The origin of Freemasonry:
Freemasonry originated from the ancient guilds or associations of operative stonemasons in Europe who were the builders of the great cathedrals in the middle ages.
As time passed other men of good moral character and high standing were accepted as members of these stonemasons guilds or Lodges.
This still applies today and Freemasons continue to reserve the right to elect to membership only men with proven high moral standards.
There are more than 100 Grand Lodges throughout the world today with a membership in excess of 6,000,000.
In Tasmania the first Lodge was founded in 1823, just 20 years after the first settlement of the colony.
The Grand Lodge of Tasmania was constituted in 1890 and consisted of lodges which had previously operated under the constitutions of the Grand Lodges of England, Scotland and Ireland.
A Freemason's Lodge:
Tasmanian Freemasons meet in 77 Lodges spread throughout the State, including King Island.
A Lodge is presided over by a Master who is selected annually by the members. Progression through the various Offices of a Lodge enables members to develop self-confidence and improve speaking skills and promotes qualities of leadership.
Lodge meetings include solemn ritual ceremonies and stimulating lectures which relate to the ancient traditions and principles on which Freemasonry is founded and conclude with enjoyable fellowship over supper.
Social functions which include wives and families are also held and in many instances these activities raise funds for charitable causes.
Freemasons enjoy personal recognition and friendship when they visit Lodges in any part of Tasmania and when travelling interstate and overseas. A wide circle of friends and acquaintances is easily established.
Freemasonry and its principles:
Freemasonry is fundamentally based on Brotherly Love, Relief and Truth which are ethical principles acceptable to all good men. It supports the "Golden Rule" - To do unto others as you would wish them to do unto you.
It teaches each member to act and live in such a way that he will always strive to become a better man, not better than someone else, but better tomorrow than he is today.
The stonemasons' tools and principles of architecture are used in a symbolic way by Freemasons to teach the basic moral truths and impress on members the virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity, Prudence, Fortitude, Temperance and Justice.
Masonic ceremonials form the basis for teaching the Masonic philosophy which leads to a better understanding of the purpose of life and the need for care and concern for others.
Masonic teachings promote personal growth of character, and encourage Freemasons to lead an active life in the community.
People helping people:
Freemasonry teaches concern for others, care for the less fortunate and help for those in trouble, sorrow, need, sickness or any other adversity.
Freemasonry reinforces kindness in the home, honesty in business, courtesy in society and fairness in all things. It flourishes in every free country and is a way of life for men of all nations.
Freemasonry and the family:
Freemasonry instructs its members to hold the family in the highest regard.
Lodges involve families and friends of members in a number of their activities and the welfare of widows and families of deceased members is of particular concern.
Freemasonry and politics:
Discussion of any topic of a political nature is not permitted in Lodges. Freemasons are urged to perform their civic duties according to the laws of the country in which they work or live. The use of membership of the Craft for material benefit is discouraged.
Freemasonry and religion:
Although every meeting is opened and closed with prayer, Freemasonry is not a religion, nor is it a substitute for religion. An essential qualification is the acknowledgement of a Supreme Being. Men of many different faiths are members of the Craft and while each one is encouraged to continue to follow his own religion, discussions of a religious nature are not encouraged in a Lodge.
The Masonic Society:
Masonic Buildings are clearly marked and are listed in street directories. Freemasons involve themselves in a wide range of community activities. Masonic publications are readily available in public libraries and the quarterly magazine "The Tasmanian Mason" is read by members, their families and their friends.
Freemasonry encourages its members to be community minded.
In Tasmania, units, houses and nursing centres have been established to enable the well aged to enjoy independent living and the frail aged to receive assistance.
These facilities are available to non-Masons, as well as Masons.
Widows and others in distressed circumstances are assisted by the provision of financial grants.
A Medical Research Fund has been established to provide for research into diseases of the ageing and further provisions for the aged are planned for the North West Coast.
Individual lodges assist youth.
Qualification for membership:
To be eligible to become a Freemason a man must
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