By Grace Frost

The Mitchell Masonic Lodge is excited to host a public open night on Wednesday, April 26, hoping to inspire new memberships and involvement in freemasonry. 

The occasion will mark the first of its kind in nearly 17 years since the merger of Broadford Masonic Lodge 174, and Kilmore Masonic Lodge 32, which formed Mitchell Lodge 929, in 2006. 

The Freemasons often participate in charitable works, with their ‘three great principles’ being brotherly love, relief, and truth. 

The mission and vision of the foundation includes investing in programs and initiatives that are ‘expected to provide stronger and healthier communities’, and ‘supporting individuals through access to education’. 

Freemasons Foundation Victoria, FFV, gave $5000 in December to charity Love in Action to assist those in need in the district with food packages during the Christmas season. 

Members are expected to participate in a ceremony and rehearsals each month at the lodge. 

Though often regarded as ‘the world’s largest secret society’, the Freemasons are set to tell-all at April’s open night. 

Attendees can expect a tour of the lodge room and temple, an in-depth description of the 10 Freemasonry roles, and to hear personal testimony on the organisation from experienced Freemasons, including lodge secretary and previous master David Atkinson.

Mr Atkinson has been involved in Freemasonry for nearly 30 years, which he said advanced his personal development, skills and abilities. 

“It’s a good night out, getting together with fellow Freemasons, and doing a ceremony,” he said. 

Now witness to declining memberships, Mr Atkinson said the open day may be the last chance at reviving the organisation. 

If the open night proves successful in encouraging new memberships, the Mitchell Lodge seeks to become ‘more active in involvement in worthy causes in the area’ through the Freemasons Foundation Victoria, FFV, and hopes to assist organisations in making financial support claims for charitable local projects and events. 

Members of the organisation hope families and descendants of existing members, community groups, sporting clubs, businesses and local RSL sub-branches will be in attendance.  

Despite being a men-only organisation, the Mitchell Freemasons are also inviting women to attend the open night for a better understanding of freemasonry, and to support their partners. 

The open night will commence at 5.30pm at 23 Murchison Street, Broadford, with information and time for questions from visitors, followed by a supper. 

Attendees are asked to dress neat casual.

The Freemasons also welcomed the public to attend a ‘ceremony of the vacant chair’ at 7.30pm, which the organisation presents in commemoration of Anzac Day, to pay tribute to soldiers who left for war but did not return home. 

“The lodge is keen to see membership grow and move forward to a 130 year celebration later in September 2023,” current master of the lodge Laurie Stelfox said. 

To book a spot or to find more information, people can call David Atkinson on 5781 0728 or 0402 457 810 or Laurie Stelfox on 5784 2577 or 0407 802 237 or email davidakko@hotmail.com.