Ranges Trader Mail - Australia
Freemasons form super lodge
By Russell Bennett
14th September 2010
They say the merger comes following a decline in membership numbers at their previous lodges which covered the hills.
However Belgrave freemason John Wilcock, 66, said it was a common problem.
“Freemasonry, like all the other service clubs, has been steadily losing members over the years - mainly through age.
The local area’s smallest lodge, Devon, had fewer than 20 active masons before the merger. Now, they belong to a much larger, stronger group of more than 80 members.
“For the longevity of the local Freemason community, the members of the four lodges ultimately thought it best to combine and make a fresh start,” Mr Wilcock said.
A hills resident, Mr Wilcock joined the Freemasons 1975 with Phoenix Lodge in Kew.
He stayed on as a member there until 2003 when Phoenix, which has since shut down, was facing a similar situation to the one local lodges recently found themselves in.
The name of the new lodge, Brae Dale, reflects the landscape of Belgrave and its surrounding areas.
“We didn’t want a name which incorporated the names of the other four lodges,” said Mr Wilcock.
“A young guy took the first two letters of each lodge name and put them into a website which scrambled them all up.
“After three or four attempts, out came the name Brae Dale which actually means hills and valleys.”
Freemasonry, the world’s oldest and largest existing fraternal community, respects religious, cultural and political diversity amongst its members. Brae Dale’s members meet at the Masonic Centre in Bayview Road, Belgrave, which members of the previous lodges shared.
The centre’s hall is available to hire for private functions.