"Allow me to acknowledge the Kauna People, the traditional owners of the land we are meeting on and their elders past and present. I also pledge the loyalty of this Grand Mark Lodge to Her Majesty the Queen and her representatives. As the head of this Order I now take this opportunity to express the continued loyalty to Most Worshipful Brother Dr. Neil Jensen, the Grand Master of Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of South Australia and the Northern Territory and I look forward to working closely with you and the First Grand Principal, Most Excellent Companion Lindsay Burns.

 

It is with sadness that on the 19th of May that our esteemed and hardworking brother, RWBro. Cliff Olds, Past Grand Warden, Grand Master’s Order of Service, passed to the Grand Lodge Above after being gravely ill. Cliff did a magnificent job as the Grand Director for the Grand Installation, but we did not realise that he would not see the 12 Months out. Cliff you will be missed by us all. The attendance at his memorial service spoke volumes of his standing in the community.

 

This report sees the completion of my first year in office. To say it has been both challenging and interesting would be an understatement. I will be forever grateful for the support that I have received from members of both Mark and Mariners who have rallied to the cause of ensuring that this Order continues into the future.

 

Their dedication and tenacity during unforeseen circumstances have proved that by working together as a team and with all members of that team having the future of this Order in mind we can achieve positive outcomes. I include not only the members of the Grand Lodge Team but also the members of all lodges.

 

We are all aware that our major concern is our falling membership, which reflects the falling membership of Freemasonry in general. We may be fewer in number but I would encourage all brethren to support their lodges in the first instant and continue to attend and support joint occasions such as visiting other lodges and Grand Occasions.

 

During the past year there have been some memorable occasions in which this Grand Lodge has participated in namely:-

  • The joint meeting of Darwin Mark Lodge and Trinity Mark Lodge, Cairns, held in Mt Isa. We were the guests of the Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of Queensland and the weekend can only be claimed as a resounding success. My thanks to all who spent many hours, if not days, in its organisation. May there be future events such as this.
  • On the weekend of the 10th of March, a Grand Lodge Team travelled to Naracoorte for the Installation Ceremony of Naracoorte Mark Lodge and we were met by a contingent of brethren from the United Grand Mark Lodge of Victoria. Naracoorte Mark Lodge looked after us very well and these occasions have become a part of our calendar.
  • The Team that we raised to attend the Craft Grand Installation, held at the Entertainment Centre was outstanding and I thank all those who participated. We were the largest of any of the visiting delegations and a colourful array we made. This can only assist in making this order more visible to those brethren who have not yet taken the “Fourth Step”.
  • The Grand Convocation of the The Royal Arch Chapter held last month was a departure from the past, in that it was conducted in an open format with partners and families in attendance. I congratulate the First Grand Principal on this radical change and it is possibly something we could consider. The Convocation was followed by a banquet in the Green Room which was enjoyed by all who attended.
  • Earlier this month the Grand Installation of the United Grand Mark Lodge of Victoria was held in Melbourne. It was very pleasing to have a team of nine brethren accompanied by five partners in attendance. I would encourage any Mark member, not necessarily a Grand Lodge Officer, to consider attending one of these functions. You can be assured of a good time.

It has been my privilege to attend several our own lodge installations accompanying the Installing Master. On all occasions we have been able to assemble a pleasing number of Grand Lodge Officers, in particular, Kilwinning Mark Lodge, with 20 in the team. RW Bro. Les Pilton trying on a kilt on this occasion was a sight we will not easily forget. The lodges appreciate our attendance and I would encourage all Mark brethren to attend these occasions.

 

Following this Communication, indeed tomorrow, we will be travelling to Eyre Peninsula for the Mark and Mariner installations. We have been able to combine all the Eyre Peninsula Lodges into one run, thus saving on time and expense. This is a pilot run and we trust that it suits all concerned so that we can include it in our future calendars. I would like to thank RW Bro. Bill Penley, RW Bro. Kevan McRea together with the Northern Territory Grand Lodge Officers who will be there in force and the lodges involved for their work on this project.

The Mark and Royal Ark Council has established a sub-committee to look at the future directions of the Mark and Mariner Degrees. This sub-committee will report back to the Council with recommendations in due course.  

Congratulations to the current Grand Lodge Officers for the excellent work they have accomplished over the past year and thank you to those that have chosen to continue in office. To those brethren joining a Mark Grand Lodge Team for the first time, enjoy and have some fun. You will never regret the experience that awaits you.

Finally, I personally thank the office staff for their support, friendship and assistance and I make special mention of RWBro. Max Atkinson for his council and assistance. Max has come to the end of his tenure as Grand Secretary and Grand Scribe and I wish him well in his retirement. I am sure that the new Grand Secretary and the Assistant Grand Secretary will rise to the challenges as they are already doing, but please give them some space to pick up their roles.

 

Thank you.

 

David Kitching

 

Grand Master

 

Grand Lodge of Mark Master Masons of South Australia and the Northern Territory"