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A Masonic Hall, also referred to as Freemasons’ Hall or Masonic Temple, is the building in which meetings of a Masonic Lodge are held. The foundation stones of these halls are usually dated in the Masonic date system Anno Lucis which is Latin for “Year of Light” which adds 4000 years to our date system.
The majority of lodges in Johannesburg are of the English Constitution, but there is co-operation between all the different constitutions so that many of the existing buildings are either co-owned, or by some financial arrangement shared. In Johannesburg, English, Scottish, Irish, and Netherlands lodges co-exist. Current lists of the various lodges under the different constitutions appear at the end of this piece with additional history provided for each the English lodges.
Also included is information on a number of early Johannesburg Loyal Orange Lodges, Grand Royal Back Chapter of Ireland and International order of Oddfellows whose histories are all intertwined, even though they are no longer present in the country (so far as I can tell).
Before I continue, I want to highlight that my interest in this subject was initially limited to the tracking down and research of the original buildings from an historical and heritage point of view. I’ve provided much more information that I intended, but felt it was necessary to cover all the aspects. Much like Masonry, the information came in degrees. As soon as I thought I was finished, additional information surfaced. I have no doubt that there will be corrections and additions.
What I’ve presented is only the tip of the iceberg. Check out the books in the bibliography at the end of the piece or, do some adventurous Google searching. Be warned though, it’s a rabbit hole…
Also, for the record, I am not a Freemason or connected to Freemasonry in any way.
Roots of Freemasonry
“Freemasonry is a society of men concerned with moral and spiritual values. It’s members are taught its precepts by a series of ritual dramas, which follow ancient forms and use stonemasons’ customs and tools as allegorical guides”
According to a talk I attended given at Freemasons Hall in 2018, the symbols, degrees and rituals date back to medieval times and are centered around stone masons and their craft – like a ranking system – with Master Mason being the desired rank. When moving around looking for work, the degrees would let other masons know your skill level. The first members of the order were employed in the construction of King Solomon’s Temple.
The most common Masonic symbol, the square and compass, relates to stone masonry, building and science.
Later, non-stone masons were admitted, and various types of lodges started and expanded in England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Holland and Germany. These in turn spread around the world as the countries expanded their territories in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Today, Freemasons’ lodges are similar to a gentleman’s club where men gather regularly with the main purpose of raising money for charity and the betterment of society. The secrecy of the Mason’s has been a source of much misunderstanding, speculation and conspiracy theories over its history. Any search on Freemasonry on the internet brings up equal amount on the good as well as the crackpot negative. My brief contact with Masonry has only highlighted the positive and charitable side.
Brief History of Freemasonry in South Africa
The Grand East of the Netherlands was the first to exercise jurisdiction in South Africa with the formation of Lodge De Goede Hoop No.12 on 1 September 1772 in Cape Town (It is listed as Lodge No.1 on the register of the Grand Lodge of south Africa). The lodge was designed by French Freemason Louis Michel Thibault while in the service of the Dutch East India Company. It was designed in 1801 and the building was consecrated on 7th July 1803. Other buildings were used prior to the new lodge. It still stands today.
The English Grand Lodge assumed authority in South Africa in 1811 forming the first English Lodge in the Cape: British Lodge, followed by the Scottish in 1860 (Southern Cross in Capetown) and the Irish (Abercorn in Johannesburg) in 1896.
These lodges shared common authority on all masonic matters in South Africa and Rhodesia until the formation of the Grand Lodge of Southern Africa in 1961, which absorbed the majority of the Dutch lodges. This set-up was unique in the Masonic world and the lodges worked together in relative harmony. Lodges spread from Cape Town and Durban and over time into the interior of the country. Each new lodge had to be sponsored by an existing lodge thereby providing a hereditary link. This practice still exists today.
A point of interest: during the Nazi occupation of Europe, Freemasonry was virtually destroyed. This included 34 `European Grand Lodges with 2713 lodges and a total membership in excess of 235 356 were eliminated.
Freemasonry in Johannesburg to the 1950s
The first lodge in the Transvaal was the Transvaal Lodge No.1747 and had its first master, John Keith, installed on 13 June 1878. The first premises where on the corner of Andries and Vermuelen Streets in Pretoria in 1880. This lodge petitioned for new lodges in Johannesburg and the rest of the Transvaal with Bro. John Keith considered the father of English masonry in the Transvaal.
Twelve English lodges constituted the district in 1895 with five of them based in Johannesburg. These were Johannesburg Lodge No.2313, Goldfields Lodge No.2478, Boksburg Lodge No.2480, Jeppestown Lodge No.2481 and Germiston Lodge No.2489.
Scottish Lodge Golden Thistle was warranted in September 1887 and held its first meeting in November 1887. It’s considered to be the first lodge in the mining camp because English lodges could only be warranted in countries or regions that formed part of the British Colony. While special permission was being obtained for this, the Scottish lodge took advantage. Dutch masons formed their first lodge known as Star of the Rand No.15 in January 1889. *See Rodney Grosskopff’s version of the story at the end of the piece
The District Grand Lodge was established in 1895. It’s headquarters were the Masonic Temple in Jeppe Street.
The Jameson Raid in early 1896 put freemasonry on hold. Lodges were put into recess for three weeks from 31 December 1895. Several masons involved with the raid where arrested, among them American mining engineer John Hayes Hammond from Goldfields Lodge and George Richards, the recently appointed District Grand Master, who would rule mostly from London until architect Charles Aburrow took over in 1905.
Between the end of the unsuccessful raid in January 1896 and the start of the Anglo Boer War on 12 October 1899, several new lodges were started in Johannesburg: Roodepoort Lodge No. 2539, Doornfontein Lodge No.2585, Prosperity Lodge No.2607, Coalfields Lodge No.2653, Fordsburg Lodge No.2718, Corona Lodge No.2731, Clifton Lodge No. 2748, Kosmos Lodge No.2768, and the last lodge before the war, Vernon Lodge No.2774. For every one new lodge in the Transvaal, two were started in Johannesburg. At the start of the war, there were 25 English Lodges in the Transvaal. All went into recess until after the war except for district meeting on 1 February 1901 to pay respects to the late Queen Victoria (Grand patron of the order). At the end of February 1901, special permission was given to both Corona Lodge No.2731 and Johannesburg Lodge No.2313 to resume workings.
14 new lodges were started in Johannesburg between the end of the war and formation of the Union of South Africa in1910. These were: Columbia Lodge No.2900, Richmond Lodge No.3045, Hillbrow Lodge No.3046, Civil Service Lodge No.3118, Outpost Lodge No.3132, Norwood Lodge No.3149, Benoni Lodge No.3157, Denver Lodge No.3167, Arts Lodge No.3203, Temperance Lodge No.3215, Ionic Lodge No.3235, Emrys Lodge No.3259, Acacia Lodge No.3260 and lastly, Apollo Lodge No.3437.
Vereeniging Peace Lodge No. 3461 was the first lodge consecrated within the Union of South Africa on 3 December 1910.
Between the start of Union and the outbreak of WW1, four new lodges were formed in Johannesburg: Lodge Cornwall No.3490, Phoenix Lodge No.3602, Sachenwald Lodge re-named Woodlands Lodge No.3668 and the last before the war, Transvaal Masters Lodge re-named Witwatersrand Lodge No.3745.
Between the end of WW1 and the outbreak of WW2, six more Johannesburg lodges came into being: Victory Lodge No.4157, Bohemian Lodge No.4475, Kensington Lodge No.4893, Minerva Lodge No.4986, Springs Lodge No.5699 and Travellers Lodge No.5820.
Only Orphic Lodge No.5949 was formed during WW2. Thereafter came Transvaal Jubilee Lodge No.6143 in 1945 followed by another 11 lodges formed in the 1950s. See the full Lodge lists at the end with start dates.
Buildings (in order of erection)
Masonic Temple (First) Rissik & Main Street 1887 (Demolished c1920s)
The foundation Stone was laid on 21 September 1887 by Mining Commissioner Captain Carl Von Brandis (who became a Dutch mason). The building was built on two stands on the north-west corner of Risk and Main Streets and was 50 ft long, 25 ft wide and 18 ft high and the ceiling was painted a sky blue, bespoke with gilded stars. The temple was shared by the various constitutions with the Scottish lodge Golden Thistle (1887) being the first to use the building along with Dutch lodge Star of the Rand No.15 (1888) and the English Johannesburg Lodge No.2313.
The building was sold in 1896 and demolished in the 1920s.
Jeppestown Masonic Temple, Hans Street 1893 (Extant)
Designed by Franke Goode and built by Jeppestown Lodge No.2481. A source indicated that the Ford & Jeppestown Estate Company donated stand No.40 for the building. This doesn’t tie up with Pritchard’s stand map of Johannesburg. Stand No.40, while still in Hans Street, is in the oddly named North Doornfontein, which was close to mining operations south of the suburb. It turned out to be stand No.401.
Initially, a listing of the plans indicated that the building dated to 30 July 1896. An often quoted extract from the ‘Director’s Report for the year ending 31 March 1894’ taken from ‘The S.A. Financial Record’ 12 May 1894, notes that a Masonic Temple was one of the 421 buildings in Jeppe at the time. A further clue that backs up the 1893 date is in the history of Jeppestown Lodge No.2481 which states the building was completed by June 1893, two months before it was consecrated (the consecration date is listed as 26 August 1893). Jeppestown Lodge No.2481 was granted its warrant on 17th May 1893 along with two other lodges, and was the first to be constituted of the three. The final proof are copies of the building plan and application dated 20 March 1893. This makes the building one of the top 10 oldest in Johannesburg excluding the farmhouses.
Check out the Heritage Portal ‘Oldest buildings’ piece by Lucille Davies HERE
The site back then, still mostly rural, was full of blue gum trees that had to be cleared prior to construction. Many of the early members lived nearby. In 1977, it was the oldest Masonic temple of the of the English Constitution still operating in the district. It was sold around the same time for R19 000 to the District Grand Mark Lodge of South Africa who refurbished the building. Usage by other lodges were not at the level hoped for (presumably due to the decline of the area), so the building was sold in 1991 and proceedings moved to Kensington. Although modified from the original, it is the oldest surviving building with Masonic connections in Johannesburg.
Modifications include extensions to the width of the building that match the back portion of the original plan. This can be seen by the extra ceiling sections on either side of the pressed steel ceilings inside. The entrance was also moved to Hans Street and a facade added. Only the original pressed steel ceiling remains in the interior, although this may have been added later as the early interior photo shows a wooden slat ceiling. I’m told these predate pressed steel. The building is now used by The Blood of Jesus Family Church.
Freemasons Hall Jeppe Street between Von Wielligh & Delvers Streets 1895 (Demolished)
Designed by Frederick George Green 1894 with the foundation stone laid in June 1894. The hall, completed after the establishment of the District Grand Lodge in 1895, was its HQ for many years until replaced by the new Masonic Arts Building in Kerk Street. The lodge room ceiling was painted by an Italian artist. The opening ceremony took place on 30 April 1895 where a procession of masons in full regalia along with a choir of ladies in white dresses and blue sashes marched to the site. The oldest lodge in the district, Transvaal Lodge No.1747 was honoured by the proceedings. W Bro. G. Richards was installed as the first District Grand Master.
The hall was used by or attended by Gandhi on several occasions: a lecture on Hinduism on 18 August 1903, a banquet on 18 February 1910 for Rev. Joseph Doke, a banquet on 31 October 1912 for Indian statesman G. K. Gokhale and Gandhi’s own farewell banquet on 14 July 1914.
The building was demolished in 1940.
Boksburg Lodge (First) 1895 (Demolished)
The foundation stone was laid on 9 March 1895 by Bro. J. F. Ziervogel with the first masonic ceremony conducted in the completed building in October 1895. The building was sold in 1970 and demolished later.
Masonic Temple Meyer Street Germiston 1896 (Unknown)
The hall was ready for use in June 1896. The property was developed over the years by adding five cottages for use by other lodges. It was used by Germiston Lodge until 1967 when ‘Temple Sinai’ was purchased and developed. Another source lists a S. V. Mann pre-1910 masonic building in Meyer Street. There is an abandoned Masonic Hall in Victoria Street Germiston that is dated 1906 which may be connected.
Masonic Temple (Second) 1896/7 80 Plein Street (Demolished)
Designed by Reid & Williams, it also catered to Netherlands & Scottish Lodges. The foundation stone was laid on 5 November 1896 by Bro H. F. E. Pistorius. The building was demolished in the late 1960s/early 1970s.
Gandhi gave four lectures on religious tolerance at the temple in 1905.
Modderfontein Masonic Hall also known as Phoenix Masonic Lodge 1897 (Unknown)
Located in Holland Village in Modderfontein, it appears that the building pre-dated the lodge by 15 years. The building was re-dedicated as a Masonic Hall on 24 November 1990 by Phoenix Lodge No.3602, although the stone (below) was never installed.
Fordsburg Masonic Hall 38 Central Road c1898 (Demolished)
The hall was sold in 1966 and a block of flats, SonBro Mansion, built in its place in the early 1970s. No photos of the hall have been found.
Corona Lodge – O’Reilly Road Berea 1902 (Extant)
Attributed to J. A. Cope Christie but document at Freemasons Hall states Aburrow & Treeby were architects. Foundation stone was laid on 1st November 1902 by Samuel Sykes (director of Ceremonies), Duke of Connaugt and Strathearn (Grand Master of United Grand Lodge of England) and George Richards (District Grand Master of Transvaal). The building was completed in October 1903. C. L. Andersson, owner of the Parktown mansion Dolobran, was an officer of the lodge.
Masonic Hall Claim Street 1904 and used from 1919 – 1933 (Extant)
This was originally the Old German Club (Liederkrans Club) built in 1904 and designed by Theophile Schaerer. The District Grand Lodge purchased the building in July 1920 for ten thousand four hundred Pounds. The building was used by various organisations after WW1 including several Masonic Lodges up until 1933 which ties into the opening of a new Masonic Arts Building in Kerk Street. The hall was sold in 1935 to a Jewish Reform Organisation.
Masonic Temple Norwood, corner Fanny & Arthur Road 1904 (Extant)
First meeting held on 26 December 1906. The building was renovated in 1910 and again extensively in 1972.
Springs Masonic Centre, corner 1st Ave and 7th Street 1905 (Extant)
Built as Masonic Temple Springs, the first use of the building was in June 1905. A fire in 1913 damaged the building and contents, including the original lodge warrant. Alterations were made in 1981/2.
Masonic Temple Hunter Street Bellevue c1905 (Unknown)
The initial address appears to be a block of flats now. A house on the opposite corner, thought to be linked to Jewish learning, may also be linked to Masons – all unverified at this point. The date is based on consecration dates of Outpost Lodge No.3132 and Norwood Lodge No.3149 which took place at the temple. Bellevue was then considered a separate township from Johannesburg.
Scotia Lodge/Masonic Temple Clifton Juta & Harrison Streets 1906 (Demolished)
May & Christie were the architects. Although built by Scotia Lodge of the Scottish Constitution, the building was used by various lodges.
1st Masonic Hall Benoni 1906.
No further info or photos
Acacia Masonic Temple, 52 Fourth Street Boksburg 1907 (Extant)
The building was renovated in 1963.
Masonic Temple, 12 Mars Street Denver 1907 (Extant)
The building was ready for use in June 1907 but build of poorly vitrified bricks and on relatively low foundations which caused problems and some financial strain on the lodge, who moved out only in 1999 due to the decline of the area.
Oddfellows Hall Tramway Street Turffontein c1910 (Extant)
A separate organisation to Freemasons but similar in values. Confirmed at 59 Tramway Street and built sometime between 1910 and 1914.
Oddfellows Hall Jeppestown Commissioner Street c1910 unverified (Extant)
As above but in Commissioner Street. The building is currently used as a church and was previously part of the Salvation Army.
Masonic Temple, cnr Queen and Cavendish Street Brakpan c1913 (Extant)
Designed by Thomas Gordon Ellis.
Masonic Lodge Denver Scottish Constitution 31st Street c1913 (Extant)
Originally built by Scottish masons, the building is now used by a law firm.
Masonic Hall 40 2nd Ave Parktown North, 1919 (Demolished)
Designed by Joseph Lockwood Hall. The hall was substantially extended in the early 1950s and demolished in the mid 2000s. The site is now a low-rise suburban apartment complex. No photos have been found.
Kensington Masonic Hall Roberts Ave c1920 (Extant)
Kensington Hall was originally built as a lodge but is used by various organisations as well as the community.
2nd Masonic Hall Benoni in Ampthill Ave 1921 (Demolished but unverified)
Sold to a mineworkers fund in 1981 and possibly demolished.
Masonic Arts Building 111 Kerk Street (District Grand Lodge TVL E. C.) 1937 (Demolished)
Talk as early as 1909 suggested the need for a new district building. WW1, other divisive forces and cash flow delayed the build.
Bro. Joseph Lockwood Hall designed the new building and the foundation stone was laid 9th May 1936 by District Grand Master G. S. Burt Andrews and consecrated by him on 24 April 1937. Features of the new building included a library with writing accommodation. Almost immediately after opening, additional adjacent land had to be purchased for an extension. Nothing was done until after WW2 but it was found that the building could not accommodate extra floors, so hopes of extending the building were crushed. Fortunately, an offer was made for the building and ground was purchased near Clarendon Circle after land in bordered by Nugget, Hancock and Banket Streets was not approved. When HQ moved to new Freemasons Hall in Parktown in the 1950s, the old building was used for commercial purposes. Ground floors became shops and upper floors were used for warehousing until it demolished in the 1970s or 80s.
Freemasons Hall Parktown 6 Park Lane Ave 1954 (Extant)
Designed by Gordon Leith and also listed as Goldfields District Grand Lodge. It was built with the proceeds of the the sale of the Masonic Arts Building and other money collected over several years for a new district lodge. The land was acquired in 1947 and building commenced after the laying of the foundation stone on 14 February 1954 by R. W. Bro Maj-Gen Sir Allan Aldair, Assistant Grand Master. The Kerk Street temple was being used while the new hall was under construction. Additional money was raised for the completion of the building via a Jubilee Memorial Fund.
The first meeting at the new lodge took place on 1 May 1957, three days after the building was dedicated.
Orange Grove Grand Lodge Centre 13th Street NO DATES (Extant)
Designed by D. Macdonald Sinclair. Includes Grand Lodge 69 & 75 and hall (Golden City No. 75 & Alpha No.89)
Central East Rand Temple, 66 Jubilee Road Boksburg South 1976 (Extant)
Some lodge history (Emulation) states it was finished in 1984.
Southern Masonic Centre 27 Glen Sands Ave, Rewlatch NO DATES (Extant)
Previously a Dutch Reform Church. Rodney Grosskopff was responsible for the architectural alterations.
Mount Sinai – 60-62 Haley Ave, Parkhill Gardens, Germiston NO DATES (Extant)
Existed as a building prior to being purchased.
Kenilworth Masonic Hall, 147 Fraser Street Kenilworth NO DATES (Extant)
Council owned hall now owned by Salvation Army. The building was in use in the 1920s
Masonic Hall Kenilworth Main Street. NO DATES (Unknown)
Mentioned in relation to Rosettenville Synagogue. May also be the site of Alpha Crucis Masonic Hall listed as Main Street Rosettenville. All unverified.
Masonic Hall Kempton Park NO DATES (Unknown)
Possibly one of the two buildings in this photo but unverified c1980s.
English Lodges in Johannesburg
Acacia Lodge No.3260 named in 1907 – Masonic Temple Boksburg (now Boksburg North Masonic Centre 52 4th Str)
Sponsored by Boksburg Lodge No.2480 and consecrated on 13 November 1907. Renovations done to building in 1963 after partnership with East Rand Scots Lodge (SC).
Alchemy Lodge No.7956 named in 1963 – Freemasons Hall Park Lane.
Members were mainly pharmacists and pharmaceutical community. Consecrated on 10 February 1974
Amity Lodge No.8135 named in 1966 – Freemasons Hall Park Lane ERASED 2011 due to decreased membership
Apollo Lodge No.3437 named in 1910 – Freemasons Hall Jeppe Str (1910-1913), Grand National Hotel (1913), Freemasons Hall Plein Str (1914-1922), Masonic Hall claim Str (1922-1938), Masonic Hall Kerk Str (1938-1958), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1958-present).
The last lodge of the English Constitution to be consecrated in the Transvaal Colony (prior to the Union of South Africa on 1 Just 1910), it drew members mainly from teaching fraternity, especially WITS Technical College. The WM for 1944/5 was Alec McPhail, founder of the largest coal distributers in South Africa – MacPhail’s, whose headquarters were once on the corner of Loveday & Marshall Street in the Marshdale Building, of which only the corner of the building remains. Another important member was W Bro. Raymond Dart who was the discoverer of the Taungs skull.
Arts Lodge No.3203 named in 1906 – Masonic Temple South Africa (1906-1909), Corona Temple (1909-1914), Masonic Temple Plein Str (1914-1937) ERASED 1937 due to decreased membership.
Aviation Lodge No.8471 named in 1972 – Freemasons Hall Park Lane.
This lodge admits ‘only those persons who have acted officially as qualified air crew’ as members.
Baden-Powell Lodge No.9370 named in 1990 – Freemasons Hall 2nd Ave Parktown North (1990-1997), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1997-present).
Mainly for members of the scouting movement. Lord Baden-Powell – the founder of the Scouts movement was not a freemason.
Benoni Lodge No.3157 named in 1905 – Masonic Hall Benoni (1905-1921), New Masonic Hall Benoni Ampthill Ave (1921-1981), Rynfield (1981-1984) Central East Rand Temple 66 Jubilee Rd (1984-present).
Consecrated on 16 November 1905. Sponsored by Coalfields Lodge No.2653, it drew members from staff of surrounding mines and businesses. The original hall (location unknown due to loss of early records) was replaced in 1921 in partnership with the Scottish Benoni Kilwinning Lodge No.903 SC which was then sold to mine’s pension fund in 1981.
Bohemian Lodge No.4475 named in 1922 – Freemasons Hall Claim Str (1922-1938), Freemasons Hall Kerk Str (1938-1964), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1964-1981), Kensington Hall (1981), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1982-present).
Consecrated on 4th December 1922, members came mainly from the entertainment profession. It was the first ‘daylight’ lodge in the Transvaal as members worked in the evening. There were often more visitors than there were meeting attendees. Membership thinned after WW2 as did the theatrical connection. In 1962 it switched back to evening meetings.
Boksburg Lodge No.2480 warrant date 1893 – Landrost’s Courtroom Boksburg (1893-1895), Boksburg Lodge (1895-1976) Central East Rand Temple 66 Jubilee Rd (1976-present).
Consecrated on 4 November 1893 and on e the 12 lodges constituting the district in 1895. Sponsored by Johannesburg Lodge No.2313, membership also mining focused. Charter Master was Dr. Jeremiah Ziervogel originally from Midland Lodge No.882 in Graaf Reinet where he was P.M. and 32 years earlier also its Charter Master. Its the Mother lodge of Acacia Lodge (3260)
Boksburg St. John Lodge No.8642 named in 1975 – Masonic Temple Boksburg (1975-1981), Central East Rand Temple Boksburg (1981-present).
A daughter lodge of Boksburg Lodge (2480) named after a John the Baptist connection.
Bramley Lodge No.8052 named in 1965 – St. Catherine’s Church Hall Bramley Dalene Rd (1965-1974), Masonic Temple Norwood (1974-2003), Masonic Hall 2nd Ave Parktown North (2003-2006), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (2006-2009) ERASED 2009 due to decreased membership
Bryanston Lodge No.7815 named in 1961 – St. Michael’s Church Hall (1963-1995), Rivonia Recreational Club (2003-present).
Intended to bridge the gap between Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Civil Servant Lodge No.3118 named in 1905 – Masonic Temple Plein Str (1905-1939), Freemason’s Hall Kerk Str (1939-1958), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1958-present).
A popular lodge made up of ‘Civil and Municipal Servants and Regular Army’, it had 127 members in 1908 and holds unique distinction of having the most signatures to its petition of any E. C. Lodge in South Africa. It was initially set-up under the Scottish Constitution but changed to English from the second meeting. The first non-civil service member to join was a butcher in 1913.
Clarendon Lodge No.7041 named in 1950 – Freemasons Hall Kerk Str (1950-1958), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1958-2003), Masonic Complex Orange Grove (2003-2012), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (2012-present).
Appears to be instrumental in the purchase of the land where the current Freemasons Hall in Park Lane stands. Lodge named after the Earl of Clarendon who also had Clarendon Circle named after him. The circle was at the intersection of Louis Botha (the East Ave) and Empire Road, about 100 metres from the new Freemason building.
Clifton Lodge No.2748 named in 1899 – Clifton Methodist Church Braamfontein (1899-1907), Masonic Temple Plein Str (1907-1922), Freemason Hall Claim Str (1922-1938), Freemasons Hall Kerk Str (1938-1958), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1958-present).
Consecrated on 7 February 1899 and sponsored by Goldfields Lodge. Clifton was an early name for a part of Braamfontein north of Wanderers, or New Braamfontein as it was known. The name Clifton was never registered so it was never official. Interestingly, the Scotia Lodge was built in Clifton in 1906 but never used by Clifton Lodge. Most notable member was J. W. O’Hara OBE and JHB mayor from 1915-1917.
Coalfields Lodge No.2653 named in 1897 – Great Eastern Colleries Hall (1897-1905), Masonic Temple Springs (1905-current) now known as Springs Masonic Centre.
Membership was from the coal mining fraternity in the area. The building is one of the oldest in Springs although at the time of writing, looks like it is no longer in use by lodges. It was sponsored by the Heidelburg Lodge and had five Scottish and one Netherland Constitution members as founders. The jewels of the lodge were looted during the Anglo Boer war and miraculously returned 30 years later by a pawnbroker.
Columbia Lodge No.2900 named in 1902 – Freemasons Hall Johannesburg (1902-1911), Masonic Temple Plein Str (1915-1926), Masonic Temple Claim Str (1926-1939), Freemasons Hall Kerk Str (1939-1958), Freemason Hall Park Lane (1958-present) Lapsed 1911-1913.
Membership was made up mainly mining engineers with a strong American influence. The lapse was due to dissension in the ranks. The lodge was not erased, but started up again a few years later.
Corona Lodge No.2731 named in 1898 – Hospital Hill (1898), German School Hospital Hill (1899), Masonic Temple Berea (1903-1936), Freemasons Hall Kerk Str (1936-1958), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1958-present).
Sponsored by Johannesburg and Jeppestown lodges and consecrated on 29 August 1899. Many American mining engineers joined this lodge. The building in Berea was built and owned by the lodge which they sold in 1936, the proceeds going to the Jubilee Memorial Appeal.
Coronation Lodge No.7291 named in 1953 – Freemasons Hall Kerk Str (1953-1958), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1958-present).
Name inspired by the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Has many Mauritian members.
Delville Lodge No.7231 named in 1952 – Masonic Temple Meyer Street Germiston (1952-2002), Temple Sinai Germiston (2003-2006)
Members were drawn from Germiston and suburb Delville with connections to WW1. Lodge was erased in March 2006 due to decreased membership.
Denver Lodge No.3167 named in 1906 – Masonic Temple Jeppestown (1906), Masonic Temple Malvern (1907-1995), Kensington Hall (1999-present).
Sponsored by Jeppestown Lodge No.2481, its members were mainly English miners from the area. Eight of the founding members came directly from overseas. All buildings connected to this lodge still exist although the Malvern Hall was reputedly poorly built and financial strain on the lodge. The move to Kensington Hall in 1999 was due to the decline of Denver.
Doornfontein Lodge No.2585 named in 1895 – Masonic Room Doornfontein (1896-1921), Corona Temple (1921-1939), Freemasons Hall Kerk Str (1939-1958), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1958-present)
Early members were drawn from prominent Transvaal masonic community as well as local government and business. Town planner G. S. Burt Andrew’s and his son were members, as was State Prosecutor F. Krause. The lodge has strong support from both the Jewish community and the ’uitlanders’. It shut down in 1899 during the war and re-opened in 1903. Members include architect and author Manfred Hermer (who published ‘The Passing of Pageview’) and fellow architect Rodney Grosskopff. Both were partners in the firm that designed Ponte City.
Edenvale Lodge No.7593 named in 1958 – Masonic Hall Modderfontein (1958-1975), Masonic Hall Norwood (1975-present)
Started in the 1950s when Edenvale was a fast growing suburb, most of the members were related either by blood or marriage. Glenda Kemp, the stripper with a python, made one of her first public appearances at a ladies night in 1972 arranged by the lodge ladies.
Emrys Lodge No.3259 named in 1907 – English church Hall Langlaagte (1907-1913), Masonic Temple Plein Str (1913-1926), Freemasons Hall Claim Str (1926-1938), Freemasons Hall Kerk Str (1938-1959), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1959-present)
Early history of the lodge has been lost. Consecrated on 18 November 1907, Emerys’ Charter Master was President of the Board of General Purposes and the financial advisor to the British Government during the Anglo Boer War.
Exsequi Lodge No.8994 named in 1981 – Freemasons Hall Park Lane
Another dining lodge like Emulation. Formed mainly for business managers.
Fairview Lodge No.3010 named in 1903 – Freemasons Hall Jeppestown (1903-1963), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1963-present)
Consecrated on 10 March 1904. Originally started by a group of businessmen who lived or worked in Fairview – a suburb between Kensington, Troyeville and Jeppe.
First Pride Lodge No.8447 named in 1972 – Freemasons Hall (1972-1995), Kensington Hall (2012-present)
Initially made up of International Lion’s Club members. Lion’s Association ethics run parallel to Freemasonry and many Lion’s members are also freemasons.
Flame Lily Lodge No.8540 named in 1973 – Freemasons Hall Park Lane
Initially for Rhodesian’s living ’south of the Limpopo’. It was also Johannesburg’s third dinner lodge.
Fordsburg Lodge No.2718 named in 1898 – Masonic Temple/Hall Fordsburg (1898-1966), Oddfellows Hall Tramway Str Turffontein (1968-1973), St. Mary’s church Hall Albert Str Rosettenville (1973-1975), Southern Masonic Temple Rewlatch Ext (1975-present)
Consecrated on 21 April 1898 and sponsored by Jeppestown Lodge. The early years of the lodge catered to English freemasons living between Johannesburg and Roodepoort. Nearby Crown Mines was a strong source of members.
Fraternity Lodge No.7729 named in 1960 – Freemasons Hall Park Lane
A daughter lodge to the Bohemian Lodge. Membership was severely affected by emigration.
Germiston Lodge No.2498 named in 1893 – Masonic Hall Meyer Str Rooms Germiston (1896-1967), Temple Sinai 60 Haley Str Germiston (1967-present)
Founded in 1887, it’s one of the first 12 of the 1895 district. Originally made up of miners (mainly from the Simmer & Jack mine who were involved int he early development of Germiston) and leading figures of the Rand.
Golden Harvest Lodge No.9234 named in 1987 – Masonic Hall 2nd Ave Parktown (1987-1997), Freemasons Hall Par Lane (1997-present)
Set-up as a morning lodge mainly for retired brethren. Named after the retirement home of the founders.
Goldfields Lodge No.2478 warrant date 1893 – Stock Exchange Hall (1893), Masonic Hall Jeppe Str (1894), Grand National Hotels (1894-1897) Masonic Hall Plein Street, Corona Lodge, Masonic Hall Claim Str, Heidelberg is also mentioned, Freemasons Hall Park Lane (Present)
The second English lodge in Johannesburg and the one responsible for the start of the Masonic Hall in Jeppe Str. In 1894. Finances forced the bank to foreclose on the building and the lodge moved around. Early members included Capt. Carl Von Brandis, Solly Joel, John Hays Hammond and Harry Stodel. Freemasons Hall in Kerk Street was sometimes also referred to as Goldfields Lodge. It was consecrated on 14 October 1893 in the stock exchange building. In the first year they initiated 117 candidates and another 55 became joint members. Interestingly, Johannesburg Lodge No.2313 opposed the formation of a second lodge, but it was granted anyway due to there being 1500 freemasons in Johannesburg not connected to the one English Lodge in existence.
Hesperia Lodge No.6948 named in 1949 – Freemasons Hall Kerk Str (1949-1957), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1957-present)
Consecrated on 24 February 1950. Initially formed for the purpose of finding a masonic home for brethren from various parts of Western Europe with members drawn form both English and Scottish constitutions.
Hillbrow Lodge No.3046 named in 1904 – Corona Temple (1904-1906 & 1909-1939), German School Hospital Hill (1906), Freemasons Hall Kerk str (1939-1958), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1958-present)
Consecrated on 20 August 1904. One of several lodges formed after the Anglo Boer War. Of interest was WM Robert Sproat, who was one of Daisy de Melker’s suspected victims.
Ionic Lodge No.3235 named in 1907 – Presbyterian Hall Hay Str Turffontein (1908-1922), Oddfellows Hall Kenilworth (1922-1936), Alpha Crucis Hall Main Str Rosettenville (1936-1939), Wavell Hotel 1st Str La Rochelle (1940-1953), Kenilworth Hall (1953-1976), Southern Masonic Temple Rewlatch (1976-present)
Sponsored by the Civil Service Lodge, Ionic served the Turffontein area.
Isando Lodge No.8955 named in 1980 – Masonic Hall Kempton Park (1980-1995), East Rand Temple (2012-present)
The first English lodge to meet in Kempton Park.
Jack Folly Lodge No.8335 named in 1970 – Masonic Centre Benoni
Dining Lodge with Rhodesian roots.
Jeppestown Lodge No.2481 warrant date 1893 – Masonic Temple Jeppestown (from 1893-1991), Kensington Hall 1991-?), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (present)
Consecrated on 26 august 1893. One of the original 12 lodges constituting the district in 1895. The original temple (which still stands) was completed in June 1893, two months before the warrant was granted although the plans state 1896. G. S. Burt Andrews (future town engineer and Grand Master) was one of the petitioners.
Johannesburg Lodge No.2313 warrant date 1889 – Masonic Temple Heidelburg (1890), Masonic Hall Rissik Str (1890-1897), Masonic Hall Plein Str (1897-?), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (?-present)
Consecrated on 26 March 1890 and one of the original 12 lodges constituting the district in 1895 and the first in Johannesburg. Developed the Masonic Hall in Plein Str with Golden Thistle (SC) and Star of the Rand (NC) in 1897. Original signatories of the lodge Petition included John Edward Green, prominent Diamond Fields mason Thomas Melville du Toit and Thomas Sheffield, who brought The Star newspaper to Johannesburg from Grahamstown. The hall in Plein Street was demolished in the late 1960s or early 1970s.
Kensington Lodge No.4893 named in 1926 – Kensington Hall (1927-present)
Kensington Hall, completed in February 1927 (foundation stone laid 27 Feb 1926 by Councillor Penney) and consecrated on 23 February 1927. The hall has been home to the lodge as well as a meeting place for a number of other lodges and chapters as well as functioning as a community centre.
Kosmos Lodge No.2768 named in 1899 – Masonic Temple Plein Str (1899-1924), Freemasons Hall Claim Str (1924-1938), Freemasons Hall Kerk Str (1938-1958), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1958-present).
Started by members originally from the Scottish Cosmopolitan Lodge No.838 from Kimberly just before the war. It was sponsored by Corona Lodge and thus became the first daughter lodge. It consisted of mainly engineers.
Lodge Cornwall No.3490 named in 1910 – Freemasons Hall Jeppe Str (1910-13), Masonic Temple Plein Str (1913-1938), Freemasons Hall Kerk Str (1938-1958), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1958-present).
Membership was initially for men of Cornish birth or descent. It became an open lodge after 1950 as the strict membership criteria limited new members and caused an overall drop. They work closely with Travellers Lodge.
Lodge of Emulation No.8717 named in 1976 – Masonic Temple Benoni (1976-1981), Boksburg North (1981-1984), Central East Rand Temple (1984-current)
Predominantly a dining lodge.
Lyceum Lodge of Research No.8682 named in 1975 – Freemasons Hall Park Lane.
Manfred Hermer was the lodges’ first Charter Master. Fellow member Rodney Grosskopff, along with Hermer, were part of the architectural firm that designed Ponte. The lodge concerns itself with regular lectures, plays and educational research.
Maritime Lodge No.9406 named in 1990 – Modderfontein Masonic Temple (1990-1994), Kensington Masonic Hall (Annually), Masonic Complex Orange Grove (1998-present).
Consecrated on 11 March 1991. Members are of the sea-going and navy fraternity.
Melrose Lodge No.7034 named in 1950 – Masonic Hall 2nd Ave Parktown (1950-1993), Masonic Hall Modderfontein (1993-1995), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1995-present).
The expanding northern suburbs after WW2 favoured the establishment of a new lodge which was named after the suburb Melrose. Woodlands Lodge was the sponsor and an early member was Councillor Pieter Roos (park on Empire Road in Parktown is named after him)
Minerva Lodge No.4986 named in 1927 – Freemasons Hall Claim Str (1927), Freemasons Hall Kerk Str (1938), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1958-2009).
Consecrated on 16 February 1828 and initially mad up of commissioned officers of WW1. ERASED 2009 due to decreased membership.
New Zealand Lodge No.8824 named in 1978 – Freemasons Hall Park Lane
A dining lodge formed mainly by RAF pilots and New Zealanders living in Johannesburg.
Norwood Lodge No.3149 named in 1905 – Masonic Temple Hunter Str Bellevue (1905-1906), Masonic Temple Norwood (1906-present)
Formed around the expansion of the immediate northern suburbs after the Boer war. The premises serve a number of lodges in the area. 5 of the original members were from the Civil Service Lode No.3118.
Oaklands Lodge No.4756 named in 1956 – Masonic Temple Norwood (1956-1964), Masonic Temple 2nd Ave Parktown (1964-1966), Masonic Temple Norwood (1966-2008)
ERASED 2008 due to decreased membership
Orphic Lodge No.5949 named in 1944 – Freemasons Hall Kerk Str (1944-1958), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1958-present)
The lodge was for English and Greek speaking brethren with a focus on research, instructions and lectures. RW Bro His Majesty George 11, King of the Hellenes, and MW Bro Papageorgiou, the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Greece, while Bro the Hon Sir Evelyn Baring, the British High Commissioner were early members.
Outpost Lodge No.3132 named in 1905 – Masonic Hall Bellevue (1905-1909), Corona Temple Berea (1909-1916) ERASED 1916 due to decreased membership.
Sponsored by Vernon Lodge No.2774, they met on a Wednesday nearest to the full moon.
Park Lane Lodge No.8657 named in 1975 – Freemasons Hall Park Lane
Formed to carry the name of the District headquarters and in the expectation that it would be available to serve as a masonic home for brethren relocating to the Transvaal.
Phoenix Lodge No.3602 named in 1912 – Dynamite Factory School room (1912-1921), Modderfontein Masonic Hall (1921-1995), Temple Sinai Germiston (2003) then moved to Mauritius in 2013.
Consecrated in June 1912, its early members drawn from staff of the explosives factory. Reasons for move to Mauritius not yet known.
Prosperity Lodge No.2607 named in 1896 – Freemasons Hall Jeppe Str (1898-1911), Masonic Temple Plein Str (1911-1939), Freemasons Hall Kerk Str (1939-1957), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1957-present)
Early members included mining personalities Solly Joel and Harold Strange (besides being the GM of JCI, he was also a collector of rare books – hence the Harold Strange Africana Studies Library named after him.)
Protea Lodge No.6471 named in 1947 – Masonic Hall Bellevue (1947-1965), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1965-?), Mauritius Masonic Complex (Present).
Details of Mauritius move not known, but lodges in Mauritius fall under the District Grand Lodge due to proximity.
Richmond Lodge No.3045 named in 1904 – Wesleyan Church Richmond (1904-1920), Scotia Masonic Hall (1920-1924), Freemasons Hall Claim Str (1924-1938), Freemasons Hall Kerk Str (1938-1943) ERASED 1943 due to decreased membership and internal dissension.
Consecrated on 18 August 1904 with meetings held once a month on Thursday nearest to a full moon.
Roodepoort Lodge No.2539 named in 1894 – Masonic Rooms Roodepoort ( 1895-1902), Wesleyan Church Hall (1902), Roodepoort Masonic Hall (1903-1937), New Masonic Hall Rex Str (1938-1986), Masonic Centre Andrew Str (1986-Present)
Sponsored by both Johannesburg and Transvaal Lodges, it was the first lodge up to that time to be properly consecrated via the correct ceremonial procedure on 16 February 1895.
Safari Lodge No.8423 named in 1972 – Masonic Temple Norwood (1972-1980), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1980-present)
The 24 original founders had all lived in Kenya, Tanganyika and Uganda before coming ’south’ to Johannesburg. The move to Park Lane was to become a dining lodge.
Semper Vigilans Lodge No.7362 named in 1954 – Freemasons Hall Kerk Str (1954-1958), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1958-present)
Early members made up of CIS (Chartered Institute of Secretaries) and chartered accountants.
Southern Cross Lodge No.7226 named in 1952 – Alpha Crucis Masonic Hall Rosettenville (1952), Kenilworth Hall (1957) Southern Mason Temple Rewlatch (1975-present)
One for the four English lodges in the south that helped develop the Rewlatch temple with five other Scottish Lodges.
Springs Lodge No.5669 named in 1937 – Masonic Temple Springs
A second lodge in the area alongside the original Coalfields Lodge became necessary and was consecrated on 30 August 1937. Both are shareholders of the temple buildings.
St. Michael’s Lodge No.8643 named in 1975 – Anglican church Hall Mount Str (1975-1994), Rivonia Recreational Club (2003-present).
Members drawn from Bryanston area and lodge named after close association with St. Michael’s church.
Temperance Lodge No.3215 named in 1907 – Freemasons Hall Jeppe Str (1907-1911), Scotia Hall Clifton (1911-1913), Freemasons Hall Claim Str (1914), Freemasons Hall Kerk Str (1914-1938), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1958-2012), Masonic Complex Orange Grove (2012-present)
Several founders came from the Irish constitution.
Transvaal District Grand Stewards Lodge No.8192 named in 1967 – Freemasons Hall Park Lane.
The Lodge was formed to provide the District Grand Master, and the District, with various services. Its membership is restricted to Past District Grand Stewards who are required to participate fully in all the activities of the Lodge for a minimum of 5 years after joining. Transvaal is the first District to have a Grand Stewards’ Lodge and that, when formed, it was only the third such lodge under the English Constitution.
Transvaal Jubilee Lodge No.6143 named in 1945 – Freemasons Hall Kerk Str (1945-1958), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1958-present).
First lodge to be consecrated (15 September 1945) in Johannesburg after WWII. It had an equal number of Christian and Jewish members.
Transvaal Nomads Lodge No.9519 named in 1993 – Freemasons Hall Park Lane
The Nomads are a group of golfers who travel around the country playing tournaments while raising money for charity.
Travellers Lodge No.5820 named in 1939 – Freemasons Hall Kerk Str (1939-1957), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1957-2006)
Consecrated on 14 October 1939 and made up of break-away members of Goldfields Lodge. ERASED 2006 due to decreased membership.
Union Lodge No.7081 named in 1951 – Freemasons Hall Kerk Str (1951-19522), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1957-1980), Masonic Temple Jeppestown (1980-1988), Masonic Hall 2nd Ave Parktown (1988-1992), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1992-present).
Made up of members of four constitutions to further masonry
Universal Friendship Lodge No.9042 named in 1982 – Freemasons Hall Park Lane.
Formed to encourage different races to join masonry. Early candidates were from the Indian community.
University Lodge No.7327 named in 1953 – WITS University (1953-1997), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1997-present).
Made up of various engineers and researchers.
Vernon Lodge No.2774 named in 1899 – Masonic Temple Plein Str (1899), Doornfontein hall Sivewright Ave (1899), Masonic Temple Plein Street (1902-1909), Corona Temple (1909-1937), Freemasons Hall Kerk Str (1937-1958), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1958-present).
The last lodge to be consecrated before the outbreak of the 1899-1902 Boer war (warrant granted on 28 July 1899). Architect Gordon Leith, who went on to design Park Lane headquarters, was a member. The banner bears the heraldic arms of of the family of George Richards, the first D. G. M. Of the Transvaal.
Verona Lodge No.8187 named in 1967 – Freemasons Hall Park Lane.
Daughter lodge of Corona Lodge. Assisted with overflow of members from Corona and Vernon lodges.
Victory Lodge No.4157 named in 1920 – Masonic Temple Brakpan (1920-1925) Brakpan Town Hall (1925-1934), Masonic Temple Brakpan (1935-Present)
Consecrated 24 June 1920 and the fist lodge in Transvaal formed after WW1.
Vrede Lodge No.4816 named in 1926 – OFS Vrede (1926-1974), Kenilworth Hall (1974-1995), Southern Masonic Temple Rewlatch (1995-present).
A predecessor of a Netherlandic Constitution lodge of 19th century. Moved to Johannesburg in early 1970s from Vrede and got involved with the southern suburbs masonic lodges.
Witwatersrand Lodge No.3745 named in 1915 as Transvaal Master’s Lodge – Masonic Temple Plein Str (1915-1922), Masonic Temple Claim Str (1922-1938), Freemasons Hall Kerk Str (1938-1965), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (1965-present)
The primary purpose of the Lodge was to deal with questions relating to the ritual and regulations, while papers would be read and lectures delivered on Craft matters generally. It became a regular lodge in 1949 and name change to Witwatersrand.
Woodlands Lodge No.3668 named in 1913 as Sachsenwald – Rosebank Cottage (1913-1914), Scotia Masonic Hall Clifton (1918-1919) Masonic Hall Parktown (1919-2006), Freemasons Hall Park Lane (2006-present).
Name changed to Woodlands during WW1 due to anti-German sentiment. The first meeting under the new name took place on 5 February 1918 after the war recess. Its hall, built in 1919 in Parktown North, was used by various lodges over the years but appears to have become too expensive to maintain and was demolished in mid 2000s. The first venue, Rosebank Cottage, was owned by one of the members and was the site of the future Rosebank Hotel.
In addition to the above ‘craft lodges’ of the English Constitution, there are also higher orders. The Royal Arch and Mark Masons are drawn from the existing EC lodges, with the Royal Arch becoming a chapter under an existing lodge.
Other separate orders include Royal Ark Mariner, Cryptic, Secret Monitor, Knights Templar, KT Priest, Red Cross, Rose Croix NE and NW, Allied Degrees, The Operatives and the Royal Order of Scotland, all seem to be well represented in Johannesburg.
Scottish Lodges in Johannesburg
Zion No.891 (2nd November 1899), Parktown, Johannesburg.
Turffontein No.1556 (5th February 1959), Rewlatch, Johannesburg South
Transvaal Volunteer No.1007 (3rd May 1906), Rewlatch, Johannesburg South.
Towerby No.1500 (5th May 1955), Rewlatch, Johannesburg South.
Sound Memory No.1655 (5th February 1970), Parktown North, Johannesburg.
Somah Herber No.1485 (7th May 1953), Johannesburg.
Scotia No.973 (5th May 1904), Norwood, Johannesburg.
St Andrew No.954 (6th August 1903), Kensington, Johannesburg.
The Robert Burns Memorial No.1470 (7th February 1952), Germiston.
Republic No.1621 (3rd February 1966), Johannesburg.
Pythagoras No.1447 (3rd November 1949), Johannesburg.
Ophirton No.886 (4th May 1899), Parktown North, Johannesburg.
North Western-Bedford No.1596 (1st November 1962), Johannesburg.
Northern Province No.1576 (3rd November 1960), Johannesburg.
Mo Dachaidh No.1685 (7th February 1974), Modderfontein, Johannesburg.
Lochiel No.1460 (2nd November 1950), Springs.
Kempton No.1482 (5th February 1953), Kempton Park.
Jukskei Lodge of Operative Masons No.1773 (4th February 1988), Sandton, Johannesburg.
Herodom No.1768 (unknown), Boksburg North.
Gordon No.804 (3rd May 1894), Rewlatch, Johannesburg South.
Golden Thistle No.744 (4th August 1887), Parktown North, Johannesburg.
Glen Douglas No.1502 (5th May 1955), Rewlatch, Johannesburg South.
Fidelity No.1734 (6th November 1980), Forest Hill, Johannesburg South.
Far East Caledonian No.1274 (unknown), Springs.
Eenheid No.1488 (5th November 1953), Boksburg South.
East Rand Scots No.1093 (3rd August 1911), Boksburg North.
Dromedaris No.1471 (1st May 1952), Rewlatch, Johannesburg South.
Douglas No.799 (1st February 1894), Germiston.
Commonwealth No.958 (5th November 1903), Rewlatch, Johannesburg South.
Cleveland No.964 (4th February 1904), Germiston.
The Century Lodge of Research No.1745 (6th May 1982), Johannesburg.
Caxton No.1907 (6th February 1964), Johannesburg.
Caledonian No.1046 (6th August 1908), Germiston.
Cairngorm No.1539 (7th November 1957), Kensington, Johannesburg.
Brixton No.982 (3rd November 1904), Paulshof, Sandton, Johannesburg. (meets in Orange Grove)
Braemar No.1469 (7th February 1952), Linmeyer, Johannesburg.
Brakpan No.1113 (29th November 1912), Brakpan.
Benoni Kilwinning No.993 (3rd August 1905), Rynfield, Benoni.
Bellevue No.953 (6th August 1903), Parktown North, Johannesburg.
Barclay-Harvey No.1540 (7th November 1957), Farrarmere.
Athol No.1442 (3rd November 1949), Boksburg.
Argyll No.1548 (6th February 1958), Parktown North, Johannesburg.
Alpha Crucis No.980 (3rd November 1904), Rewlatch, Johannesburg South.
Alfred Jones No.1710 (5th February 1975), Kempton Park.
Alberton No.1651(7th November 1968), Germiston.
Alba Gu Brath Lodge No.1802 (5th November 1992), Modderfontein.
Grand Lodge of South Africa (Grand East of Netherlands)
Star of the Rand No.15 (Founded 1889) East of Johannesburg – Regular meetings are held at 6 Park Lane, Parktown on the third Tuesday of the month.
Prins Frederick No.19 (Founded 1894) East of Johannesburg – Regular meetings are held at 13th Street, Orange Grove on the fourth Tuesday of the month.
Kaizer Friedrich No.20 East of Johannesburg – Regular meetings are held at 13th Street, Orange Grove on the second Friday of the month.
Star of the East No.28 (Founded 1920) East of Benoni – Regular meetings are held at the Masonic Temple (Pretoria Road, Rynfield, Benoni) on the fourth Tuesday of the month.
Equity No.39 East of Johannesburg – Regular meetings are held at 6 Park Lane, Parktown on the first Tuesday of the month.
Die Voortrekker No.41 East of Germiston – Regular meetings are held at the Masonic Temple (Grace Avenue, Parkhill Gardens) on the fourth Tuesday of the month.
Ossewa No.52 East of Johannesburg – Regular meetings are held at 75 13th Street, Orange Grove on the first Wednesday of the month.
Sonop No.63 (Founded 1952) East of Boksburg – Regular meetings are held at the Central East Rand Temple, Jubilee Road on the second Wednesday of the month.
Golden City No.75 (Founded 1956) East of Johannesburg – Regular meetings are held at the Masonic Hall (75 13th Street, Orange Grove) on the fourth Thursday of the month.
Benoni Golden Jubilee No.76 East of Benoni – Regular meetings are held at the Benoni Masonic Centre (Pretoria Road, Rynfield, Benoni) on the fourth Thursday of the month.
Springbok No.87 East of Johannesburg – Regular meetings are held at the Masonic Hall (75 13th Street, Orange Grove) on the first Monday of the month.
Alpha No.89 (Founded 1962) East of Johannesburg – Regular meetings are held at the Masonic Hall (75 13th Street, Orange Grove) on the first Tuesday of the month.
Friendship No.95 (Founded 1963) East of Johannesburg – Regular meetings are held at the Grand Lodge Centre (75 13th Street, Orange Grove) on the fourth Wednesday of the month.
Resurgam Rhodesia No.97 East of Johannesburg – Regular meetings are held at the Masonic Centre (75 13th Street, Orange Grove) on the fourth Monday of the month.
Chiron No.111 East of Kempton Park – Regular meetings are held at the Masonic Temple (7 Godfried Street) on the fourth Wednesday of the month.
Adoniram No.124 East of Benoni – Regular meetings are held at the Masonic Temple (Cnr Pretoria and Vlei Roads) on the second Thursday of the month.
Germania No.131 East of Parktown – Regular meetings are held at the Masonic Temple (40 2nd Avenue) on the first Friday of the month.
Flaming Star No.139 (Founded 2005) East of Johannesburg – Regular meetings are held at the Masonic Centre (75 13th Street, Orange Grove) on the third Monday of the month.
Irish Lodges in Johannesburg
Abercorn No.159, Orange Grove, Johannesburg
Edward H Croghan No.247, Johannesburg
Kendal Franks No.265, Kensington
Clara Lodge No.288, Roodepoort
Kildare No.323, Benoni
Shamrock No.338, Germiston
Erin No.364, Johannesburg
Erin-go-bragh No.370, Boksburg South
Civil Service No.391, Malvern
Ulster No.400, Kensington
Tirmochree No.523, Springs
Primrose No.710, Germiston
Lurgan No.767, Johannesburg
Belfast No.832, Norwood, Johannesburg
Achill No.853, Kempton Park
Armagh No.855, Rewlatch
Killarney No.858, Boksburg South
Kilkenny No.878, Benoni
Petit No.901, Benoni
This is a Protestant fraternal order based mainly in Northern Ireland. It was formed in the County Armagh in 1795 during a period of Catholic-Protestant conflict as a masonic style fraternity to promote Protestant ascendancy. It’s headed by the Grand orange Lodge of Ireland established in 1798.
The orders below in Johannesburg don’t appear to exist anymore. When the Grand Lodge of British South Africa was formed in 1905, the LOL lodges chose to fall under its banner. The old warrants were returned and new ones issued.
Loyal Orange Lodge No.2
On November 3 1893, a meeting was held at the Dutch School on Von Brandis Square to open Royal Orange Lodge styled on the ‘Main Reef LOL No.692’ held under the charter granted by the Grand Lodge of England, Woolwhich District. The Scotia Hall in Braamfontein became their home after it was built in 1906.
Loyal Orange Lodge No.3
Also known as the Caledonian True Blue, this lodge, under Scottish original started in November 1895. In 1905, it fell under the Grand Lodge of British South Africa. I retained its old title and was allotted the new No.3. This lodge was based in Fordsburg, presumably in the Masonic Hall.
Loyal Orange Lodge No.4
Formed in 1896 and originally known as the William Harlem LOL No.689 and becoming No.4 under Grand Lodge of British South Africa in 1905. This lodged was based at the Wesleyan Church, presumably in President Street.
Loyal Orange Lodge No.9
The first meeting was held on 1 April 1905 in Denver where the application was made for John Huddlestone Memorial No.780. This was later replace by No.9 by the Imperial Grand Lodge Council of the World. Their address is given as Masonic Hall Ford Street Jeppestown, which is a new lead. Ford Street is two block from Hans Street, although these is an old hall there currently being used by the Jehovahs Witnesses.
Grand Royal Black Chapter of Ireland
The Royal Black Institution was formed in Ireland in 1797, two years after the formation of the Orange Order in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. The society is formed from Orangemen from the ranks of Loyal Orange Lodges and is seen as a progression of that Order, although they are separate institutions. To be admitted to the Royal Black Institution, one must first become a member of an Orange Order Lodge. Many are members of both.
The Royal Black is often referred to as “the senior of the loyal orders”. Members wear a sash or collarette of which the predominant colour is black.
The Johannesburg Preceptory was opened on 24 February 1894 with the first meeting held at the Dutch School in Von Brandis Square.
Oddfellows is an international fraternity consisting of lodges first documented in 1730 in London. In 1810, the Independent Order of Oddfellows Manchester Unity in England was established which was the branch of Oddfellows that spread overseas and to South Africa.
The first Oddfellows lodge was established in Kimberly but closed after the De Beers amalgamation and the move to the goldfields of the Rand. Out of its ashes, the Loyal Johannesburg Lodge was started in the old Landdrosts courtroom. Before the 2nd Anglo-Boer war, there were five Oddfellows lodges in South Africa, with four more opening after the war and two closing. Today, Oddfellows promote philanthropy, the ethic of reciprocity and charity. In 1910, these were the three listed as active in Johannesburg.
Loyal Johannesburg Lodge No.7154
Considered the mother lodge of Johannesburg, it had 100 members and its headquarters were listed as New Transvaal Arms Hotel in Joubert Street.
Loyal South Rand Lodge
The southern suburbs branch had 45 members and was based at the Oddfellows Hall in Tramway Street Turffontein.
Loyal Pride of Jeppestown Lodge
Also 100 members strong and based out the Oddfellows Hall in Commissioner Street.
Oddfellows doesn’t appear to exist in Johannesburg anymore.
The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes
The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes (RAOB) is one of the largest fraternal organisations in the United Kingdom. The order started in 1822 and is known as the Buffs to members. The RAOB organisation aids members, their families, dependents of former members and other charitable organisations.
The Order has a Rule Book, Manual of Instruction and Ceremony Lectures issued and revised by the Grand Lodge of England. The ‘lodge’ description for branch organisation and headquarters was adopted in imitation of Freemasonry.
Brought over by English immigrants, the first lodges set-up under the Grand Surrey Banner in South Africa date back to the early 1880s (Anchor Lodge No.631 in Durban and United Lodge No.1 Johannesburg). It’s described as the ‘oldest philanthropic institution in existence’. By 1910, the order had over 10000 members in the Union controlled by a District Grand Lodge with 26 lodges under its jurisdiction.
The United Lodge met at the Royal Arcade in Market Street and later at the Transvaal Arms Hotel In Joubert Street. After 1921, after the formation of the Transvaal Provincial Grand Lodge, Shakespeare House in Commissioner Street and Beckets Building in Joubert Street were used. In 1948 the Township Hotel in Troyeville became a temporary home until the move to premises on Bezhuidenhout Street owned by Shakespeare Lodge No.6598.
ROAB had many lodges across Johannesburg mirroring the suburbs of the English and other constitutions and presumably coming to some arrangement for the shared use of buildings and halls. ROAB still exists today across the country by appears to suffer the same issues of reduced membership as the other orders. Many of the early lodges no longer exist.
The following architects connected to Johannesburg are recorded as Freemasons in Artefacts
ABURROW, Charles (1852 – 1933), a pioneer architect in Johannesburg, was a keen Freemason, ‘a leading light in Transvaal Provincial Masonic circles’ (Afr Archt Dec 1911:143)
ANDREWS, George Samuel Burt (1868 – 1937 11 03), City Engineer of Johannesburg from 1904 until 1927 was a prominent Freemason.
COPE CHRISTIE, James Alfred (1870 12 12 – 1953 01 02) was a Freemason and President of the Rhodesian Society of Architects in 1928 and 1929. Architect of Dolobran in Parktown.
ELLIS, Thomas Gordon (1887 01 06 – 1940 12 10), was a Freemason and a Past Master of Transvaal Lodge, Pretoria.
GOODE, Frank (fl. 1893 – 1897), March 1893 he drew and signed plans for the Jeppestown Freemasons’ Lodge in Hans Street, Johannesburg, as did FG GREEN (Johannesburg: Jeppestown Freemason’s Lodge, Hans St (RAU doc) 1893)
GREEN, Frederick George (1850 – 1927 06 10), did plans for the Freemasons’ Hall, Jeppe St (RAU doc) 1894.
GROSSKOPFF, Rodney Edward (1940 – ) Partner in the architectural firm with Manfred Hermer responsible for Ponte and the conversion of a section of the old market building in the Market Theatre. Became a freemason in 1973 and later became Assistant District Grand Master. Also an author, painter and sculptor. Later work included Nedbank Head Office Sandton, ABSA Head Office JHB and the Standard Bank regional Office Rosebank.
HERMER, Manfred (1915 03 23 – 2011 01 22) Partner in a firm with Rodney Grosskopff responsible for Ponte and the Market Theatre. Earlier in his career he designed both the Reps Theatre and Civic Theatres in Braamfontein. He was also an painter and author. His book ‘The Passing of Pageview’ is an Africana collectors item. At one time he was Assistant District Grand Master of the Transvaal.
LEITH, George Esselmont Gordon (1886 05 23 – 1965 04 15), worked at various times under Van Vouw, Public Works Dept and Herbert Baker and designed many buildings in Johannesburg including Park Station, the old general hospital, Queen Victoria Maternity home as wells as schools, banks, homes, and stores. He also designed the new Freemasons Hall in Park Lane in the early 1950s (Century of Brotherhood, Cooper)
OBEL, Louis Theodore (1897 – 1955 04 14) worked mainly in Durban from around 1929 was a Freemason, one time Vice President of the FC Hollander Lodge and recipient of the Hebrew Order of David. Designed, along with his brother, many Art Deco buildings in Johannesburg including the Barbican and Astor Mansions.
REID, Arthur Henry (1856 07 05 – 1922 10 ?), was a Freemason, active in Grahamstown, Port Elizabeth and later in Johannesburg where he established the first British Lodge in Johannesburg. Designed the 1st general hospital, the 2nd Masonic Temple in Plein Street (with Williams) as well as the Cosmopolitan Hotel in Jeppe amongst others.
RINGROSE, Maurice and TODD, Bob. Both were partners of firm Nurcombe Summerly Ringrose and Todd were masons and in their time as well as the foremost architects in the country. Gordon Summerly was President of the Board of General Purposes (often called The Prime Minister of F.M.)
ROWE, Henry Rowe (1870 07 06 – 1932). A prominent Freemason and Johannesburg architect in 1920s and 30s.
Rodney Grosskopff’s story of Johannesburg’s first lodge
There is a very interesting story in respect of the building of The First Temple in Johannesburg.
H B Marshall a Scotsman arrived in JHB and married Johan Rissik’s sister. This bloke was a wheeler dealer and a Scots Freemason.
He some how leased all the ground south of Commissioner Street From The Government for I believe £75 per year. He then got his brother-in-law to lay it out into stands-small blocks, with lots of corners and sold them at £25 each. He named the township Marshallstown.
Well Kruger was not too delighted about that but Marshall cut him (his Government ) in for 10% of the sales and that settled the matter.
But here comes the interesting part:
He put out an incentive to the Freemasons—That he would give a stand to the first lodge to be formed in Johannesburg AND the race was on.
The first Group met in a Forage shed in Newtown – 8 English masons 2/3 Scots and I think a German (from the name). They had a warrant from Transvaal Lodge E.C. in Pretoria to meet in their name but could not Make new masons. They applied to the English Constitution for a Warrant but were turned down because of a newly promulgated regulation, that No new English lodges could be formed in a country that did not fall under the British Empire.
Our Friends in Newtown put up a resistance – pointing out that a vast majority of the Masons in the Transvaal were in fact English and that they felt betrayed by their Brethren who put them there, but were knocked back again and decided to apply to The District Grand Lodge of Scotland in Natal for a warrant which they received in double quick time. They called their Lodge Golden Thistle and claimed their stand.
But being honorary Scots they decide it was too small and asked for a bigger one and received two.
Cooper, A. A. Dr and Vieler, D. E. G. 1995. A Century of Brotherhood. History of Freemasonry in the Transvaal from 1896-1995. Johannesburg: District Grand Lodge of the Transvaal
Butterfield, P. H. 1978. Centenary – One hundred Years of English Freemasonry in the Transvaal 1878-1978. Johannesburg: Ernest Stanton Publishers
Cooper, A. A. Dr. 1986. The Freemasons of South Africa. Human & Rousseau (Pty) LTD Cape Town
Beirne, L. J. 1910. Johannesburg Royal Presentation. Johannesburg: Printed by Transvaal Leader.
Bawcombe, P. 1973. Johannesburg. Johannesburg: Village Publishing
Itzkin, E. 2000. Gandhi’s Johannesburg. Johannesburg: Witwatersrand University Press
Lane’s Masonic Records, version 1.0 (<http://www.hrionline.ac.uk/lane>, October 2011).
Published by HRI Online Publications, ISBN 978-0-955-7876-8-3
Lodge De Goede Hoop No.12 photo
Thanks to Tim, librarian at Freemasons Hall Park Lane for assistance and contacts.
Also a special thanks to Rodney Grosskopff, who kindly checked all my research and added to various sections.
A fascinating and comprehensive article about the various Masonic lodges. Thank you.
How can I get a hard copy of this? Or is this printable off here? Not technically experienced
Hi William, I can send you a file or you can simply copy and paste it into a WORD document and print it out from there.
Well done Marc. Great effort.
I thoroughly enjoyed this extremely well researched document. I know my family will enjoy it as well. You have enlightened my knowledge. I am from generations of free masons. Thank you.
Thank you Patricia!
Phew! Have a beer, fella! 😉
and a few G&Ts…
Thank you for a really interesting and well-rearched Masonic history, however I am surprised that Clara Lodge No.288 is not listed under Irish Lodges. It was consecrated in 1910, originally meeting at the Maraisburg town hall. It now meets at the Roodepoort Masonic Centre, Andrew Street, Horizon View.
Thanks Nigel, I’ll add it to the list.
Another fantastic article Mark – I thoroughly enjoyed the ” Freemasons ” beautiful buildings and write ups! Thank you again, much appreciated!!
Thank you Ruth!
Very interesting article. My late husband was a Freemason at Lochiel- Scottish and uncle at Clara Lodge (Irish).
A brilliantly researched article permeated with bibliography and source.
Very well presented!! AND a welcome break away from the nonsense so often presented derived from the Internet.
Very well done Marc!!
Thanks Ivor! Glad you approve.
Hahaha, most comprehensive article on anthropological Masonic Lodge buildings ever… except you forgot to add JW Kingdom Halls. These are Masonic lodges too. And Mormon temples.
This piece was specifically on Masonic buildings in Johanessburg. JW and Mormon temples (linked or not to Freemasonry) would have been covered in the posts on churches. Unfortunately, those buildings in Johannesburg are relatively new and fall outside my cut-off date of 1950s.
To be honest, I only mentioed it due to how thoroughly comprehensive the rest was. Very good article.
Please advise where to find a Freemasonry lodge in Alberton and a contact nr and person.
Try Freemason’s Hall 011-643-3311
Good evening, nice article. Lodge Nigel 847SC is missing. it was consecrated in 1897 & is 4th oldest Scottish lodge in SA. You are welcome to visit anytime.
Thanks Duncan, I didn’t include Nigel as the piece centered around Johannesburg only, although I did go as far afield as Boksburg and Springs as there was good info available.
Good Evening. A great read. Thanks. If you like you can update Jeppestown and The Union Lodge. Both lodges moved to Kensington Hall in 2018. I also did not see any reference to First Pride Lodge 8447EC and King Edward Lodge 3004. Regards Lance
where is mention of Vereeniging peace lodge no 4361
Hi, the piece just covered Johannesburg.
Interesting reading. My grandfather was a founding member of Lochiel 1460 in springs. I have his medal commemorating the occasion. It is dated 1951. Do you know if this is still an active lodge?
Hi Tracy, I don’t know I’m afriad. You could contact the main lodge in Parktown who should be able to assist 011-643-3311
Do you know how the numbering system worked in 1900? Were the Cape Lodges given different numbering sequences to those in the Transvaal as happened in the separate Australian colonies?
Hi Nic, as far as I know, the numbering was allocated centrally, but there was a numbering change where old lodges were renumbered. The one site I used for reference showed the original and new number. I’m not sure the reason for this as it fell outside of my area of research for this piece. Different lodges also had their own unique naming and numbering systems.
I used to be the treasurer of the Kensington hall building committee. We were comprised of a fee members of the lodges that met there. Our lodge moved from Hans street to Roberts avenue.
Great read – I am fortunate that as a Mason I have had the oppertunity to visit almost all of the Buldings mentioned for meetings and they are grand old ladies indeed.
Thanks Colin! You wouldn’t happen to have photos of the old Doornfontein or Parktown North buildings? They are proving hard to track down
Hi Marc, I just happened to come across your website today and need to save it so I can go through and read all your interesting posts. I grew up in Johannesburg 64 – 2001 when I left for Ireland. I have load of old stuff from my dad – my dad was born in 1896 (he was 68 when I was born) and lived till 1995, he was in the building trade and had a hand in building his majesties and the Colosseum – he was also a free Mason and belonged to Lodge Harry Laver I know he was a master at some stage in the 1940’s – I do have some notices from the lodge which I must dig out and scan in, I also have loads of postcards from the free masons that belonged to him.
In his latter life in the early 80’s he worked at the Free Mason shop in Hilbrow, he had loads of regalia and sashes which my mom returned to the Free Masons after he died. I would love to know more about what he did for them but don’t know who to contact. Anyway would love to chat to you at some stage!
To begin with I am a 50 year member of the Grand Lodges of New Jersey and Pennsylvania in the US. My Grandfather ( Alexander Comrie ) was raised to the sublime degree of a Master Mason in St. Adrian Lodge #185 in Pittenweem Scotland in 1892. Shortly thereafter he emigrated to South Africa I presume for work (he was a blacksmith by trade) and I would like to know if there is any record of him attending lodge while he was in country. I know that he returned to Scotland after the RAID and before the WAR. The only other information I have is that he was a member of the St John Ambulance Corp in the Transvaal which I have his document stating such.
Fraternally & sincerely,
Gordon A. Comrie Sr.
Hi Gordon, thank for your note. I’m not involved in Freemasonry and don;t have access to that kind of detail. Please contact Tim Smith of the Freemason Museum in Johannesburg +27 11 445 7266
Thank you so much, informative, what a read.
very impressive!! Arnie Getz PM/971/Sydney