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The United Grand Lodge of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory is the main governing body ofFreemasonry within the Australian state of New South Wales that also wholly encloses the Australian Capital Territorycontaining the national capital city, Canberra. It is not the oldest Grand Lodge in Australia, (that distinction being held by the Grand Lodge of South Australia, formed in 1884.) deriving its origin directly from the union in 1888 of the earlier 1845 provincial Grand Lodge under the United Grand Lodge of England and other provincial Grand Lodges.
The Grand Lodge is led by an elected Grand Master, assisted by a Deputy Grand Master and an Assistant Grand Master, with a Grand Team.
The Grand Lodge is further organised into 13 Regions, each led by a Regional Grand Counsellor (RGC), which are in turn organised into various Districts, led by a District Grand Inspector of Workings (DGIW), comprising groups of lodges based on geography. Districts are numbered using the Region number suffixed by a further number, hence District 103 is the 3rd district of Region 10. The geographically smallest is Region 12 Sydney Central and the largest is Region 13 Far West. There are no Region or District offices. Lodges meet in various buildings, ranging from individual lodge buildings to major city or urban centres, such as in Canberra.
A Military Lodge sitting under Warrant No.1780, by then having admitted a number of civilians to membership, became Sydney No.l, formed with 39 brethren on 13 April 1845, the first Wor. Master Bro. Richard McGuffin and his Officers, being installed by Bro. Alexander. No.l, operated in Sydney until its closure in 1968.
The first Grand Lodge was opened in Sydney in 1845, Bro. Robert Barr being the first Grand Master, and Bro. Andrew Alexander, the Deputy Grand Master. Bro. Alexander was the Grand Master the following year. The institution grew and prospered; No.2 Lodge was opened in 1845, No.3, No.4, and No.5 (in Kiama on the New South Wales South Coast) in 1846, No.6 and No.8 in 1847, No.7 in 1850.
On 16 August 1888, after considerable consultation, the Masters and Wardens of the one hundred and eighty-three lodges assembled, the articles of union were again adopted, and the ” United Grand Lodge of New South Wales ” declared to be duly constituted and established. The first Grand Master was Lord Carrington,Governor of New South Wales.
Notable Grand Masters
Notable Grand Masters include:
- 1st, The Baron Carrington (1888-1891)
- 2nd, The Earl of Jersey (1891-1893)
- 3rd, Sir Robert Duff (1893-1895)
- 4th, Sir Joseph Palmer Abbott (1895-1899)
- 6th, Sir Harry Rawson (1905-1909)
- 8th, The Baron Chelmsford (1910-1913)
- 12th, The Baron Stonehaven (1928-1930)
- 15th, The Baron Gowrie (1935-1944)
- 20th, Sir John Northcott (1952-1955)
- 28th, Harold Coates (1980-1985)
- 34th, Tony Lauer (2002-2005)
The Grand Lodge’s official charities are:
- Masonic Youth Welfare Fund
- The Whiddon Group – aged care facilities
- Royal Freemasons’ Benevolent Institution – residential care and independent living accommodation