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Record Collection For RCH Appeal 2013

GM visits collectors on Good Friday

GM visits collectors on Good Friday

Western District 117 achieved it’s best ever total for the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal this year. In 2012 Western District Volunteers collected almost $20,000 – at that time a record amount. District Coordinator, David Seymour, joked at the time that it would be great to achieve $25,000 in 2013. The challenge was out, and the volunteers set about raising $25,000 – a huge task. Volunteer coordinator, Steve Foss, managed to get 102 volunteers to collect at 35 7/11 sites throughout the District. When the dust had settled, and the final coins counted, the total for 2013 exceeded $26,300 !! A most magnificent effort and one that everyone who contributed to the appeal can be truly proud of. Sincere thanks and congratulations go to Steve Foss and his band of volunteers for their time and effort to achieve this grand amount. Of course this raises the obvious question – “What can we do in 2014?” Have a rest guys – that’s a long way off! Picture shows Grand Master Bob Jones visiting collectors Reg Vella and Edmond Mansour at their collection point in Keilor East.

Great Response for Good Friday Appeal

Collectors at Caroline Springs

Collecting can be a family affair.

Each year Freemasons around Victoria join with the Uncle Bobs Club to raise money for the Royal Childrens Hospital Good Friday Appeal. This year was no exception, and in conjunction with 7-11 petrol outlets, over 80 volunteers in the Western District manned 26 sites from Melton to Essendon, Werribee to Williamstown and many in between. Their efforts were not in vain, and the Western District once again topped the collection poll raising $19, 648.20!  This was an incredible result being 38% of the total of $55,000 collected by Freemasons around Melbourne. Congratulations must go to WBro. Steve Foss who again mustered his troops with his usual flair and dedication, and of course to the many volunteers that gave freely of their time, some manning their posts for the whole day. Thanks must also go the the 7/11 stores that looked after our collectors so well during the day. We’ve set the bar very high, but I’m sure we will be able to top the $20,000 next year.

Distraction Boxes for TLC for Kids

Freemasons Victoria have assisted TLC for Kids in their Distraction Box programme by donating $12,000 to the cause. Freeemasons in Western District No.117 raised $6000 which was augmented on a dollar-for-dollar basis by Freemasons Victoria’s Board of Benevolence. For more infortmation on Freemasons Victoria’s involvement with TLC for Kids click on the following link. TLC for Kids. Photos show the District Coortdinator for Western District 117, David Seymour, presenting TLC for Kids CEO, Tim Conolan, a cheque for $12,000 with a “wall” of Distraction Boxes as a backdrop; Tim and David with a Distraction Box; and the identifying label attached to each Distraction Box made possible by the generosity of Freemasons Victoria.

Distraction Box

David presents Tim with cheques for $12000


Tim and David with a Distraction box


New Van Presented To Second Bite

New van presented to Second Bite

Grand Master hands over new van to Second Bite

On his first official function as Grand Master, MWBro. Bob Jones presented a new Mercedes Sprinter refrigerated van to Second Bite, a charity that rescues and redistributes fresh food to the needy. Bob handed over the keys to Second Bite’s Executive Director Katy Barfield on Wednesday 28th March 2012. The presentation was made possible by the generosity of freemasons in the Western District of Freemasons Victoria which consists of some 25 Lodges mainly in Melbourne’s western suburbs. They raised $23,000 which was matched dollar for dollar by Freemasons Victoria’s Board of Benevolence. Katy was delighted with the new van as it will now be possible to collect and redistribute an additional 7,000 kg of fresh food each week – enough to provide and additional 14,000 meals for the needy each week. Second Bite receives the unwanted fresh food from donors including Coles, Bakers Delight and ALDI and distributes boxes filled with fruit and vegetables to over 221 community food programs across Melbourne and end up on the table of thousands of need Victorians who would have otherwise not been able to afford a decent meal.

The photos shows l to r:- David Seymour, District Coordinator Western District; Bob Jones, Grand Master Freemaons Victoria; Katy Barfield, Exutive Director Second Bite; Frank Fordyce, President of Board of Benevolence with Board member Ted Finch.

New Beginnings At Williamstown

Williamstown Masonic Centre

Celebrating Heritage and New Beginnings

For more than 120 years the Williamstown Masonic Centre has been the focal point for Masons in the west.  Acknowledging the building’s heritage overlay, an extensive two year renovation and redevelopment of this much loved property has now been completed.  The blend of the old and the new is an outstanding success, creating an exciting ambience, aspect and amenity.

During the renovations the lodges meeting in the centre temporarily relocated to the Werribee Masonic Centre and after two years away from “home” returned on 22 October 2011 after a beautifully conducted rededication ceremony by the Grand Master and the 2011 Grand Lodge Team.  The new Williamstown Masonic Centre is a significant step for Freemasonry in Williamstown and the Western suburbs.

One of those coming home is Williamstown No 16, which is Lodge steeped in rich and extensive history in the area dating back to 1854, although it was called a different name then. In those days, the Lodge met in local hotels where rooms were provided for the growing number of Lodges in the area.  These hotels included the Builders’ Arms Hotel (now called the Hobsons Bay Hotel), the Napier Hotel and the Steampacket Hotel.

With the return of the Williamstown No 16 to the new Centre, their first working night was a first degree and it was especially exciting for the Candidate – a Lewis.  Bro Peter Murdoch is the son of VWorBro Peter Murdoch PGIWkgs.  Bro Murdoch is a Melbourne High School Old Boy and is studying a Bachelor of Arts at Monash University (Majoring in Psychology and Philosophy).

Any initiation is an exciting and significant moment in Freemasonry, but when mixed with an outstanding new building steeped in local history, a long awaited return home of an exciting, energetic, and active Lodge, all topped off by an Official Visit by the Melbourne High School Lodge No 759, it made for a special night for Brother Peter.

The ceremony included many brethren known to the Candidate and where possible, involved them in the Ceremony.  Acting as Worshipful Master was Bro Murdoch’s father, VWorBro Peter S Murdoch PGIWKS, as Inner Guard was RtWorBro Bob Jones DGM (Grand Master Elect) the Immediate Past Master was WorBro Noel Allsop PGStdB and WorBro Tom Toop PJGD delivering a charge.  The work by all Officers of the Lodge was that perfect blend of friendliness and emotion that turns a good ceremony into a great ceremony. The occasion provided a good warm up for the upcoming award ceremony for WorBro Tom Toop who will be celebrating a significant chapter for the Lodge and Freemasons in Victoria. WorBro Tom Toop’s 60 plus years in Freemasonry will be formally recognised in February 2012.

Good work Greg and Gioreen!

Cheque received for TLC for KidsAfter hearing about the District Charity Appeal for TLC for Kids, WBro. Greg Todio happened to mention it to his young daughter Gioreen one evening. A few minutes later young Gioreen appeared with a crayon picture she had made and offered it to her father saying maybe he could sell it to raise money for the children. Without hesitation Greg took the picture to every Lodge he visited for the next six months or so. The picture was “auctioned” or “sold” at many of those meetings, always being returned to Greg to be auctioned again. But not wasn’t the whole story, as Greg also brought with him a large jar so that those who were unlucky enough to miss out on the picture could make a donation anyway! Greg’s determination and Lodge members generosity resulted in Greg presenting a cheque in excess of $650 to the appeal.  District Coordinator VWBro. David Seymour is shown receiving the cheque from Gioreen and Greg together with the picture that helped raise such a wonderful donation. President of the Board of Benevolence, RWBro. Frank Fordyce, is on hand to assist. “Greg has a strong ethic where charity is concerned and it is obvious that he has passed this on to his children”, David said. ” We are very grateful to Greg and Gioreen for their hard work and generosity”.

Ring Pulls for Charity

Some of the 1.4 million ring pulls.Children from Ararat West Primary School have been collecting Ring Pull Tabs for the last six years.

It started in a small way when for the first two years they collected tabs for an appeal by the Bendigo Bank to raise funds to provide a wheelchair for a 16 year old Bendigo girl. When that appeal ended, they then donated the tabs to WBro. George Ball of Derrimut Daylight Lodge, who with the assistance of WBro. Alan Gladstone sells the tabs for scrap and the funds are donated to Charity.

In the first year they collected 200,000 tabs, about 55kg, but by 2011 this had greatly increased to 350kg or a massive 1.4 million tabs!

The children receive a certificate when they have collected 500 tabs and further certificates for higher amounts. In June and December the top six families receive a trophy and certificate. In 2009 one family collected 115,00 tabs while two others collected 75,000 tabs.

Some of these children are unlikely to receive trophies for sporting activities, but have developed organizational skills and long term dedication to tasks and are proud to receive their trophies and certificates. This is a beginning of an understanding of community service.

Surely this is an activity than can be copied by other schools or organizations.

Thanks to Ms Helen Kirkpatrick of Ararat West Primary School for the information above.



New wheelchair presented

Alans new chair.Members of the Derrimut Daylight Masonic Lodge gathered on Monday to present a new motorised wheelchair to one of their members, Alan Cashan. Alan suffers from MS, having been diagnosed 33years ago when he was just a young man of 30 years. He has lost all use of his arms and legs and has been confined to a motorised wheelchair for many years, and after eleven years of continuous use his last chair required replacement.

Alan has been a freemason since 1975 and despite his handicap has attended the monthly meetings of his Lodge regularly. His fellow Lodge members decided to assist him in acquiring a new chair, but were staggered to find that a new chair would cost about $26,000, an amount far beyond Alan’s capability. Even after the government’s grant there still remained over $16,000 to find. The Lodge appealed to the Freemasons Victoria Benevolent Fund on Alan’s behalf for assistance and together with some funds raised by the Lodge, the remaining money was raised.

At the presentation Ms Robyn Soulsby, an occupational therapist with MS Australia, and who has looked after Alan, spoke at the presentation giving those present information on MS, and its effects on those who suffered with the disease. She also explained the details of Alan’s new chair, in particular how difficult it was to control a chair with nothing but a chin control, which Alan has to do. She also stated that in this regard Alan was a “star”. To prove the point Alan gave a short demonstration of his ability to “drive” around the Lodge room.
Alan expressed his thanks to the Lodge and the Benevolent Fund and assured everyone that his new chair was a 300% improvement on the old one. He can now enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle at his Care facility.

Williamstown Masonic Centre Dedicated

Williamstown Masonic Centre

In an impressive ceremony, the newly refurbished and renovated Masonic Centre at Electra Street, Williamstown, was dedicated by a team of Grand Officers led by the Most Worshipful Grand Master Vaughan Werner last Saturday afternoon. The crowd of over 150 Freemasons and non-freemasons witnessed the ancient ceremony which was conducted with dignity and pride by members of the 2011 Grand Ceremonial Team. The Grand Master pointed out to the guests that the ceremony would be almost identical to that which would have been carried out at the original dedication 120 years ago. At the conclusion of the formal ceremony guests were invited to the Supper Room to enjoy light finger-food refreshments and the opportunity to catch up with old  friends and meet new ones. It was also achance to view the renovations and additions to the building that was built in 1891. During the refreshments a commemorative plaque was unveiled by the Grand Master ab;y assisted by the Immediate Past Grand Master Garry Sebo and the Deputy Grand Master Bob Jones.

Tje Masonic Centre was also opened to the public on the following day when a number of visitors called in to see the newly re-opened building and to enquire about Freemasonry.

Open Night to be held at Willliamstown

Everything you’ve always wanted to know abour Freemasonry but were afraid to ask.

Ever wondered what goes on inside a Freemasons Lodge? Then your curiosity could be answered if you attend an Open Night to be held at the Williamstown Masonic Centre at 21 Electra Street, Williamstown on Wednesday 23rd November commencing at 7.30pm sharp.

The organisers of the meeting invite Freemasons and their partners to attend and to bring along non-freemasons of their acquaintance to find out what it is that Freemasons do. Members of the public who do not know a Freemason are also invite. The evening will start at 7.30pm sharp and there will be light refreshments served no later than 9.00pm.

In order that we can arrange the catering and sufficient seating it is necessary to register your attendance by contacting Peter Murdoch on o4o7 932 860 or by email on

An entertaining and informative evening is promised.