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- The Masonic Grand Masters of Australia by Kent Henderson. Chapter 3.
- Introducing Freemasonry by Pace. Pages 14-19.

Developed by W.Bro. Kent Henderson
Dip. T., B. Ed., Grad. Cert. Ed., Grad. Dip. Ed., M. Ed, Diploma of Masonic Education (Sth. Aust.)
Past Junior Grand Deacon, A. F. & A. Masons of Victoria, Australia.


The Masonic Lodge and its functions.


The basic unit of Freemasonry is a Masonic Lodge. There were, of course, lodges before Grand Lodges, the latter being a relatively modern invention. Most Grand Lodges consist of a large number of constituent lodges. At the most recent count, the United Grand Lodge of England had more than 8,200 lodges under charter. Conversely, the smallest is the Grand Lodge of Luxembourg with just four lodges ranging under its banner. In 1986 lodges in Victoria numbered 738, New South Wales 688, Queensland 459, Western Australia 274, South Australia 197 and Tasmania 78.

Put in elemental terms, a lodge is the primary means for Freemasons to congregate, to make new Masons and to assimilate the teachings and principles of the Order. A lodge is presided over by a Master who is elected annually, and his two Wardens, who in most states are appointed by him. Any member, usually on progression through the junior offices of the lodge, can aspire to the Master’s chair.

Generally, this progression takes seven years. On completion of his year in office, a Master simply becomes a Past Master. Lodge meetings include ritualised ceremonies known as Degrees, which are conferred on candidates at intervals. The first degree is that of Entered Apprentice, and the ceremony is known as Initiation. The second is the Fellow Craft Degree, known as Passing, while the third is called the ‘Sublime Degree’ of a Master Mason, and is known as Raising. Thus, a Mason who has experienced all three ceremonies is said to have been Initiated, Passed and Raised. It is only when he becomes a Master Mason that he is enabled, if he wishes, to take office in his lodge. When these ceremonies are not being worked, the monthly lodge meeting is likely to be given over to lectures or discussions on Masonic subjects.


The Grand Lodge and Its Officers


According to the first clause of the Victorian Grand Lodge Constitutions, the Government of the Fraternity of Freemasons of Victoria is placed in the hands of the United Grand Lodge of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons of Victoria (hereafter referred to as ‘the Grand Lodge’), which is a body composed of the Grand Master, the Grand Officers for the time being, the Past Grand Officers, the Master and Wardens of each Lodge on the register of the Grand Lodge, and all Past Masters. All such Past Grand Officers and Past Masters must be subscribing members of a lodge on the register of the Grand Lodge.

The other Australian Grand Lodges are identically composed. With few exceptions, Grand Lodge Officers are chosen from amongst Masters and Past Masters although, in practice, it is unusual for a sitting Master to be appointed to an active Grand Lodge office.

There are two kinds of Grand Officers, active and past, although the ranks are equivalent. Most Past Masters appointed (or elected) to an active Grand Lodge Office serve only one year, although this varies from state to state and office to office - often depending on the nature of the office held and the responsibilities attached to it. No Grand Office is a sinecure. Generally, those holding more senior offices tend to serve more than one year.

It must be noted that the word ‘past’ in a Masonic sense does not refer to members who have deceased, but simply to those who are Past Masters or who hold Past Grand Rank. Past Grand Officers fall into two distinct groups:

a. Masons who served in active Office in the Grand Lodge, and who have completed their terms, now retain their title with the additional word ‘Past’ attached to it. For example, a Grand Standard Bearer becomes a Past Grand Standard Bearer, and a Junior Grand Warden becomes a Past Junior Grand Warden.

b. As it is impossible to provide active Grand Lodge appointment to all Masons who might qualify for it, it has long been the custom for the Grand Master to confer Past Grand Rank on the vast majority of Grand Officers that have received preferment. They hold Grand Rank in recognition of their general services to Freemasonry, but they have not actually served in any office within Grand Lodge .

Nonetheless under most Australian Grand Lodges an active Grand Officer, on completion of his term is often promoted to a higher Past Grand rank. For example, a Grand Sword Bearer, on completion of his term (and if not promoted to a higher active office) will either become a Past Grand Sword Bearer, or more likely be promoted to a higher rank, such as Past Junior Grand Deacon. It must also be noted that the holder of any Grand Rank, whether active or conferred, will outrank and take precedence over any lower rank, in all circumstances. For example, a Past Senior Grand Deacon takes higher precedence than a Grand Sword Bearer, even though the holder of the former office may never have served actively as a Grand Officer.

The awarding of Past Grand Rank varies between Grand Lodges. In Victoria, for example, each metropolitan Melbourne lodge can nominate one of its Past Masters for conferred Grand Rank every five years, while a country lodge enjoys the same privilege every four years.


Masonic Promotion


In each Grand Lodge there is also a system of promotion, but again methods vary widely and can be mildly complicated. Some lean towards a system based on merit, while others are based more on the effluxion of time. Overall, it can be said that the higher the Grand Rank, the fewer holders there are to it. In most Australian Grand Lodges, the rank of Past Deputy Grand Master is the highest to which one can eventually be promoted, although few reach it. Generally, those who have served actively as a Grand Officer tend to receive faster and, in the long term, higher promotion than conferred Grand Officers. It is most unusual for the rank of Past Grand Master to be conferred; this rank is almost invariably restricted to those who have actually served as Grand Master.

In some Grand Lodges, such as Victoria, most active Grand Offices are appointive, with the only exceptions being the Grand Treasurer and, of course, the Grand Master himself. In others, such as New South Wales and Queensland, most Grand Offices are elective - although in most states it is uncommon for there to be more than one nomination for each position. In any Grand Lodge, however, where there is to be an appointment made, it is the prerogative of the Grand Master, and this also applies to conferred Grand Rank. In practice, a Grand Master will usually rely on the advice of various committees and recommendations.


Masonic Precedence


In order to set out Grand Lodge Officers and their precedence those of the United Grand Lodge of Victoria are set out below. Their abbreviations follow in brackets.

1. The Grand Master (GM)

2. The Pro Grand Master (ProGM)

3. Past Grand Master (PGM)

4. Past Pro Grand Master (PProGM)

5. Deputy Grand Master (DGM)

6. Past Deputy Grand Master (PDGM)

7. Senior Grand Warden (SGW)

8. Past Senior Grand Warden (PSGW)

9. Junior Grand Warden (JGM)

10. Past Junior Grand Warden (PJGW)

11.Grand Chaplain (GChap)

12. Past Grand Chaplain (PGChap)

13.Grand Treasurer (GTreas)

14. Past Grand Treasurer )PGTreas)

15.Grand Registrar (GReg)

16. Past Grand Registrar (PGReg)

17. President of the Board of General Purposes (PBGP)

18. Past President of the Board of General Purposes (PPBGP)

19. President of the Board of Benevolence (PBB)

20. Past President of the Board of Benevolence (PPBB)

21.Grand Superintendent of Works (GSWks)

22. Past Grand Superintendent of Works (PGSWks)

23.Grand Secretary (GSec)

24. Past Grand Secretary (PGSec)

25.Grand Inspector of Workings (GIWkgs)

26. Past Grand Inspector of Workings (PGIWkgs)

27.Grand Lecturer (GLec)

28. Past Grand Lecturer (PGLec)

29.Grand Superintendent of Liaison (GSL)

30. Past Grand Superintendent of Liaison (PGSL)

31.Grand Director of Ceremonies (GDC)

32. Past Grand Director of Ceremonies (PGDC)

33.Assistant Grand Secretary (AGSec)

34. Past Assistant Grand Secretary (PAGSec)

35.Deputy Grand Superintendent of Works (DGSWks)

36. Past Deputy Grand Superintendent of Works (PDGSWks)

37.Deputy Grand Superintendent of Liaison (DGSL)

38. Past Deputy Grand Superintendent of Liaison (PDGSL)

39.Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies (DGDC)

40. Past Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies (PDGDC)

41.Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies (AGDC)

42. Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies (PAGDC)

43. Senior Grand Deacon (SGD)

44. Past Senior Grand Deacon (PSGD)

45. Junior Grand Deacon (JGD)

46. Past Junior Grand Deacon (PJGD)

47.Grand Sword Bearer (GSwdB)

48. Past Grand Sword Bearer (PGSwdB)

49.Grand Standard Bearer (GStdB)

50. Past Grand Standard Bearer (PGStdB)

51.Grand Director of Music (GDMus)

52. Past Grand Director of Music (PGDMus)

53.Grand Organist (GOrg)

54. Past Grand Organist (PGOrg)

55.Grand Pursuivant (GPurs)

56. Past Grand Pursuivant (PGPurs)

57.Assistant Grand Pursuivant (AGPurs)

58. Past Assistant Grand Pursuivant (PAGPurs)

59.Grand Herald (GHer)

60. Past Grand Herald (PGHer)

61.Grand Steward (GStwd)

62. Past Grand Steward (PGStwd)

63.Grand Tyler (GTyr)

64. Past Grand Tyler (PGTyr)

This list is the full range of Grand Lodge officers in Victoria. Each will be filled every year by an active participant. However, as a general rule, many of these offices will never be conferred or held as a Past Grand Rank. For example, the ranks of Past Grand Secretary and Past Grand Steward are never awarded. Alternatively, others are commonly conferred.


Interstate Variations


The titles of Grand Officers can vary between the Australian states, albeit only marginally. In Tasmania and South Australia, for example, the Grand Inspector of Workings is known as the Grand Inspector of Lodges (GIL). In New South Wales, the Grand Superintendent of Works is known as the Grand Architect (GArch). In some states the title of Grand Trumpeter (GTrump) is substituted for Grand Herald.

Similarly, for some offices there are not equivalents in every state. Not every Grand Lodge appoints a Grand lecturer (GLec), and in some the Grand Librarian is an official office. Victoria is the only state with a Grand Superintendent of Liaison, while in New South Wales and Western Australia District Grand Inspectors of Workings (DGIW) are appointed. In some Grand Lodges, an Assistant Grand Master is Appointed. This office ranks after the Deputy Grand Master and before the Senior Grand Warden.

The rank of Pro Grand Master requires explanation. In modern times, an appointment is made to this position only if a State Governor, or the Governor General, is elected as Grand Master. In this event, the Pro Grand Master effectively runs the Grand Lodge, with the Governor acting more in a figurehead or ceremonial capacity. This is simply because the Governor’s vice-regal duties preclude him from organising and overseeing the day-to-day running of a Grand Lodge - which is one of the main tasks of Grand Master. Thus a Pro Grand Master is appointed to assume these responsibilities in this instance.

In the post-war era, it has been usual to confer the rank of Past Grand Master on those Masons who have served actively as Pro Grand Master to a Governor as, in effect, they have virtually acted as Grand Master in all but name. Historically, most Pro Grand Masters have served as Grand Master in their own right either before or after their term as a Pro Grand Master to a Governor. These are naturally included in this book.

Indeed, only five Pro Grand Masters to a Governor, since World War 11, have not served as Grand Master in their own right. They all held appointment during the long Grand Mastership of Governor Sir Dallas Brooks in Victoria. As is usual in Victoria following their term as Pro Grand Master each was elevated to the rank of Past Grand Master. Each, therefore is included in this book.

The only historical variation to the usage of Pro Grand Master Rank has been in Tasmania, where a Pro Grand Master was always appointed and, almost without exception, was subsequently elected Grand Master in his own right. This practice was discontinued in 1967 when Tasmania fell into line with the other states to appoint a Pro Grand Master when a Governor was Grand Master.

The conferral of the rank of Past Grand Master is very rare, and in some states it is constitutionally impossible, except to promote a serving Pro Grand Master at the end of his term. In 1987 only twoAustralian Masons held the rank of Past Grand Master without having served in the office of Grand Master. These are MWBro L.G. Catt of Queensland and MWBro F.L. Hodgson of New South Wales.


Masonic Appellations


The appellations used in Freemasonry require explanations. They are consistently used and applied throughout all Australian Grand Lodges.

Most Worshipful Brother (MWBro)

This title is borne by Grand Masters, Past Grand Masters, Pro Grand Masters, and Past Pro Grand Masters only.

Right Worshipful Brother (RWBro)

This title is held by Deputy Grand Masters, Past Deputy Grand Masters, Assistant Grand Masters, Past Assistant Grand Masters, Senior Grand Wardens, Junior Grand Wardens and Past Grand Wardens only.

VeryWorshipful Brother (VWBro)

This rank is held by every Grand Lodge Officer present or past, between the Grand Chaplain and Grand Director of Ceremonies, inclusive.

Worshipful Brother (WBro)

All Grand Lodge Officers (if they are Past Masters, as most are) present and past, ranking below Grand Director of Ceremonies, are simply known as Worshipful Brother, as are Masters and Past Masters of anyMasonic Lodge.

Brother (Bro)

This title attaches to the surnames of all Freemasons who have not served in the position of Master of a lodge.



Introducing Freemasonry - M. de Pace.





The regular Officers of the Lodge are the Master, his two Wardens, a Treasurer, a Secretary, two Deacons, an Inner Guard, and a Tyler. All other Officers are additional, and Lodges may employ all or some of these according to their individual traditions.

For present purposes a full complement of additional Officers is assumed, and the offices of a Lodge are divided into two groups: those leading to the chair of Worshipful Master, and those usually (though not always) held by Past Masters.



The sequence of offices leading to that of Worshipful Master is usually as follows:


Inner Guard

Junior Deacon

Senior Deacon

Junior warden

Senior Warden

Worshipful Master

The Worshipful Master is elected at the Lodge meeting preceding that of Installation. The qualification for the office of Worshipful Master is one year’s service as Senior or Junior Warden. While it is customary for the Senior Warden to be elected to the chair of Master, the procedure of election ensures that it is not automatic but at the discretion of the members of the Lodge.

Progression is usually bases upon seniority but ultimately it rests with the Master to appoint his Officers, which he does at the Installation meeting having previously received their agreement. In

Practice, commitments at work or other reasons may prevent someone from finding time to prepare for the next office. In such cases the gap may be filled by a Past Master, by moving the entire line up an extra position, or by inviting a capable brother from a lower office to jump a few offices.

Lodges may vary in the expectation they place upon the Master as regards the work he has to perform at meetings, but each prospective Master needs to determine at an early date a schedule of the work to be learnt. The following gives an indication of the work a Master might be expected to perform during his year in office:

Appointing and Investing his Officers

Closing the Lodge

Chairing the Dinner (Festive Board)

Opening the Lodge

Initiation Ceremony

Charge to the Initiate

Passing Ceremony

Explanation of the Second Degree Tracing Board

Raising Ceremony

Tradition History, Third Degree Tracing Board and Working Tools

Installing his successor

This list represents Emulation work. Other workings or individual Lodge traditions may dictate a different content. For example, the Explanation of the Second Degree tracing Board will rarely be found in Stability working. It is also worth bearing in mind that the sequence of work, other than that of the three degrees, will be laid out as above.

In the year following, as Immediate Past Master and seated to the immediate left of his successor, he will be responsible for supporting the Worshipful Master during the meeting and, if so

dictated by Lodge tradition, at the dinner. Should the Master be unable to attend a meeting, the Immediate past master will take his chair at the meeting and dinner.

While the amount of work seems daunting, in practice it is not, for it has been masters by hundreds of thousands, each of whom began with no prior experience of committing large sections of

text to memory, and most with no more than average abilities. Consider that in 1950 the number 7,000 was reached on the Register of the United Grand Lodge of England and Wales, giving approximately 6,000 active Lodges. If these 6,000 Lodges were active during the thirty years up to 1980, they would have installed 180,000 Masters during that short period alone.



The Officers of a Lodge, other than those leading to the Chair, and ranked in order of seniority, are:




Director of Ceremonies

Charity Steward


Assistant Director of Ceremonies


Assistant Secretary


These offices are usually filled by Past Masters. The office of Organist, since it requires a special skill which may not be present among the Lodge membership, may remain vacant with its duties being carried out by a member of another Lodge. The Tyler often performs his office for a number of Lodges. In such cases, a small fee (which could include free entry to the dinner) will usually be paid for their services. Alternatively, either or both could be subscribing members of the Lodge, appointed by the Master.

Of the above, only the Treasurer and Tyler (the latter if not appointed) are elected by the members of the Lodge; the remainder are appointed by the Master for the year. During his brief spell as Master Elect, he will have approached his intended Officers and obtained their agreement to take or continue in office. While the appointment of these Officers is at the sole discretion of the Master, in practice he often makes no changes at all, allowing the incumbents to remain in their offices should they so desire. An incumbent may remain in office for many years because of his particular suitability to the job, or simply because no one is inclined to ask him to stand down. Most changes occur through the incumbents themselves offering to stand down in favour of those who have not held office.

Consideration may, for example, be given to the prospect of Provincial honours for a younger member of the Lodge. A majority consensus of opinion may, at times, persuade Officers to ‘retire’ but there are many instances where sensitivity to the feelings of the person in question ensures that he never becomes aware of such an opinion. There are, too, occasions where a determined Master will ring in changes without waiting for volunteers. However, unless he is supported by a substantial body of opinion, and even then, it is a risky undertaking which could divide a Lodge, or worse, have as a consequence a member who feels rejected by and alienated from his Lodge.


The Offices

The office of Chaplain is, not surprisingly, a devotional one. He offers prayers of the Lodge but need not be a man of the cloth.

The Treasurer is responsible for the receipt and banking of funds, making payments, and the maintenance of a set o accounts. He also prepares an annual statement of account for auditing and

circulation to the members of the Lodge, and provides the financial control over the Lodge income and expenditure.

The Secretary keeps the Lodge minutes and is responsible for the general paperwork including the issue of summonses, the annual returns to Grand Lodge, Liaison with Provincial Grand Lodge, dealings with other Lodges, and communications from and to members. He is expected to have a sound knowledge of the regulations of the Craft, and may well be consulted by the Master on points of procedure.

The Director of Ceremonies is responsible for the smooth running of the meeting. He should ensure that all articles necessary for the meeting are laid out correctly, arrange processions into and from the Lodge, receive important visitors and attend to matters of protocol such as salutes to Grand Officers.

The Charity Steward is basically a fund-raiser. He collects donations, explains the advantages of covenants, and disseminates information about the various Charities and their work to ensure that all members appreciate the use to which their donations are put, and to encourage them to be as generous as their personal circumstances permit.

The Almoner keeps in touch with members and their families at times of illness or in old age. Lodge funds may be allocated for use by the Almoner for specific purposes such as the distribution of Christmas cards and gifts to widows. Each Almoner has his own methods, but typically an Almoner would arrange visits to those in hospital, organise practical help for members when they or their families are in difficulties, or simply visit members who find themselves unable to attend meetings.

The other offices, except for that of Tyler which is discussed elsewhere, need no further elaboration.

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