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Columbia Lodge No. 2900

Consecrated 1st August 1902

Meeting at: Johannesburg - Freemasons Hall, 8 Park Lane, Parktown

Meeting Dates: 1st Tuesday (ex Jan, July), Inst Sep

Contact 083 377 6256

Lodge History

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The majority of the founders were engineers, largely connected with the mining industry and at least four, including the Charter Master, were Americans - which no doubt influenced the District Grand Master in making his support for the petition conditional on the lodge using 'English' ritual! Whether the American connection had a bearing on the choice of name is uncertain but the lodge banner (purchased in 1910) prominently displays the 'Stars and Stripes', and no doubt this reflects the link with American masonry, which continued after consecration in the form both of initiates and joining members. The mining history of the time is reflected in the fact that of two candidates in 1905, one was a 'cyanider' and the other a 'Chinese contractor'!

In 1910 serious dissension arose in the lodge and the District Grand Master sent the District Grand Secretary and Treasurer to a lodge meeting to sequestrate the Charter and lodge books. They were unsuccessful and the District Grand Master suspended the lodge and recommended to United Grand Lodge that Columbia be erased from the roll. Grand Lodge confirmed the suspension but declined to erase the lodge. After four years, permission was given to resume workings and harmony again prevailed.

In 1930 the lodge finances were at a very low ebb and the Committee was close to recommending surrender of the warrant, at which point W Bro C V Longmore came to the rescue with a donation of £ 100 - a lot of money in those hard times - and a promise of more, if required.

Columbia has always been a 'tenant' lodge, and after changing its meeting place more than once, settled down at Kerk Street in 1936 and finally moved to Freemasons' Hall in Parktown in 1957. It has been a strong 'family' lodge, with many members introducing their sons as 'brothers' and the most remarkable instance was in 1946 when, by dispensation, W Bro E Jones initiated three of his sons at a single meeting.

Columbia has had several Grand officers among its members, including Bro Dick Gwilliam who first went into the chair a few days before the start of the Second World War, and returned to it in 1981. In between he had spent a number of years overseas, where he was an active member of South Africa Lodge in London, and WM in 1967/8, and after his retirement he rendered valuable voluntary service in the District office in Johannesburg. And the history of Columbia Lodge, and indeed the District history, would be incomplete without paying tribute to a man who - if he were so minded - could probably claim to have been, for many years, the 'busiest' brother in the Transvaal: namely Bro Koenraad Willem Roorda. Koen Roorda's interest and activity ranged right across the masonic board and he headed three orders the Ancient and Accepted Rite, the Red Cross of Constantine and the Knight Templar Priests, and gave strong administrative support, over many years, to two others, the Knights Templar and the Cryptic. But his deep involvement in the additional orders never detracted from his loyalty to his mother Craft lodge, Columbia, and its Royal Arch Chapter; indeed he has given stalwart and sustained support to both, and to the Craft and Royal Arch in general.

Reference: 'A Century of Brotherhood' by A A Cooper & D E G Vieler