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Gold Fields Lodge No. 2478

Consecrated 14th October 1893

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

Meeting Dates: 4th Thursday (ex Dec) Insl Oct

Contact John Hilton 082 823 5083

Lodge History

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In 1892 a number of former residents of Kimberley held meetings in Johannesburg to plan suitable celebrations for Kimberley's 21st birthday in the following year. They included a number of masons, one of them W Bro H F E Pistorius, soon to become the first Deputy District Grand Master of the Transvaal, and having been brought together for one purpose, they quickly found another, to try to form a new lodge in Johannesburg. The events leading up to the Consecration, the Consecration itself and the subsequent acquisition by the lodge of its own premises in Jeppe Street are dealt with elsewhere in this history.

The lodge got off to a galloping start, with 117 candidates and 72 joining members in the first year. This required 56 emergency meetings and involved many triple and quadruple workings. Naturally the rate of intake slowed down but apart from some adverse impact of the Jameson Raid, the lodge flourished in terms of membership and activity. Unfortunately not so in its finances, and after the enforced recess during the South African War, the lodge still found itself with debts incurred in building the Jeppe Street premises. Although there were wealthy members, none seems to have been anxious to come to the rescue, and the creditor banks foreclosed and the building was subject to a forced sale, which caused a hasty removal of the lodge first to the Grand National Hotel and shortly thereafter to the Masonic Hall in Plein Street.

Early members of the lodge included some of the outstanding personalities of the time, such as Solomon Hershfield, the Charter Master, Collector of Customs and Excise, Solly Joel, one of the founders of Johannesburg Consolidated Investments Ltd., John Hays Hammond, the pioneer of deep level mining, Carl von Brandis, Johannesburg's first Landdrost and Mining Commissioner, Harry Stodel, a pioneer of theatrical entertainment, Joseph da Silva, first District Grand Secretary of the Transvaal District, Sir Max Michaelis, financier and public benefactor, Professor John Orr OBE, a leading mechanical engineer and Director of the Witwatersrand Technical College, and Professor Joseph Dobson DSO, at one time the Town Electrical Engineer, and in the First World, War, Officer Commanding the South African Pioneer Battalion in France.

On 29 December 1895 the Jameson Raid was launched and a few days later President Kruger issued a warrant to the Administrator of Police in Johannesburg for the arrest of the 64 members of the Reform Committee. When the Administrator, Charles Christian Pietersen - a member of Gold Fields received the warrant he could hardly have failed to notice that the 64 included his District Grand Master, George Richards, and a member of his own lodge, Solly Joel! And so our District Grand Master was arrested by one freemason and taken to Pretoria, later to be tried by one to be, albeit a few years later, Bro Judge Gregorowski!

Following its unfortunate experience in Jeppe Street, the Lodge was content to be a tenant, first in Plein Street, then successively in Claim Street, the so called 'Corona Temple' in Berea, Kerk Street and finally to Freemasons'Hall in Parktown.

Gold Fields is one of the very few lodges in the Transvaal to have a properly sanctioned Lodge of Instruction, which in the early days met weekly and worked all the degrees and lectures in rotation. The programme is less arduous today.

Several members of the lodge have earned Grand honours, including the 'Davis-Marks' father and son who shared 62 years of Secretaryship of the lodge, while Teddy Sachs (WM 1949/50) was District Grand Registrar from 1962 to 1986.

The lodge celebrated its centenary, in fitting manner, on 14 October 1993, exactly 100 years after its Consecration.

Its Secretary, W Bro M A L Gray (also District Grand Secretary from 1991 to 1994) helped to mark the occasion by producing a full history of the Lodge.

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