My Great Grandfather ….

My Great Grandfather ….

… Robert McMurray, was the Grand Master of the Bulawayo Masonic Lodge in Rhodesia in the early 1900’s son, Carl was introduced to the Freemasons by his father in law and is now a Junior Warden

He invited us to a ‘Ladies dinner’ the other evening where the wives, girlfriends and guests can get a ‘peek’ inside the walls of the Freemasons Lodge … this one, in particular, is the Orphic Lodge in Johannesburg …

As the meeting of the Masons was being held – which is behind closed doors – we, as guests, were able to enjoy the beauty of this old building with it’s grand staircase and ornate ballistrade incorporating the Freemasons symbol of the Square and Compass …

We were treated to sherry and port in the Library whilst a couple of the Masons chatted to us about their organisation and giving us an insight into this society which is shrouded in mystery for most people. The photograph below is taken in the Library … there is a beautifully iced cake in a glass case which celebrated the Orphic Lodge’s 100 years in 1995 ..

Along the corridors are paintings of past and present Freemasons, including the Duke of Kent …

… and photographs of past Freemasons, which includes Oscar Wilde and Lord Kitchener …

… and as the Freemason’s business is a benevolent organization there are photographs of presentations of substantial donations to various organizations, including the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund ..

Once the meeting came to a close, we were invited into ‘Lodge Room #1’ which is the main hall and meeting place, and where guests are permitted. There are other such rooms upstairs but they are for members only.

We found it so interesting!! There was a further talk about Freemasonry – what they do, what the symbols are for etc. At last we were given an insight into what the organization is all about!
I now know lots more than I did before!!!!! It’s a fraternity which always appears to be so secretive but as was explained to us, it’s a organization which meetings are held behind closed doors, as is the case with many organizations. As was said “it’s not a secret society, it’s a society with secrets”.
I am not going to go into depth about it all but if anyone is interested, there is a very informative website :

I took photographs after the proceedings in the Hall – the above photo shows the Senior Warden’s table with the smooth ashlar … below is the Junior Warden’s chair and table with the rough ashlar … ie rough edges of a man are smoothed out as he advances to become able to sit in the chair as a Master of the Lodge

Below is the Grand Master’s chair – there was a beautiful Bible on the table while the proceedings were in progress and was whipped away before I get a photo of it!!!

I took this photo on our way out. I have lived in Johannesburg for over 30 years and I have never seen the building!!!! That’s shocking!!! .. but I have never had the need to go down the road that runs in front of it. I must make a point of going during the day so that I can get a better photograph and a photo of the huge heavy door.

Carl asked us to go the Grand Lodge in London when we were there last year – wow – that was an impressive building with a magnificent front door, marble staircase, huge library and very interesting museum. I should do a post about it … I sneeked a few photos inside the museum even though there was ‘no photographs’ notice! Well …. I had to show Carl what it looked like, not so?

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