It was a sad occasion for Freemasonry in South Australia when, on 16th September 2015, United Service Lodge No 37 SA&NT Surrendered its Warrant.

 

Initially, the Lodge, consisting of Officers and ex-Officers of the Naval and Military Forces in South Australia, was consecrated on 14th April 1887, went into recess for 30 years from 1895 to 1925 and then was resuscitated on 5th March 1925.

 

Since resuscitation, the Lodge has had an illustrious history providing support and fellowship to its members who had had a close association through their Service during World War I and World War II.

 

They were the keenest and most enthusiastic of brethren and their ritual and dignified demeanor in the lodge room has always been the talk of the town. This high standard was maintained and continued well after World War II when many returned ex-servicemen (also from the Korean and Vietnam Wars) joined the Lodge and Freemasonry to continue the fellowship, camaraderie and mate ship with kindred spirits. In fact, even to this day, the standards set in those early days in the Lodge Room and in its Service-type ribaldry at the Festive Boards were maintained and attracted worthy comment from all its visitors.

 

Unfortunately, with falling membership due to age, disability, death, interstate and country postings, joining members who had their main responsibilities to their mother lodges or to Grand Lodge, and the inability to attract younger and suitable Service or like-minded members to join the Lodge and to take up Office, the Lodge has been unable to continue. More particularly, the Lodge has been unable to maintain the standards of ritual so expected of United Service Lodge.

 

At the Surrender ceremony, the Most Worshipful Grand Master, a member of United Service Lodge, who was accompanied by the Deputy Grand Master, Senior Grand Warden, Junior Grand Warden and 20 Grand Lodge Officers, in accepting the Warrant, counseled the brethren of United Service Lodge to continue their Masonic duties in other lodges of the “Ancient Craft”.

 

A short history of United Service Lodge was presented by WBro Barrie Newman, PGSwdB, a past Secretary and Master of the Lodge five times, and the Reasons for Surrendering the Warrant were outlined by VWBro Peter Crispe, PDGDC, the Director of Ceremonies of United Service Lodge and also its Master for two separate terms.