The Phoenix Lodge No 43, Our Rooms

Historic Lodge Building, 160 Rue Lavaud Akaroa

The Akaroa Mail of 29th December, 1876 records that the foundation stone of the present hall was laid with due ceremony on the 27th of December, A.D. 1876. A bottle was placed in a cavity of the stone inside which were a copy of the Lodge By-laws and an engrossed document of with the following words:-

"The Foundation of this Masonic Hall was laid on the Festival of St. John the Evangelist (Wednesday December 27th) in the year of Masonry, 5876 and A.D. 1876 in the presence of the Brethren of the Lodge Akaroa by the WM Bro. Rev. W. Henry Cooper, District Grand Chaplain. The RW William Donald being District Grand Master. The W. Bro. Henry Thomson being D-DGM and the following Brethren being the first Officers of the Lodge Akaroa.

Master Chair - 1903

W Bro Henry Cooper WM
Bro G. Scarborough SW
Bro Dr. Henry Pearde JW
Bro Henry Piper SD
Bro Ponsonby Carew JD
Bro Harold Fenton Treasurer
Bro W. Wood Secretary
Bro Edwin Hooper IG
Bro Robert Noonan Tyler


The Akaroa Mail report goes on to say:-

"The site of the Masonic Hall is the section next to Mr. Dalglish's new house and the building when completed will be sufficiently commodious not only for the purpose of Freemasonry, but also for the meetings of other societies.

"The greatest attention has been paid to the ventilation of the building which will be fitted with the most modem appliances to carry out this great though much neglected desideratum in public buildings.”

In 1877 a new church was built at Du'vauchelle Bay and the foundation stone was laid with Masonic ceremonial, the brethren of the Lodge attending and conducting the ceremony. The ritual, no doubt, was that used in the previous year in connection with the lodge room at Akaroa. The stone may still be seen at the N.E. comer of the church, which building continues in regular use.

The original building was a small hall measuring some 12 x 6 metres. This included an entry area and was designed to meet the requirement of both a Lodge hall and a community hall. Originally “kitchen” facilities were built into the north east corner of the main room. Enlarged drawing:

In 1909 a refectory or supper room was added to the west side of the building which included a fire place, sink and bench. To give access, a door was installed in the north west (SE) corner of the main room. The addition being on a lower level, steps were provided down from the main hall, again in that north west (SE) corner.

This extension proving unsatisfactory as the Lodge grew after WWII, the refectory was extended to the west and a lean-to added to the north wall to give entry space, permit a full kitchen to be installed, and provide for inside toilets.

In 2004 upgrades commenced to modernise the facilities. A new kitchen was constructed in the location of the old one, toilets were upgraded, storage provide under the main room, and the entrance area renovated. Care has been taken to preserve the historic aspects of the building while ensuring it continues to meet modern standards.

As part of the upgrade the exterior was painted in more modern colours (but in keeping with the historic image), and the grounds landscaped. Further work is underway to ensure the Lodge rooms continue to be an asset to the community in Akaroa.

Interior alterations are complete except for the upgrade of the Lodge Room floor were new coverings are required. On 11th November the Grand Master, MW Bro David Mace unveiled a plaque marking the completion of two years of intense work.


Special items

Frontage work is scheduled for this year to include architectural features to further define the historic development of the rooms. We are continuing our maintenance to a high standard because we are proud to be a part of the Banks Peninsula community.

Lodge Room - October 2005Lodge Room - 2005

The Akaroa Mail records that the early furniture, some of which remains in use today, was "made of Kauri and brought down from Auckland."

The Masters Chair was donated in 1902, the pavement and carpet, featured in the accompanying picture, date from 1940. Documented history records: Early in 1908 the refectory was occupied, and new Tessellated Pavement, linoleum and various sundries for the Lodge room were authorized to be imported from England.

More recently a new Pavement, donated by Lodge Malvern No 230 on their closing, has been installed.

In 1924 a Masters Chair was donated to Lodge Eirene (Little River) to mark the erection of their Lodge rooms. After many years the chair has been returned to The Phoenix Lodge where it is now used by the Senior Warden.

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