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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
No 185
    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.
    To avoid expenses, the new Lodge met quarterly, half an hour before the sitting of District Grand
    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

    On 7 April 2010 the Grand Master approved a change of name for the Lodge to 'The Avon Shirley
    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
    Masonic Centre.
    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.

    On Saturday 13 October 2012 the Grand Master, MW Bro Selwyn Cooper attended the formal laying of
    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.

    On Saturday 11 May 2013 the new Shirley Freemasons Centre was formally Dedicated and opened by
    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.

    The Lodge held its first meeting in the new building on Thursday 13 June 2013 for a Third Degree.
    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
    its Charter).

    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
Past Masters
Past Masters
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
Past Masters
Past Masters
2013 to present