Frequently Asked Questions
What Is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is one of the world's oldest and largest fraternal organisations. It provides a code for living in today's society based on moral and ethical standards. Its members strive to live by the principles of integrity, goodwill and charity. As a non-profit organisation that supports numerous charities and community services, Freemasonry unifies men of high ideals, regardless of colour, creed or worldly status.
When Did Freemasonry Begin?
The precise origins of Freemasonry have been lost in time. However, its traditions date back to the Middle Ages when stone masons built the castles and cathedrals of Europe. To undertake these tasks, the builders had to have considerable knowledge of geometry, arithmetic and engineering. These talented artisans therefore formed themselves into "lodges" to protect the skills and secrets of their trade and to pass on their knowledge to trusted apprentices. Importantly, these men were not bondsmen and were free to travel to any building site. Hence the origin of the word "Freemason". By the 17th. Century, many vast building projects had been completed and worthy men who were not workers in stone were progressively accepted into Freemasonry's ranks. They were called "free and accepted" Masons, and continue to be known as such today.
The first Grand Lodge was established in England in 1717. It united existing Lodges and advanced the growth of Freemasonry, which gradually spread throughout the world. Freemasonry has been practised in Australia since the early 19th. century. It is believed that the first Freemason to set foot on Australian soil was Sir Joseph Banks, the distinguished botanist on Cook's voyages of discovery.
Who Are The Freemasons?
Freemasons are ordinary men aged 18 years and over, from all walks of life. While they may come from different backgrounds, they share a concern for humanity and the maintenance of moral standards. They are required to respect the laws of the land and the rights of individuals. Freemasons believe in a Supreme Being and in honesty and decency in everyday life. There are some five million Freemasons worldwide and about 75,000 in Australasia.
Why Do Men Join?
Freemasons will give many reasons why they are me. Freemasonry promotes self-development. It respects the role of women and the family in society. It offers a hands-on oppurtunity to be involved in community help projects. It extends a practical blueprint for daily life. Freemasonry boosts a member's self-esteem and teaches him self-confidence. It introduces him to a new circle of like-minded friends from all sections of society.
Is This A Secret Society?
No. Freemasonry used to be discreet about its activities - even in community work. Today, times have changed, and so has Freemasonry. Freemasons now talk freely about their activities. Their lodge rooms are often open to visitors and they welcome enquiries about their work. Back in the Middle Ages, people were predominately illiterate. It was necessary, therefore, for Freemasons to use recognisable symbols, such as the square and compasses. They also used handshakes, passwords and signs to identify themselves and to protect the highly prized knowhow of their trade. Nowadays, these inherited modes of recognition are used in Lodge ceremonies. Their purpose is to indicate a member's sincerity and his competence in the Craft.
Is Freemasonry Anti-Catholic Or Anti-Semitic?
Emphatically not. Freemasonry promotes a spirit of unity and understanding among all men. It does not discriminate against any religion. Its principles and practices are compatible with any faiths that instill reverence for the deity and tolerance towards one's fellow man. If anything, Freemasonry complements the philosophies of these faiths. There are many practicing Catholics and Jews who are Freemasons. There are also members who adhere to Oriental faiths.
How Is The Organisation Structured?
Individual Freemasons come together in a local Lodge. In Queensland, more than 330 Lodges exist from the far north to the southern border, and from coastal communities to outback towns. Some meet in architecturally impressive meeting centres; others occupy quaint buildings with tin roofs. Each lodge, however, has a distinct character and personality of its own, and its program is largely formulated in response to the individual wishes of its members.
Lodges throughout the state are represented administrately by the United Grand Lodge of Queensland (UGLQ). With its headquarters in the Masonic Memorial Centre in Ann Street, Brisbane, the UGLQ's jurisdiction includes Papua New Guinea. District Grand Lodges at Townsville and Cairns presently overview their respective regions. Lodges are semi-automous in function. Within the Lodge, all members are considered equal. They address each other as "Brother". Officers who run the Lodge are given the courtesy their roles deserve. The titles of these officers have their origins in history. For example, just as mayors are referred to as "Your Worship", the leader of a Lodge is called "Worshipful Master" - meaning respected. The Grand Lodge is led by a "Grand Master". He represents and oversees Freemasonry within his jurisdiction and is formally referred to as "The Most Worshipful Grand Master".
What Do Freemasons Do At Lodge?
Lodge meetings are held regulary (usually monthly) and as in most organisations, there is a business agenda with minutes, correspondence and accounts to be attended to. Plans for forthcoming events and charity activities may need to be addressed and discussed among members. Lodge meetings are also ceremonial and feature a series of formalised and symbolic scenarios that vividly highlight the principles and codes of conduct a Freemason is encouraged to adopt. These rituals are centuries old. Symbols, such as medieval stonemasons' working tools, are displayed to suggest how a member may refine his lifestyle.
The image here shows a newly installed Master of a Lodge cutting the Installation cake with his partner. This takes place at "The Festive Board" after the formal proceedings have been completed. All formal meetings are usually followed by "The Festive Board" where members join with each other for a social get together and renew friendships. Some Festive Boards also provide items of harmony where members, who may be talanted muscians or entertainers, will provide some form of entertainment.
Freemasons have a traditional mode of dress in lodge. They customarily wear formal or semi-formal attire with an apron and other regalia to identify them as modern-day, speculative practitioners of the ancient stonemason's craft. After business in the lodge room is completed, members usually relax informally and enjoy light refreshments. Freemasons often say they "meet on the level and part on the square." This means they meet as equals and part as true friends. Apart from these meetings, most Lodges organise periodic social activities for families and friends, such as dinners, theatre parties, sports outings, picnics and barbecues.
What Costs Are Involved In freemasonry?
Annual subscription fees are payable as with most organisations one cares to join. These vary from Lodge to Lodge, depending on the style of the Lodge. Membership in some Lodges can be expensive. However, fees for most Lodges are reasonable and structured so as not to exclude any member of society. Here, at Unity Lodge dues may be paid yearly, half-yearly or quarterly to accomodate the circumstances of each individual member. When first becoming a Freemason, a one-off fee is payable. After a few months, the new member will also need to buy (or obtain) a Masonic apron. If he advances in his Masonic career over a period of time he may also prefer to acquire the formal or semi-formal attire that most members wear at meetings. More information is available on our "F.A.Q./Regalia" page.
What Sort Of Charitable Works Are Freemasons Involved In?
Charity is a basic principle of Freemasonry. Members have been involved in charitable activities in this country for almost as long as European settlement. Freemasonry has long been associated with the care of young people, orphans, widows, the sick, the aged and those affected by tragedy and natural disaster. Queensland Freemasons have given support to many worthy institutions, such as the Leukaemia Foundation, the Royal Queensland Children's Hospital, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, The Mater Mothers' Hospital Cord Blood Bank, the Geriatric Foundation and numerous others.
Masonic Care previously ran homes and facilities for aged people throughout the state. However, our interests in aged care facilities were sold in May, 2016. Masonic benevolence aids people who have encountered personal and financial difficulties. Masonic bursaries enable young people to pursue educational studies otherwise denied them. For too long Freemasons have been reluctant to speak up and tell the community about the assistance, in cash and kind, they have given the disadvantaged. In any one year, Freemasons give generously and significantly to charities and not-for-profit organisations. Money is raised at local, regional and state levels through diverse fund-raising projects initiated and conducted by Freemasons. It cannot be too strongly empasised however, that Freemasonry is not a benefit society. Membership will not confer on you any special right to sick benefits, death benefits, burial expenses, and the education of your children or the support of your dependents.
How Can I Become A Freemason?
Membership is open to men of all faiths who are at least 18 years of age. Freemasonry is a multi-racial and multi-cultural organisation which has attracted men of goodwill from all sectors of the community into its membership. The basic qualifications are that you believe in a "Supreme Being", you are a law-abiding person, your decision to join Freemasonry is made freely, without improper inducement by others, and that you are not joining for personal gain. Freemasonry has always required that men should come to its doors:-
- Entirely of their own free will and accord; not as a result of importunity or idle curiosity, but
- From a favourable opinion of the fraternity
- A genuine desire for knowledge, and
- A sincere wish to be serviceable to one's fellows.
- To live with honour and integrity,
- To be willing to share with and care about others,
- To trust each other, and
- To place ultimate trust in a Supreme Being
If you are interested in obtaining further information on Freemasonry do not hesitate to contact us on our "CONTACT" web page.
- Are you over 18 years old?
- Are you civic minded?
- Do you enjoy the company of other such individuals?
More Fun Facts
Unity Lodge will celebrate its centenary on 16th July 2020. Will you be a member at this time?
50 year jewels.
Unity Lodge presently has four members with fifty year jewels and many with excess of twenty five years service.
Unity Lodge has always maintained a high number of Members on the District Grand Lodge team.
There is nothing in Freemasonry which conflicts with a man's civil, moral or religious duties.