Aurora Lodge No. 165’s History

The ceremony of laying the cornerstone at 650 Fisgard St Hall – April 22, 1878

cornerstone

The completed Freemason’s Hall after about two more years (circa 1880)

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click on the pictures for a larger picture

In the latter part of 1953, the late Worshipful Brother Ernest MacGinnis contacted many Masons in the Victoria area who were not yet affiliated with any of the existing Lodges and explored with them the possibility of forming a new Masonic Lodge in Victoria. Most of these brethren hailed from Lodges east of the Rocky Mountains. Several informal meetings were held in various places including private homes, and on March 21, 1954, the first organizational meeting was held in the library of the present Masonic Temple, 548 Fisgard St. The twenty four Brethren present represented the following Grand registries: thirteen from Alberta, three from Saskatchewan, two from Manitoba, four from Ontario, and two from British Columbia. The decision from that meeting was to proceed with the formation of a new lodge. Other committees were struck under the chairmanship of Most Worshipful Brother John Martland, and in the following twelve months all of the detailed work necessary for the institution and constitution of a new Lodge was completed.

Northern Lights was the first name proposed, however, on discovering that a Lodge of that name was already on the British Columbia Registry, the name “Aurora” was unanimously adopted. It was further decided to seek space in the Masonic Temple on Fisgard Street for all regular communications. Aurora Lodge continues to meet there to this day.

The Institution Ceremony was held at 8:30 P.M., Saturday, January 29th 1955   with 42 Founder members attending. It was presided over by the District Deputy Grand Master for District # 1. Right Worshipful Brother B. P. Rutter, who presented the Lodge with the Volume of the Sacred Law still in use today. The Constitution Ceremony took place at 8:00 P.M., Wednesday September 28th, 1955. The principal officers’ gavels used at those ceremonies were presented to the Lodge by the Junior Warden, Brother Galbraith, on June 11, 1954. They had been made by his son and are also in use today. Our original Historical Register was presented to the Lodge on June 2, 1956 by Most Worshipful Brother John Martland, the first Worshipful Master of Aurora Lodge.

The first Past Master’s Jewel worn by Right Worshipful Brother Denton Fraine was presented back to the Lodge by his widow which displays a sculpture of the Aurora Borealis in gold.  That Jewel is now exhibited on the inside cover of our working tools box for all brethren to view.

Since its Constitution, Aurora Lodge has been honoured by the appointment of Five District Deputy Grand Masters, one Grand Superintendent of Works, two Grand Marshals, one Grand Standard Bearer and one Grand Pursuivant.

In our 25th year, Worshipful Brother John Kezier presented a gavel and striking block for our fraternal visits to Sequim Lodge # 213 of the Grand Registry of Washington. This gavel is exchanged each year when the lodges pay each other a fraternal visit.

In September 2005 Aurora Lodge celebrated its 50th Anniversary.

The Altar Cloth emblazoned with the Square and Compass that you see on the Altar was presented to the Lodge by Worshipful Brother John Kezier when he served the Lodge as Worshipful Master in 1973/74. At our April 1980 meeting, Right Worshipful Brother Norman Fox presented the Lodge with the set of Bible markers used at all Aurora Lodge meetings to identify the three degrees. In recent years the Lodge has been given two swords which are being used by the Tyler and the Inner Guard. The first sword was presented by Worshipful Brother J. R. Fawcus, it had been used in World War 1 by a Cavalry Major of the Princess Louise Dragoon Guards. The second sword was presented by Very Worshipful Brother Graham D. Thomson, it is a ceremonial sword and was used during the reign of King George V1. Very Worshipful Brother Thomson also made and presented to the Lodge the two ballot boxes used by the Lodge when conducting a ballot to accept a new member.

In June 1998, Ida Merrett, wife of Right Worshipful Brother Jack Merrett, presented the Lodge with its black Charter Drapes that are used to signify that a member has died in the preceding month. In 1994 Right Worshipful Brother David Parker on his official visit to his mother Lodge presented to the Lodge a pictorial album of the past five District Deputy Grand Masters of  Aurora Lodge along with their Masonic biographies. Since these appointments, the Lodge has had the privilege of adding one more District Deputy Grand Master and one more Grand Steward, and a Grand Standard Bearer.

In 2015 Aurora Lodge No. 165 celebrated its 60th anniversary.