Portland Lodge of Victoria

Contact the Lodge

  • Address: 157 Percy Street Portland VIC
  • Contact: WBro. CWE. (Bill) Sutterby, PJGD
  • ph: 0407 040 030
  • e: [email protected]
  • Lodge Number: 6

Meeting Times

  • Meeting -3rd Thursday of the month at 7:30pm
  • Rehearsal -1st & 2nd Thursday
  • Installation – 4th Saturday in October

About The Lodge

There were Freemasons amongst Portland's early settlers, and on 19 February 1843 a meeting was convened and a decision taken “to call a meeting by public advertisement of all Masonic brethren in order to take the necessary steps for the establishment of a Lodge.”

Progress was slow but in September 1849 a dispensation was granted by the Provincial Grand Master in Sydney to form a Lodge under the Grand Lodge of England. The warrant, dated 19 June 1850, duly arrived from England with the loyal designation “Portland Lodge of Victoria No. 841 English Constitution.”

This was to honour Queen Victoria as Portland was then still part of the Colony of NSW. In 1863 the Grand Lodge of England renumbered lodges world-wide and Portland became No. 546. In 1889, with Victoria now a State, the four Constitutions existing in Victoria – English, Scottish, Irish and Victorian – amalgamated and became the United Grand Lodge of Victoria under which Portland became No 6.

Originally they met at rented premises, then in 1876 built their own fine bluestone building. Seemingly they were not good money managers and in 1888 sold their property to the Baptist Church – still there in 2012. The Lodge then returned to meeting at various other premises.

In 1905 wise heads prevailed and the brethren purchased the Victoria Hotel, where they remain to this day. Alterations were made, the Ballroom became the Lodge Room and a caretaker's residence created. In 1932 the building was architecturally redesigned. The old weatherboard section was demolished, a new Lodge Room, foyer, kitchen and central corridor created, all constructed in red brick with the former bluestone Lodge Room ex Ball Room – 1855 – becoming today's carpeted Supper Room. In recent years improvements have continued in kitchen and toilet sections with the latest being air-conditioning in the Lodge Room and Supper Room.

Worshipful Brother J.P.Donald was initiated in July 1923, became the Organist and regularly drove in a buggy and horses over 40 miles of rough roads to attend Lodge. Apparently meetings in those days were lengthy and this was possibly accounted for by the fact that some Brethren travelled considerable distances, from as far away as Strathdownie and Balmoral. It is easily realised that with the method of transport in those times it would mean a journey of probably two days to get to Portland to attend Lodge.

Brother Philip Theisinger was initiated as a serving brother and served as Tyler for 44 years during which period he was absent from only three meetings. Worshipful Brother Rev Canon Coupe was on the committee instructing the architects for the alterations in 1932. It was his idea to situate the nine wall lights – three south, three west, three north – to form the “Hollow Square” – a symbol of Freemasonry peculiar to the Installation Ceremony. It was also his idea that this should be diffused lighting so that no man casts a shadow on any other in the Lodge Room.

The Tracing Boards in Portland are unique in the world. They were hand painted in oils on leather panels, beautifully executed by Miss Sarah Day in 1911 and are copied in minutest detail from a set of old portable English Constitution Tracing Boards which are still in the possession of the Lodge.

In 1974 a committee of Brethren began fundraising for the construction of a unit at the former Lewis Court Home for The Aged. This object achieved, they turned their efforts to supporting many and varied organisations and charities in the Portland area. The Portland Masonic Community Projects Committee continues to raise money and make donations, the total presently in excess of $120,000.00.