Southern Division
This is the Craft Masonry Education Website for all Freemasons in New Zealand. Welcome.
Dr George Allan
Education Pillar Head
This website is maintained by VW Bro. George Allan who firmly believes that Freemasonry is Universal, so, you can share anything good on this website with any other Mason in the world.

I realise that "education" is not every Mason's cup-of-tea but there is a ground-swell that indicates that many Masons join with a thirst for knowledge and then walk away when they can't find that knowledge. So, this website aims to fill that gap on a regular basis with articles to inform you of masonic learning, masonic educational events that are happening or going to happen in all three Divisions and ideas to try for yourself and your Lodge.

You are encouraged to use the information you find here as discussion points with other Masons in your Lodge, other Lodges in your Division and other Masons throughout the world. Your feedback is especially welcome - e-mail me by clicking here and tell we what you and your Masonic friends are doing.

Click the dropdown above to visit the collection of Masonic Education Pages we have put together for you.

This month we start as usual with our quiz and another book review.  The real-life report on Freemasonry while on active service in Afganistan is now on the "Archive Page" - click the dropdown-box just above this notice.  Also the article about our Research Lodges in New Zealand has been moved to the Archive along with the article from the Encyclopedia about the Lodge pavement and another on the Rosicrician Society thanks to our VW Bro Martin McGregor in the deep South.  The Video to help masons learn their Ritual is here - click on this link to learn your ritual as a Lodge Officer

The rest of the video-links are now on the ARCHIVE PAGE (click on the drop-down box at the top of this page) - well worth a look. There is a whole bundle of masonic stuff there, including all the past quizzes. Feel free to use any of the material in your Lodges at any time.

Also on the ARCHIVE PAGE - right down the bottom so they are easier to find - is the masonic knowledge curriculum, along with the job descriptions for Grand Lecturer, District Education Advisors and Lodge Education Officers. These were constructed after many hous of discussion with Masons up and down the coutry, and then discussed in committee and submitted to the BofGP for approval and authorisation.


George Allan

July 2019

2019 July Quiz

1.  On Saturday 16 November 2019 we will instal a new Grand Master according to ancient custom in Freemasonry.  Where and when did this custom start?

2.  Three govern a Lodge, five hold a Lodge - what do seven do?

3.  What working tools can be seen on a 1st Degree Tracing Board?

4.  What are the three movable jewels in a masonic Lodge room?

5.  Which modern country is the birth-place of Hiram Abiff?

6.  What makes a Lodge worthy?

7.  How is a Lodge deemed to be 'perfect'?

8.  Where were Entered Apprentices 'entered' in operative Lodges?

9.  What is the essential difference between the Working Tools in the degrees of EA and FC and those in the MM degree?

10.  At a point in a ceremony the Master stops the proceedings and states, "The Brethren from the north, east, south and west will take notice that Mr ..... is about to pass in view before them to show that he is the Candidate properly prepared and a fit and proper person to be made a Freemason.  How is the Candidate properly prepared?

Book Review of The Invisible College

The Invisible College by Robert Lomas  ISBN 978 05521 58374 paper-back

Robert Lomas is a professional researcher and lecturer and was initiated in 1986.

He researches carefully and thorougly, then writes for the reader so his work is very understandable. He has a Docu-Drama style that tells the story in an interesting way without compromising the true facts.

This book starts in the year 1660 by briefly outlining the main characters and their backgrounds and how they fit into the connections between Freemasonry (as it was then in both Scotland and England) and the coming-of-age of science. He also explains how King Charles II became a mason. 

Another cracking good read full of facts rather than fancy.

George Allan  

June 2019

The Three Doors to Freemasonry

I have recently been asked two interesting questions.

One about the Wardens being called the guardianse of the Lodge.

The Wardens are guardians because one of their duties is to try Candidates in open Lodge to prove to the assembled members that the Candidate is who he says he is, and not a cowan.

The other about the three door to a Lodge

Here is what I think.......

The three Doors to a Lodge are: one physical, one spiritual and one intellectual.

The physical door is the physical entrance to the Lodge on which a man knocks 3 times when he is ready to be initiated.

The intellectual door is opened in the mind by my own free will, uninfluenced by mercenary or other unworthy motive, offering myself as a Candidate for the mysteries and privileges of Ancient Freemasonry.

The spiritual door is opened in my heart by the help of God being free and of good report. Later in masonry this spiritual foundation will be built upon by study and practice of the 3 spiritual virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity and reinforced further by Prudence, Temperance, Fortitude and Justice.

George Allan

July 2019

Three Irregular Steps

An Explanation of the three irregular steps in the first degree of Freemasonry

To understand the significance and meaning of the three irregular steps in the first degree we need to set the scene. Consider the following points and see if you agree that they will cause any man to be anxious, concerned and fearful to some extent:

The Candidate knows that he is about to endue a rite of passage into a society of men he really wants to join.
He knows nothing of what is about to happen.
He is probably feeling humiliation at being in a state of semi-undress.

He cannot see because of the blind-fold.
He is probably having grave doubts about the whole experience but having come this far is unwilling to back out – although it has been known and some do.
He hears the knock and the doors open and he hears the voices of people inside the Lodge.
The doors close and he is still outside feeling confused.
The doors open again and he is now taken by the hand and lead over the thresh-hold.

At this point his heart is probably thumping, he is probably feeling really confused and doesn’t know what is happening to him.

He finds he is dependent on his guide (the Junior Deacon) who he may not know or trust at this stage.
He is questioned and his guide whispers words in his ear and he copies these words as his answers to the questions.

Then follows a series of events where he is guided around and hears people talking about him and what he is there for. He gets use to being lead by the hand in a firm way.
Then he hears someone addressing the Worshipful Master and hears a reply and a series of questions and again a friendly voice prompts him with answers. Then he hears the WM telling the SW to direct the Deacons to instruct him in the proper steps and gets lead off again on another blind journey.

He is told to stop or at least his guide stops him and now whispers in his ear how to position his feet at right angles and tells him to take a step forward. How do you think the Candidate feels right now? He has been pushed and pulled about all around the Lodge, which he cannot see, heard people speaking about him and now he is told to step forward. He is probably thinking – WHERE? – WHY?

This is where we are at when trying to understand the question about the irregular steps. An answer to the question emerges as follows.

Freemasonry appreciates all the above and so asks each Candidate to take a short step with his left foot because he is anxious, unsure, worried about what might happen to him. He is taking a step into the unknown.

When he has done this and feels that nothing bad has happened because of this step, he is asked to take another a little longer and because he learning to trust his guide – he does take another, slightly longer step.

The third step is even longer and represents the enormous step into Freemasonry where he arrives at the pedestal (even though he does not know this yet) where he is about to take his Solemn Obligation and become a Freemason.

Some masons attach significance to the fact that there are three steps – they say the number represents the three degrees. It is more probable that there are three steps and three degrees because the number three was and still is regarded as significant in many ways to do with human life. In the original Masonic ceremonies there were only two degrees, that of Apprentice and that of Fellow of the Craft. A freemason was not regarded as a Master Mason until he had been installed in the Chair of his Lodge.

Another modern add-on is the belief that the steps should be 9 inches, 12 inches and 15 inches representing a right-angled triangle. This is a misconception and was never laid down in the original ritual books.

I hope this helps some of us understand why we take three steps of unequal length.  Go to the page on Articles To Read and see more explanations.

George Allan

June 2019

What would you do about Bro. Jones?

The young mason approached the old Tyler and asked, "Old Tiler, what would you do about Jones?"

"Give him what he needs, of course" was the reply.

The New Brother sat down beside the Old Tiler in the anteroom. "Of course, he's a Mason, and all that, but I don't like him. He did me a dirty trick once. I don't mean I want to get even with him, but I don't think he's a good enough Mason to get relief from this lodge."

"Is he under charges? Suspended? Expelled?" asked the Old Tiler.

"No, but . . . "

"But nothing!" The Old Tiler was emphatic. "A man is innocent until proved guilty. If he is good enough for the lodge to accept his dues when he is prosperous, he is good enough for us to relieve when he is in hard luck."

"But it was a filthy trick he played on me . . . "

"When I was a very little boy," interrupted the Old Tiler, "some fifteen years after the war between the States, my parents moved to a small town in the north. They brought with them a lot of Confederate money. Confederate notes were of no value after the war. My parents gave me some to play with. I thought it was real money, and no Midas had anything on me when I looked at my ten dollar bill!

"I trotted down to the country store and bought the biggest, most red and whitish stick of peppermint candy which ever delighted any small child's heart. The storekeeper wrapped it up for me, unsmiling. I handed him my ten dollar bill. He looked at it a moment, and then took from my hand the candy. He told me the money was no good and I couldn't have the candy.

"In later years I met him, a much older man. He was glad to see me. We chatted a while, and then he recalled my youth. So I told him I hadn't liked him for many years, and why. 'You tell me what you think of a chap who would take a stick of candy from a child for the sake of a penny.'

"He flushed. 'I was just mean,' he said. 'Will you forgive me?' Of course I did, and thought no more about it. But I still didn't like him.

"Several years later his wife appealed to me for aid. He was down and out. He had been so sharp a business man that people didn't like him any more than I did. He had failed and they were destitute."

"What did you do?" inquired the New Brother, as the Old Tiler paused.

"All I could, of course," answered the Old Tiler. "He was a brother of the Mystic Tie."

The New Brother sat silent for a minute.

"Something tells me I have been properly spanked!" he said at last. ''Of course I have no right to consider a personal matter in connection with a brotherly appeal to the lodge for relief. I shall vote for it. And I'll see if I can't do something personally. I still don't like him and I never will, but -- "

"But you have come to a Masonic viewpoint", interrupted the Old Tiler. "That's one of the hardest lessons to learn -- that there are two viewpoints. A man is a man, a neighbour, a friend or an enemy. But he is also a brother. When he appeals to us for that brotherly aid and assistance we have all sworn to render, we have to remember only the brotherhood and not the man. I have never liked the man who took my stick of candy. The incident gave me an opinion of his character which I found unpleasant. But I couldn't vote against him in my lodge because of it, and I couldn't deny him the relief the lodge could have given him, because of it. Jones may have done you an unbrotherly trick -- but that's no reason for you not to act like a brother to him."

"It is not, and I am going to, but I wish Masons wouldn't do dirty tricks!"

"So do I. But if all men were perfect, there would be no need of Masonry!" grinned the Old Tiler.

To Be or Not To Be

We have been looking for some time (years not months) for a better term than that of MENTOR.

We are looking for a term that describes a Councillor who helps  a fellow mason form his values by sharing their experiences (note the sharing of the learners experiences - this is very important).

Someone who shares masonic knowledge by explaining what it means; someone who is an exemplar in life; someone who is an inspiration.

Can any of you help with a good idea?

George Allan PG Lec


Our thanks to our Brethren in the Southern Division for the following interesting Article from Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry.


The word "fellow" derived from early northern languages; the central meaning which persisted from one language or dialect to another was that of associate, one in full and equal membership. There are indications that the word first entered our nomenclature in Scotland, but the status or grade thus named was as old as Freemasonry.

In Medieval Freemasonry an Apprentice served a long period of years as a learner or student. He was under oath to the Lodge to obey its rules and regulations; and he was indentured or bonded to a Master. Data belonging to the Transition period suggest that formal papers of indenture were drawn under seal and signed by the youth's father or guardian—one Scottish Lodge admitted a lawyer for that express purpose. During the years of apprenticeship the youth acted as a servant to his master, lived in a dormitory or in his master's home (whence the old "oaths of chastity," etc.), received food and clothing; but worked without pay, and if an Apprentice's work was sold his master received the money.

At the end of his term, usually of seven years, he was "released from his indentures" and was made a fellow, or full member, of the Craft. As regards his art he was a master mason; as regards his status or grade he was a fellow. He could have an apprentice of his own; was paid wages; had a voice and a vote and could hold office; he could go to other communities or to other countries to work. He was "free of the gild." Such a man was called "journeyman" very frequently.

This word itself may have carried two meanings at once, as words often do: in its French usage it meant "worker by the day" it also probably meant "jour neying Masons," fellows who could travel; and in some periods newly-made fellows made it a rule to travel, working in one place after another in order to perfect their knowledge, during the first two years. The highest positions in the Craft, the best-paid and the most honored, were the officers, the Master of Masons in particular, supervisors, administrators, overseers, etc. Also, one experienced Mason might employ a number of Masons with their apprentices; he was the Master and they were journeymen. The word "master" therefore could mean a workman who had mastered the art, the chief officer of a Lodge, an employer, a supervisor, etc. As regards the art he was on a level with fellows; as regards official standing he was in a grade above them. 

There was in Medieval Freemasonry a wealth of ritualism, ceremony, symbolism—this could be said with safety even if there were no records, because in the Middle Ages, when almost every special form of work was separately organized, the gilds and fraternities were saturated with ritualism and symbolism even the gilds of yeomen, often consisting of farm laborers, and at the bottom of social classes, had their rites; but in the sense of the word as now used there were no Degrees in Medieval Freemasonry. There were, however, the germs or beginnings of what became Degrees in Speculative Freemasonry; the apprentice was examined, sworn, charged, etc. and it is almost certain that he was again sworn, charged, etc., before his raising to the status of fellow. In the Medieval period there were in the Lodges practices and customs both operative and speculative, with the major emphasis on the former; during the Transition Period the movement was away from the operative to the speculative; after 1717-1735 only the speculative remained. The work of the Lodge was no longer organized primarily for sake of the daily work of the members; it became organized around the teachings, rites, ceremonies, symbols, fellowship. In consequence there came into existence three separate Degrees—in reality they are Lodges, because each meets separately, has its own officers, and conducts its own business, and in the By-laws and Minutes is described as a Lodge.

The first Speculative Lodges went to extreme lengths to conceal their esoteric work; the Grand Lodge kept no Minutes for a number of years, and the Minutes of a local Lodge consisted of only one or two bare entries. Few facts are known about the Ritual of that period. There were, however, at least two parts, or sets of ceremonies, one fot Apprentices, one for Fellows; a Lodge sat first as a Lodge of Appren tices, and then as a Lodge of Fellows.

There could have been no proficiency tests because in thousands of known cases a Candidate received the two ceremonies in one evening. After some fifteen years or so, separate Master's Lodges were set up; apparently these were for Worshipful Masters, Past Masters, and "virtual" Past Masters who had received a ceremony called ''passing the Chair." There was no official, uniform Work. As time passed the "amount of Ritual material" increased, and this must have been especially true f the Ritual of the Masters' Lodges. In the next stage, so the meagre records suggest, this Masters' Ritual was divided in two; one part becoming a separate Master Mason Degree, the other the Royal Arch Degree. The Master Mason Degree, connected faith the first two, came under the jurisdiction of the Lodge; the Royal Arch was made over to the Chapter. It may be that this outline of events was not true of some particular Lodge (a number of them did not have the use of separate Masters' Lodges but it is a reasonable summarization of the few facts and hints which are available.

In the seven or eight centuries of Masonic history the phrase "Fellow of the Craft" has thus had a number of separate meanings: a craftsman free from his indentures of apprenticeship; a full member of the Lodge; a Master of the Mason art; a journeyman Mason (in both senses); in the first period of Speculative Masonry, a full-fledged Freemason; in the later period, a Mason with a half-way status between Apprentice and Master; and the name of the Second Degree (or, rather, Lodge).


NOTE. The Constitutions of 1723 provided that Apprentices could be made Fellows—and—Masters only in Grand Lodge except by dispensation; this attempt to rob Lodges of their ancient right to make Masons was so vigorously protested that in 1725 Grand Lodge ordained that "particular Lodges" could "make Masters at discretion"; the Grand Lodge itself was then using "fellows" and masters" interchangeably. Scottish Lodges were a full generation behind England in adopting a graded system.   One of the possibilities is that what became the Masters' Degree had been a portion of the Fellow Craft work but that the latter had given it only as a lecture in interpretation of symbols on the Tracing Board, whereas in the Masters' Lodges it was enacted in full, and in costume. In 1764 Old Dundee Lodge Minutes have "made a Mason" and "raised a Master." They unquestionably distinguished between "Mason" and "Master.


Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry