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A Brief Australian Masonic History
"The Irish Connection"

The first Lodges who held regular warrants in NSW and Van Diemen's Land, Australia, were the British Regiments of Foot who held their regular travel warrants from the Grand Lodge of Ireland, hence the Irish Connection.  The regiments are placed in chronological order to put them in their proper time frame.
The NSW Corps.
The New South Wales Corps was raised in London in 1789 especially for garrison duties in NSW.  It returned to England in disgrace as the 102nd Regiment of the Line in 1810.  The NSW Corps had no lodge attached to it, despite the fact that three privates had petitioned the Grand Lodge of Ireland for a warrant.  On the 6th July, 1797 the Grand Lodge made the decision to defer the application and no reason for the deferral is given in the minutes.  No further mention of the petition appears in any of the subsequent minutes of the Grand Lodge.
The 73rd Regiment of Foot.
The disgraced 102nd Regiment was replaced by the 73rd Regiment of Foot on the 1st January, 1810.  This regiment had no lodge attached to it.  Its Commanding Officer, Lt Col Maurice Charles Philip O'Connell was the father of Sir Maurice Charles O'Connell, the first Provincial Grand Master, Irish Constitution, in Queensland.  His mother, Mary, was the daughter of Governor William Bligh.
The 46th [South Devonshire] Regiment of Foot.
The 73rd was relieved by the 46th Regiment in February, 1814.  The Commanding Officer was Lt Col George James Molle, who was sworn in as Lt Governor on his arrival.  The regiment was first raised in 1741 as the 57th and from 1748 to 1782 as the 46th Regiment.  After 1782 the County names were added to the English Regiments.  The 46th held an Irish travel warrant, No.227, dated 4th March, 1752.  The Regimental Lodge was named The Lodge of Social And Military Virtues.  No.227 was the first warranted lodge in the colony of NSW.  The members consisted of the Officer Corps of the regiment who believed their lodge was an extension of the officer's mess and did not consider themselves entitled to initiate only military men of commissioned rank or a civilian of a very high social status and part of the colony's legal and administrative establishment.  The CO, Lt Col Molle was a member and apart from the regimental officers, some members of the establishment were initiated. 
Capt John Piper ex NSW Corps, and in 1813, he had been appointed "The Naval Officer" [as the collector of customs and excise was called].  David Allan failed Commissary.  Justice Jeffrey Hart Bent  appointed first Judge of the Supreme Court of Civil Judicature in NSW.  William Henry Moore  Solicitor of the Crown.  John Joseph William Molesworth Oxley Lt, Royal Naval Officer.  Dr John Harris  Surgeon, NSW Corps and land owner.  Sir John Jamison Royal Naval Surgeon and  land owner.  Nicholas Bayly ex Lt NSW Corps and failed farmer.
The 48th [Northamptonshire] Regiment of Foot.
The 46th was ordered to Madras, India, and was relieved by the 48th Regiment in July, 1817.  The 48th had been reformed after its officer, NCO and other ranks had been decimated during the Peninsular War.  The War of the Austrian Succession was the reason for the formation of this regiment.  On the 3rd January, 1741, Col The Hon. James Chomondely of the Lifeguards, was ordered to raise a regiment of foot.  The regiment was raised at Norwich and became known as Chomondely's Regiment.  The regiment was sent to Flanders to be part of the Duke of Cumberland's army, but was forced to return to Scotland to be part of the Duke's forces to thwart the Jacobite army's advance into England.  Its first task was the occupation of Edinburgh, which was successful and remained garrisoned in that city.  It also served in North America at Louisburg in 1758 and was at the capture of Quebec.  The regiments tour of garrison duties in NSW extended to Van Diemen's Land.  One of the detachments founded the settlement at Macquarie Harbour as a secondary place of punishment for the worst convicts in the colony.  The 48th held an Irish travel warrant, No.218, dated the 27th December, 1750.  The Lodge No.227 attached to the 46th Regiment considered itself, to all purposes and intentions, to be an extension of the officer's mess, but the 48th , No.218, whose master was a corporal, had quite a different outlook on membership.  Cpl William Blizzard [spelt as Blizard in the lodge register] was master of No.218 as from the 24th December, 1820.  He enlisted in 1793 at St Vincent in the West Indies as a 10 year old boy drummer.  He remained in NSW having taken his discharge.  He was also the foundation outer guard of the Lodge of Australia No.820, English Constitution, on the 6th April, 1829.  He died in 1832 at Bathurst.
Sgt Robert Armstrong enlisted at Enniskillen, Ireland.  He was discharged in 1822 as "Unfit for Service".  He became a large land owner in Parramatta and in the Bathurst district. He died in 1848.  Sgt George Bayley the paymaster's clerk.  He suffered ill health from 1822 thru to 1824, transferred to the 3rd [East Kent] Regiment to be returned to England in 1824.
There were twenty-four civilians who were initiated and one civilian joining member.
The Australian Social Lodge No.260.
No.218 of the 48th Regiment granted dispensation to some of the civilian members and petitioned a warrant for them.  Warrant No.260, dated the 6th January, 1820 was forwarded to them.  The lodge was named "The Australian Social Lodge" and was consecrated on the 12th August, 1820.  It is of some interest that No.260 was the first stationary warrant issued by the Grand Lodge of Ireland, outside of that country.  The foundation master was Mathew Bacon, the SW was James Stuart [Stewart], JW, Joseph Allan, SD was James Brackenrig, Thomas Boulton [Bolton] the Banner Bearer and Samuel Clayton, master of ceremonies.  The members changed their allegiance to the Grand Lodge of NSW becoming The Australian Social Mother Lodge No.0 on the 24th August, 1878.  On the formation of the United Grand Lodge of NSW it became No.1.  Soon after its centenary in 1920, it became The Lodge of Antiquity No.1.  Some men of historical note in the colony became members of No.260.  Francis Howard Greenway, Georgian architect, convict. Thomas Alison Scott, father of  the Australian sugar and banana industries, and Dr William Brand, Naval surgeon, convict, philanthropist.

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