The Golden Fleece Orchestra




Wor Bro Weston Pett, a professional flautist, assembled a small orchestra of musical masons, when the Lodge was formed in 1922. Fellow flautists, Bro Les Barklamb and Radiologist and Bro Dr Kaye Scott joined the Lodge in 1930 and assisted the orchestra, when practicable.

In 1932, South Brunswick Lodge No 484 with the co-operation of the Wor Master, Bill McPherson and Bro Jack Lazarus also decided to form an orchestra with professional musicians, who were Lodge members. Many were unemployed because of the depression of the 30's. The arrangement was that Bill McPherson (who had a printing business) would provide transport for the orchestra in return for the orchestra providing harmony at meetings of South Brunswick Lodge.

This arrangement allowed the orchestra to travel around both suburban and country lodges - mainly to Installations and Master's last nights. Masters who could afford to do so engaged the orchestra, but they also passed around the hat amongst the members, and funds raised this way were evenly divided amongst the unemployed musicians. The orchestra became known as the Temple Orchestra and traveled as far as Broardford, Seymour Castlemaine, Powelltown, Warburton and Hamilton.

In the 1930's there was no such thing as the unemployment benefits as paid these days - the only income they would have would be what they earned teaching music and playing at lodge functions.

In 1943, because of the effects of the war, membership of both orchestras had declined and Bro Les Barklamb of Golden Fleece approached Bro Jack Lazarus to see if it was feasible for the Temple Orchestra to combine with the Golden Fleece orchestra.


The approach was successful and the two orchestras amalgamated shortly afterwards. One legacy of this amalgamation is the unusually fine collection of light orchestral music that we now own, some dating back to these early days.

In addition to playing at meetings of the Golden Fleece, the orchestra for some years gave an afternoon concert in September or October to residents and friends of the Royal Freemasons' Homes of Victoria in Punt Road Prahran.

The History of The Golden Fleece Orchestra