The Methven Lodge #51 was consecrated on Tues 30th October 1883 – as #694SC
Current Masonic members in the region at that time gathered to form a new Masonic Lodge. One of the founders and the second Worshipful Master was W.Bro Robert Patton who is recognised as the founder of the region and who named the town and region Methven after his home region of Methven, 9kms west of the City of Perth in Perthshire, Scotland. His family farmed at Cairnies, Glenalmond, close to the Methven town in Scotland by the Almond River nearby. Robert Patton was the Hotel Proprietor of the Methven Hotel – now “The Blue Pub” and he had a farm 3kms nearer Mt Hutt. The Lodge was founded on the Scottish constitution #694 SC. Later The Methven Lodge joined the newly formed New Zealand Grand Lodge constitution in May 1890 as The Methven Lodge #51 NZC. Its first 100yrs is fully recorded in this CENTENNIAL BOOK, Click here to View online, today it’s the oldest existing community organisation still active in the Methven region. Much of its history is the local region’s history also.
Since the Lodge’s centennial in 1983 there has been a slow decline of active membership, similar to many Lodges throughout NZ. In the 1960s the Lodge membership peaked at just over 150 members.
Some of The METHVEN Lodge #51 more distinguished members:
RW Bro Dr Roy Wade was the local medical practitioner between 1950 and 1980 and many of today’s Methven senior citizens will well remember him and his family. He was initiated into the Cashmere Lodge #271 before coming to reside in the Methven town. Dr Roy was a very strong enthusiast of Freemasonry and even today in his nonagenarian years is still very active and does considerable amount of travelling. His knowledge is well sought after throughout the Masonic fraternity.
VW Bro James Gillanders PG Supt Works attained the rank of Past Grand Superintendent of Works. VW Bro Gillanders was a School Master at the Methven School. He was initiated into The Methven Lodge in May 1888, aged 24yrs and became the Worshipful Master in 1890. He was also Master a further 5 times through to 1907. He was Lodge secretary for several of his years of membership. He retired from School teaching in 1916 and moved through to Christchurch. He was appointed an Honorary member, and given a secretary’s jewel. In 1924 he joined the newly consecrated Shirley Lodge #263 and commenced the annual exchange of gavel visit with Methven.
VW Bro Walter J Currie PGDC (farmer) was initiated in October 1940 as a double initiation with his brother George. Their father also George from Scotland, was Junior Warden that evening and became Master in 1942. VW Bro Walter Currie rose the the rank of Grand Director of Ceremonies in 1976. He was Installed as Master of The Methven Lodge in 1952 and on completion of his year as Master went straight in as Secretary of the Lodge in 1953, a position he held for 37 continuous years.
The work of the Lodge secretary was a big one over those years with monthly meeting notices, after printing at Higgins Print in Ashburton, had to be manually attended to individually and put into NZ Post every month. V W Bro. Walter J Currie PGDC was Secretary from 1953 and the high membership period through the 1950s & 60s. After 14yrs as the Lodge secretary the Lodge presented him with a secretary’s jewel of the “crossed quills”.
After a further 14yrs (now 28yrs) the Lodge presented him with a second set of “crossed quills” added to the existing ones.
This jewel is very unique in that it is probably the only secretary’s jewel in NZ Grand Lodge jurisdiction with a double set of “crossed quills” set on it. After his death in 2001 it was presented back to the Lodge as a “Memorial Jewel” for the service he gave in 59yrs membership and 37yrs continuous years as the Lodge secretary, and over that peak membership period of the Lodge’s history. With W Bro Frank G Mangin (19yrs) the Lodge was served by two secretary’s for 56yrs of its over 130yrs to date.
VW Bro Ronald T Cochrane PGL (Sawmiller) was initiated Nov 1954, became Worshipful Master in 1968, then spent most of his Methven Lodge career as Lodge Chaplain. He rose to the rank of Grand Lecturer.
VW Bro Ray E Gudex PG Dist GM (retired farmer) See 2nd century for Ray’s details.
A unique family event of The Methven Lodge was during the 1948-49 year.
There were 6 members of the MANGIN family (all farmers) all in office at the one time during that same year. This Photo shows them together with W Bro Ernie Mangin as the Worshipful Master (front centre) and his 4 brothers and nephew during that one year.
The father of the 5 Mangin brothers and Grandfather of JT (Steward) above, W Bro John T Mangin Past Grand Deacon, was also a member of long standing. W Bro JT Mangin (Farm Overseer) was initiated aged 29yrs in Jan 1891. and became Worshipful Master in 1905. The Mangin family gave many long years of service to The Methven Lodge, and of all family names, was probably the strongest in the Lodge over some 75yrs.
LOCK – PATTON Masonic Wedding
Solemnised in St John’s Presbyterian Church, Methven, 1st February, 1912
This must have been one of the more unique Masonic events in New Zealand Freemasonry history. This was the marriage between Bro Harold E A Lock, Groom, and his Bride, Florence Patton.
LOCK – PATTON Masonic Wedding 1st Feb 1912. All persons in this photo are named, so if anyone is interested in knowing who they all are, please contact the Lodge Master or Secretary.
A Very Large Attended Lodge Installation
One of the Lodge’s largest meetings ever in its history, was in May 1976 at the Installation of W Bro George W Currie. There was a very strong Canterbury Masonic Wardens Social Group which met monthly, was regularly attended by W Bro Currie. Together with his father VW Bro Walter Currie being the current Grand Director of Ceremonies that year as well, created a very large turnout of Canterbury Masons for this Installation meeting.
There were 29 Installed Masters present; 44 Lodges from around the Province represented; and 188 Freemasons signed the attendance book that evening. To accommodate the big number present, the SW pedestal was moved several meters forward to be alongside of that of the JW, and several rows of extra seating was placed to the rear of the Senior Warden. As was the normal case over those years, to hold a large banquet, which was held in the Mt Hutt Memorial Hall after Installations, and this one was catered for by Coronet Caterers from Ashburton.