Cabletow Issue No. 3

Cabletow                                 Issue No. 3                               2010-05-12

  1. Improvement in Ritual Work

Although there will be change in the Lodge’s hierarchy in a little over a month’s time

the call by our current WM for an improvement in our lodge procedures and especially ritual work is something that will be carried through by his successor.

I spoke about this issue at our April meeting and recalled that Lodge of Fiji was formed in 1882 by masons from a number of different constitutions. The ritual that was adopted in those days must naturally have been a composite of all participating lodges and constitutions.

About 40 years later, a Lodge of instruction, under the authority of our lodge, was formed, most probably to regularise the ritual used by the number of lodges under the English constitution operating in those days. It survived until the early 50s. The minutes of its last meeting did not give any clue for the reason of its demise. However, several months before its closure, I noticed an entry in the minutes which spoke about the differences of the members about what rituals should be followed by the lodges.

In 1960, Lodge of Fiji held a meeting to initiate a candidate and in attendance was no less than the Grand Secretary, the VW Bro Stubbs. Towards the end of the ceremony and on the 1st Rising, VW Bro Stubbs stood up (and despite being a visitor) excoriated everyone who were involved in the ceremony! His main contention that the initiation he had just witnessed was a mix of Irish, Scottish and American lodge rituals which was totally unacceptable. Naturally everyone was “gob smacked” at this turn of events except the WM who stood up and assured the GS that the Lodge would address the situation and invited him to return and witness the improvement.

It is this improvement which our WM, W Bro Mitchell Whippy is striving for and no doubt would be followed through by his successor.

And 50 years almost to the day that VW Bro Stubbs visited Fiji, I learned that the current GS had visited Canada early last year for the appointment of a Grand Inspector whose jurisdiction included three lodges and a chapter (exactly the size of our own jurisdiction!).Then later in 2009 he accompanied the Pro Grandmaster to attend the 150th Anniversary of the Christchurch Masonic District, in New Zealand!

With a bit of forethought and planning, the GS could have visited Fiji to give us a boost in morale and encouragement. His presence would also have provided positive publicity and awareness of the craft generally in our islands.

Ironically, in April of this year, the MW the Grand Master, HRH the Duke of Kent said in the quarterly communication that a specific example of leadership, high standards and humility can be found in a successful Visiting Grand Officer and added: “A Visiting Grand Officer is a lodge’s friend who can – when appropriate – both advise and be the official link with the higher authority…”.

Advisory from WM to members of Lodge of Fiji: Starting from our meeting on Monday, May 17th, ritual books are not to be taken into the Lodge. This will not include the DC to enable him to provide assistance when required.

2. Prospecting for Candidates via The Net

The Lodge of Fiji is in the process of initiating a candidate who found his way to the Lodge through our website. He was subsequently interviewed by the Investigation Committee which faced a dilemma in relation to his standing as a worthy citizen and who was not known personally by any members of the Lodge. The Committee after some deliberation and then took the unprecedented step of attempting to find someone of good standing in the community who could vouch for this prospective candidate.

Our Secretary, W Bro Smith and I found such a person who had an impeccable record as a civil servant, social worker and church leader and was more than willing to provide the necessary “voucher” for this young man. If his formal application is cleared by the Lodge in our meeting on May 17th, he will be initiated in July.

It is a lesson for us as members of the craft to know that there are good people out there who more than qualify to join our fraternity but have not been able to do so because they are not personally known by us. This rule does have validity but cannot be fully justified against the background of declining membership and interest in the craft.” We are not, after all, the only people who are known to and acquainted with other good persons in this country”, a senior member of our lodge commented.  “People had been accepted in the past because they were known to and recommended by members but they fell away from the craft anyway. Care is still required when recommending anyone but we should not the sole determinants of the quality of that person”.

3.Website Progress

Our website continues to progress and draw visitors from all over the globe. On current performance most of the visitors are from the United States, China, and Russia and generally from Europe.

In an attempt to identify visitors, we restricted “entry” into our History and Newsletter sections and within a few days of making that decision the number of visitors and “page views” fell dramatically. Despite this we left the restriction on and entries continue to plummet. We then decided to lift the restriction and within a day, the number of entries increased and continues to improve.

Any ideas to improve our website would be most welcome.

4. William (Bill) Granger Aull

Just a few months short of his 80th birthday, William (Bill) Granger Aull continues to run a busy engineering consultancy as well as attending lodge and chapter meetings every month.

“I attend three lodge meetings and a chapter meeting every month. It’s not the kind of schedule that someone my age should be following but it’s easy enough when my work and freemasonry continue to add meaning to my life,” he told me when we were chatting at the Masonic Hall a few weeks ago about his life and career.

Bill was born and bred at Naiqaqi, just a stone’s throw away from where we were talking. In fact his home was located almost where our lodge used to meet at the turn of the century (the Old Templars Hall).

He was educated at the Marist Primary and the Marist Secondary school and in 1948 began a five year apprenticeship as a fitter and turner with Millers Engineering and which he successfully completed 1953.

“Fresh out of from training I then served as a marine engineer on the Steam Ship Oliver Mac which used to sail to Hawaii, Vancouver, Los Angeles, Tahiti and Fiji. It also covered ports in New Zealand and Australia. I joined two other vessels, SS Ai Sokula and MV Altair and I decided to give up sailing to join Carlton Brewery Ltd as an Engineer/Foreman in 1958 and promoted Chief Engineer in 1961”. During his stint with the brewery he attended a number of courses overseas to upgrade his skills.

In 1968 he joined the Civil Service and was appointed Senior Mechanical Supervisor in the Public Works Department at Lautoka and was charged with tending to all government machineries, water works and pumps in hospitals for all of the Western

Division from Sigatoka to Rakiraki.He was also responsible for the inspection of steam boilers, pressure vessels and marine engineering surveys in the commercial sector.

In 1973 he was transferred to the Ministry of Labour as Factory Inspector responsible for all statutory inspections in Fiji for steam boilers, pressure vessels, lifts and cranes as well as for local and foreign going vessels.

Bill was appointed Deputy Chief Factories Inspector in 1985 and was responsible for the implementation of the 1971 Factories Act and subsidiary legislation related to safety in ship building and repairs, docks, sawmilling and woodworking machinery and factories.

During his civil service career, Bill attended numerous courses in England, Malaysia, India, Taipei, New Zealand and Australia on pressure vessels, steam receivers, cranes and associated lifting machinery and tackles and non-destructive testing including radiography. He retired from Government in 1988 and soon after established his consulting firm.

He is a Fellow of the Institute of Marine Engineering Science & Technology, England and is a Justice of the Peace.

In 1992 he was elected a member of the House of Representatives and served in this capacity for two terms until the takeover of Parliament in 2000 when he and 55 other parliamentarians were seized and held hostage for 56 days.

“It was a traumatic experience and best left as a dark footnote in the history of our country”, Bill told me when I asked him about it.

During this forced incarceration, Bill was severely assaulted by one of the rebels and his hearing and eyesight has not fully recovered from that ordeal.

“Otherwise, I am blessed with good health, still able to use my professional skills and above all have time to attend lodge and chapter meetings every month.

“My involvement in the Craft provides me with a balance in life and I make time to attend two Lodge meetings (Lodge of Fiji and Lodge Polynesia) and a chapter meeting (Loloma Royal Arch Chapter) in Suva. I then drive 150 kilometres to attend my mother lodge (Lodge of Lautoka) meeting in Nadi. Luckily the meeting dates are well spaced apart during the month to enable me to do this”.

Bill was initiated in Lodge Lautoka in 1971 and passed and raised in Rewa Lodge of Viti in 1975. He was installed Master of Rewa Lodge in 1979 and Lodge of Fiji in 2008.

Bill considers that being installed as WM of his mother lodge would be the coping stone to his Masonic endeavour. “I am content to wait for that opportunity and indeed privilege to come my way”, he said.

For his contribution to the craft, Bill was awarded Overseas Grand Rank in 1981 and made a Past Grand Standard Bearer in 1989.

Bill is happily married to Mary and they have two adopted children, Matilda, now married and lives in Perth, Australia and Benjamin, a Refrigeration Engineer at Beqa Lagoon Resort.

W Bro Sitiveni Yaqona