History

Witwatersrand Lodge was consecrated on 1 May 1915, but came into existence as the Transvaal Masters' Lodge, No. 3745 in the District Grand Lodge of Transvaal under the United Grand Lodge of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of England.

The membership of the Transvaal Masters' Lodge was, at that time, restricted to those brethren that had passed through the Master's chair and was experimentally founded on the same principles adopted by many Masonic Provinces in England and especially in London at the time.

This was the first effort to form an Installed Masters lodge in the Transvaal District and came in 1914 when a petition for such a lodge was signed by 36 Past Masters, including the District Grand Master at the time, R.W. Bro. Charles Aburrow, his Deputy District Grand Master W. Bro. Joseph Waldie Peirson and many other senior brethren.

The primary functions of the Lodge were to deal with questions of principal importance regarding the Ritual and Regulations governing the Masonic Craft and to read papers and deliver lectures relating to Craft matters in general.


The first officers of the lodge were:


MasterRt Wor Bro C. AburrowDGM
Immediate Past MasterW. Bro J Emrys EvansPDGW; DPBGP
ChaplainRev W. WoolfDGChap
TreasurerCM PolmearPDGD
SecretaryFB ReesDGSec
Senior WardenJ. Waldie PeirsonPGD(Eng) DDGM
Junior WardenFR RaynerPDG Treas
Senior DeaconA GriffithsPDGW
Junior DeaconANS GoldbergPDGW
Director of CeremoniesEE WellbelovedPDGW
AlmonerB LichteimDSGD
Assistant Director of CeremoniesHMA EslickPDDGStB; ED, SA
OrganistWB NicholilsDGP
Assistant SecretaryJT ClarkePDGP
Inner GuardPM DruceDJGW
StewardJG BevanPDDGDC
StewardDr EJ NixonPDGW
StewardJ HeymanPDGSdB
TylerHW Simpkins 

The Transvaal Masters' Lodge thrived initially and by 31 December 1915 the membership has grown to 93. By 1941 six District Grand Masters had passed through the chair of the lodge.

The experiment of forming a Lodge comprising exclusively of Past Masters was however not a success and active interest gradually waned.

In 1949 an application was made to the Grand Lodge of England for the Lodge to function as an 'ordinary' lodge.  Following this application the Lodge's Charter was successfully endorsed to enable it to change its name to Witwatersrand Lodge but to retain the same lodge number and to confer the three degrees of Craft Masonry.

In 1952 W. Bro. Leslie Walter Wheal passed through the chair of Witwatersrand Lodge. In 1968 when he was installed as District Grand Master, he became the seventh to have passed through the chair of the now Witwatersrand Lodge and clearly established a District record.


His illustrious predecessors were:


R.W. Bro. Charles AburrowD.G.M. Transvaal District1905 - 1922
R.W. Bro. Joseph Waldie PeirsonD.G.M. Transvaal District1922 - 1924
R.W. Bro. Stanley Edward UniteD.G.M. Japan1923 - 1931
R.W. Bro. George Samuel Burt AndrewsD.G.M. Transvaal District1924 - 1937
R.W. Bro. Charles Maple-PolmearD.G.M. Transvaal District1937 - 1939
R.W. Bro. Wilfred Henry HulbertD.G.M. Transvaal District1939 - 1942

In the early years the lodge met at the Masonic Hall situated at the corner of Rissik and Main Streets in Johannesburg. This was the first Masonic Hall in Johannesburg, built in 1887 and dedicated on 14 August 1988.

The lodge moved to the Masonic Hall in Kerk Street shortly after construction in 1937 and then followed District to Freemasons' Hall at No. 6 Park Lane, Parktown (dedicated in 1957), where it continues to meet and hold its festive boards at present.

From its distinguished beginning with rather restrictive membership qualifications, Witwatersrand Lodge has evolved into a multicultural organisation with members from all major religious denominations. Having enjoyed various levels of membership and support through the years, the lodge experienced its leanest period during the late seventies and early eighties. This has however been followed by a period of renewed interest and enthusiasm that has resulted in a constant flow of new candidates and joining members, attracted in a measure by the diverse and special interests of the lodge.

At present, Witwatersrand Lodge has regained a position of strength and comprises of members from varied academic and business backgrounds and with equally assorted interests. These special interests include a balanced involvement in outdoor, academic, research, charitable and festive activities. The outdoor interests include hiking, hunting, fishing, birding and 4x4-ing, while support of the Masonic Library at Park Lane, the Lyceum Lodge of Research and regular contribution to and publication of the 'Masonry in Action' newsletter represents a suggestion of the involvement some of our members have in Masonic academic and research activities.

Witwatersrand Lodge is a regular supporter and contributor to numerous charities, especially children's charities, including Casa Caritas and The Salvation Army, amongst others.

The organisation of regular Wine and Whisky Tasting (and drinking), Theatre and 'Rock 'n Roll' Pub Evenings and a Monthly Pub Lunch, reflects our cultural and culinary preferences.

The members of Witwatersrand Lodge meet on a regular basis to conduct their Masonic business; actively and enthusiastically participate in Masonic ritual and custom; and are frequent visitors to and participants in the workings of other lodges. In turn, the lodge commonly enjoys reciprocity from those lodges and by so-doing develops and strengthens Masonic bonds of friendship. The lodge is a dining lodge and congregates for its festive board at Park Lane, immediately after each meeting. These are convivial events that incorporate good company, good spirit and good fun combined with the appropriate sincerity and decorum required of these gatherings.

In essence, Witwatersrand Lodge today is a fraternal society of like-minded men who are serious in lodge and equally serious at play and at festive boards.

At present Witwatersrand Lodge has 27 subscribing members.