Lion Lodge (Masonic Lodge) Hall

Newton Street, Ormondville

  • Lion Lodge (Masonic Lodge) Hall.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7531 Date Entered 11th December 2003

Locationopen/close

City/District Council

Tararua District

Region

Horizons (Manawatu-Wanganui) Region

Legal description

Lot 5 Pt Sec 20, Sect 142, Ormondville, Special Settlement 19/8/1887

Summaryopen/close

The idea of establishing a Freemasons lodge in Ormondville began in 1896. In 1898 tenders were called for the construction of a building to house the lodge based on the designs of W. Chadwick (a member of the lodge). It was built by Messrs Carrol and Cole, and opened in April 1899. The Lion Lodge is essentially a benevolent society and has links to overseas lodges as well as lodges throughout New Zealand. The lodge has provided fellowship and community support for over 100 years.

Architecturally the Lion Lodge No 114 (Masonic Lodge) Hall is a simple timber building consisting of a main hall, lean-to refectory, entry, toilet, and kitchen area. It is an excellent example of vernacular architecture and compliments the other structures in the town including the Church of the Epiphany (Anglican) (historic place Category II), and the Ormondville Railway Station (historic place Category II).

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Place Registration Proposal report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

This Freemasons Lodge building constructed in 1889, twenty five years after the first settlers arrived in the district, has served the Ormondville district in Southern Hawke's Bay for over 104 years. Together with the Ormondville Railway Station (Category II), the Church of the Epiphany (Anglican), (Category II), also in Newton St, the Lion Lodge Hall fulfils an important community role and has a strong presence in this small rural town. The Lodge Hall has provided fellowship for its local membership and wider communities and contributed significant financial support to its Hawkes Bay community. Lion Lodge is a close knit rural lodge, largelt built around family groups, who still have a presence in the district. Freemasonry is a benevolent society which also promotes ethical conduct and responsible attitudes amongst its members. It contributes to the Central Grand Lodge of Benevolence, which in the year 2000 distributed throughout New Zealand over $675,000 in grants and scholarships, $140,000 to the New Zealand Masonic Chair of Geriatrics at Auckland University and over $97,000 to the Chair of Paediatrics at Otago University. On a local level, the Lion Lodge has made significant contributions to Massey University, to community groups seeking financial support, and support to widows and families of former members.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Place Registration Proposal report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Historical Significance:

The Lion Masonic Hall has served the Ormondville District for 104 years. In the words of Chris Cochran, Conservation Architect, the Lodge Hall is "an iconic structure in the overall village mix of important buildings remaining". The other notable buildings in the near vicinity are the Ormondville Railway Station and the Epiphany (Anglican) Church, both registered by the Trust. The Lodge plays a very important community role in this rural town. The founders of the Lion Lodge became prominent leaders in Ormondville and the wider community.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Place Registration Proposal report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Architectural Significance:

Lodges around the country, especially in rural towns, generally have low key architectural facades. The Ormondville Lodge follows this pattern but is still considered a large and significant building, especially given its corner site in a small rural setting. Its aesthetic value lies in the interior, with its symbolic tracings on the wall, the pillars, display cases and the Master's Chair which takes pride of place in the Lodge.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Place Registration Proposal report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Cultural Significance:

The Lodge Hall has provided fellowship and care for its members and families for over 100 years and contributed financially to needs within the local and wider community over that time. There are 44 members in the Ormondville Lion Lodge.

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Place Registration Proposal report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:

From early beginnings of settlement, felling bush, sowing grass, grazing sheep and cattle and putting in the railway to link towns, Freemasons have helped to bring communities together, particularly in small rural areas. Under the influence of a small group of inspired Freemasons, the Masonic Lodge that was constructed in Ormondville forms one of the most important buildings in the fabric of this small rural town.

The Lodge, since its inception in Ormondville, 104 years ago, has greatly assisted in the bonding of local families and provided strong community leadership as the town and District grew. It is one of only five Lodges in the Tararua District, which extends from Norsewood to Woodville and into the Wairarapa as far as Mount Bruce.

(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history:

The Lion Lodge No 114 at Ormondville has forged strong links with the Zetland Lodge No 312 started by settlers of the Shetland Islands and with its origins linked to the Norse Mariners Association. W. Bro. Samuel Chadwick, a Past Master of Sykes Lodge No 1040 English Constitution, is credited with convening a small group of Freemasons who agreed to the formation of a Masonic Lodge in Ormondville. W.Bro. Chadwick was initiated at Whitby, Yorkshire, under the Charter of Lion Lodge in May 1873. Fraternal visits have been made down through the years by members of the Lion Lodge in Ormondville with the Lion Lodge of Whitby in England.

(c) The potential of the place to provide knowledge of New Zealand history:

Ormondville was settled by farming people and those who set up industries associated with forestry. Many of the early pioneers of the land and timber millers were freemasons, or very soon became members of the local Lodge. They became important leaders in the development of the Ormondville and wider communities in and around Dannevirke. They provided for the welfare of families in the harsh working environment and helped with the education needs of young people growing up in the District.

(e) The community association with, or the public esteem for, the place:

The Lodge during its existence has had strong local links and through its benevolence to a wider Tararua District retains an important position in the public's view in Orrnondvil1e and surrounding area. It has contributed to education scholarships, to support for widows and families of past members, to the operations of the Dannevirke Citizens Advice Bureau and to fund students going overseas.

(f) The potential of the place for public education:

The Lion Lodge has taken up the challenge to provide a more open approach to its membership and the activities of local Lodge through visits and tours. It has important historical collections and displays which provide linkage with the Shetland Islands and with the Norse Mariners Association. The Viking history is told through the displays gifted to the Lodge over many years. These are symbols of the settlement of people from Britain and Scandinavia in the Tararua District, as we know it today.

(h) The symbolic or commemorative value of the place:

The road frontage wall of the Lodge displays the symbol of the Masonic Lodge movement in a very simple but strong manner. To the local people and from nearby communities, the building has a presence and it is recognized as being an assembly for many of the town and district's outstanding citizens and community leaders.

(i) The importance of identifying historic places known to date from early periods of New Zealand settlement:

The Lodge was built twenty five years after the first settlers arrived in the area. It was built to have a strong physical presence. The first freemasons were determined that their community assembly would be a significant milestone in its early history of the District.

(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape:

The Lion Lodge building, with the Church of the Epiphany, the Ormondville Railway Station and the Peace Hall, the local community hall are the remaining important buildings in the township of Ormondville. They are in close proximity to each other, they have significant physical presence and are constructed in similar materials, timber weatherboard and iron roofing. They are very much the focus of a small village setting, which includes a small number of retail outlets. The Lodge, church and community hall all bring together the population of the Ormondville area for local events and celebration functions. The buildings collectively form the heart of this rural town. With the Ormondville Railway Station which has been converted to a well known B&B, these community buildings are important places on the Tararua heritage trail. Members of the Lion Lodge are working with the Tararua Branch Committee of Historic Places Trust on plans to enhance the appearance of the Lodge, through restoration of the matai timber weatherboards and painting to strengthen its place and symbolic value within the Tararua District.

Linksopen/close

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Place Registration Proposal report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

History of the place:

Freemasons who settled in Ormondville, Southern Hawke's Bay, in the early 1890's showed enthusiasm for their craft by forming an Ormondville Lodge of instruction under the Charter of Bedford No 25 on the 27th May 1896, W.Bro. Samuel Chadwick, Past Master (P.M.) of Sykes Lodge, English Constitution, convened a meeting to form a Masonic Lodge at Ormondville. Five other masons were present and they agreed, in the interests of freemasonry, and for the comfort and well-being of the brethren in this district, that a Masonic Lodge should be formed.

At a meeting on 10th June 1896, it was proposed that the name of the lodge should be 'Waikopiro'. This name was subsequently rejected by Grand Lodge who stated "that the choice of a more suitable name would be desirable".

W.Bro. Chadwick was initiated at Whitby, Yorkshire, under Charter of Lion Lodge No 312, E.C. in May 1873. In consequence, it was decided to apply to Grand Lodge for a charter in the name of Lion in recognition of W.Bro. Chadwick's initiative. In November1898, it was decided to build and furbish a Masonic hall ready for consecration by April 1899. A tender of forty pounds was accepted from Messrs Carrol & Coles. W.Bro. Scholes donated 1000 feet of timber.

Regalia and aprons were purchased in Christchurch for 28 and 19 shillings respectively. The total setting up costs for the Lodge amounted to 132 pounds, thirteen shillings and seven pence. Other necessary items were gifted to the Lodge, the land, Bro. Smith; furnishing emblems; the volume (still in use), W.Bro. Chadwick; tessellated pavement in carpet form) from Victoria No 21. Amongst the most treasured of these gifts are the tracing boards painted for the Lodge by W.Bro. Wundrum of Scinde Lodge No 5. These were presented on the occasion of W.Bro. Chadwick's installation on the 16th May 1900.

Freemasons, not Past Masters, have been honoured by the Lion Lodge. The most distinguished was W.Bro. Thomas Hobson, of Bedford No 25 who was very active during the formative years of the Lodge. He is the first mentioned in the minutes of a meeting held on the 18th December 1899, which recorded his donation of one pound, one shilling towards the funds of the Lodge. In 1902, he was presented with a gold Past Masters jewel. On his death, his family passed this jewel back to the Lodge and it is now worn on the Worshipful Masters collar in his memory. Two other gold Past Masters jewels were presented to W.Bro. Devlin and W.Bro. Pickard of Rawhiti Lodge in recognition of their services to Lion Lodge.

In 1936, Bro. Ross Tait of Lodge Waiwhetu No 176, moved into the district. On his installation in 1944, masons of the Norse Mariners Association were received. After a ceremony unique to the Norse Mariners, a presentation of a Viking ship was made. The Viking ship is displayed in the refectory and is one of the treasures of the Lodge.

This gesture led to a close relationship between the Lion Lodge and Zetland Lodges, the latter having its origins directly from the Norse Mariners Association. Many fraternal visits have been made between the Lodges.

Original working tools, including three white gavels made of stone from King Solomon's mine are displayed in a glass case in the lodge.

With the effects of social change and decline in rural population, the membership of the Lodge has declined. However this situation has had the effect of bringing members closer together. The spirit of the Lodge is strong.

Physical Description

This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Historic Place Registration Proposal report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Designer/Architect:

W.Bro. Chadwick drew up plans for the calling of tenders for the Lodge Hall.

Builder:

Messres Carrol & Cole

Physical Description:

The Lion Lodge Hall is a large wooden structure with a Main Hall (Temple) area of 147m2, a lean-to refectory, entry and toilet and kitchen area of 67m2.

The "Temple" interior is set out as befits a Lodge's organization. The Master's Chair takes pride of place in the lodge with the immediate Past Master and deputy Master on either side.

The pillars in the Masonic Lodge Hall represent the columns at the entrance way to King Solomon's Temple and play a significant part in the basis of Freemasonry.

There are a number of significant historic items displayed in the Hall including three gavels which were given to the Lodge by the late Arthur Port, a member of the Lodge.

Pride of place in the refectory in a display case is the Norse Galley, presented to the Lion Lodge by the Zetland Lodge. The battle axe was the Norseman's most famous weapon and the Norse War Galley was known and feared throughout the seas and coasts of Europe. The Norse Galley was presented to Ross Tait, by members of his former Zetland Lodge, in 1944, when they travelled through to Ormondville to witness his installation.

Current Physical condition:

Sound, well maintained building. No apparent dry rot or borer infestation. Has been overlaid with a 'seconds' run of hardie plank type weatherboard which are springing at the joints and beginning to deteriorate.

Notable Features

The pillars in the interior which represent the columns at the entrance way to King Solomon's Temple.

The Master's Chair behind the pillars and the Past Master's chair on the eastern wall.

Construction Dates

Designed
1898 -

Original Construction
1899 -
Begun early 1899 and completed March 1899

Other
1899 -
Formally opened 4 April 1899

Construction Details

Timber framed, corrugated iron roofing and rusticated weatherboard. Some 15 years ago, Lodge members covered the rustic matai weatherboards with hardie plank to avoid painting costs. The Lodge has decided to find the finance to do a major upgrade to restore the weatherboard timbers on the exterior of the building. The interior of the building is built of heart rimu and is still in very good condition.

Completion Date

12th July 2004

Report Written By

NZHPT

Information Sources

Centenary Celebrations

Centenary Celebrations

Booklet, photos, notes obtained from Peter Ropiha

Ceremony of Consecration Service Sheet

Ceremony of Consecration Service Sheet

4 April 1899, Bush Advocate Print Co.

Evening News

Evening News (Dannevirke)

2 March 2002

Lion Lodge Archives

Lion Lodge Archives

Lion Lodge, 24 July 1899

Other Information

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Central region office

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.