and overseas, as well as from many different Masonic Orders. It is this part of a Grand Installation that can take the longest. I recall attending my first Grand Installation in Darling Harbour when MW Bro Derek Robson was being installed as the new Grand Master. The reception of delegations took over an hour.

The Grand Master Elect retires with his escort of Grand Officers so that he can be prepared, and with great announcing re-enters Grand Lodge attired in his Master Mason’s apron.

As with a ‘regular’ installation, he kneels and takes his oath before being escorted to the Mosaic Pavement, where he is invested with his regalia by the outgoing Grand Master.

Now properly clothed, he is placed into the Chair. The Grand Director of Ceremonies proclaims the new Grand Master to ‘Most Worshipful, Right Worshipful, Very Worshipful, Worshipful Brethren and Brethren’, who stand and salute nine times. The eerie silence is broken only by the rustle of clothing as so many arms rise and fall.

This cycle is repeated by the new Grand Master as he invests his Deputy Grand Master and Assistant Grand Master: retire, prepare, re-enter, take the Oath, be invested and then placed into the chair – all followed by the proclamation and salute, with the number of salutes reducing with the rankings.

 We’re not done yet. Now we have the investiture of officers. All are assembled on the lodge floor en masse. The new Grand Master walks between the rows, investing the Senior Officers as he goes. The Deputy Grand Master does the same for the next rank down, and finally the Assistant Grand Master invests the Junior Grand Lodge Officers (Grand Stewards, etc).

All are seated. Charges are recited to the Grand Master, the Grand Officers and finally the brethren. Following the Grand Master’s maiden speech, the lodge is closed and all retire for the Grand Banquet.

And thus begins the one-year term of office for a Grand Master of NSW and ACT. It is usual for a GM’s term to last for three years, but sometimes nominations are received towards the end of the first and/or second term, and a ballot is held at the appropriate Quarterly Communication.

And you can see it all in September:

The current Grand Master Elect (RW Bro Kris Albano) is being installed into the Chair at Sydney Town Hall on Saturday 28 September 2024. It is a ticketed event and at the time of writing I believe the event is almost – if not completely – booked out. Nevertheless, it is being streamed to hubs around NSW and ACT.

Check your Grand Lodge notices or the UGL website for details, and enjoy a most magnificent event.

By RW Bro Terry McCallum


 A Grand Installation is a sight to behold!





A typical installation, such as this one held by Lodge Canoblas Lewis.





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