10 December 2019

No more secret men’s business

Toowoomba members of the world’s oldest fraternal society will throw open its doors in a bid to shed their mysterious image and attract a new generation of community-minded men.

Fourteen Masonic Lodges, home to the region’s Freemasons, will hold a joint open day on Saturday December 14 for curious residents from across the Downs including Toowoomba, Forest Hill, Gatton, Crows Nest, Pittsworth, Oakey, Jondaryan, Millmerran, Clifton and Dalby.

The Freemasons are a global fraternity that dates to the 1500s medieval stonemasons who built castles and cathedrals. The first Queensland Lodge opened in 1859 and membership is currently 5,000 across 250 Lodges throughout Queensland. “Today, we are active in most towns and regions, in the city and bush, mentoring men and working to lead and support community initiatives that change lives for the better,” Grand Master Paul Holland said. “Despite many misapprehensions, we are not a religion, a cult or a conspiracy. Nor do we have any sinister motives or practices,” Mr Holland said. “Our values are non-denominational, ethical and based on deep respect for every human being.” “Much of the secrecy of former times has gone and you’ll find Freemasons are just ordinary men willing to speak about their values and ready to lend a helping hand,” he said.

Members range in age from 18 to mid 90s and all share a commitment to personal development and community service. “When you become a Freemason, you join a long tradition of world leaders and great men in many fields who found inspiration and support in this organisation,” Mr Holland said. “You are embraced into a fellowship that genuinely cares for each of its embers and wants to see them excel and meet life’s challenges with strength and integrity,” he said. Charity is at the heart of Freemasonry, and the Toowoomba Freemasons work with their charity Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland to make a bigger difference in their local community.

Over the past five years, Hand Heart Pocket has provided over $11 million in grants and in-kind support to other non-profit organisations including grants to YellowBridge QLD, Vanguard Laundry Services and the Toowoomba Hospice to name a few. The charity work of Freemasons across Queensland was recognised earlier this year with Hand Heart Pocket receiving the inaugural Queensland Community Foundation's Board of Governors' Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Philanthropy of the Year Awards.

The Masonic Information Afternoon will be held on Saturday 14 December from 3.30pm at the Toowoomba Masonic Centre at 58 Neil Street. Guests are encouraged to RSVP for catering purposes by 11 December to smlodge393@gmail.com or 0427 697 365. All men over 18 years from across the Downs are warmly invited to come along, meet current Freemasons and learn more about the organisation.

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Heather Smith, 0403 462 686, heather@wishbone.com.au