Consecrated 21st January 1905
Meeting at: Waterval Boven - 3 Seventh Street
Meeting Dates: 2nd Saturday (ex Dec) Inst Sep
Contact 082 417 8444
The railway to Delagoa Bay was a very important link with Lourenco Marques in the early years of the 20th century, with the repair and maintenance depot at Waterval Boven contributing to the development of that town as a key centre on the route. And although the lodge first met, for convenience, at Machadodorp, in the travellers' sample room of the Eastern Hotel, it soon moved to Waterval Boven, where it built its own premises, still in use today.
The origin of the name is uncertain although the Secretary has suggested a possible link via the founders several of whom including the Charter Master, came from Russia where the Grand Lodge Astrea which was formed, with headquarters in St Petersburg in 1815 but lasted only until 1822, when Freemasonry was proscribed in Russia. The Lodge crest includes an eagle and an eight pointed star, and the words 'per ardua ad astra', perhaps anticipatory of something less earthbound than a railway!
Waterval Boven has become less important as a railway centre and this has created problems for the Lodge, but there have always been the stalwarts to keep it going. One of these, W Bro Hugo Minnaar (WM 1956/8) who later moved to Pretoria attained Grand rank in 1972. Another, W Bro J C ViIjoen (WM 1967/8) has been Secretary of Astrea Lodge for many years, and has seen it through problem times, including strong opposition from the local predikant in 1979, and difficulties with the premises which required support from the Heritage Fund.
The Lodge's pairing with Woodlands Lodge has been especially helpful to it, and although the Astrea membership is small, the spirit is good.
Reference: 'A Century of Brotherhood' by A A Cooper & D E G Vieler