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Woodlands Lodge No. 3668

Consecrated 12th May 1913

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

Meeting Dates: 1st Thursday Feb, Apr, Jun, Aug, Oct, Dec, Inst Apr

Contact 082 442 9162

Lodge History

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After the South African war the boundaries of Johannesburg were extended northward to include the townships of Parktown North and Rosebank. A dense forest of trees, called the Sachsenwald Forest, covered part of the area, so when a group of masons, drawn from the new residents, decided to form a lodge they named it 'Sachsenwald'. And so it was consecrated in May 1913 but with the coming of the First World War popular sentiment demanded a change to an English name and the Anglicised equivalent, Woodlands, was chosen.

Initially the lodge met in the Rosebank Hotel Cottage, which the editor of the Masonic Journal described as the tiniest and snuggest lodge he had ever seen, 'where the Master could shake hands with the Senior Warden without them leaving their respective chairs'. Following a change in ownership of the hotel the lodge was forced to move in 1918 and its members realised the necessity of starting a building fund. Two brethren presented the present site in Parktown North to a newly formed company controlled (and eventually wholly owned) by the lodge, building commenced immediately, and after meeting temporarily in the Scotia Masonic Hall in Braamfontein, the lodge was able to meet in its present hall from June 1919. Some 35 years later the premises were extended and improved and today the Woodlands Masonic Hall is the meeting place of a number of lodges of the various constitutions, and of chapters etc working the additional degrees.

A feature of Woodland's history has been the distinction, within and outside masonry, of a number of its members. Within the Order it has produced a District Grand Master in Jack Folly (see chapter 6), Deputy District Grand Masters Arthur Needham and Pieter Roos, and a number of Grand officers, including Frank Lyon, Fred Bradford (who has over 65 years of membership) and John Roos. Outside Masonry it must surely be a record for one lodge to have provided Johannesburg with three mayors, J W O'hara (the Charter Master) in 1915/7, G W Nelson in 1930/1 and Pieter Roos (see chapter 18) in 1964/5. And special mention must be made of Norman Robinson, who ran the Masonic Bowling Tournament for some 30 years, raising over R120 000 for masonic and other charities, and of Fred Marlton, (WM 1964/5), who has been an active officer of Woodlands for some 40 years, including being Secretary and later the Director of Ceremonies.

The lodge has had its worries in recent years, some such as disappointing attendances in common with many other lodges. But of especial concern has been the financial viability of the Woodlands Masonic Hall, where it has become increasingly difficult to contain maintenance costs to a level covered by rentals received for evening meetings, and other measures have had to be taken.

But problems aside the lodge maintains a full programme of social and fundraising activities and the interest and involvement of the ladies goes well beyond catering for the festive board. Also the lodge regularly visits Astrea Lodge in Waterval Boven, where its support is most welcome

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