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Neville Simpson celebrates 70 years as a Mason

Neville and Pam Simpson outside the ruins of Diggers on the Darling, where the Bourke Masonic Lodge held their monthly meetings. PHOTO TWH

Neville Simpson joined the Bourke Masonic Lodge on the 17th September 1951 at the age of 21, and tomorrow, Nev celebrates seventy years with the organisation.

“Not many people live that long, let alone get to be part of a group for that many years,” Nev laughs.

After joining Lodge Central Australia No. 88 in Bourke, Neville spent his entire Masonic career as a member of the Bourke Lodge and has the rank of Past Assistant Grand Master, a rank not many are awarded, a clear indication of his exceptional service.

Neville’s leadership spanned more than forty years, holding the role of Master on five occasions.

The Bourke Lodge, which began with 126 members in Anson Street premises, relocated to Diggers on the Darling in August 2013, due to deterioration of the original site.

Unfortunately, the Masonic Lodge was another victim of the recent Diggers fire, where the organization held their monthly meetings and stored their traditional ceremonial regalia.

Neville said that the fire destroyed almost all the Lodge’s belongings.

“We had lots of study tools that members use to make progress and move up the ranks – they’re all gone now.

“It will take us a while to find somewhere new to meet; somewhere that offers us the space and the privacy we need, like we had at Diggers,” Neville said.

Although often known for its secrecy, Neville says that although there are some secrets, the Masonic Lodge is just a bunch of blokes with good old-fashioned values.

“We’re pretty conservative in our thinking I suppose, but there’s nothing wrong with good old-fashioned values.

“In the past, to join the Lodge you had to be free and of good repute, slaves could not join, and hence the title, Free Mason.

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