4 months ago

Fitzgerald's Town


DRUIDS, MASONS AND HIBERNIANS Three lodges, formed in the late 19 th century, played an important role in the lives of many men in Lincoln and the surrounding district. These were the Antient Free and Accepted Masons, the United Ancient Order of Druids, and the Hibernian Australasian Catholic Benefit Society. There is brief mention of an Orange Lodge seeking permission to use the library soon after it had been built, but there is no record that a lodge was formed in Lincoln. The Druids and the Hibernians are friendly societies providing benefits for members because of illness, unemployment or bereavement; the Masons too, are concerned for their member’s welfare, but their guiding principles are those of integrity, goodwill and charity. This account is only a brief outline of their beginnings in Lincoln and for the most part is based on newspaper reports, and in the case of the Masons, a booklet published by the Lincoln Lodge in about 1962. Antient, Free and Accepted Masons On 8 October 1879 a group of men met at the Prebbleton Hotel to discuss the formation of a Masonic Lodge in the Lincoln area. 1 Those present were members of existing lodges in Christchurch and included at least two, J.C. Revell, Lincoln Station Master, and F.W. East, clerk to the Lincoln Road Board, who were living in the district at the time. Matters moved rapidly and on 28 January 1880 the new Lodge was consecrated in a ceremony held in the Lincoln school room, and was reported in the following terms 2 : This thriving district was enlivened by the arrival of forty Masonic brethren…it being the day which the Right Worthy Bro. Thompson had fixed for the dedication of a Lodge to be called the Lincoln under the English Constitution. The Lodge, No. 1918, received its charter from the Grand Lodge of England, the ruling body for Freemasonry in New Zealand at the time. There were nine founding members, and of these A.R. Kirk was installed as the first Master, J.C. Revell Senior Warden, J.W. Anderson Junior Warden, F.W. East Senior Deacon, W.H. Comerford Junior Deacon and H. Chatteris Inner Guard. Representatives of Lodges attending the inaugural ceremony came from Akaroa, Ashburton, Christchurch, Kaiapoi, Lyttelton and Leeston. 120

44. Report of a new Lodge opened at Lincoln. Lyttelton Times. 30 January 1880. Courtesy of Papers Past. For the first two years meetings were held in the school room, but in April 1882 the Lodge bought a section (Lot 13 Block IV), now 9 Maurice Street, where the local firm of D.W. Bartram and Company build a modest hall for about 200 pounds. These were difficult years and to help make ends meet the hall was let out to other organisations, such as the Druids, and for balls and dances, e.g. a Masonic Ball was held in the building under the patronage of Dr. and Mrs. Westenra and Dr. and Mrs J. Cooke and the “elite” of the district. 3 Despite efforts to bolster funds the financial situation deteriorated so much that in 1893 Mr. East, a founding member and Past Master, took responsibility for the land and building, a situation which lasted for twenty years until the lodge was in a secure enough position to take control of its property. This original building remained in use until 1956 when the present hall was erected. 121

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