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Directory of masonic orders that operate in Victoria, Australia.
Royal and Select Masters (RSM)
Masonic qualifications for membership: Craft Master Mason, Mark Master Mason and Royal Arch Mason.
Nearly two hundred years ago the degrees of Royal Master and Select Master appeared.
Travelling Masonic lecturers throughout the East were conferring them upon Masons, while engaging in instructing in Craft (Lodge) and Capitular (Chapter) degrees.
Even one Supreme Council of the Scottish Rite included the degree of Select Master as one of its “detached” degrees.
But, these beautiful degrees were not to remain detached for any length of time. Biblical students and archaeologists know of the vaults or crypts beneath King Solomon’s Temple.
Masonic Degrees were probably not actually conferred in these vaults.
However, such a legend does persist throughout Freemasonry. The legends, conveyed in this system of degrees form a beautiful allegory or story. The Masonic author, Albert G. Mackey, writing of the vault, says: “The vault was, therefore, in the ancient mysteries, symbolic of the grave; for initiation was symbolic of death, where alone Divine Truth is to be found.
Freemasons have adopted the same idea.
They teach that death is but the beginning of Life; that if the first, or evanescent Temple of our transitory life be on the surface, we must descend into the secret vault of death before we can find that sacred deposit of Truth, which is to adorn our second Temple of Eternal Life.”
The degrees in this group are frequently referred to as ‘Cryptic Degrees’ but this description is not strictly correct, as only two actually refer to a crypt.
It is somewhat surprising to note that to many, these ceremonies constitute nothing more than interesting side degrees or a random collection of unrelated incidents in the story of King Solomon’s Temple, but to the serious and understanding Masonic student, they prove to be the essential link between the degrees of Master Mason and Royal Arch Mason.
- The Grand Council of Royal and Select Masters Councils
- Victorian No 1 Consecrated 29/10/1902 No 29 E.C.
- Gardenvale No 3 Consecrated 23/02/1956 No 74 E.C.
- Kerange No 4 Consecrated 05/12/1959 No 79 E.C.
- Oakleigh No 5 Consecrated 27/09/1962 No 84 E.C.
- Sandhurst No 7 Consecrated 25/05/1963 No 87 E.C.
- Shepparton No 8 Consecrated 07/09/1963 No 89 E.C.
- Geelong & District No 11 Consecrated 04/05/1968 No97 E.C.
- Maroondah No 12 Consecrated 31/05/1968 No 98 E.C.
- Ballarat No17 Consecrated 11/09/1980 No 127 E.C.
- McMillan No18 Consecrated 01/11/1980 No128 E.C.
- Sherbrooke No 19 Consecrated 30/06/1984
- South Gippsland No20 Consecrated 01/06/1985
- Mornington Peninsula No21 Consecrated 22/03/1986
- Adoniram No 22 Consecrated 19/02/1994
- Wimmera No23 Consecrated 10/12/1994
Craft Master Mason, Mark Master Mason, Royal Arch Mason.
The only regalia worn by Companions is the jewel of the Order, which is an inverted skeletal triangle, surmounted by a crown and is suspended from a crimson ribbon.
Its symbolism is explained in the ritual but it indicates the beneficence of the Most High directed towards the individual. It is worn on the left breast over the region of the heart.
Each Officer of a Council of Royal and Select Masters wears a crimson collar from which is suspended the jewel of his office. A Grand Officer wears the crimson collar edges with one or more gold stripes, according to rank.
The Order works 4 degrees:-
The Degree of Select Master takes for its scenario the point where we are in to the fifth year of the building of the Temple (i.e. 969 BCE), and the Secret Vault is being constructed to house the sacred treasures and other important artifacts of the Jewish people, in order to keep them safe from attack by enemy forces.
Specially selected craftsmen carry out the construction of the vault and its approach tunnel, and only the three Grand Masters and those actually engaged in the work know of the existence of the vault.
A craftsman not entitled to be there accidentally enters into the vault and is sentenced to death; however, his fortunes turn and he is eventually pardoned and admitted to the elite band of Select Masters.
This Degree is set prior to the death of Hiram Abif, and alludes to preparations to hide the Secret Treasures.
It also explains why King Solomon selected twenty-four true, tried and trusty Craftsmen, together with the three Grand Masters, (making “twenty-seven and no more”) to complete an important part of the Temple.
The second Council Degree, is conferred in two parts. In the first part, Hiram Abif talks to Adoniram about death.
In the second, a day after the death of Hiram Abif, King Solomon and Hiram, King of Tyre, cannot communicate the Master’s Word without him – not in the manner agreed. The dramas illuminate both the Master Mason and Holy Royal Arch Degrees.
The Royal Master Degree follows chronologically, where the vault has been completed and is in the process of being decorated with the sacred treasures. One of the senior overseers engages in conversation with Hiram Abif and the latter inadvertently explains how he intends to ensure that the Master Word shall never become lost.
In the course of this conversation the candidate hears some truly magnificent ritual, which is certain to remain in his mind for a long, long time.
Hiram Abif realizes, too late, that he has revealed to the senior overseer something which he should not have done, and the companion is thus sworn to secrecy. Shortly after this, Hiram Abif is slain and it is only through the knowledge given to this overseer, of the intentions of Hiram Abif, that the Master Word is indeed preserved.
Master The Degree of Most Excellent Master takes for its scenario the point where the Temple is being dedicated to the glory of God, and King Solomon determines to reward some his most skilful craftsmen with the rank of Most Excellent Master.
Super Excellent Master This Degree was not originally part of the Cryptic Order, and is still not presented in all jurisdictions, yet it is one of Masonry’s best written rituals.
It deals with incidents during the reign of King Nebuchadnezzar when Zedekiah, the last King of Judah, was conquered and carried captive to Babylon.
It dramatizes the lesson of fidelity. It is not a Degree of the Crypt; it does not deal with Ancient Craft Masonry, but it has been described as “the best devised, most impressive and beautiful ritual in Masonry”. In a panorama of exciting events, biblical characters move across the stage, illustrating history.
The great Chaldean Monarch, Nebuchadnezzar, lives again. The treacherous and faithless Zedekiah, the last of Judah’s Kings, proves the results of infidelity.
The unswerving Ezekiel and the melancholy but zealous Jeremiah prophesy the promises of the Almighty. The great lesson is about fidelity to a trust.
For further information about the below meetings and individual Council contact details, please contact the Grand Recorder.
Grand Recorder: VIIIComp John Travers
1 – Victorian Council (Ivanhoe)
Meeting: 1st Monday at 7:30pm odd months, January excepted.
3 – Gardenvale Council (Bayside)
Meeting: 5th Thurs. at 7:30pm, except Jan. which is last Thurs.
4 – Kerang Council (Swan Hill)
Meeting: March, May, August, November – contact Recorder to confirm
5 – Oakleigh Council (Oakleigh)
Meeting: 5th Monday at 7:30pm, Dec. excepted.
8 – Shepparton District (Shepparton)
Meeting: 3rd Fri. at 7:30pm Feb, May, Aug, Nov.
11 -Geelong and District Council (Belmont)
Meeting: 1st Tues. at 7:30pm even months, Aug. excepted.
17- Ballarat Council (Ballarat)
Meeting: 2nd Thursday at 7:30pm, odd months, January excepted.
18 – McMillan Council (Bairnsdale)
Meeting: 4th Wednesday at 7:30pm, Odd Months.
Installation: November. 1st Saturday Afternoon.
19 – Sherbrook Council (Belgrave)
Meeting: 4th Thursday at 7:30pm Even Months, December excepted.
20 – South Gipplsand Council (Wonthaggi)
Meeting: 2nd Monday, even months, December excepted.
21 – The Mornington Peninsula Council (Baxter)
Meeting: 4th Thursday at 7:30pm Odd Months, December excepted.
22 – Adoniram Council (Sunshine West)
Meeting: 2nd Monday, even months, June exepted.
23 – Wimmera Council (Stawell)
Meeting: 4th Friday, February, April, September at 7:30pm.