Freemasons find national treasure in Arrowtown

BY GRANT BRYANT
Last updated 05:00 27/01/2010
freemasons
GRANT BRYANT 624189799

SLICES OF HISTORY: The Arrowtown Masonic Lodge's restored historic emblems will be available for public viewing from April.

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Arrowtown Freemasons are set to reveal to the public restored historic emblems discovered in their 124-year-old lodge.

Arrowtown Freemasons worshipful master Graeme Wilson said the 110-year-old emblems and symbols were uncovered four years ago when pinex board laid in the early 1950s was lifted.

"It's been absolutely amazing to uncover these slices of history," he said. "We're really excited to have the restoration of them done and these features are a treasure to not only us, but all New Zealand Freemasons."

A large set square and compass motif hand painted on to a chimney flue was revealed behind stone that the pinex board had covered.

A tessellated pavement, which is a freemason's lodge floor feature was discovered beneath pinex floorboards.

A frieze of billowing curtains painted around the ceiling was also uncovered.

The discovery is exciting for Freemasons, who will reveal the features to members on February 13.

Interested non-Freemasons will have to wait until the Arrowtown Autumn Festival in April to view the revamped features, when the lodge would be open for viewing.

The tessellated pavement is a square laid into the lodge floor that is believed to be painted on the remains of a tent used in Arrowtown's early goldmining days.

"There's a lot of history here," Mr Wilson said.

"The Arrowtown lodge used to have its meetings on the Monday nearest the full moon so that gold-miners travelling from Macetown would have moonlight to travel by."

Those days may be long over, but the pride that Arrowtown Freemasons feel over their discovery and restoration is alive and well.

"Our organisation was built on ancient traditions and we're very happy to have our own little slice of history reinstated in our lodge," Mr Wilson said.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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