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Directory of masonic orders that operate in Victoria, Australia.

Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests (KTP) and the Order of Holy Wisdom

Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests (KTP) and the Order of Holy Wisdom


The Order of Knight Templar Priests as we know it today goes back to the Anahilt Union Band in County Down, Ireland, in 1792.

So far, over 60 Union Bands have been identified in Ireland with only a small number being identified as being under the Early Grand Encampment and even fewer being “banded” with one or more Lodges.

During this period, there was no ruling body for these Union Bands.

In the early days it was known as the Priestly Order and was referred to in the ceremonies of the High Knights Templar in Ireland, in 1755.

In 1800, it appeared in Kilmarnock, Scotland. Evidence exists of its being worked in the late 18th and early 19th centuries in England, Scotland, Ireland, Corfu, France, the United States of America and Canada.

In 1807, the Early Grand Conclave of Scotland warranted the Joppa Encampment of Knights Templar in Sunderland, England. This Encampment was also authorised to work a number of other degrees, including the Knight Templar Priest.

In 1812, the Newcastle upon Tyne members petitioned the Grand Conclave of England for a warrant.

This was granted in the name of the Royal Kent Encampment. The Order of Knight Templar Priests appears only to have been worked spasmodically, as did the Royal Kent Encampment, eventually coming under the aegis of the Council of Knights Grand Cross of the Holy Temple of Jerusalem, formed in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1845.

Henry Hotham, a Yorkshireman, being the last Installed High Priest, of the independent Chapter of Holy Royal Arch Knight Templar Priests, on Good Friday, 23 March 1894, admitted nine Knights into the Order.

A fortuitously timed event, as Henry Hotham died on 17 May 1895.

The revived Tabernacle, in conjunction with the Knights Grand Cross, being conscious of the efforts of the Council of Allied Masonic Degrees, in London, to found a “Grand Council of Rites”, agreed that, along with its then 24 appendant degrees, would become the Royal Kent Tabernacle, with ‘time immemorial’ status.

After a short period of control by the Grand Council of the Allied Masonic Degrees and, by mutual consent, it separated and became The Grand College, on 15 May 1924, at Newcastle upon Tyne.

Expansion was very slow for the first few decades of the Order’s existence but in recent times expansion has increased worldwide as more Freemasons have become aware of its existence as well as the beauty and significance of its ceremonial.


A Knight Templar Priest wears a white tunic with a red cross on the front, a plain white mantle and a mitre with a cross on the front and back.

A High Priest wears a taller mitre with a patriarchal cross while holders of grand rank are distinguished by additional detail on the mitre appropriate to their status.

Rank within the Order of Holy Wisdom is denoted by the colour of a cordelier worn by members at meetings.


The Order is both an important expression of Christian esoteric Freemasonry and the preserver of many old Masonic rituals.

As such, this delightful Order is highly regarded in England and Scotland, as well as throughout the world.


The Order is administered from York, UK, and operates worldwide, with Tabernacles formed into Districts in countries such as Australia, Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Isle of Man, Jamaica, Jersey, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa and Togo.

In 1935, the Grand College of America was granted a patent to form Tabernacles in the United States.

The Order is led by a Grand High Priest, supported by a number of appointed Grand College officers, including Grand Superintendents for the various Districts.

The ritual bodies of the Order are called Tabernacles.

The leader of the Tabernacle is called the High Priest, and he is principally assisted by seven Pillars officers, a distinctive and integral feature of the Order.

There are six Tabernacles within Victoria: currently meeting at Collingwood, Irymple, Moorabbin, Ballarat, Ardeer and Kyneton, and which meet regularly 3-4 times a year.


The qualifications for membership are that a candidate must be a Master Mason, Royal Arch Mason and Knight Templar, all in good financial standing, and make the prescribed Statement of Faith.


In addition to the single working and administrative degree of Knight Templar Priest, the Order has authority over a number of very old degrees which are no longer worked in other branches of Masonry.

These comprise the 31 appendant degrees conferred on a candidate during the ceremony and the impressive and equally ancient Order of Holy Wisdom, again a vital component of the Knight Templar Priests after many years of being set aside by Grand College.

The higher grades of the Order of Holy Wisdom are an honorific for deserving Knight Templar Priests, while the first grade is a prerequisite to taking senior office within a Tabernacle.

The appendant degrees are also demonstrated, on an ad-hoc basis, by various Tabernacles under authority from Grand College.

The Tabernacle may thus be considered an umbrella structure with authority to work the impressive ceremony of admitting a Knight Templar Priest, demonstration of various appendant degrees, acting as host to the Grand Superintendent in the work of the equally impressive Grand Point and for the ceremonial of the elaborate Order of Holy Wisdom.

District No 8 

15 Australian Tabernacle (29/11/1949)

Meeting: 4th Tuesday at 7:30pm (meets February, April, August, October) at Collingwood
Rehearsal: Prior to meeting Installation: April

75 Southern Cross Tabernacle (26/2/1980)

Meeting: South Eastern Masonic Centre, 270 Hutton Road, Keysborough, Victoria. 3173
On the Third Saturday in the months of February, May (installation), and October at 1.00pm
Rehearsal: Prior to meeting

92 Ballarat Tabernacle (18/6/1982)

Meeting: 3rd Friday at 7:00pm (meets April, August, October) at Smythesdale
Rehearsal: Prior to meeting at 6:00pm Installation: October

153 Chaffey Tabernavle (13/2/1990)

Meeting: 1st Saturday at 8:00pm (meets February, May, August) at Irymple
Rehearsal: Prior to meeting Installation: May

170 Aaron Tabernacle (17/10/1992)

Meeting: 3rd Saturday at 10:00am (meets February, June, October) at Sunshine West
Rehearsal: Prior to meeting Installation: October