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It’s wonderful that the masons are now part of the Aboriginal culture of this area.

These words, spoken by Les Bursill OAM, an elder from the Dharawal nation, completed a Naming and Smoking Ceremony for Lodge Kirrawee at Sutherland in March.

Lodge Kirrawee was formed in 1956 and having an Aboriginal name, they designed a crest depicting an Aboriginal warrior overlooking a beautiful view. The crest appears on all notice papers issued by the lodge. Recently, an Aboriginal Freemason, Bro John Patten from Lodge Independent Lewis, advised the lodge that the logo should bear an Aboriginal name.

The lodge agreed and on this special night, Uncle Max Dulumunmun Harrison, the only spiritual elder recognised in the Shire to perform the Smoking Ceremony, stood at the door of the lodge to conduct the Ceremony in which every member and visitor had to pass through the smoke before entering the room.

Inside the lodge room, Les Bursill presented the Welcome to Country section which included background on the Aboriginal people in different parts of NSW and details of his family who finally settled in the Hurstville area.

RW Bro John Denning, the WM, gave a special welcome in both Aboriginal and English language which said ‘This is land sacred to the masonic people of Black Rocks, friends, strangers I see all of you. My people camped here at this place long ago. This is also the sacred land of the Noron Gera Clan, a place of the Cabbage Palm People. We embrace all of you, we open the door to all of you. We lend this place to all of you to live while we sleep. Here I see my country, welcome to the sacred place of the Noron Gera Gal.’

Kirrawee 090310 013In earlier discussions, the WM had received three names from Mr Bursill for the logo. One of the names was Bungaree who accompanied Matthew Flinders on the first circumnavigation of Australia. As Flinders was a Freemason, the lodge chose Bungaree as the name for their logo. It was also revealed that Bungaree was an unofficial harbour master in Sydney, guiding ships to a safe berth.

Members decided to commission a painting of Bungaree which was unveiled in the lodge room and to give a special toast to Bungaree at each meeting.

Following the first contact with the Dharawal Nation, the Sutherland Shire Freemasons became aware of the Sutherland Shire Reconciliation Group who run educational programs with the aim of fostering relationships, understanding and respect between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. A cheque for $1,000 was presented on the night to representatives of the group to assist them with their project.

Article extracted from Freemason magazine, June 2013, page 5.

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