Setting the Scene
Up until the late 1960’s the Mornington Peninsula was a quiet rural area, mainly rural and orchards and the area was all the while, becoming increasingly popular with holiday makers.The small settlements of Balnarring, Bittern, Merricks and Somers were close enough to Melbourne for families to spend whole weekends in the area, despite narrow unsigned roads.The Balnarring Community was growing from a few hundred residents to over 1000, this included professionals and craftsman now joining the farmers and orchardists already settled here.The local communities were meeting at shops, stores, churches and clubs at Balnarring; it was natural that some people of the community were Freemasons prepared to support a local Lodge. Enthusiasm for Freemasonry was strongly supported at the time (over 100,000 Victorian members in the 1960’s).
Laying the Foundation
A public meeting was held on the 27th May 1973, at the Balnarring Community Hall and was attended by 38 Masonic Brethren. An agreement was reached that ‘a Lodge be formed at Balnarring’, resulting in 32 of the attending brethren signing a petition for it. After consultation with Grand Lodge and the sponsoring Lodge, the date, Saturday 3rd November 1973 was set at the Frankston Lodge for the election of Office Bearers. This having been conducted, the first regular meeting of the Lodge of Balnarring was held at the Balnarring Community Hall on Friday 14th December 1973 and continue to be held on the 2nd Friday of each month January to December inclusive.
It was agreed that in addition to the original 47 partitioning members, that members who joined in the first year be designated as ‘Foundation Joining Members. For a complete list see link.
It was intended to be Balnarring Lodge. However, it was inadvertently ‘upstaged’ by a current Brother (Charlie Weymouth) at the time who had named his horse training establishment (a few years prior) ‘Balnarring Lodge’. Hence we are the ‘Lodge of Balnarring’.
Furnishings and Regalia
At the time there was neither existing Temple in the area nor Lodge Furnishings.To this day the Balnarring Hall is hired for our meetings. As the hall was and still is hired out to local community organisations, all temple furnishings, equipment and regalia had to be transported to and from the hall for each meeting. Today the necessary items to furnish the Lodge are stored securely at the hall. However, as the hall is hired out to the local community, the Lodge is set up in the afternoon (approx. 1500hr) of each meeting and ‘packed away’ at the conclusion of the work just prior of ‘Retiring to the South. Our Lodge is one of the few that still successfully function in this manner in Victoria today.The majority of the furnishings were either made or donated by members and the regalia were donated by the respective ‘Foundation Officers’.
Lodge of Balnarring
Lodge No. 850
Of The Grand United Lodge of Victoria of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons