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Doornfontein Lodge No. 2585

Consecrated 26th November 1895

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

Meeting Dates: 3rd Tuesday February, March, May , June, August, September Inst November

Contact 076 734 7497

Lodge History

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The lodge took its name from the first 'swagger suburb' of Johannesburg and its founders included brethren already prominent on the Transvaal masonic, scene, including the Acting IPM, Solomon Hershfield, the Collector of Customs, who had helped to overcome Grand Lodge resistance to forming new lodges in the Transvaal while it was not under British rule and subsequently became the Charter Master of the Gold Fields Lodge; the Charter Master, J W S (later Sir Jan) Langerman, managing director of the Robinson Deep Group, who was to give generous assistance to Royal George Lodge (q.v.) after the South African War; and the Charter Senior Warden Rev Mark Harris, the first District Grand Chaplain: a leading if somewhat controversial figure in the Hebrew Congregation. And there was an interesting father and son combination in G R and G S Burt Andrews. They were respectively the first Treasurer and the first Senior Deacon of the Lodge and while the latter 'stepped off the ladder' in Doomfontein to go through the chair of Johannesburg Lodge he continued his masonic career to become District Grand Master in 1924.

Doomfontein Lodge got off to a good start and its first candidate, Bro Fritz Krause, the State Prosecutor, was to 'make history' in 1900 when, as Special Commandant of the Boer forces on the Witwatersrand, he met Lord Roberts to negotiate the important agreement referred to earlier in this book.

The lodge attracted very strong support from the Jewish community and so, as the war clouds gathered, it held a remarkable blend of brethren in Government positions, of Uitlanders and of the professional and trading communities - and perhaps it was as well that the lodge went into recess in September 1899, so avoiding any possible strain on feelings of brotherhood.

Even so, when the lodge resumed activity after the war, only a small hardcore of brethren remained and a virtually fresh start was necessary. However, with vigorous support from Johannesburg and Gold Fields Lodges, Doornfontein was back to full strength by the end of 1903.

The loss of most of the early lodge records leaves a long gap in its history which can only be covered by saying that all seems to have gone well. But from the 1930s it can be seen that the lodge attracted a wide admixture of brethren and continues to do so. These have included some outstanding contributors to Transvaal Freemasonry, including Maurice Mendelsohn (Worshipful Master 1936/37), a brother of all round prominence; Tommy Coleman (Worshipful Master 1938/9), Treasurer for over forty years and a distinguished District Organist; Harold Cohen (Worshipful Master 1956/57), of Plate Glass fame, a most useful member of the District Board of General Purposes; and Manfred Hermer (Worshipful Master 1968/69). Manfred Hermer combined being an oustanding architect with a range of cultural talents, including a gift for painting. As District Grand Superintendent of Works, he placed his professional skills at the disposal of the District for ten years, prior to becoming an Assistant District Grand Master from 1979 to 1987. And he was the Charter Master and a valued member of the Lyceum Lodge of Research No 8682, which also enjoys the active support of Doornfontein members Neil Mankowitz and Rod Grosskopff.

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