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Quorn Masonic Lodge No59 S.A.C 1910 - 2010

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Quorn Masonic Lodge No59 S.A.C 1910 - 2010. A History Compiled By Maureen McColl.


THE TOWN OF QUORN was surveyed in May 1878, its location chosen to become the railway junction linking the north-south and east-west railway lines. Building, which began almost immediately, included two flour mills and four hotels. As the population grew many organizations began, the first being the churches and a Government primary school after which various sporting clubs were established.

As a transport hub and a centre of commerce servicing the needs of an expanding rural area, Quorn developed a population of interesting diversity, which inevitably led to the inclusion in its number, a sprinkling of men already involved in the craft of Freemasonry. These men, having the Craft at heart, discussed their desire to form a Lodge at Quorn.

Nothing came of it however, until some of the brethren gathered together at the request of Bros. J. C. Nadebaum and G. Cobbin for the purpose of paying their last respects at a service in memory of His late Majesty, King Edward VII, Patron and Protector of the Craft.

Dispensation having been obtained through the medium of Flinders Lodge No. 25, thirteen Brethren attended one or both of the services conducted in the morning in the Anglican Church by Rev. E. M. Hines and in the afternoon in the Town Hall by the Rev. G. Hall.

After the services it was decided to convene a meeting of the interested brethren to consider forming a Lodge. Subsequently all known brethren were notified of a meeting to be held at Bro. Cobbin's residence on Friday May 27, 1910. The unanimous feeling of those present was that a Lodge should be formed. A committee was appointed to enquire into the following matters-

1. A lodge room. 2. Finance. 3. The number of likely members.

Bro. Nadebaum had arrived in Quorn in April 1906 as Head Teacher at the Primary School. He suggested contacting the Education Department who had rented premises at 13 Railway Terrace for use by the Quorn High School from the start of the 1909 school year. The premises comprised a large hall, two smaller rooms and two shops. The shops were independently rented.

On application, the Education Department offered the Lodge temporary use of the hall and a smaller room behind, at a rental of two shillings (20) per meeting. This offer was accepted and the hall became home to the Quorn Masonic Lodge No 59 for the next 100 years. From 1910 to 1923, use of the hall was shared with Quorn High School.

The committee was able to bring definite matters before the brethren and soon a petition had twenty-six signatures. This petition was forwarded to Grand Lodge on June 11, 1910 with the necessary fee of ten guineas ($22) for the Warrant, dispensation having been obtained through the medium of Flinders Lodge No 25.

The following Brethren were the first officers appointed-

WM: Bro. John Charles Nadebaum, school teacher

SW: Bro. George Cobbin, Chemist

JW: Bro. Ernest John Marrabel Brown, Commercial Traveller

Treasurer: Bro. Robert Salmon, Grazier

Secretary: Bro. William Allen Burke Litchfield, Draper's Assistant

SD: Bro. William Samuel Hill, Carpenter

JD: Bro. Frank Yeomans, Resident Engineer; (Henry Pelton was first elected to this office, but having in the interim received notice of relocation from Quorn, resigned his office.)

DC Bro. H.G. Baker, Carpenter

IG: Bro. E. Jephcott, District Foreman

Tyler: Bro. Matthias Dienhoff, Laborer

Steward: Bro. A.T. Potter

All gave their address as Quorn, and listed their occupation.

Furniture, Jewels and books were ordered and by the end of June the Lodge officers had had several rehearsals in opening and closing in the First Degree at the Quorn High School premises.

The Lodge Room was so well fitted out in the short time available that the Grand Lodge Officers, on their arrival for the purpose of Constituting, Consecrating and Installing, expressed their pleasure at seeing such a well-equipped Lodge.

The dedication ceremony took place on the evening of July 7, 1910. The RW Bro. C.R.J. Glover, PDGM, Grand Secretary; the VW Bro. M. Williams BA Grand Chaplain; Bro. C J Young DGDC; W Bro. T. Reynolds (act) SGW, W Bro. H. Penfold (act) JGW, W Bro. J. Hosking, PM, and W Bro. T. Edwards PM, attended for the purpose of Constituting and Consecrating Quorn Lodge No 59 S.A.C. and installing Bro. J. C. Nadebaum as first Worshipful Master.

The offices were filled by those brethren who had officiated before the consecration of the Lodge. The following sixteen foundation members were also present: Bros. R.W. Foster, S. Irvine, G. Curnow, F. Stephens, W.H. Steer, J.H. Benz., C. Queale, O. Bockelburg, S.E. Rowe, H. Pelton, W.W. Bell, J. Rock, T.W. Messenger, F.A. Turner, I.T. French, J. Willoughby.

Five candidates were proposed and seconded. It is written that after the closing of the Lodge, a 'sumptuous repast' was provided by Mr. W. Bruse of the Criterion Hotel. Of the five candidates proposed, the first three to be initiated were, Messrs. H.A. Wigzell, J. Heath and E.N. Twopeny.

A photograph of members was taken on August 9, 1911. Unfortunately no copy has been found.

Meeting Times

Lodge meetings were originally held on the Friday after full moon at the Quorn High School premises.

On March 26, 1924 this changed to the fourth Wednesday in the month in the same premises which were now owned by the Lodge and had become the Masonic Centre.

At a later date the meetings were held on the second Wednesday each month excepting January, which continues to this day. This notice board is a new addition to the Masonic Centre. It was made and erected by W Bro. W. Collins in 2010.

THE Lodge building is now 130 years old, and has an interesting history. In 1878 William Greenslade obtained a fourteen year lease of Lots 12 and 13 Railway Terrace. He built the Transcontinental Hotel on Lot 12 in 1878, and soon afterwards he built the first Hall in Quorn on Lot 13. This was known as the Assembly Hall and was erected by 1880.

Though the early use of the hall is not documented, in 1895 the Salvation Army had use of it as their Army Barracks. In 1897 the two shops in the front building were occupied by A. Jack and H. Klei.

The Salvation Army Corps opened in Quorn on January 21, 1884. They met in various places before obtaining use of the Assembly Hall. In 1895 the wedding of Samuel Hill Jnr. to Alice Percy of Port Pirie was conducted in the Hall, the fourth to be celebrated by the Army in Quorn. Their Halleujah Meetings attracted a large number of people and were reported in the local newspaper the Quorn Mercury. A early photo taken of Salvation Army members standing in front of a previous meeting place, numbers more than fifty people.

After the death of Army members Mr. & Mrs. Nicholls they received a legacy which allowed them to build their own hall in Seventh Street. It was ready for occupancy on December 1, 1908, having been erected by Mr. Thomas and a mate who had built the Dunedin Hall in New Zealand.

The next occupier of the Assembly Hall was Quorn High School. The school had its beginning in 1908 with a daily attendance of 18.4 students occupying a small room at the Primary School. Of interest is that Archer Wright who later became a Freemason, (W.Bro. A.B. Wright) was a pupil when the High School began. His family had a farm in the Bruce district and he came to Quorn to finish his schooling. He would have been fifteen in 1908 and sixteen when he left in August 1909. In recalling 1908 Archer wrote-

As first year students we all practiced the Primary Grade before moving on to Junior and Senior grades. We were more mature students than the present day ones, grading from primary to high school, the ages ranged from fifteen to nineteen years.

School attendance was expected to increase in the new year of 1909 so the Education Department rented part of the property at 13 Railway Terrace. Though not proclaimed a High School until 1914, it was the first in the northern area and included students from Port Augusta. By 1921 the average daily attendance had risen to 40.8 students.

Local people, being aware of the value of a secondary education for their children, were concerned at the inadequacy of the premises the students occupied. A purpose built school was needed. The Education Department was contacted and the Town Council promised to provide five acres of land and the community would raise 1,000 ($2,000).

After negotiation, the State Government drew up plans and arranged for a loan. The tender for the building of 4,499 ($9,000) from F. Fricker was accepted on September 5, 1922. The building was completed and ready for occupation on January 19, 1924 and school began within a few days with fifty-two students on the Attendance Register.

Sharing the Hall with the High School had always been seen as a temporary arrangement as Lodge members were keen to build a Masonic Lodge Room. When Bro. Yeomans offered a block of land for sale, the Lodge trustees were given approval to purchase.

At a meeting of the Executive Committee held in December 1913 the question of raising funds for the building was considered. The secretary was instructed to find out if it were possible for a loan to be arranged, and on what terms. This was not possible at the time. Being quite a new Lodge with little capital, the matter of erecting a building had to wait until finances allowed.

In 1920 Lodge members were getting ready to erect a Lodge Room on their land when the premises they shared with Quorn High School was offered for sale. Since 1878 James Henderson Howe had owned four adjoining blocks of land, one of which was No. 13. When he died on February 5, 1920 the properties passed to his heirs who offered all the blocks for sale. Knowing that the community was raising funds towards the erection of a High School building, brethren decided to bid for Lot 13. They were successful in obtaining it for 395.00 ($790).

The block of land previously purchased by the Lodge was sold for 85.0.0 ($170) and debentures were taken out for 600.00 ($1,200) to cover cost of the purchase and altering the Hall into a Lodge Room. The initial alteration was done by having the windows removed, the lower portion of the wall filled, and small windows placed higher up in the Masonic style. Traces of this work can be seen on the eastern wall today. Due to the expenditure of renovating the building, brethrens' subscriptions were increased from 1 to 1.5.0 ($2-$3) from July 1st.

In January 1921 the Education Department agreed to pay 1.0.0 ($2) per week for the High School to have continued use of the room, subject to Lodge having use of same for Lodge purposes on Friday evenings.