Lodge Cavanbah on the move

The Fletcher Lane Lodge Building

Lodge Cavanbah has held it’s meetings in very few lodge rooms. The initial meetings were held in a building situated at the back of The Great Northern Hotel in Byron Street. The building was owned by Brother McLean (Senior Deacon in 1903) and was leased by him to the lodge from 1903 for 5 years initially at a cost of one pound ($2.00) for the first year and five pounds ($10.00) per year for the following years.

On the 3rd April 1909 the Lodge appointed a sub-committee of Worshipful Brothers Bruce & Buchanan and Brothers Lee, Balmer, Armstong and Hodge to organise purchasing a block of land. At the regular meeting held on the 4th June 1909 the Lodge agreed to a memorandum of agreement to purchase a block of land for fifty five pounds ($110.00) from Mr David Skelton who was the Postmaster at the time. All this resulted on the 2nd July 1909 with the lodge deciding to build a Temple on the block purchased. On that date at the regular meeting of the Lodge Brother Hodge moved that the Lodge take the necessary steps towards the erection of a new Temple. Worshipful Brother Barrington was asked to prepare the plans for a room 30 feet by 60 feet. The plans were duly prepared by Brother Barrington who was at the time an employee of the North Coast Shipping Navigation Company. Tenders were called and the tender of Worshipful Brother W. S. Rays of Bangalow was accepted. The tender price was two hundred and fifty four pounds two shillings and sixpence ($508.25). Application was made to the Grand Lodge for a dispensation to postpone the installation in 1910 to allow it to take place in the new Temple. Just over eight months after the tender was accepted and on the 4th March 1910 the lodge held it’s first meeting in the new Temple, when the District Grand Inspector of Workings Very Worshipful Brother Ewen McKinnon opened an occasional Lodge, dedicated the new Temple, then installed Brother A. M. Williams as Worshipful Master. From that date until the 16th September 1993 the Lodge met in this Temple which was sifliated with the main entrance from Fletcher Lane off Fletcher Street. The back entrance was made from Byron Street. Initially the Temple was the meeting room with a small change room so that the suppers were held either in the small change room or sometimes and more often in the Lodge room. Social evenings and Lady’s nights were also held in the Lodge room, owing to the size of the change room attached. In the 1950’s the lodge levied a percentage of member’s dues to go to a building fund initially for repairs and maintenance and in later years to help in refurbishing and later then in replacing the building. Over the years the amount varied from two shillings and six pence ($0.25) per member per month to in later years in the 1990’s to 20% of lodge dues which equaled $2.00 per member per month. By 1994 this fund had grown to over $40,000.00 which had been boosted by a bequest of $27,000.00 from the estate of a past member Brother Ted Glock.

Fletcher Lane building taken from Byron St 1980's

Fletcher Lane Byron Bay

Fletcher Lane Masonic Lodge from Byron St 1990's

Fletcher Lane Byron Bay 90's

The last regular meeting of Lodge Cavanbah No. 231 to be held in the Fletcher Lane building built in 1910 was on the 16th September 1993. The program for the evening was a lecture delivered by Very Worshipful Brother Graham Man, his subject being " The History of Freemasonry in New South Wales".

It is interesting to note the increase of the value of the land on which the building was erected. From an original cost of fifty-five pounds ($110.00) which value was shown in the Lodge's balance sheets till 1973, the value increased to $6,000.00 in 1978, rising to $33,000.00 in 1983 to $60,000.00 in 1989 and to $90,000 by 1992. One year later in 1993, the block was valued at $350,000.00 which reflected the rises in land values in the central business district taking place.

From the regular meeting in October 1993 till the March meeting in 1994, Lodge Cavanbah held the meetings at the Bangalow Masonic Centre in Station Street, Bangalow. The Lodge was again to meet on the same block of land, purchased in 1909, but in the new Lodge rooms in May 1994 when the installation for that year was held at the first meeting in the 6 Byron Street Lodge room.