Freemasons Hall
North Terrace, Adelaide

B 1956 J.E. Dodd & Sons Gunstar Organ Works.
2m, 12 sp st, 8c, Gt: Sw: Ped: 16.16.8.

From the 2009 OHTA Conference Book, David Shield writes:

The organization of freemasonry in South Australia preceded even the settlement of the Colony.  As the movement developed, the need for a Grand Lodge became apparent, this being established in 1884.  The current building was constructed in 1925 and the organ installed in 1956.


In 1834, a warrant was issued by the Duke of Sussex under the “Ancient Constitution of English Masonry” to form the South Australian Lodge of Friendship.  The body was formally consecrated on 22 October 1834 and thus a unique situation arose.  There was in existence a South Australian lodge two years before the proclamation of the province.  The membership was limited to those who intended to become colonists.  The Adelaide street names Wakefield, Morphett, Gilbert, Gouger, and Hanson (now Pulteney), all reflect this early membership


Over the first 40 years of the colony, English, Scottish, and Irish constitutions of freemasonry developed, each governed from the home country.  The need for a Grand Lodge located in Adelaide became apparent.  Although there was some resistance, through the negotiating skill of H.M. Addison, a convention was held on 16 April 1884 the result of which was to establish a Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons and install a Grand Master.  This was done on the next day in the Adelaide Town Hall with Sir Samuel Way the first incumbent.1


The land for the current Masonic Centre was acquired in 1922.  The foundation stone of the Grand Lodge of Freemasons was laid three years later, and the lodge rooms on the third and fourth floor dedicated in 1927.  The architects for the building were J.Q. Bruce and W.H. Harral, the latter superintending the work.  The main contract was let to Anderson & Company.  Four massive Ionic columns on the granite step approach accentuate the main entrance.  Above are the words “Audi Vide Tace” derived from an extended Latin proverb meaning “Hear, see, be silent, if you would live in peace”, the motto of the lodge till the 1950s.  The Latin inscription higher on the façade translates to read “Erected and Dedicated to the Great Architect of the Universe AD 1925”.  Originally intended to be constructed from cut stone and granite, costs dictated extensive use of reinforced concrete.2


An extensive search of the membership records might show that many South Australian organists were masons. It is known that E.H. Davies was a Grand Organist of the Lodge and organbuilder Johann Wilhelm Wolff was a member.3  This is an area for further research.


The organ was installed as a memorial to the fallen of World War II.  Built by J.E. Dodd & Sons Gunstar Organ Works, it was opened in 1956.  The dedication plaque reads:  “This pipe organ was dedicated by the M.W. Grand Master on October 17th 1956 as a memorial to brethren of this jurisdiction who paid the supreme sacrifice whilst on



service with His Majesty’s Naval Military or Air Forces in World War II”.  There is no builder’s nameplate.  The casework is ranged on either side of a Doric canopy, its rear panels filled with grillework.




J.E.Dodd & Sons Gunstar Organ Works 1956

2 manuals, 12 speaking stops, electro-pneumatic action





Open Diapason








Swell to Great Sub


Swell to Great


Swell to Great Super


Great Super






Melodic Diapason


Stopped Diapason


Viol d’ Orchestre








Swell Sub


Swell Super






Sub Bass






Great to Pedal


Swell to Pedal



Compass:  61/30

Detached stopkey console

3 thumb pistons to Great (duplicated by toe pistons)

3 thumb pistons to Swell (duplicated by toe pistons)

1 additional toe piston full organ

Balanced swell pedal

Location: western chamber of hall









1  Advertiser, 19 January 1916, p. 7.2: ‘Freemasonry in SA’


2  Information taken from Adelaide Masonic centre website


3  Bridges D,. More Than A Musician (2006), p.13;  Wolff was a member of he United Tradesmens Lodge from 26 December 1867 and registered as an undertaker.  Later registrations list him as an organist.  He used his anglicised name John William and drew a clearance from this lodge in March 1873: letter to D.Shield  from Grand Secretary 25 October 1984.



Photos: Trevor Bunning (March 2009)