20 April 2023
It is close to one month since we gathered at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre for the Freemasons Victoria Grand Installation weekend, and I want to stay in touch with members and keep you abreast of what has been happening in my neck of the woods. I hope this is the first of many regular communications.
My first task is to thank everyone who was involved in any way with the Grand Installation, whether it be as a participant, volunteer helper, organiser or guest. I wish to particularly thank Julia Edwards, VWBro. Graham Berry and Grand Secretary RWBro. Bruce Cowie, and the entire FV staff team, for their considerable efforts in making these events such a Masonic and social success.
The Grand Installation is an annual opportunity for us to come together to celebrate our fraternity, and the banquet attended by 600 people was a highlight for Anna and myself. Thank you for the many hundreds of expressions of goodwill, in person and by email, to encourage and support us.
Freemasonry Across Victoria
I am a big believer that the best opportunity to celebrate Freemasonry occurs several hundred times each month across Victoria, at local Lodge meetings. Some Brethren have been around for 80 years or more, and they meet alongside a new breed of Freemason (some newly initiated) who are all eager to participate energetically, to absorb our Craft's many lessons, to socialise and to do good works in the community.
My travels as Grand Master have taken me to an Open Installation at Argyle Lodge at Traralgon, to a street procession for the Maldon Easter Fair, participation at the Mark and Chapter Installations, and Lodge visits such as the Installation of WBro. Neil Cripps at Baxter. Everywhere is the same feeling: after COVID and other upheavals, Freemasons are happily returning in strong numbers to Lodge, working their ritual, enjoying the South, and achieving great things together.
As I write this, preparations are underway for visits to Melton and Garibaldi Lodges, as well as our ANZAC Day observances. The Grand Director of Ceremonies, VWBro. Harry Blatt, will accompany me as invited guests at 9am on ANZAC Day (Tuesday, April 25) to the Vice-Regal Dais at the Shrine of Remembrance, when our wreath will be laid in honour of the fallen and to those who have served. ABC-TV, customarily, broadcasts this solemn service. Lest We Forget.
Bringing Happiness To Others
The month of May sees events such as the historic ‘Hands Across The Border' Meeting at Deniliquin, in a joint effort by Grand Lodges of Victoria, and New South Wales-Australian Capital Territory. I am looking forward to delivering a lecture on ‘Rhetoric' at the Victorian Lodge of Research. The Reconsecration at United Press Lodge will be a highlight. Another event is the Combined Orders Dinner in June at East Melbourne, the first in three years. I hope to visit Sydney in September for the proclamation of their Grand Master, especially given that we were unable to attend their Grand installation because of COVID. Preparations are already underway for a FV delegation to attend the District Grand Lodge of the Middle East Communication in Malaysia in October.
I am grateful to the Deputy Grand Master, RWBro. Peter Henshall, and his wife Sharon, for their robust support. I have enjoyed a friendship of more than 30 years with Peter, and we have worked together on numerous Masonic Committees and Boards. Our leadership partnership is a strong one, and I thank Brethren for extending the same loyalty to Peter that has already been shown to me.
Our Grand Ceremonial Team has been busy, and the Team has a heavy calendar in the months ahead. They work hard and long to bring their high standard of work to Lodges, and they are the envy of many other jurisdictions. I thank each and every one of the Team members for their dedication. They make us proud.
I wish to remind our Brethren of the wonderful opportunity that we have of ‘Bringing Happiness To Others'. This can be in the form of charitable giving to organisations and people, but our benevolence can also be as simple as contacting a Brother or a widow that might not have heard from us since COVID hit. Perhaps your greatest philanthropy this week might be to donate some time to others.
Finally, I wish to express condolences on behalf of our fraternity on the passing of Fr Bob Maguire. I had the privilege of a number of meetings with him over many years, including a recent visit to his Albert Park headquarters, supporting his social work at Broadmeadows (featured on the A Current Affair TV program), and being present for a Freemasons cheque presentation at Sunshine. As a friend of Freemasonry, he often proudly wore a Square and Compasses lapel badge.
Over the coming months, I look forward to seeing as many as possible Brethren and their loved ones across Victoria.
MWBro. Anthony Bucca