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Foundation

The Lodge of the Golden Fleece No. 300 formed on the 13th of June 1922 specifically to be a fine dining and entertainment Lodge and to have as a major feature, an orchestra, which has performed regularly at dinners over the years. The idea for the Lodge originated with several members of Combermere Lodge No. 752 (English Constitution) which met in Melbourne. They proposed to form a new Lodge for Master Masons, who had joined Freemasonry before arriving in Melbourne. The Pro Grand Master, MWBro. F. T. Hickford, was delighted to welcome these Freemasons and invited them to form a Lodge under the Victorian Constitution.

 

The Lodge was consecrated on the 13th June 1922 with 26 foundation members including MWBro. F. T. Hickford, Pro Grand Master and MWBro. G.E. Emery, Past Grand Master, and Brethren from the English, Queensland, New South Wales and Scottish Constitutions.

 

The orchestra is currently comprised of Freemasons, and their partners and friends. Instruments include oboe, clarinet, violin, piano and organ, flute, viola, cello, double bass, and horns like trumpet and trombone.

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Notable Members

WBro. Sir Frederick Rudolph William Scherger KBE CB DSO AFC 1904-1984

Australia's highest known Military ranking Freemason. He served as Chief of the Air Staff, the RAAF's highest ranking position (1957 – 1961) and as Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (1961 -1966), precursor to the current Chief of Defence Force (CDF). He was the first RAAF Officer to hold the rank of Air Chief Marshal (ACM).

 

Initiated in the Adastral Lodge No 397 UGLV, he later went on to become its Worshipful Master in 1939. Sir Fred joined the Lodge of the Golden Fleece in 1950 where he was an active, respected and admired member until his death in 1984.

The Orchestra

WBro. 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 Bro. Dr Kaye Scott, joined the Lodge in 1930 and assisted the orchestra, when practicable.

In 1932, South Brunswick Lodge No. 484 with the cooperation of then Worshipful Master Bill McPherson and another Freemason, 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 travelled as far as Broadford, Seymour Castlemaine, Powelltown, Warburton and Hamilton. In the 1930's there was no such thing as the unemployment benefits as in the modern era, so 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 Second World War, membership of both orchestras had declined and Bro. Les Barklamb of the 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 thereafter. 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.

Recent Members of the Orchestra Included:

Roger Manderson (piano), Loretta Meagher and Rudi Dumbrovski (violin), Penny Holmes-Kerr (flute), Prof. Graeme Coleman (clarinet), Bill Pattinson (trumpet), Kieran Washburn (trombone), and Dr Richard Shiell (horn).

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