Have a question? Check our FAQs (frequently asked questions) below.
What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is the oldest and most widely known of the world’s important fraternal organisations. Its high ethical and moral standards and values support its claim to be an organisation of excellence which counts for something in today’s society. Freemasonry is a way of life; it is more than just another friendly society or social club.
What are its aims?
Freemasonry is an organisation formed to join together in friendship men of integrity and good will from all walks of life. It sets high standards of behaviour to be maintained in daily life, so providing an example to the community. The sustained practice of Freemasonry provides significant and rewarding opportunities for self-development and community service.
Who are Freemasons?
Freemasons are men of character and substance with high ideals and worthwhile values who can make a difference in the community. In short they are citizens of quality and good reputation who have taken up Freemasonry because they believe that what they do in their Lodges improves their character and enhances their value to their fellows.
I’ve heard it’s an advantage to a person’s career to be a Mason, is this true?
This is a commonly held perception, but it’s incorrect. Masons are under strict obligation, to not use their connections to obtain any personal advantage. There is of course, a general benefit that does come from being known as a Mason which is being known as ‘a person of integrity’ and someone who can be relied upon.
What happens if I become a Mason and find it doesn’t suit me?
This is unlikely, since much will be explained to you before you join. You will be able to ask additional questions all of which will be answered frankly. Since we work for good in the community and encourage your personal, cultural and religious freedoms, the possibility of you not liking the Masons is extremely slim. If, however, you later decide it is not what you want, you can simply resign.
I’ve heard some of the ceremonies are embarrassing for membership candidates, is that true?
No, the ceremonies are not embarrassing to candidates in any way. In fact, they have given all members who have participated in them over the years, lasting and positive memories of a special and moving event.
I’ve heard about ‘riding the goat’ and other silly things like that. This can’t possibly be true, can it?
These things fall into the category of “Urban Myths” and gossip. Rest assured there is nothing in any of our ceremonies that could offend your moral, cultural, religious or family values, as these values are of prime importance to all Masons.
What is a Lodge?
The basic membership group of Masons is called a Lodge. Whilst some Lodges attract members with specific social, professional or work-related backgrounds there are, in general, no hard and fast rules limiting admission to any Lodge. Commonly new members join Lodges to which their nominators belong, usually on the basis of established acquaintance.
Lodges are presided over by the Master who is usually elected to serve for a 12-month term. Most Lodge meetings are held monthly. At these meetings new members may be admitted or advanced to a higher rank or such other business conducted as the Master shall determine.
Lodges operate under a warrant of constitution from the Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, in accordance with the regulations for the Government of the Craft contained in the constitutions of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory and the Lodge’s own by-laws.
What do you do in ‘Lodge’?
A Lodge meeting is run like any other normal business or social meeting. Minutes and correspondence are read; financial statements, general business, and membership proposals are considered and voted upon; ‘Caring Officers’ report on current charity work and on members who are ill; Candidates are advanced, on merit, through the various appropriate levels; the meeting is concluded, and the Lodge is closed. Supper is then served.
How is the organisation structured?
Each local ‘Lodge’ draws its members, essentially from the local community. A Regional group of local Lodges will comprise a ‘District’. For administrative purposes, there is a central organisation in each state, known as ‘Grand Lodge’. In addition, in each state, there are a number of separate charitable and other community service organisations, such as: The Masonic Hospital, Masonic Youth Welfare Fund, Frank Whiddon Masonic Homes and the Royal Freemasons Benevolent Institution (RFBI).
Why do you wear black dinner suits, and carry little black bags?
The reason for this is quite simple. We wear dinner suits, because our meetings are conducted in a semi-formal and dignified manner, in keeping with our principles. Our members come from all walks of life, and the uniformity of our attire demonstrates our uniformity of respect for our fellow Masons. The small black bag we carry simply contains such items as our meeting notices and agendas etc, maybe a short speech and our Masons leather apron.
Why do you have any funny secrets at all?
In your daily life you have secrets; your bank cannot disclose your tax file number; your doctor is not allowed to disclose your medical records; you do not disclose your PIN numbers. Being discreet about certain aspects of your personal business is obviously quite normal. Everyone is familiar with the phrase: ‘Can you be trusted to keep a secret?’. Therefore, Masons use ‘secrets’ to test and prove the good character of those who choose to join. This is because to become a Mason requires a person to continually observe, with total sincerity, our high ideals of Integrity, Goodwill and Charity.
I’ve heard that Masons, in the past, have been regarded as some sort of secret society, is that the situation now?
Until recently our policy was to be rather discreet about ourselves, our community work and even our membership. However, times have changed….and so have we! Today, Masons will often talk freely about their work and their membership. Lodge rooms are often opened to our visitors, and enquiries about Masons and their valuable community work, are always welcomed.
Are Masons some sort of religion?
Absolutely not. Our membership is, in fact, made up of people who belong to many different religions. Every member is encouraged and is completely free, to follow their own private personal beliefs. Religion, as such, is not permitted to be discussed in any Lodge.
You have a Bible in your Lodge Room. Why is this?
As a standard rule we do. However, any Lodge can determine, based on its membership, which Holy Book (or group of Books) it will use. This is because we are a truly non-sectarian organisation.
I have heard Catholics can’t become Masons. Is this true?
No, that is not true. There are many practicing Catholics who are Masons. You can be assured there is nothing whatsoever, in being a Mason, which conflicts with a person’s duties as a practicing Catholic. It is understood there is a Papal directive banning Catholics from becoming Freemasons but such a ban does not come from Freemasonry.
I am told Masons need to devote a lot of their own time to community work and my time is limited. Would this apply to me?
As a Mason, the time you devote to community work is entirely up to you. You are asked to support your Lodge by attending its regular meeting, once a month. No more is expected of you.
As a Mason, are there any compulsory charity donations or levies I have to pay?
No, rest assured there are never any compulsory donations ever required of you. Any donation you may choose to make to any fund, is at all times, entirely at your own discretion.
If I choose to make a donation, how is that done?
There are many charity organisations that Masons assist by direct donations of money, personal skills and time. How a Mason chooses to contribute, is a personal and strictly private matter.
Why do you not have women members?
There are other organisations that are strictly for women and we agree with and support their right to be ‘strictly for women’. We feel confident they and other well informed people, would support our right to exist as we do.
Some of your old buildings have the word ‘temple’ on them. Why is that?
In the past, our Lodges were called ‘temples’. This was an allegoric reference to King Solomon’s Temple, constructed by early Masons, whose principles of Integrity, Goodwill and Charity, we have inherited.