Lodge Lauriston 72 T.C., George Town, Tasmania

Our History


Although Lauriston Masonic Lodge was not formed until 1956, there have been Masons in George Town district from its earliest settlement.  The second-in-command of Colonel William Paterson’s expedition which landed in Outer Cove (now called York Cove) on 4th November 1804 was Captain Anthony Fenn Kemp, a Mason, who later became a 33° Man.  Although he had nothing to do with Masonry in George Town – he was only here for about seven weeks – he was later connected with the formation of the early lodges in Hobart, where he became a prominent citizen.  The town of Kempton in Southern Tasmania was named after him, and his original land grant was “Mt Vernon”, at nearby Melton Mowbray.  The beautiful old “Mt Vernon” homestead is still in good order and is classified by the National Trust.

The next known Freemason in George Town was Governor of the Australian Colonies, Lachlan MacQuarrie, who visited the site of George Town in 1811, and again in 1821. He ordered that the “capital” of Northern Van Dieman’s Land be transferred from Launceston to George Town in 1819 after considerable resistance and delaying tactics by Launceston people.  In 1812, he had issued the well known plan of George Town which shows Regent Square and the streets exactly as they are today.  George Town’s glory was short lived, as headquarters were moved back to Launceston in 1825.

There were several Masons at Low Head in the 1830’s and 40’s. Adye Douglas (later Sir Adye) owned 20 acres on the Low Head Peninsular which he sold to Joseph Cordell, who thereafter owned and farmed virtually the whole of Low Head, as well as being a pilot.  Both Douglas and Cordell were members of St. John’s Lodge, Launceston in the 1840’s.
Wor. Bro. Lushington Goodwin, who later lived at “The Grove” and who’s grave may be seen in the St. Mary Magdeline Anglican Church yard, George Town, joined St. John’s Lodge in 1845.  Bro. Joseph Cordell joined in 1846, and some of his descendents are members of the craft today.

In 1847 Benjamin Hyrons, a publican of George Town was a Mason.  He was a member of St. John’s Lodge, and land-lord of the Freemasons Inn, George Town.  This Inn later became the home of the Woodgate Family, and was unfortunately demolished a few years ago to make way for the present Ambulance Station in Anne Street.  Hyrons owned one of the earliest steam boats trading on the Tamar River, and lived in the small yellow cottage on the corner of Anne and Cimitiere Streets that later became the residence of Mr O’Dougherty.

John Duigan who joined St. John’s Lodge in 1857, was the first manager of the Bass Strait Cable Station at Low Head in 1859.

Steele Traill of the Low Head Pilot Station and Captain J. Paterson of George Town were both members of St. John’s Lodge in the mid 1800’s.

In 1881 the foundation meeting of Pembroke Lodge (E.C.) was held in the Old Rectory, George Town, which is where the present Council Chambers now stands. Many of the members of Pembroke Lodge, which moved to Lefroy shortly after its consecration, still have descendants living in George Town and other parts of Tasmania.

Wor. Bro. Alan Davidson’s grandfather, Wor. Bro. W.E. Davidson, and Wor. Bro. Walter Lustig’s father-in-law, Wor. Bro. A.D. White, were Masters of Pembroke Lodge, which finally closed at Lefroy in 1920, after the gradual decline of the gold mines.  Some prominent George Town residents who were members of Pembroke Lodge were Captain Robert Harris, David Petrie, A.R. Quinn, W.E. Parry, C.A. Tregurtha, E.P. Tregurtha, A.D. White, Charles Croyden Adams (first Warden of George Town), T.C. Simpson, Thos Opie and E.P. Richardson (school teacher).

George Town faded to a very small town in the early 1900’s after the closure of most of the mines.  When the Second World War ended in 1945, George Town had a population of only about 300 people and consisted of largely holiday homes for Launcestonians.  The decision to establish the Aluminium works at Bell Bay brought about a boom, with the result that there were now about 7000 people here.  Among the newcomers were many Freemasons, including a number from Scotland, and they decided the time was ripe to establish a Lodge.  By 1954 they were holding preliminary committee meetings, including unofficial Lodge of Instruction of which J.G. Branagan was the first Secretary.  The early meetings of Lauriston were held in the George Town Methodist Hall, till the Temple was built in 1961.

The following Masons signed the necessary petition to the Grand Lodge of Tasmania, asking for a Charter to be granted for a new Lodge to be called Lauriston.  Most of these were George Town residents, but a number were Launcestonians who had holiday homes in the districts:-


Name Rank Lodge
A.C.J. Cameron P.G.D.                                           P.M. Empire
J.A. Finch M.M. Spencer (S.A.)
A. Spinks (Senior) M.M. Empire
H. Kubank M.M. Empire
L. Barnard M.M. Empire
A. Mackay M.M. Empire
K. Marsden P.G.S. P.M. Centenery
S.C. Martin P.M. Sorrento (Vic)
M.W. Pretty M.M. St. John's
J.G. Branagan M.M. Roland
G. Brown M.M. Army and Navy
J.M. Gray M.M. Tasmanian Re-Union (Vic)
G.J. Dineen M.M. Empire
H.M. Tayor M.M. Empire
J.S. Woolcock M.M. St. John's
H.C. Gray M.M. St. John's
C.A. Triptree M.M. Empire
A. Anderson M.M. St. Andrew's
T. Knowles M.M. Old Grammarians
F.G. Stewart M.M. St. Andrew's
G. Hodges M.M. Hope
G.C. Miller M.M. Empire
M.S. Colgrave M.M. St. John's
R.J. Davis M.M. Roseberry
L.C. Newman M.M. Geelong Service Mens (Vic)
R.C. Waddle P.M. Empire
R.C. Randall M.M. Churinga
J.G. Badman M.M. Athol (Vic)
J. McDade M.M. Empire
E.J. Anstee M.M. Army and Navy
M.C. Burton M.M. Hope
J.E. Bastick M.M. Hutchins Old Boys
T. Butterworth M.M. Centenery


The petition for a Charter was granted and on Saturday 13th October 1956, the Ceremony of Consecrating the new Lodge and installing the first officers was carried out by the Grand Master of Tasmania, Most Wor. Bro. F.J. Carter, C.M.G. and his team of Grand Lodge Officers.

The Consecration Ceremony commenced at 5.20pm with the opening of a Lodge by the Master and Officers of Empire Lodge No. 37, Tasmanian Constitution, The Mother Lodge of Lauriston.  At 5.45pm a large number of visiting Brethren from most parts of Tasmania were admitted, after the Lodge had been raised to the 3rd Degree.  At 6.15pm the Grand Master and his Officers entered, followed by the singing of the National Anthem and the usual opening ceremony with appropriate odes.  The Ancient Ceremony of Consecration was then conducted including the Oration by the Grand Master, the Consecratory Prayers, the Invocation, the Three Processions and the Anointing with Wine and Corn and Oil, and the Three Perambulations by the Grand Chaplain with censor and burning of incense, all with appropriate music.

Most of the local and visiting Brethren and even some of the Grand Lodge Officers had not previously seen a consecration and all agreed it was a beautiful and impressive ceremony.

After the Consecration the M.W. Grand Master and his team conducted the Installation of Wor. Bro. Cyril Cameron, P.G.D. and his Wardens, and the Investiture of the other officers.

These other foundation officers were Wor. Bro. A. MacKay, I.P.M.; Bros. J. Finch, S.W.; A. McCallum, J.W.; Lance Barnard, Chaplain; Arthur Spinks (Senior), Treasurer; H.M. Kubank, Secretary; Wor. Bro. K. Marsden, D.C.; Bros. S.C. Martin, S.D.; Max Pretty, J.D.; J.G. Branagan, I.G.; G. Brown, Tyler; and the Stewards were Bros. J.M. Gray and G.J. Dineen and H.M. Taylor: Floor members on Board of Management were Bros. H. C. Gray and J. McDade; Auditors, Bros. G. Hodges and J.M. Gray; Trustees, Wor. Bro. Cyril Cameron and Bros. J. Woolcock and H.C. Gray.

All the Brethren present then proceeded to the George Town Memorial Hall where a sumptuous banquet was provided by the Ladies Committee.  These same ladies had been raising funds for several years to pay for most of the cost of establishing the new Lodge.  Had they not worked so hard it would undoubtedly have been some years later before Lauriston could have started and all members are very grateful for their support.

The first new member of Lauriston, initiated into the Entered Apprentice Degree at the first regular meeting on Friday, 16th November 1956, was Mr Alfred Waratah Widdowson.  He was a son of the late Wor. Bro. A.S. Widdowson of Tamar Valley Lodge at Exeter. Bro. A.W. Widdowson eventually reached the chair of King Solomon in Lauriston and has now passed to the Grand Lodge above.

Bro. J.G. Branagan
(Foundation Member, Life Member)

A Complete Installation history by Bro. J.G. Branagan till 1988 can be viewed here.

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