Celebrating 150 years   1864 – 2014

1864 was a turbulent year in Queensl;and’s history. Brisbane’s first recorded cyclone devastated much of the city in March, destroying homes, shops and the resulting floods of the Bremer and Brisbane Rivers resulted in even more damage, washing away the large stone jetty at Cleveland and submerging much of the city including ALbert and Charlotte Streets which were almost totally submerged. Later that year on the 1st December 1864 a huge fire destroyed all of the buildings in the block bordering Albert, Queen, George and Elizabeth Streets, Brisbane. Fifty houses and a number of businesses, including two banks, three hotels and four drapery establishments, were completely destroyed in the space of two and a half hours.

Between the devastating cyclone, the resulting floods and the great fire of Brisbane a Lodge was born.

Our first installation was held 150 years ago on the Festival of St John the Baptist, Friday 24 June 1864 under warrant number #283 from the Grand Lodge of Ireland. We were one of the founding Lodges of the United Grand Lodge of Queensland in 1921 and became Lodge #8, UGLQ.

Duke of Leinster Lodge history

by RWbro Lou Grimshaw

The preliminary meeting to erect a new lodge under the Irish Constitution in Queensland took place on 28 May 1864 and was attended by the Thomas Vokes Dudgeon, Alexander Wilson, George Wilkinson, David Elliott and William Higginson. Thomas Vokes Dudgeon was the only member of an Irish Lodge and was voted to sit in the chair of King Solomon.

The Duke’s Irish Constitution warrant and The Queensland Grand Lodge and The United Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons Queensland warrants are displayed at each monthly meeting at Stones Corner, Brisbane.

In June 1864 the Colony of Queensland had only been in existence for four and a half years and Brisbane Town had grown from the straggling shanty town of a convict settlement at Moreton Bay in 1824 to the burgeoning centre of what was to become today’s bustling metropolis and capital city. Brisbane Town was growing apace and was becoming fertile ground for the formation of Masonic Lodges.

There already existed four lodges in Brisbane, one in Ipswich and one in Rockhampton. The St Patrick’s Lodge of Queensland was just six months old – inaugurated on St John the Evangelist’s Day, 28 December 1863 – and the first Scottish working lodge of St Andrew’s was just four weeks old. The St Patrick’s Lodge had sponsored the erection of another lodge of the Irish Constitution to be called the Duke of Leinster Lodge which was to be consecrated on the Festival Day of St John the Baptist, 24 June 1864. The Festival Days of St John the Baptist and St John the Evangelist were, and still are, important in the calendar of Irish Freemasonry.

Since 1864 the Duke has been a part of the fabric of the landscape of the new Colony of Queensland proclaimed in December 1859 and from that time until today many good men have passed through its portal. The early membership roll up to 1865 records the occupations of members who were variously: Clerk in HM Customs; Salesman; Ironmonger; Auctioneer; Jeweller; Grocer; Inspector Water Police; Ship Chandler; Music Master; Chemist; Solicitor; Professor of Music (Lodge Organist); Manager Cobb & Co.; Draper; Merchant; Hotel Keeper; Master Mariner; Boot Importer; Cabinet Maker and many others.

The future of this fine old Lodge is vested in the will of the brethren as it was in 1864 – May the Great Architect of the Universe grant us all the health and strength, now and into the future, to prosper the Lodge; so that our children’s children can celebrate the next 150 years with the same solemnity and satisfaction as we are doing today.

Amen! …Amen!…so mote it be!

Here’s an article from The Brisbane Courier, Tuesday 18 July 1865 detailing the Duke of Leinster’s St John’s Day Banquet, held in the Masonic Hall in Queen’s Street on the 6th of June, 1865.”