Masonic Rooms Lodge Room
Southern Star is the largest and the oldest Lodge in the District of South Island New Zealand. The Lodge tyles at 7.30pm on the fourth Tuesday of each month except December. The installation meeting is in October and it is usual to obtain a dispensation to hold this meeting on the third Saturday. Visitors are welcome.
During 1842 to 1853 four EC Lodges were constituted in New Zealand. They were Pacific(Wellington), Unanimity (Lyttelton), St Augustin (Christchurch) and Southern Star (Nelson). The first three subsequently transferred to the New Zealand constitution but Southern Star has retained its affiliation to the United Grand Lodge of England.
Early beginnings of Southern Star Lodge
In May 1842, only four months after the first immigrants settled in Nelson, a proposal to form a Masonic Lodge led to a meeting of Freemasons at the appropriately named Freemasons Tavern on the corner of Bridge and Trafalgar Street. Nothing positive emerged from that meeting but there is evidence to show that the idea of forming a Masonic Lodge was not forgotten.
One of the principal proponents in the attempts to form a Lodge was Thomas Sullivan who was elected as its first Master, a position he held for two years. He was also an ardent Oddfellow and was responsible for the establishment of that Order in Nelson. It is reported that he and eight other Oddfellows, who were fellow passengers on the Martha Ridgway (621 tons) which arrived in Nelson on the 4th April 1842, met regularly as Oddfellows in the ship’s Long Boat. Captain Richard Scott, Master of the brig Spray, which traded between Nelson and Sydney appears to have acted as an intermediary between the District Grand Lodge of New South Wales and the freemasons in Nelson. Acting under a dispensation from the District Grand Master of New South Wales, Wor Bro Scott presided over the foundation meeting of Southern Star Lodge on 4th October 1853. The following are the complete minutes of that meeting:
“Minutes of the proceedings of the Southern Star Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons held at Nelson New Zealand 4th Day of October 1853. The Lodge was opened in due form with Solemn Prayer. Bro Scott, visitor in the Chair.
The following Officers were installed for the usual time:
Bro Thomas Sullivan – W Master
” Whitehead – Past Master
” George H Brook – Senior Warden
” George H Bush – Junior Warden
” Alexander Aitken – Senior Deacon
” William Wells – Junior Deacon
” John Barrett – Secretary
” James Galloway – Treasurer
‘ Thomas Berry – Tyler”
Bro Hugh Blackmore was also a Foundation Member.
The Lodge Room and Hall in Collingwood Street, Nelson has been owned by Southern Star Lodge Since 1885. The Foundation Stone was laid in October 1885 and the building officially opened on 30th December that year. Over the years there have been numerous additions and alterations but the original building is still used as our Temple room (see photo). The last major addition was an anteroom and the front façade onto Collingwood Street that creates an impression on any one approaching along Selwyn Place.