A short history of Granite Lodge.
On the 2nd August 1905 at 8.00pm in the office of J. A. Pare`s, (he was originally a Spaniard who conducted a business as a general commissioner, insurance agent and sharebroker in Mareeba) a meeting of 11 men took place. Pare`s had his office opposite the R.S.L. somewhere in the vicinity of where Falvo's Building now stands. He was secretary of the Mareeba Hospital Board from 1903 to 1918. A daughter, Quita Pares, was a pupil teacher at the school when Mr J. Dowie (James Dowie was a prominent Mason and secretary of both Granite Lodge and later District Grand Lodge of Carpentaria) was headmaster. She took the singing classes.
The men at this meeting were there to discuss the formation of a Freemasons Lodge in Mareeba, they were: Dr G.J. Savage, who chaired the meeting J. Pare`s, Charles H. Strattmann, J. F. Gordon, J. Dowie, J. W. Macrae, Charles W.H.R. Hampe, J. Clines, D.G. Brins, H. J. Hallam, D. McLeod. Ways and means of building a hall were discussed. The hall was to be 42 feet (13m) 20 feet (6m) by 13 feet (4M), with a porch, one partition and a raised dais 4 feet (1.2M) by 16 feet (4.8M) and should be finished by November 15th 1905 as it was planned to hold the first Masonic meeting on that date.
It was proposed that Dr Savage be the first Master of the lodge. Dr Savage proposed that the name of the lodge for Mareeba be “Granite Lodge” all agreed to this. It was also agreed to partition the Scottish Constitution for a charter for Granite Lodge. D.G. Brins told the meeting he would build a hall for £182 including external paint. Four of these original members together put up £250 for two years at 5% interest to get the lodge up and running.
On the 16th November 1905 at 4.30 pm the Grand Master, E.D. Miles consecrated the Granite Lodge number 999 Scottish Constitution. Celebrations were held and at 8 pm the lodge was reconvened and the lodge officers were installed. At this meeting the attendance was 54 men, comprising lodge members, Grand officers and visitors. One can only guess at how they fitted into so small a lodge room. The hall ended up costing £184-8-0 and was passed for payment at the December 1905 meeting. Original Lodge building below.
Mareeba is less than one hour's drive west of Cairns, situated at the northern terminus of the Atherton Tablelands or Cairns Highlands if you prefer. Mareeba is a gateway town; from her hub travellers continue north to Cooktown, Weipa and the tip of Cape York, or along the Wheelbarrow Way into the Gulf Country. Others journey south to explore the towns, villages and hamlets of the southern Atherton Tablelands.
Mareeba was first settled in 1877, the name is derived from an aboriginal word meaning "meeting of the waters", those waters being the mighty Barron and Granite Rivers. The Mareeba Township has been purposefully designed, with streets wide enough to turn a team of oxen. It was the surveyor Rankin who surveyed the original town of three long streets one mile in length and seven cross streets named after early pioneers, I will explore these later.
The Mareeba District's history and heritage is one of stirring deeds and colourful people; first came the intrepid explorers, then the early settlers' where survival depended on being brave, courageous and bold.
The migrants and miners followed, where the search for riches in the gold fields transformed the diggers, as they were known, into a state of lawlessness, anarchy, claim jumping and murder. The farmers, timber getters, graziers and ringers were the next to arrive. The railway arrived in Mareeba in 1893; this heralded an increase in work and population.