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Published January 2020
Grand Master Bushfire Disaster Relief Appeal Special Edition

Bushfire and Drought Relief

Freemasons NSW and ACT making a difference

Vast areas of NSW and the ACT have been devastated by the continuing depredation of drought and the sudden onrush of bushfire. As your Grand Master, I am proud to announce the leadership team of Freemasons NSW and ACT has prepared a comprehensive plan to give immediate and practical assistance to affected communities throughout our jurisdiction.

The plan involves all elements of our Order and is aimed at coordinating and mobilising the resources of the Craft: Grand Lodge, its boards and committees; individual Lodges and most importantly every Mason. I want us to provide the best possible level of co-ordinated and practical assistance to those who have been left wanting and in need.

Many Freemasons have already taken action and are donating material to organisations. This is to be congratulated. My request now is that we maximise our efforts by creating the one state-wide campaign. This is an opportunity to make a larger, united contribution to those who so desperately need assistance.

What is clear, is that the State's emergency is fluid. Needs and demands are changing and organisations need to be nimble and ensure they adapt.

Affected Freemasons

Many brethren have been severely impacted by drought and fire and live in communities that have been strongly impacted. To you, first thought is that you have the support of the Fraternity. If you are in need of assistance, the fraternity is here to assist you. Reach out. Let us know how you can be assisted and we will do our best to provide.

NSW Freemasons' Disaster Relief Fund

Following discussions with the Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service, Shane Fitzsimmons AFSM, our first donation - of $100,000 - will be made to the NSWRFS to supplement its assistance to RFS volunteers and also the widows and children of those firefighters who tragically lost their lives defending their communities.

Our aim is to make further considered donations. In order to be able to do this, I ask the broader NSW and ACT Masonic community make donations to the Disaster Relief Fund so we can make further targeted donations to relieve the distress of those affected. I appeal to all Lodges, Masonic entities, individual Freemasons and the Masonic Orders and Organisations of this Jurisdiction to make significant donations. All donations of $2 or more are tax-deductible and can be made in the following ways:

Online via Masonicare website (preferred method)

Visit the Masonicare website on www.masonicare.org.au/donate.html and make sure to select the Disaster Relief Fund. A tax deductible receipt will automatically be generated for donations of $2 or more.

Direct Bank Transfer

The BSB is 032006 and the A/c is 254876. It is essential you put your surname and initials and "Bushfire Appeal" in the description field.

Cheque

Made payable to the NSW Freemasons Disaster Relief Fund and posted to Freemasons NSW & ACT, PO Box A259, Sydney South NSW 1235.

Phone

Telephone Freemasons NSW & ACT on 02 9284 2800 and provide credit card details.

Masonic Action Saturdays

We have a statewide network of Masonic buildings that we can use to assist in disaster relief. I am asking that you consider the best way your lodge can undertake an activity on Saturday 25 January 2020 to provide assistance. These "Masonic Action Saturday" openings will continue to be rolled out as the campaign progresses. Centres will be asked to become a focus of activity and assistance. I propose to involve our Regional Grand Counsellors, DGIWs and local brethren in the selection and operation of these venues for this purpose.

Think now about how you can spread the word to your local communities (especially those unaffected by these twin disasters) and encourage them to make financial or practical donations.

Lodges

Local Freemasons are best placed to know their local communities. This is why I am asking local Lodges to identify individuals and families in their area who have lost loved ones, property or are otherwise affected by the combined tragedies of bushfire and drought. I encourage Lodges to use any accumulated funds to provide practical assistance to local communities. The support should be tailored to meet the personal needs of the individual. In some instances, cash grants may be appropriate to allow the recipient to purchase without embarrassment or undue intrusion items of a personal nature. In other cases, direct payments to local businesses may be the best way of ensuring needs are met. Or, it may simply be the gift of companionship, compassion and consideration. Where we can, we should be seen to be supporting the local communities in the affected areas.

Hospital Visitations

We must remember firefighters, volunteers and others who have been hospitalized as a result of this ongoing tragedy. Hospital visiting by Masons is a practical way to show we care. It also enables us to find out what assistance the Craft can render to those who have been injured and their families. Here also, a cash donation from a Lodge might be a most appropriate solution.

A Continuing Commitment

There is going to be a need to provide continuing assistance. It is safe to predict the scars of this tragedy will be present next Christmas. You have my assurance that, under my leadership, our Craft will continue to action practical assistance and in this regard drought and bushfire assistance will be a standing agenda item for the future meetings of Masonicare, the Board of Management and the Executive Council.

I welcome and seek submissions and suggestions for future action all of which will be given proper consideration in the future planning process.

I state firmly that Masonic assistance is to be rendered to all those in need: irrespective of the creed, race or social status. Whilst we are all Brethren, all those who have suffered are our brothers and sisters.

Derek J Robson AM
Grand Master

Grand Master sets the example visiting Canberra Hospital

During the holiday break, and notwithstanding the oppressive air quality in Canberra, it was refreshing to see the Grand Master and Gael out there visiting hospitals in both North and South Canberra.

During their visits they offered comfort to Masons and others from the community who were clearly in difficult and distressing circumstances. They visited RW Bro Ray Newcombe, RW Bro David Phillips and also RW Bro John Le Mesurier (John sadly passed away earlier this week).

While passing through the emergency and waiting areas it was obvious that their simple gestures of support and encouragement were well received. This simple act of kindness really epitomises Freemasonry and could be repeated throughout other areas by local masons where time and circumstances permit.

Send Your Story

Do you know of an interesting story? Has your lodge done something special? How about that recent fundraising, social activity you organised or visit from the Grand Master? Why not share it?

If you have something to tell, write a paragraph or two, add a good large photograph and send it to news@masons.org.au.

Your article will be considered for this newsletter, the next Freemason magazine and might even feature in our official facebook page. Just make sure you have permission from all mentioned and depicted for their image to be publicly published.

The Grand Master's Newsletter
An official publication of the Freemasons NSW & ACT

Please submit your articles and photographs to news@masons.org.au and make sure you have permission from all mentioned and depicted for their image to be publically published.

Download print version

United Grand Lodge of NSW & ACT
www.masons.org.auwww.facebook.com/Freemasonsnswact
279 Castlereagh Street Sydney • PO Box A259 • T 02 9284 2800 • F 02 9284 2828

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