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|This page updated on
24 September 2013
|Welcome to our Lodge history page
|A Brief History of
The Avon Shirley Lodge No 185
|The Avon Shirley Lodge
Prior to the formation of the District Grand Stewards' Lodge
of Canterbury 2627, English Constitution, it was customary
for the Masters' of the various English Lodges in
Canterbury to suggest the appointment of prominent
members as District Grand Stewards in District Grand
Lodge, and from those suggestions the District Grand
Master appointed six in January each year. Those
appointees who were not Past Masters were precluded
from gaining any higher office in the District Grand Lodge.
It was proposed that if a District Grand Stewards Lodge be
formed, every District Grand Steward would be entitled to
become a member, and when properly constituted and
dedicated, Officers could then be appointed.
On Friday 3 July 1896, a preliminary meeting was held at
Warner's Commercial Hotel, where V W Bro W H Gundry,
District Grand Secretary presided. It was agreed that the
District Grand Stewards Lodge of Canterbury, English
Constitution be formed with Bro W Mitchell-Clark as the
first Master, and Bro B M Moorehouse as Senior Warden,
and Bro W H Woodman as Junior Warden.
Lodge. The inaugural meeting was held on Thursday 16 July 1896 in St Augustine's Masonic Hall,
Manchester Street, Christchurch. This was the same year that Marconi introduced the radio, and X-
Ray was discovered.
On Friday 19 August 1896, it was agreed that the Lodge meet on the first Thursday in the months of
March, June, September and December. The Installations were to be held in September.
District Grand Stewards' Lodge of Canterbury 2627 was established under the English Constitution,
but on 7 November 1907, permission was granted by the Grand Master through the District Grand
Master, for the Lodge to discuss the question of affiliation with the Grand Lodge of New Zealand. At a
regular meeting on 7 July 1910, the following motion was moved: "That a petition be prepared and
presented to the Most Worshipful Grand Master, praying that permission be granted (in terms of
clause 8 of the Articles of Recognition) to discuss the advisability of transfer of allegiance from the
Grand Lodge of England to the Grand Lodge of New Zealand". This motion was carried unanimously.
The matter was discussed at a special meeting on 28 August 1911, and when the change of
allegiance was voted upon, 46 voted in favour with 5 against. The property of the Avon Lodge 2627
was vested in the Master and Senior and Junior Wardens until such time as a Charter be received
from the Grand Lodge of New Zealand.
The next meeting of the Lodge was on 7 September 1911, when the Lodge met as "Avon Lodge"
without a registered number. Sadly, the Lodge received the resignations of 7 brethren, evidently as a
result of the decision to change allegiance. This meeting was attended by the Deputy Grand Master
and Officers of Grand Lodge of New Zealand. It then followed that the brethren of Avon Lodge were
summoned to the floor of the Lodge where the Worshipful Master handed over the Charter No 2627
EC, and the new Charter 185 NZ Constitution was read by the Grand Secretary. There were 140
brethren attending the ceremony.
The Avon Lodge No 185 was pleased to receive back from the Grand Lodge of England its cancelled
Charter, to be kept as a memorial to the Lodge's former connection with the Grand Lodge of England.
proposed in 1904 that the name of the Lodge be changed to "Lodge of Harmony". This was opposed,
and the motion was withdrawn. Later in the same year notice was given that the name be changed
to "Lodge King Edward". Discussion on this proposal spanned several regular meetings, and at one
such meeting, an amendment was proposed to have the name changed to "Otaakro Lodge". Further
amendments were proposed, one being to substitute "Rahiri" for King Edward. The matter was
resolved on 6 July 1905 when the Lodge by-laws were amended, at which time the Most Worshipful
Grand Master confirmed "Henceforth your Lodge will be known as the Avon Lodge 2627". There is no
known record on how this name came to be chosen.
When registered under the Grand Lodge of New Zealand, the Name became "The Avon Lodge No
185". At this time it would appear that "The" was added to the front of the name to distinguish it from
the former "Avon Lodge", as was common for those Lodges keeping their original name, but changing
Lodge No 185' in preparation for the merger with Lodge Shirley No 263.
As previously mentioned, the Lodge had agreed to meet at St Augustine Masonic Hall. In 1914 work
had commenced on the development of a new Masonic Temple in Gloucester Street, and on 2 March
1916 the Avon Lodge held its last meeting at St Augustine Masonic Hall. The first meeting in the new
Gloucester Street Masonic Hall was held on 6 April 1916
In 1993 the Gloucester Street Masonic Hall was sold, so the Avon Lodge temporarily moved to the
Cashmere Masonic Centre, where the first meeting was held on 3 June 1993. A new Masonic Centre
was established at Latimer Square, and the Avon Lodge moved into the new facility for its Installation
on 1 September 1994, although the first regular meeting was not held there until 2 February 1995. In
2002 the Latimer Square Masonic Centre was sold, so the Avon Lodge returned to the Cashmere
After a number of years working from the Cashmere Masonic Centre, the Lodge had an opportunity to
move into a proposed new Masonic Centre that was to be built on the Lodge Shirley site (9 Shirley
Road Christchurch), but after two years of planning and negotiations with developers and the local
Council, plans to proceed were dropped and the project shelved.
Avon Brethren has aways considered the Lodge to be a 'city Lodge' and as such would be located on
the flat. In May 2006, the Cashmere Masonic Hall Committee (of which Avon was a tenant Lodge)
decided to explore options regarding ownership and funding of the building. This gave the Avon
Brethren the catalyst to reconsider their location, and as a result of a Notice of Motion it was
unanimously decided that the Lodge would vacate the Cashmere Masonic Center and move to
Shirley. The first meeting in this new home was held on Thursday 3rd August 2006.
In preparation for the building of the new Shirley Freemasons Centre (on the site of the Shirley Lodge
building), the Lodge (under the new name "The Avon Shirley Lodge No 185") held its last meeting at
Shirley on Thursday 2 December 2010 with the Grand Master in attendance. From October, the Lodge
held its meetings at The New Brighton Freemasons Centre, Collingwood Road New Brighton. This is a
temporary arrangement. The last meeting in New Brighton was Thursday 11 April 2013.
the Foundation Stone for the new Shirley Freemasons Centre, 9 Shirley Road, Christchurch. The day
was marked with the heaviest rain experienced in Christchurch in many years, but regarded as a sign
of prosperity by many. The Avon Shirley Lodge No 185 was the Lodge of Charter for this ceremony.
the Grand Master MW Bro Selwyn Cooper. A well attended ceremony which required the use of the
two Lodge rooms to accommodate the large gathering. Again, The Avon Shirley Lodge No 185 was
the Lodge of Charter for the Dedication.
Charter for the Officers and members of the new Lodge would consist solely of members of the Avon
proposed name was not suitable and after an open vote and process of elimination the name 'Ionic"
was unanimously adopted at the name for the new Lodge. (The Ionic Lodge No 212 has since handed in
The Avon Lodge presented a Tessellated pavement to the Malvern Lodge No 230 in 1929, and a set
of Tracing Boards was presented to Lodge Riccarton No 276.
Since the Avon Lodge joined the Grand Lodge of New Zealand it has retained its own ritual as distinct
from the official New Zealand ritual. The Avon ritual therefore remains unique and the small
differences provide much interest to all. The Avon Lodge is not permitted to change any part of their
ritual, so it continues to be used in its original form, only being modified in the movements on the floor
of the Lodge to match the various Masonic venues.
|For a list of our Lodge
|Our Masonic Venues
Click on the picture to see
a larger version
|1916 to 1993
|1993 to 2002
|2002 to 2006
|2006 to 2010
|2010 to 2013
|For a list of the former
Lodge Shirley No 263
|2013 to present