Grand Communication 1900 - Reconciliation
Food For Thought - Masonic Article


The annual communication of the Grand Lodge of New Zealand opened yesterday afternoon in the Freemasons' Hall, Princes street. Brother Malcolm Niccol, Past Grand Master, presided until the arrival from To Aroha. of the Most Worshipful Grand Master Brother the Right Hon. R.J. Seddon.

The business transacted included some matters of considerable importance to the craft, with reference to ritual, etc. The Grand Lodge agreed to change the designation of Grand Superintendents to that of Provincial Grand Master.

Regret was expressed at the deaths since last communication of Brother Jno. Joyce, Past Grand Registrar; Brother T. L. Murray, Past Deputy Grand Master; and Brother J. J. Hamilton, Superintendent of Canterbury. Brother Niccol made special reference to the death of Brother Hamilton, which had occurred since the report of the Board of General Purposes was compiled, and, on the motion of Brother C. A. C. Hardy, President of the Board of General Purposes, that Board was authorised to erect a suitable memorial to the memory of the late Brother Hamilton.

Brother A. S. Russell was elected Most Worshipful Grand Master of New Zealand, and the other grand officers were appointed in accordance, with the recommendation of the Board of General Purposes, those for Auckland being as follows:-  Grand chaplain, Brother the Rev. Samuel Aaron Goldstein ; grand treasurer, Brother William Robert Goudie; grand registrar, Brother Oliver Nicholson; president of Board of General Purposes, Brother William Henry Cooper; president of Board of Benevolence, Brother Charles Rhodes; grand stewards, Brothers Neils Fredrik Bemhart Larsen, Nelson Richard Mears, Tobias William Hicks, J. H. Langley; members of Board of General Purposes, Brothers John Mclntyre Laxon, Samuel Dawson Hanna, Arthur Swarbrick, George Edgecumbe, Robert Stevens Ready, George Pearce Baldwin, George Brown Thwaites, Joseph Catchpole; members of Board of Benevolence, Brothers William Robert Robinson, Frederick Charles Knight, 1 Charles Boyce, James Albert Cooper, George Watford Sare, Murdoch McLean, Edward James Milne, Edward Sewell, H. R. Barter.

On the motion of Brother M. Niccol, the following resolution was adopted:- "That this Grand Lodge place upon record the horror and detestation with which we regard the recent attempt upon the life of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, Most Worshipful Grand Master of England, and that a letter be forwarded to the Grand Lodge of England congratulating His Royal Highness upon his happy escape."

The business of the Grand Lodge was not nearly completed, and the Grand Lodge will Accordingly sit again this morning.


The installation of R.W. Brother A. S. Russell as Most Worshipful Grandmaster took place in the evening in the Choral Hall. The hall was magnificently decorated with, flags and pot plants. Two stately nikaus, with a profusion of smaller plants, decorated the platform, while the walls of the hall were hidden by flags of all nations, interspersed with looking glasses, greenery, and tastefully arranged designs wrought in chrysanthemums, locopodinm, etc. The hall was filled, the City and Auckland district lodges being largely represented, while visiting brethren were present in large numbers. There was also a large representation ' of members of Grand Lodge from the South. M.W. Brother Right Hon. R. J. Seddon, Grandmaster, occupied the throne, and M.W.  Brother Malcolm Niucol, P.G.M., was installing Grand Master. R.W. Brother T. W. Allen was Grand Director of Ceremonies. There were also on the platform : - Brothers H. J. Williams, Grand Superintendent, Wellington ; Geo. Fowids, P.D.G.M. ; A. H. Burton, P.D.G.M.,  Dunedin ; Henry Wetherhilt, Grand Superintendent, Otago ; Francis J. Smith, Grand Treasurer, Christchurch ; C. J. W. Griffiths, Grand Superintendent., Nelson ; Gifkins, Grand Superintendent, Canterbury ; Binns,, Board of General Purposes ; Alf. Bartlett, Grand Superintendent, Auckland ; Alf. Kidd, P.S.G.W. ; T. W. Allen, i P.S.G.W. ; H. V. Widdowson, Grand Re- j gistrar, Christchurch ; Win. Ronaldson, Grand Secretary ; C. A. C. Hardy, Present Board of General Purposes, Rakaia ; Rev. I Dewsbury, Grand Chaplain ; W. J. Rees, Provincial Grand Master, I.C. ; Dr. Dawson, Deputy District Grand Master, E.G. Mueller, Substitute Provincial Grand Master, S.C.Canon Nelson. Brother S. Hanna occupied the Senior Warden's chair, and Brother Corkill. New Plymouth, the Junior Warden's chair. Grand Chaplain Brother the Rev. H. R. Dewsbury, engaged in prayer, and after the opening ode a deputation of eight Worshipful Masters and four Stewards, introduced the Grand Master-elect, the following W.M.'s . bearing the canopy : G. Pearce Baldwin, Ponsonby ; J. Catchpole, St. Andrew's ; Tracey Moresby, Ohinemuri ; and A, Moore, Manukau.

The Most Worshipful Grand Master (Brother Seddon) then addressed the Grand Master-elect. He congratulated Brother Russell on assuming the highest position his brethren could bestow upon him, at a time when Masonic unity and Masonic peace as universal throughout New Zealand. It was a pleasure to be able to say that the finances of Grand Lodge were handed over to Most Worshipful Grand Master Russell, in a most satisfactory condition. After referring to the advantage conferred on Masonry in the colony by the Grand Lodge communications being held in different parts of the colony, the Grand Master said if the world in general was to be made acquainted with the tenets of the craft, if the good work being done by the craft in New Zealand were thoroughly known every good man in the colony would be a Mason. He would go further and say that if the various religious denominations knew the work being done by Masons they would co-operate in that work. Charity was the foundation of the Masonic structure, and they in New Zealand were carrying on that work in the truest possible manner. He referred to the attempt made on the life of the Prince of Wales, and thanked the officers of Grand Lodge for the assistance they had given him during his term of office as Grand Master.

The Installing Grand Master (Brother M. Niccol) then addressed the Grand Master elect, and invested and installed him in the office. The appointment of Brother Russell as Most Worshipful Grand Master of New Zealand was then proclaimed in Masonic form. Brother Russell then took the chair and the following Grand Lodge officers were appointed : - Grand Superintendents: Canterbury, Wm. Gifkins ; Auckland, A. Bartlett ; Wellington,. J. Williams : Hawke's. Bay, W Beilbv ; Southland, W. Smith : Westland, H. J. Miehell ; Nelson and Marlborough. C. ,T W. Griffiths ; Senior Warden, J. F. White. Winton; Junior Warden, Geo. Wilson, Wellington ; Treasurer, W. R. Goudie, Auckland ; Grand Registrar, 0. Nicholson, Auckland : President Board of General Purposes. W. H. Cooper, Auckland; President Board of Benevolence, Chas. Rhodes. Auckland : Senior Deacon. Dr. T. J. Withers, Southbridge; Junior Deacon, J. W. Warren, Stratford. The Deputy Grand Master and other Grand officers, were then invested and inducted by the Grand Installing Master, Brother M. Niccil,

At the close of the ceremonial Brother Russell returned thanks for his election as Grand Master. He said he would uphold and maintain the grand old institution of Freemasonry and he hoped it would flourish throughout the land. Now that fraternal arrangements had been made with the three Grand Lodges at Home he thought it only right that the Grand Lodge of New Zealand should do its best to make one strong link in that chain of Grand Lodges that encircles the world. He thanked all who had helped to make the ceremonial one of the grandest that had ever taken place in Auckland.

Greetings were then tendered to the Grand Master of New Zealand, by the representatives of the other Grand Lodges present. The musical part of the ceremony was in the hands of an orchestra of 30 instruments, under the leadership of Brother A. L. Kreutzer, and a choir of 50 voices conducted by R.W. Brother R. Leslie Hunt. W.

Brother W. J. Cousins was musical director, and Brother J. H. Phillpot organist. 'Die solo, " Within Thy Holy Dwelling," was given by Brother Tapper and K.W. Brother G. M. Reid rendered "In Native Worth." The National Anthem was sung by all the brethren present before the closing of Grand Lodge. The decoration of the hall was designed by Mr. T. H. White and Mr. Hyauison, and the general arrangements for the ceremony were in the hands of a committee, of which R.W. Brother A. Bartlett, Grand Superintendent for Auckland, was chairman, and W. Brother G. B. Thwaites, secretary.


After the installation, a large number of the brethren attended a banquet in the Drill Hall. The Grand Master (Brother Russell), the retiring Grand Master (Brother Seddon), Brother M. Niccol, Past Grand Master, and other officers of Grand Lodge, together with the official representatives of the English, Irish, and Scotch Constitutions, occupied the places of honour at the principal table.

After the company had done full justice to an excellent repast, purveyed by Brother T. King, the toast of "The Queen and Craft" was honoured, the brethren singing the National Anthem.

The retiring Grand Master (Brother Seddon) gave " The Grand Master." He said there must be in Masonry a recognised head. The faithful services of Brother Russell had commended themselves to the craft, and they all wished him every success in the position in which ho had been placed. If they gave Brother Russell their confidence the result would be for the good of the craft, and would show a good example to those outside the craft. Brother Russell had taken in hand a great responsibility, but it would be a labour of love to Brother Russell, and a term of profit to the Masons of the colonv. The toast was heartily pledged with Masonic honours.

The Grand Muster, in returning thanks, said it would be his aim as far as lay in bis power to imitate the example set before him by Past Grand Masters, such as Henry Thompson, Malcolm Niccol, Barron, and Seddon. It would be his endeavour to cultivate that friendly and fraternal spirit which should exist among Masons throughout the whole world. He had only one aim in view, viz., to try and lay 0110 brick more to assist the progress of Freemasonry throughout New Zealand, and he hoped that with the support, not only of the Masons of the New Zealand Constitution, but of the many excellent friends he had belonging to other constitutions, they would arrive at something that would be a credit to the colony. (Applause.)

Past Grand Master Niccol gave "Sister Grand Lodges." He said there had been present in Grand Lodge that evening those with whom Masons belonging to the New Zealand Constitution had been, so to speak, at daggers drawn for a good many years. A grand reconciliation had taken place, the period of difficulties and estrangement had passed over, and he hoped such a condition of things would never return again. (Applause).

Provincial Grand Master Rees (Irish Constitution), in responding, said the Masons of the Irish Constitution had not been at daggers drawn with the Masons of The New Zealand Constitution ; they simply did not speak as they passed by. (Laughter.) He was very glad that the time of reconciliation had come.

Deputy District Grand Master Dr. Dawson (English Constitution) said it gave him and all English Masons great pleasure to be able once more to unite with friends, from whom for some years they had unfortunately been separated. There had been nothing like ill-feeling, they had simply been inevitably separated, and they were only too glad to come together again. He was sure that with Mr, Russell as Grand Master the union would be firmly cemented. (Applause.)

Substitute Provincial Grand Master Mueller (Scotch Constitution) also responded in a humorous speech.

Past Master G. Fowlds gave "The Retiring Grand Master." He said Mr. Seddon did them credit when he was Home at the Queen's Jubilee celebrations, and since he took office as Grand Master of New Zealand he had in every way fulfilled the great expectations they all formed of him. The toast was pledged with great enthusiasm.

Brother Seddon, in responding, said he realised that a great responsibility bad been taken off his shoulders. When he was made Grand Master it was understood that during his term of office Masonic unity would be brought about, and he was delighted that that expectation had been realised. (Applause.) The best advice he could give to all Masons in New Zealand now was to forget the past, and let them have a bright and glorious future. He had simply done his duty, and he was bound to say that opportunities bad been given to him that had not been given to any other Grand Master, because he had been in lodges from the North Cape to the Bluff. He would like the outside world to have something from Masonry. He would like to see Masonic orphanages founded and Masonic refuges established. where old Masons who had suffered might be able to go. He would like also to see the children of Masons provided for, so that they might be able to go forth fitted for the battle of life. Such movements would show the outside world that there was something in Masonry. As they increased in numbers and in wealth these things would follow. So far they had only laid the foundation on which a noble edifice would be built. (Applause.)

Brother Corkill, New Plymouth, gave " The Right Worshipful Deputy Grand Master and Grand Officers." The Deputy Grand Master (Brother Hardy) | responded. He said he would do his best to carry out- the wishes of the Grand Master in the South. I The other toasts were " The Retiring Grand  Officers," proposed by Brother Burton, Past , Deputy Grand Master; and "Our Visitors," proposed by Brother W. H. Cooper.

During the evening solos were rendered ; by Brothers A. J. Tapper. W. George, Cousins, (r. M. Reid, and T. W. Allen. Brother Rev. Goldstein gave a cello solo, and Brother ; A. L. Kreutzer a violin solo. The Grand Lodge will resume for business today, and a Masonic ball will be held the Choral Hall in the evening.

SOURCE: 1900 New Zealand Herald report

John's World