Friday, 12 April 2024

Freemason Grand Installation Reception

I am delighted to welcome you all to Government House, the oldest Government House in Australia.

I especially welcome guests who have travelled long distances to be with us this evening.

Adelaide is of course home to the oldest Grand Lodge of Freemasons in the Southern Hemisphere.

As you would be aware, this weekend marks the 140th anniversary of when the Grand Lodge of South Australia was formed in its own right, when 30 lodges came together, with the Honourable Sir Samuel James Way – Chief Justice and Lieutenant Governor - as the first Grand Master.

This is a suitably significant anniversary on which to mark the installation of your new Grand Master.

Just as the Freemasons are founded in tradition, a rich history, and commitment to building community, so too at Government House we are surrounded by heritage and symbols of our aspirations through art and artefact.

This is a place for honouring those who contribute to the community and who shape who we are.

A society founded on progress, reform, and freedom.

The Freemasons’ influence in shaping South Australia reaches back to the beginnings of the colony.

The Freemasons brought the warrant to act from the Grand Lodge of England with them on the Buffalo, the ship that brought the first Governor, Governor Hindmarsh, to the fledgling European settlement on an ancient land.

Our street names attest to the Freemasons who contributed to the early colony: Wakefield, Gouger, and Morphett.

And there is the Vice Regal connection with several of my esteemed predecessors having been Grand Masters, including the Right Honourable the Earl of Kintore; Brigadier the Honourable Sir Alexander Gore Arkwright Hore-Ruthven; Sir Charles Malcolm Barclay-Harvey, and His Excellency Air Vice Marshall Sir Robert Allingham George.

Other past Governors of South Australia who were Freemasons include Sir Douglas Nicholls and Sir Eric Neal.

As Freemasons, you are committed to building a better society; offer a space for men to grow in friendship, undertake personal development and be part of an organisation making significant philanthropic contributions to the community.

Since the establishment of the Masonic Charities Trust in 2019, you have distributed grants to worthy organisations and causes in excess of $8.3 million.

This marks an outstanding contribution to assisting the community, in particular in the fields of medical research and support for South Australian children and adults who are ill or live in disadvantage.

The recent submission of plans for Keystone Tower behind the Freemasons Hall, which propose to include hotel floors, office space and a social history museum by the History Trust of South Australia, is an exciting development in the future of your organisation.

This building is also projected to facilitate an increase in your benevolent funding.


I thank Most Worshipful Brother David Booker for his visionary and dedicated leadership of Freemasons SA and NT during this busy period for your organisation.

I congratulate Right Worshipful Brother William Robert Donald Merrill on his appointment as the Grand Master and I wish him all the very best for the Grand Installation ceremony tomorrow.

I trust you will all enjoy a meaningful weekend of friendship, ritual and celebration, in the grand tradition of the Freemasons, and I look forward to seeing your continued good work in our community for years to come.

Coming events