Ara Lodge History Print E-mail

We are pleased to bring you an address by W. Bro. W.H.V. Taine given in 1952 to the brethren of the Ara Lodge #1 in which he provides an excellent history of several of the prominent founders and the establishment of our august Lodge.

Address given to the Ara Lodge, No. 1., at the Masonic Temple, Auckland, New Zealand, on Wednesday, 10th September 1952.

 

Four Brethren and Four Chapters in the History of Lodge Ara

By W. Bro. W.H.V. Taine

W.M. AND BRETHREN:  As you have been advised, my address deals with Four Brethren and Four Chapters in this Lodge’s history, which now covers a period of 110 years.  The brethren and the chapters are –

Bro. Sir Frederick Whittaker and the Foundation of the Lodge,

Bro. Major Henry de Burgh Adams and the Military Brethren,

Bro. Alexander Stuart Russell and the division of the Lodge, and

Bro. Oliver Nicholson and his Installation meeting.

Bro. Sir Frederick Whittaker was probably the most personally distinguished man ever connected with the Lodge.  He was born and trained in law in England, and arrived at Kororareka or Russell, then the capital of New Zealand, in 1840.  When Captain Hobson transferred the capital to Auckland in 1841, Whittaker came here, too, and it may be suggested that as an independent professional man, he was one of the Governor’s trusted advisers.  The Government would need legal assistance and it may have been at Hobson’s instigation that he came to New Zealand in the first place.  Whittaker was a shrewd, far-sighted man, the leading lawyer in early Auckland, and for most of his life a prominent statesman.

He was in turn a judge, at the age of 30, Speaker of the Legislative Council, and twice premier of New Zealand.

Apart from what I shall now refer to, nothing is known of his earlier career as a Freemason, but in 1877, he was installed in the Choral Hall, Auckland, as the first Provincial Grand Master, North Island, of the Scottish Constitution.

Now, as to the foundation of the Ara Lodge – the first instance of Masonic Labour in New Zealand of which there is authentic record – was here in Auckland - in July 1841, at the laying of the Foundation Stone of the first St. Paul’s Church.  It was a very pretty church, built brick faced with Auckland stone, seating 600 people, and it stood in Emily Place at the top of Shortland Street.

By advertisement, the brethren of the town were summoned to assist, and the newspaper of the day recorded that “the gentlemen in Auckland who were Freemasons appeared, with the decorations and insignia of their Order”; among these were the founders of the Ara Lodge.

 

Long afterwards, Bro. Whittaker recalled “with pride and satisfaction” that he was one of those who had taken a Masonic part in the ceremony; we do not know what the brethren did, but no doubt they applied the plumb, level and square to the stone the Governor had laid, and scattered corn and poured wine and oil upon it in accordance with the ancient custom of the Craft.  That historic stone, of such interest to the brethren of Ara, was used again fifty years afterwards as the Foundation Stone of the present St. Paul’s on Symonds Street.  It is a very large, rough ashlar of grey stone, built into the wall of the church, inside the porch at the left of the front door, there is no inscription on it.

Thus the Freemasons of Auckland found each other and no doubt before long the formation of a Lodge was being discussed.  For the necessary authority and assistance, they applied to the nearest source, the Australian Social Lodge in Sydney, No. 260 I.C., which on the 5th September, 1842, Ara’s foundation date, issued to three named brethren a Dispensation, or Authority, to operate a Lodge until the pleasure of the Grand Lodge of Ireland regarding a Charter should be made known.

The Australian Social Lodge had been founded in 1820, in very interesting circumstances to which I shall refer in my next chapter; this, our Mother Lodge, was the first in Sydney and when the New South Wales Constitution was founded in 1888, it took the name and was given the number it now bears – Lodge Antiquity No. 1 of the Grand Lodge of New South Wales.

The first meeting of Ara was held in the evening of 9th February, 1843; none of the three brethren named in the Dispensation was present or available, and the minutes recorded that until their arrival, Bro. Whittaker was appointed by vote to act as Worshipful Master.  He duly opened the Lodge in the first degree, with two Wardens, two Deacons, a Treasurer and a Secretary, and in a small room in this simple way was the Ara Lodge launched on its long and honourable career.  Bro. Whittaker acted for only three months; Bro. William Leech, the Master designated in the Dispensation, then arrived from Australia and assumed office.  At first, the Lodge was known as “The Auckland Social Lodge”, the name “Ara” not being adopted until 1850; why that name was chosen is not explained in the records, but it is possible that as an altar of Masonic service had been erected in a new land, the brethren took the name from a well-known constellation in the southern Heavens, named “Ara”, the altar, because of its shape and smoke-like streamer.

Those very interesting people, the Founders of the Lodge, are listed in Bro. George Gribbin’s valuable history as sixteen in number, but he has very little to say about them.  I have searched for information in the early history of Auckland, so far without much success – but I have found a little which is interesting and from one point of view important.  The three brethren named in the Dispensation were William Leech, William Mason and William Turner.  I have nothing about Bro. Leech and can only say about Bro. Turner that he must have been a man of some substance because he bought a town lot for £200 at one of Governor Hobson’s first land sales.  But Bro. William Mason was an outstanding man, Hobson’s Superintendant of Works or Chief Engineer, and he was the Architect of the first St. Paul’s Church, which was a credit to him.  We may amuse ourselves by speculation that it was the idea of this experienced man to have the Foundation Stone of his church laid in proper style by his Masonic Brethren.  Another founder was Bro. Charles Whybrow Ligar, an ex-officer of the Royal Engineers, Surveyor-General of New Zealand.  He was to serve several terms as Master of the Lodge.

Then there was Bro. James Coates, who came here from Jamaica; he was the Governor’s Private Secretary and Clerk of the Legislative Council - father of Sir J.H.B. Coates and, I believe, grandfather of the Honourable Gordon Coates.

In St. Paul’s Church, there are brass plates to the memory of both Bros. Mason and Coates.

The first Junior Deacon of the Lodge was Bro. William Chisholm Wilson who, with his sons, founded the New Zealand Herald; all his life one of Auckland’s most respected citizens.  These brethren, along with Bro. Whittaker, were men of the highest standing in the community and their association with the Lodge may be taken as a guarantee of the reputation and good-standing of the other founders, of whom little or nothing is known.

 

 

It is not part of my subject, but I am sure it will be of interest if I mention a brother very prominent in the early days of Auckland – Frederick Ward Merriman, a lawyer.  He was initiated in the Lodge in 1849, invested as Treasurer while still an E.A. and as Master two and a half years later.  Exactly 100 years ago, he was the Town Clerk of Auckland.

We now come to one of the most striking figures, R.W. Bro. Major Henry de Burgh Adams, and to a very interesting chapter in our history – the Lodge’s associations with Military Brethren.  He was a man of unusual energy and ability who initiated a remarkable development in New Zealand Freemasonry, in which he was assisted by the brethren of Ara.

He was born in Canada in 1830, son of an Army Major, and made a Mason in Dublin at the age of 21.  His Masonic experience at home must have been very limited because he was serving in the Crimea and at the Seige of Sevastopol from 1834 to 1856.  In 1857, we find him here and a member of Lodge Ara, in which in five years he served as Secretary, Master and Treasurer.

At this time, the Second Maori War was being fought and his duties as Principal Purveyor to the large number of troops engaged must have taxed even his powers, but he carried them out with such distinction as to win the thanks of the Imperial War Office.  We read of him at places as far apart as New Plymouth and Napier, where he met the 65th Regiment on its arrival in 1858.  While there, he assisted in the formation of the Lodge Scinde, the second Irish Lodge in New Zealand (now No. 5).  It was probably through his influence that the first candidate in the Lodge was the O.C. of the 65th, Lt. Col. Wyatt, who afterwards became a member of Ara.

Within a few years, Bro. de Burgh Adams was appointed first Deputy, then Prov. Grand Master for New Zealand of the Irish Constitution, his province in 1864 consisting of Lodges Ara and Scinde.   But before that year was out, he had founded and become the first Master of Lodge Onehunga No. 420 I.C., and within another six months, the United Service Lodge No. 421 I.C. (now No. 10 N.Z.), the Senior Service Lodge in the Dominion.  Before another year was over, this Masonic ball-of-fire had constituted three more Lodges primarily for service and ex-service Brethren – Alpha-Waikato at Cambridge, Beta-Waikato at Hamilton, and the Lodge named after him at New Plymouth.  Since the birth of Ara, only two lodges had been founded in Auckland in 20 years, Waitemata in 1855 and St. Andrews in 1861, and Bro. de Burgh Adams’ five in two years was a great achievement and a valuable service to his military brethren and through them to many others ever since.

Because of bad times, Lodge Onehunga gradually faded out, but from it sprang Lodge Manukau which was founded in 1876 under the Scottish Constitution.

The Master of Manukau wears to this day the square first worn by R.W. Bro. de Burgh Adams as Master of the Lodge Onehunga and the jewels of its wardens are those of the old Irish Lodge.

Lodge Alpha was left destitute when many of its members joined in the gold rush to Thames in the late sixties, but they founded there the Lodge of Light which is still working under the Irish Constitution.

Eventually, Lodge Alpha was resuscitated under the English Constitution and is now No. 81 N.Z.  Those Lodges, and Ara’s very old friends, United Service and Beta-Waikato, and Lodge de Burgh Adams at New Plymouth, are living memorials to that great brother of the Ara Lodge, one of the outstanding figures in the history of the Craft in New Zealand.

He left the colony in 1868 and died in England the following year at only 39 years of age.  In his practical sympathy with the desires of service, brethren, Bro. de Burgh was a true son of Irish Freemasonry.

 

 

It is the peculiar glory of the Grand Lodge of Ireland that very early in its career it issued warrants for the formation of travelling Lodges by brethren serving in the British Regiments.  England and Scotland eventually followed suit but by far the most warrants were Irish.  These Military Lodges carried the light of Freemasonry wherever the British Army went in the 18th and early 19th centuries, first to Gibraltar, then to America, Canada, the West Indies, India and finally to Australasia.

Among the troops which scaled the Heights of Abraham with General Wolfe in 1759 there were no less than nine Lodges, including two in Regiments with which the brethren of Ara are directly concerned – the 48th and 58th.  This Lodge in which we meet tonight, and its sister Lodge Ara 348, have an association with Military Brethren which in one respect is probably unique all over the world.

The Lodge in the 48th Regiment, No. 218 I.C., was warranted by the Grand Lodge of Ireland in 1750.  In due time, the Regiment came out to Sydney and while there initiated a number of civilians, who in the year 1820 founded the first Lodge in Sydney, our Mother Lodge, Antiquity No. 1, of New South Wales.

The memory of our Regimental grandmother Lodge, founded over 200 years ago, is perpetuated in the Ara Lodges by the cross in the third quarter of their Coats of Arms and on the Banner of the Ara Lodge No. 1; it represents the cross on the present collar badge of the Regiment.

But Ara was to have a more intimate connection with the 58th, although by then, its Lodge, No. 466 I.C., was no longer functioning.  It arrived in Auckland in 1845, on board H.M.S. “North Star”, and was at once sent north to deal with Hone Heke in the Bay of Islands.  After defeating him, the Regiment returned here in 1848 and stayed for ten years.

From soon after its arrival until the end of the Maori War of the sixties, we find a continual stream of soldier brethren being enrolled or initiated as members of Ara – Colonels, Majors, Captains, Lieutenants, Ensigns and Sergeants along with six doctors, some of whom were Army surgeons.

Quite a number of these brethren belonged to the 58th Regiment, the first to join being Major George Wynyard and Captain Balneavis early in 1849.

Two notables were Major Charles Heaphy, winner of the first V.C. awarded in New Zealand, who was Treasurer 1851-1853, and Colonel Frederick Mould of the Royal Engineers who became Master of the Lodge in 1865.

When the 58th Regiment sailed for home in 1858, it left behind no less than 1,000 officers and men who had completed their terms of service while in New Zealand and elected to remain here; they amounted to one-eighth of the population of Auckland at the time.

They also left behind their splendid Regimental Colours, tattered and torn, which are now in our Museum.  Beside them is a plaque with silhouette portraits of the eleven officers and the doctor who presented them to the City of Auckland – three of them members of Lodge Ara.

When the British Army was reorganized in the eighties, Regiments were linked, one abroad on service and one recruiting and training at home.  By an extraordinary coincidence, the two which were combined to form the Northamptonshire Regiment of today were those two in which Ara has such a particular interest, the old 48th and 58th; their battle honours show that they have taken part with distinction in many of the most famous actions in British history.

 

 

Before I go on, I must tell you of a very unusual happening in the fifties.  Two brethren, said by Bro. George Gribben to be officers of the 58th, were arraigned in the Lodge on a charge of having fought a duel in the Domain.  They were strongly pleaded for by brother officers and finally reprimanded and pardoned by the Lodge, though it does appear that the brethren were rather doubtful about it.

Very different from the first two was the next of our famous brethren – Bro. Alexander Stuart Russell.  He was one of Ara’s own sons and, in spite of all the honours that came to him, was first and last a devoted servant of his Mother Lodge.  His unequalled record of service began in 1865 when he was initiated at the first meeting under the Mastership of W. Bro. Colonel Mould; he became Secretary in the following year, Master in 1871, served two more terms as Secretary and three as Treasurer, being in office and continuing as Treasurer when the Lodge transferred to the New Zealand Constitution in 1890.  As a mark of appreciation of “his untiring services to the Lodge”, he had been presented as far back as 1875 with a gold watch and a marble clock.

In the Provincial Grand Lodge of Ireland, Bro. Russell attained high office, and when the Grand Lodge of New Zealand was founded, became its first Deputy Grand Master.

At the meeting of this Lodge in January 1900, he was nominated as Grand Master, on the proposition of the W.M. Bro. Oliver Nicholson and the following April, this grand old man of the Lodge was installed as the sixth Grand Master of New Zealand.  Never was a Masonic distinction more honourably earned.

It was entirely characteristic of him that at an emergency meeting in Auckland of that year, the Grand Master took the chair and initiated a candidate whom he had proposed as a member of the Lodge.  Bro. Russell was the Manager of the South British Insurance Company and the candidate was Bro. Harrold, Chief Clerk of the New Zealand Insurance Company.

When the 50th anniversary of the Lodge was celebrated in 1892, R.W. Bro. Russell, P.D.G.M., was again installed in the chair.  This was a big event that was reported in over twenty inches of space in each of the daily papers.  There was a very interesting touch in his speech on that occasion [in which] he invited the cooperation of the Officers and Brethren “in maintaining the reputation of the Lodge as one of the most conservative in the Colony”.

Another interesting feature of that meeting was that the number of visitors attending was recorded in the Minutes: No. 8 “to the number in all of 20”, No. 10 – 9, No. 45 – 10, No. 54 – 14, and Eden No. 20, which afterwards went back to the English Constitution, 11.

The minutes of the meeting following that Installation contain something very important, R.W. Bro. George Powley, on behalf of the Grand Master, presented to the W.M., Bro. Russell, the Warrant or Charter of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand (the Lodge had been meeting under a Dispensation for two years).  [This] is the historic document, inscribed with No. 1, which has been exhibited in the Lodge ever since.  Bro. Powley pointed out that Bro. Russell was the first of the petitioners for the Warrant and the first named in it – the Deputy Grand Master who signed it and the Master of the Lodge who received it.

Now, as to Bro. Russell’s part in the foundation of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand in April, and in Ara’s transfer of allegiance to it in June 1890, the Masonic Union which succeeded in founding the Grand Lodge was headed in Auckland by Bro. Malcolm Niccol, a Deputy Grand Master of the Scottish Constitution, and Bro. Russell, ably assisted by numerous brethren of the various Lodges here – of whom perhaps the best now known to us was Bro. George Fowlds of the Ponsonby Lodge 708 S.C.

The Grand Lodge of New Zealand has been a triumphant success – far more so than could have been either expected or hoped for by its promoters.  But its foundation was opposed, with a degree of bitterness and hostility it is astonishing to read about, by a number of officers of the nine District and Provincial Grand Lodges of England and Scotland then in the colony.  Their hostility was particularly marked and had the worst results in Auckland and Dunedin.  Let me hasten to say that aligned with them was not the Provincial Grand Master of the Irish Constitution, who was a son of Ara – though standing by his own Grand Lodge, his moderation and understanding were in vivid contrast to the feelings displayed by other highly placed brethren.  They were inevitably defeated, but in the struggle, great harm was done to the prestige of the Craft in New Zealand and to some Lodges.

The principal casualty was the senior and largest Lodge in the colony, Lodge Ara No. 348 I.C., which in spite of the great efforts of Bro. Russell and other find brethren, was broken in two.  It is on record in the Masonic Newspaper of the day that their principal opponent in the Lodge was a Past Master who had very good reasons indeed for having things left as they were.  Within a few weeks, he had left the country utterly discredited even in the eyes of his best friends.

The question of whether or not the Lodge should transfer its allegiance to the National Grand Lodge had been thoroughly discussed on several occasions and voting was always in favour.  The final and critical meeting was an Emergency [Meeting] in May 1890 which lasted for 2 ¾ hours, the final vote showed a majority of two in favour of the transfer.  The spokesman for the minority, whom I have just referred to, intimated that he and the others would petition the Provincial Grand Master of the Irish Constitution for permission to retain the original warrant and work under it – which was eventually done.

Here – a little light relief: the Secretary of the Lodge at that time, and for some time afterwards, was Bro. G.H. Powley, one of the stalwarts aligned with Bro. Russell.  He was a beautiful writer whose minutes are a picture of neatness.  When he recorded the minutes of the painful meeting I have just mentioned, it is evident that he was greatly moved.  His hand was shaky but the perfect secretary recovered himself and, underlined in the usual red ink, is an entry which must be unique in such circumstances: “There being no further business offering, the Lodge was closed in love, peace and harmony, with praise and solemn prayer, at 10:30 p.m.”.

According to Bro. George Gribbin’s history, forty members of the Lodge carried it over into the Grand Lodge of New Zealand and they were the most active.  They included the W.M., the Wardens, Treasurer, Secretary, the Senior Deacon, Inner Guard, and the Junior and Senior Stewards.  I am informed that among the forty were so many of the working members of the Ara Royal Arch Chapter No. 348 I.C., that it was unable to function and closed down for about twenty years.

The minutes of the next meeting are headed “Ara Lodge, under dispensation from the Grand Lodge of New Zealand” and they continue with that heading for seventeen months when a change was made to “Ara Lodge No. 1 on the Roll of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand” – no reference whatever to the matter of the number was made in the minutes either before or afterwards.

 

 

W.M. AND BRETHREN:  Before going on to my next chapter in our history, I should like to refer to the remark often made – and made in a very kindly spirit – that the Ara Lodge No. 1 is the daughter Lodge of the present Lodge Ara 348 I.C.  This seems hardly in accord with the position as it appeared to the brethren of either Lodge in the early nineties, or to either the Grand Lodge of New Zealand or the Provincial Grand Lodge of Ireland.  This Lodge was carried on by the same Master, Treasurer, Secretary and most of the other officers as it had under the Irish Constitution.  The same Minute Book, commenced in 1889, was used and it continued in use till 1916.

Accounts owing by the old 348 were paid – and even dues to the Provincial Grand Lodge of Ireland – as well as those accruing to the Grand Lodge of New Zealand.

The records abound with evidence that the brethren of No. 1 had no other thought but that theirs was the original Lodge.  And it is a fact that it was not until some months after the division that the present 348 was formed and granted the use of the old Charter [as] it was handed over on request by the brethren of this Lodge.

The Grand Lodge of New Zealand was vitally concerned in this matter; the numbering of the Lodges which formed it was jealously watched and keenly discussed and took a long time to decide, and it is unthinkable that Ara should have been allotted No. 1 if there had been the slightest doubt of its right to it – if it was a new Lodge founded in 1890, it would have no claim whatever precedence over No. 2 in Wellington, for instance.

But the most striking witness to the truth of the matter was the Provincial Grand Master of the Irish Constitution himself, the greatly beloved and respected George Patrick Pierce, who had taken up the office when R.W. Bro. de Burgh Adams left the Colony twenty-two years before.  He was invited to attend the first Installation Meeting of this Lodge after the division and wrote in reply: “For reasons well known, [I cannot] accept the kind invitation of the Lodge, but wished his Mother Lodge prosperity under its present Constitution”.  Really, the two Ara Lodges of today are Sisters, living happily together, thanks to the fine Masonic spirit by which their brethren were actuated in the difficult days of long ago, and proud of each other and the long and honourable history they have in common.

 

 

W.M. AND BRETHREN:  I come now to M.W. Bro. Oliver Nicholson, who was a member of this Lodge for 58 years from 1894 until his decease a few weeks ago, and to the circumstances surrounding his Installation as Master.  Whoever had been installed that evening in 1899, the occasion would have been a landmark in our history, but our interest in it is heightened because then that great brother was fairly launched on his remarkable career as a Freemason and an officer of the Grand Lodge.  I cannot now do more than mention a few things about his entry and rise in the Lodge, taken from the Minute Book of the period.”

The business of the Regular Meeting on 9th May 1894 included this item: “to ballot for and if successful to initiate Mr. Oliver Nicholson, Barrister and Solicitor of Auckland, age 29”.

The Master of the Lodge was W. Bro. S.D. Hanne, S.G.D., then completing his third term in the chair.  He was the last Master under the Irish Constitution and reinstalled as the first under the new regime.  Though he was present, the chair was taken by R.W. Bro. Russell and we read this account of the procedure, the ballot having been successful: “Mr. Oliver Nicholson being in attendance and properly prepared, was announced and admitted and received at the hands of Bro. A.S. Russell the ob. of an Entered Apprentice and was entrusted by him with the sign, secrets and word of the degree.  The Charity Charge was given by Bro. Russell, and the Working Tools were explained by Bro. S.D. Hanne, W.M., when Bro. Nicholson retired”.  You will notice that the proceedings were much shorter than we are accustomed to now; this may have been necessary because both the second and third degrees were also to be worked and the officers elected for the forthcoming year.

But Bro. Nicholson may have been glad to hurry away when he reached home he found that his oldest son has been born in his absence.  [This son] became W. Bro. Ernest Nicholson, Master of Lodge Arawhaiti in 1928.

By July, Bro. Oliver Nicholson had been passed and raised.  He must have been at once very keenly interested in the work because at an Emergency Meeting in October, he acted as Junior Deacon at an Initiation.  At another Emergency Meeting at 11:45 on a Friday morning – just a year after his own entry, he acted as Junior Warden in the first degree.

In June 1895, he was invested as Senior Steward and at 8:15 on the following Saturday night, there was another Emergency Meeting at which there seem to have only been seven present (including the candidate).  Bro. Russell passed him and the Senior Steward no only acted as Junior Warden, but gave the Senior Warden’s charge after passing; his great skill as a ritualist was being quickly developed.  His progress through the various offices was rapid and five years after his entry, he reached the Master’s Chair.  In that five years, he seems to never have missed a meeting and to have been ready and able to do any work required of him.  It is interesting to notice that some months before his term as Master was over, he was appointed to an office in the Grand Lodge as Grand Registra.

Before dealing with Bro. Nicholson’s Installation Meeting, it is necessary for me to show why it was an outstanding event, and to do so, I must go back over several years.

It is difficult for us to realize such a state of affairs, but it is a fact that for more than eight years, the new Grand Lodge of New Zealand was treated by the Grand Lodges of England, Ireland and Scotland in exactly the same way as a clandestine Lodge would be treated today.  It was not “recognized” by them and their local branches strictly forbade fraternal intercourse.  This was a very painful business for brethren of Lodges of both sides of the fence, who perhaps had been close friends for many years.

The only ones in Auckland and the neighbourhood with whom Ara could associate were therefore those who were in the same position: our old friends, St. Andrew No. 8; United Service No. 10; Albion No. 45; Manukau No. 24; Ponsonby No. 54; Wairoa and Papakura.

As far as the two Ara Lodges were concerned, for a short time relations were strained, but the olive branch of peace and goodwill was not long in appearing.  They met in the same hall on Princes Street and it is remarkable that they used the same regalia right up until 1900.  But long before they were able to enter into full fraternal relations, there was one unmistakable proof of good feeling and, at the same time, a wonderful tribute to Bro. A.S. Russell:  in 1896, he was elected a Life Member of Ara 348.

Finally, at the express wish and recommendation of the Grand Master, M.W. Bro. the Prince of Wales, later Kind Edward VII, the Grand Lodge of England decided to accord recognition.  That was at the end of November 1898.  But the Grand Lodge of Ireland was first, in October, at the first possible meeting of No. 1, “the Master, W. Bro. George Gribbin, and officers and brethren of Lodge Ara 348 I.C. were announced and admitted with customary honours”.  Except to say that “H.G.W.” were offered on behalf of Lodge Ara 348 – the minutes record no more, but it must have been a very happy occasion for many brethren present.

At the following meeting, the first one possible for them, the W.M. and brethren of Lodge Waitemata 689 E.C., paid their first visit for 8 ½ years to the Lodge whose Master and brethren had constituted it in 1855.

The 14th June 1899 will always be looked back upon as a red-letter day in our history because it was the date of the Installation as Master of Bro. Oliver Nicholson who was to go so far.  But it was a red-letter day for the brethren then also [as] the occasion was seized upon by the Provincial Grand Master of the Irish Constitution, a representative of the District Grand Master E.C., and by the Masters and brethren of all the Lodges in Auckland of the English, Irish and Scottish Constitution to celebrate the end of nine years of forced estrangement and to do honour through its Premier Lodge to the Grand Lodge of New Zealand.

And we may be sure also that they were happy to find themselves once more in the old Lodge which had seen the birth of every one of them and to which more than one was indebted in gratitude.

And so, W.M. and brethren, I conclude my discussion of great brethren and great days in our history with the Lodge happily re-established in it old position in Auckland and set in the pattern of its life ever since.