A Look Inside the Lodge; Toni McRae Looks at the Not-So-Secret Society of Freemasonry

Article excerpt

Three thousand years after the symbolism of King Solomon's Temple continues to inspire Freemasonry on the Fraser Coast, the doors of a local lodge have been opened.

"We don't drink goat's blood, we don't commit murder and we don't bring down governments," Pialba Lodge's RW Bro. Tony Ozanne said yesterday.

"We have only one edict for members and that is they must believe in a supreme being."

Mr Ozanne (past junior grand warden) and RW Bro. Arnold Horne (past assistant grand master) were speaking to the Chronicle on the eve of the national launch of a new book on Freemasonry.

It's No Secret - Real Men Wear Aprons, edited by Peter Lazar (pictured below), will be launched in Sydney on Thursday.

"Far from being secret," said United Lodge of Qld grand master Graeme Ewin, "Freemasons in Australia have worked hard to make the ancient craft more widely known and better understood."

Mr Horne, a retired dairy farmer who has reached the 33rd Degree, the highest symbolic level of Freemasonry in the world, says the society promotes self-discipline, personal development, compassion and concern for others and the value of community service.

"Men join us because they've heard of our intentions to do good, for fellowship, because a family member or friend belongs and because they want more out of life, something with meaning.

"We give away thousands of dollars to good causes and to care for people."

Tony Ozanne, a manufacturer in Hervey Bay, said Masonic temples are now mostly called lodges and on the Fraser Coast there are two in the Bay and three in Maryborough, including the women's lodge, Star of the East.

"We meet once a month and, yes, we do have ancient rituals and we share moral and metaphysical ideals."

Middle Ages stonemasons travelled widely and developed secret handshakes to identify themselves.

Today Freemasonry uses the metaphors of operative stonemasons' tools and implements, against the allegorical backdrop of King Solomon's Temple, to convey what has been described by both Masons and critics as "a system of morality veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols". …