Lake Lodge of Ophir Worshipful Master Martin Chappell with
the commemorative plaque laid on the historic Marine Pde
building in 2008. Photo supplied.
High-ranking Freemasons from throughout New Zealand and
Australia will descend on Queenstown this weekend to celebrate
the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Masonic fraternity
Celebrations include a procession of Freemasons along Marine
Pde to the reserve in front of Novotel Lakeside Hotelon
Saturday, where New Zealand Grand Master John Litton, of
Wellington, will unveil a special plaque dedicated to the
occasion, with help from Queenstown Lakes Mayor Vanessa van
Seating will also be donated to the community on the same
spot where lodge members planted a commemorative pin oak tree
25 years ago, to mark the lodge's 125th anniversary.
Lake Lodge of Ophir secretary Brother Hudson Turnbull says
representatives from New Zealand's Irish, Scottish and
English Lodge constitutions will attend and a party of
high-ranking Western Australian Freemasons is flying from
Perth with their partners.
There will be a special anniversary afternoon meeting of Lake
Lodge members in the historic Lodge rooms before an official
reception led by Mr Litton, visiting Grand Lodge brethren,
divisional and district Grand Masters and officers.
The local branch was constituted in 1864, when its charter
arrived by ship from London after a year-long wait.
It now has about 40 members from around the world.
In 1863 early Wakatipu pioneers, including Queenstown's
founder Welshman William Rees and Scottish stonemason James
McNeill, marched along the waterfront of the fledgling town
to mark the launch of the district's first lodge and, true to
the traditions of Freemasonry, the men laid the first
foundation of Queenstown's first stone building that day.
Past New Zealand Grand Chaplin Rev Graeme Munro will be guest
preacher at a special service at St Peter's Anglican Church
at 10.30am this Sunday.