Last week, the Plantagenet Lodge members convened for their regular monthly gathering, celebrating a significant milestone – 150 years since the inception of the oldest Freemason chapter in Western Australia. The lodge’s foundation was officially recognized with a warrant issued on September 18, 1873, and its inaugural meeting with the seven original members was held later that December.
For over a century, from 1903 to 2007, the lodge was situated in the Freemason’s Hall, located at the intersection of Earl and Spencer streets, a structure that holds a spot on the State Heritage list. Prior to that, from its establishment in 1873 until 1903, the members met in a more compact two-story hall on the same premises. Since 2007, the Masonic Centre next to the Albany Club on Aberdeen Street has been the venue for meetings of Albany’s three lodges, including the Plantagenet Lodge.
During the recent anniversary gathering, John Halliday, addressing the attendees, which included eight out of the lodge’s 11 members, spoke about the challenges the lodge has faced over the years. He highlighted the societal shifts that have impacted community-centric organizations, making it challenging for them to thrive and serve as they once did. He emphasized the difficulties in recruiting new members, a challenge not unique to Plantagenet Lodge. Despite these challenges, he noted that the lodge remains active and supportive of the Albany community. A testament to this commitment was a recent donation of $2,000 to the Albany community hospice.
Tony Banner, another member, expressed the lodge’s pride in backing commendable causes and emphasized the Freemason’s mission: “Masonic Lodges aim to enhance the virtues of men. This is achieved by imparting and practicing principles and moral values that have ancient roots, spanning over 3000 years.”
Interestingly, the Plantagenet Lodge stands out as one of the mere three lodges in Australia that is based in England.