Freemasonry is

MW Bro Derek Robson AM

Born in New Zealand, Derek Robson attended school in Victoria before joining the Royal Australian Navy as an apprentice in 1963. He trained as a shipwright, and saw service in HMAS Sydney, HMAS Melbourne and HMAS Stalwart, and a number of shore establishments including HMAS Albatross, and HMAS Tarangau on Manus Island.

Derek was selected for commissioned rank in 1975 and, in 1976, attended courses at the Royal Naval Staff College at Greenwich in London, and the Royal Naval Engineering College at Plymouth UK, before returning to Australia to complete his training as a Marine Engineer Officer.

He then served as an Engineering Officer in HMAS Melbourne, Training Development Officer at HMAS Nirimba, and had an exchange posting to New Zealand’s Apprentice Training Establishment HMNZS Tamaki. In 1981, he served as Senior Engineer in HMAS Torrens, and in 1982, served in Navy Office Canberra in the Directorate of Naval Training.

Promoted to Lieutenant Commander in December 1985, he served as the Marine Engineer Officer in HMAS Derwent prior to returning to Navy Office in 1987, as Deputy Director Engineering Type Desks, responsible for the management of ship refit packages. On promotion to Commander in December 1987, he served as Deputy Director Defence Technical Staff, responsible mainly for the storage of fuels and lubricants in and around Australia, and also during this time, a short period as Marine Engineer Officer in HMAS Parramatta. In 1989, he became Assistant Director Naval Officer’s Postings, responsible for the postings and promotion of all officers up to Commander Rank.

He then served as Commanding Officer, HMAS Kuttabul from November 1991 to March 1994.

Later in 1994, he served as Navy’s representative on the working party leading to the very successful Defence Efficiency Review.

In November 1994, Derek had a complete change of career when he was appointed as National Secretary (Chief Executive Officer) of the Returned and Services League of Australia.

In conjunction with this role, Derek represented Australia on the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Servicemen’s League, providing assistance to all veterans’ of the Commonwealth, was Executive Director of the Australian Forces Oversea Fund, offering support to wounded servicemen and comforts and amenities to all Australian Defence personnel serving overseas, Chairman of the National RSL Clubs and Licensed Sub-Branch Forum, and Director of Operation Care, a private company formed to provide holiday respite for families of wounded personnel as part of their rehabilitation. He was also a member of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Regional Memorials and Commemorative Grants Committee, and a member of the ‘RSL ANZAC of the Year’ National Committee.

Derek has always had considerable involvement in community activities. While a member of the Rotary Club of Kings Cross, he organised the Rotary commitment to the Sydney Harbour Tunnel Walk in August 1992, a project which raised over $400,000 for charity. For this effort, and other achievements, he was named as a Paul Harris Fellow by the President of Rotary International.   He later served as President of the Rotary Club of Canberra Burley Griffin.

He has had a long association with many national community, welfare and service related industries and associations, and has served on many reviews and related committees in this sector. He actively supports the Royal Flying Doctor Service and the Committee of the Order of Australia Association (ACT), where he has also served as Chairman. He is also the Commander of the ACT Commandery of the Order of St John Knights Hospitaller.

Derek is no stranger to international events. He led the RSL National Executive tour to Japan in 2002, in response to a most generous invitation from the Japanese Government, he represented Australia (accompanying the Governor General, His Excellency MAJGEN Michael Jeffery) at the 60th Anniversary of the ‘Victory in Europe’ celebrations in Moscow in May 2015, he headed a 5km ‘’Heroes Walk’ through the centre of Bangalore in August 2005, with over 15,500 school children, military personnel and National Cadets, to raise awareness of the plight of veterans of the Armed Forces of India and especially those who had lost limbs, and he spoke at several Private Schools in India on the related issues of respect and understanding. He has represented Australia in veteran related forums in Ghana, Canada, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Manila and Malta, and produced a Veterans Charter while in the Solomon Islands, for their long suffering veterans.

In 2005, he was also honoured to be invited to host the individual Indian Defence Force Chiefs of Staff at the inaugural 20/20 International Cricket Competition, held in Bangalore, India.

Derek Robson was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the 2004 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Derek Robson joined Freemasonry on 19 December 1978, in Lodge Prosperity Lewis No 474, then meeting at Summer Hill in Sydney. He is now a member of Lodge Canberra Unity No 465, where he has served as Worshipful Master for two years, and Lodge Gowrie of Canberra No 715. He was elected District Grand Inspector of Workings for District 103 in 2000, Grand Lodge Board of Management in 2003, Assistant Grand Master in 2004, and Deputy Grand Master in 2009. He served as Grand Master for the period 2011-2015 and was re-elected and installed Grand Master, for the second time, in 2018.

Derek is an experienced Mason – and above all, he is a proud Australian.


In a world often dictated by hate and segregation, membership of an organisation capable of uniting men of all religions, colours and even accents is more relevant than ever.

To know more about Freemasonry and how to get involved, complete the form below and someone will get in touch with you.

Invalid Input

Invalid email address.

Invalid Input

Your phone number

Invalid Input

Please select up to three options.

Invalid Input

Can't find what you are looking for?

Please note that you must be logged in to search for members content.