What is Freemasonry?
Freemasonry is the oldest and largest existing fraternal organisation in the world. With a rich history to draw from, Freemasonry is also a vibrant, modern organisation that has changed with the times.
Freemasonry is a worldwide society that has bought together millions of people in a fraternal manner, of all nations, religions, political beliefs, and all social backgrounds.
It comprises an estimated 5 Million members worldwide with over 9,350 in Victoria. Modern Freemasonry traces its organisation to the 17th Century and proudly preserves the traditions it has inherited from those times. These traditions make Freemasonry unique within the community.
A principled way of life
Freemasonry is a principled way of life, offering a sense of belonging and of personal growth.
The principles by which a Freemason is expected to conduct himself, are based on tolerance, equality, charity and honour. They strive towards spiritual enlightenment, and personal development as a way to moral perfection. Freemasons demonstrate these principles by showing tolerance and respect for the opinions of others, behaving with kindness and understanding and practicing charity and care for their community.
Freemasonry recognizes the richness of all cultural beliefs and excludes no individual from membership on the basis of race, religion or politics. Freemasons are required to profess a belief in a Supreme Being (the specifics of that belief are considered to be a personal matter).
Freemasons pursue their personal development by working towards the betterment of all humanity through widespread community involvement offering support at all levels from local fundraising to international relief efforts.
Freemasons in Victoria have been active in the community for over 170 years and were instrumental in the development of Melbourne. They also established the Royal Freemasons Homes of Victoria in 1867 for the palliative care of the elderly and the Freemasons Hospital in 1937 to care for Freemason members and their families.
Victorian Freemasons Today
Lodges in Victoria
Years Since First Victoria Freemason Lodge Was Founded
At Freemasons Victoria we believe in a community built on true friendship, compassion and honesty.
Our mission is to be a meaningful and relevant organisation in the twenty-first century that empowers Lodges, members and the community by providing leadership, guidance and administrative support systems to ensure the perpetuity of Freemasonry in this State.
Frequently Asked Questions
No. Freemasonry itself does not have a world governing body, each province and area is broken down into independent, wholly self regulating and autonomous territories governed by their own Grand Lodge.
The lodges within Victoria, for example, report to the United Grand Lodge of Victoria. The United Grand Lodge of Victoria however reports to no higher body. These territories are (and in some cases are not) in amity with each other, maintaining correspondence and fraternal relations but in no way are they ultimately accountable to each other.
Furthermore Freemasonry is largely a voluntary institution relying on the generous donation of its member’s spare time. Given the locally independent and voluntary nature of Freemasonry it would be impossible for it to operate any kind of Secret World Government.
Does being a Freemason give you an unfair advantage in business or get you out of trouble with the law?
No. Freemasons are strictly forbidden from using Freemasonry as a tool for social or financial advancement and to do so would be considered contrary to the nature and essence of Freemasonry.
Similarly Freemasons are taught that first and foremost they must be law abiding citizens of the country in which they live and that they must follow the statutes and regulations of that country before any Masonic obligation.
Freemasons believe in the principles of equality and a fair go. To attempt to trade on ones Freemasonry to gain advantage would be considered serious misconduct for a Freemason as it would bring the reputation of Freemasonry itself into disrepute.
A Masonic meeting is conducted along similar lines to any other club. General business is conducted including the presentation previous meetings minutes and the current finances discussed, visitors from other Lodges are welcomed, a lecture may be given or new members introduced to the Lodge in an initiation ceremony and the meeting is generally concluded with a meal and perhaps entertainment.
If you are curious about what goes on in a lodge the simplest thing to do is find out for yourself. Many Masonic meetings, particularly those of Grand Lodge, are open to the public. See our membership section for details of upcoming open nights.
The traditional dress of Freemasonry, the apron, is a recollection of its symbolic beginnings in medieval stonemason’s guilds. Traditionally, medieval masons wore aprons while working in the quarries, cutting and shaping the stonework for their buildings. The apron worn by modern Freemasons is an allusion to this customary story. The apron is predominantly white, symbolising innocence, with decoration to show the wearers progression or office within the organisation.
While membership of the Craft is for men only, women are very active in our wider community, see our Community Gallery to demonstrate the many ways in which women engage in Freemasons Victoria. Additionally there are Orders in the Freemasonry Family that do welcome women members such as the Order of the Eastern Star and Amaranth.
Although the United Grand Lodge of Victoria does not accept female applicants to join traditional Craft Freemasonry there are many activities and groups within Freemasonry that welcome the participation of Women.
Traditional Freemasonry, as offered by the United Grand Lodge of Victoria, offers men in the community an important support structure that breaks down the isolation imposed by expectations placed on modern masculinity. Modern life offers very few emotional support structures for men.
Traditional Craft Freemasonry offers men an environment in which the development of masculinity can be appropriately nurtured, challenged and guided.
No. In general, a religion is defined as a set of strictly codified beliefs regarding the cause, nature and purpose of existence. A religion also generally offers a path to salvation or enlightenment. Freemasonry offers none of these things. Although Freemasonry requires its members to express a belief in a supreme being it at the same time explicitly forbids discussion of the particular details of that belief in the Lodge Room or at Masonic meetings.
Freemasonry is a non-sectarian organisation that encourages tolerance and inter-faith understanding, many are represented amongst Freemasons.
Freemasons persist in the practice of their traditional secrets in a purely symbolic fashion. The communication of these secrets is meant to act as a symbolic test of an applicants honour and trustworthiness. The symbolic keeping of a secret demonstrates to the candidate importance of being a man of integrity who can be trusted to keep his word.
The secrets of Freemasonry are the modes of recognition used by Freemasons. Though there are elements of the ceremonial which are generally not discussed in detail they are by no means secret. Freemasons are sometimes reluctant to discuss these in order to retain an element of surprise for joining members in much the same way as the key points of a movie are not generally discussed in order to avoid spoiling the ending.