Greymouth

Lodge No 1233

Meets at Freemasons' Hall Shantytown Rutherglen Road GREYMOUTH

Meets 1st Tuesdays each month except January

Installation date 1st Saturday, September

 

Greymouth Lodge No1233EC

Meets first Tuesday of every month except January (no meeting) and September when installation is held on the first Saturday.

Meetings are held at Shantytown historic park Rutherglen Road, Paroa (Greymouth area).

Secretary e-mail address gumboot1@xtra.co.nz

The town of Greymouth, once called Crescent City, is the largest on the West Coast of the South Island of New Zealand, a population of 9000. 250km N.W. of Christchurch, 100 S.W. of Westport, and 40km. N.E. of Hokitika.   For 100 years the service centre for the largest coal mining district in New Zealand, a large dairying industry, and a “passing through town” for 1.2. Million = tourists p.a., 46% of that number being international, visiting the spectacular scenery that the Coast has to offer….the many lakes, the sea and beaches, the wild birdlife, the beautiful Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers and huge areas of native forest, in the distance of 630 km from Karamea in the north to Fiordland in the south, home to only 31,000 people, and not a single road traffic light!

The Lodge

Today, one of only two English Constitution Lodges left on the Coast, the other being Phoenix Lodge, 1690 at Westport.  Between 1865 and 1948 a total of 22 “blue lodges”, 9 Royal Arch Chapters and a variety of allied Masonic orders were consecrated, when the area in the gold mining heydays of 1860/’70s boasted a population of 45,000.   Many miners came from Ireland, Scotland, England, Australia and the United States of America bringing their masonry with them.   No Irish Lodges, all were either English or Scottish in persuasion.

As of 2016, 6 Lodges remain on the Coast, two English and four of the New Zealand Constitution.

Greymouth Lodge was consecrated May 25th 1868, the second Lodge of the district, the oldest being The Pacific Lodge of Hokitika, 1229 E.C., 1865 in Hokitika, and still operating in = Christchurch.   Originally met in the Albion Hotel, the first W.M. was Bro. Andrew Edward Ancher, the “father of Masonry” in Greymouth, 18 foundation brethren and a further 10 initiated that day. Noon tyle and a 2 am finish….quite a day! Charter arrived from England two years later….of interest 1233 was charter number originally of The Dunedin Lodge (now 931, E.C.) meeting at Blenheim, UGLE renumbered their Lodges in 1863. 

 

By 1871 Lodge met at the local Gilmer's Hotel, Greymouth, 1873 they built their rooms in Mackay Street not far from the corner with Tainui Street, which was destroyed by fire in 1887, along with sadly some of the early records of the Lodge. The lodge rooms were shared with the Scottish constitution St Andrews lodge.

Undaunted the lodge held meetings in various makeshift temples until 19 March 1890 when a brand-new masonic hall was consecrated at 71 Tainui Street. This was to be the Lodges home until 1st November 1994 when financial pressure forced the sale of the building and the lodge moved in with NZC lodges for a short time. This building was in a few short years also sold and the lodge met in the Karoro Bowling Club until 2013 when it again moved to the Shantytown Masonic Hall.

Of interest, between 1868 and 1890 the Lodge had processed 361 brethren, and reached a membership high in the 1930′ s of 167 brethren…. but like all Lodges can look back on a very colourful history, it remained loyal to its original constitution, when others of Scottish and English heritage left to join the newly created Grand Lodge of New Zealand in 1894.

Although, in terms of active members, a small Lodge with few new candidates being attracted from a very small population base, the Greymouth Lodge has been able, from its Greymouth Masonic Charitable Trust, to donate $270,000 to the local community, educational, charitable and cultural organisations over the last 23 years. The Lodge celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2018.

 

The highlight of each year is the September installation ceremony where it is not uncommon to have over 60 Freemasons attend, including brethren from all four masonic constitutions in the country, i.e. English, New Zealand, Scottish and Irish Grand Lodges.