Wednesday, February 22, 2017
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History of ANZMRC

The Australian Masonic Research Council (AMRC) was conceived in 1991 as a coordinating body for the Masonic Research Lodges and Research bodies of Australia.

It offered Affiliate (full voting) membership to Research Lodges, and Associate (non-voting) membership to any other Masonic body. It was formed at its inaugural conference held at the Royal Freemasons Homes, Melbourne in June 1992, when the AMRC Constitution was adopted, and foundation officers elected. The new Constitution required equal representation on the AMRC Committee from across the Australian Masonic jurisdictions, and its foundation officers were: President - VWBro. Bill Caulfield (NSW), Vice Presidents - RWBro. Ken Wells (Qld), and WBro. Jeff Boyes (Tas), Treasurer - WBro. Tony Pope (SA), Secretary - WBro. Kent Henderson (Vic), and an Assistant Secretary from WA. Several of these officers still serve the Council to the present time.

It was resolved to hold Biennial Conferences, to rotate around the Jurisdictions.  Thus far conferences have been convened in Melbourne Vic. (1992), Sydney NSW (1994), Perth WA (1996), Launceston Tas (1998), Brisbane Qld (2000), and Adelaide (2002). At such conferences it was resolved to deliver lectures, denominated Kellerman Lectures to honour the name of the doyen of Australian Masonic Research,  RWBro. M. H. KellermanOBE, PDGM, of NSW. The Affiliate Research Lodges of each Jurisdiction are enabled to put forward the name of one distinguished Masonic researcher every two years, who is then designated as a Kellerman Lecturer (KL)and each delivers his Kellerman Lecture at the Conference. In an Australian sense, Kellerman Lectures are analogous to the prestigious Prestonian Lectures in England, except that the former are awarded only every two years.

As well as holding Biennial Conferences, the Council organizes Lecture tours, at intervals, of distinguished Masonic researchers/speakers.  These have included John Hamill, Cyril Batham, Rev. Neville Barker Cryer, Wallace McLeod, Yasha Beresiner, David L Gray, Robert LD Cooper, and James Daniel.

The Council has published the Proceedings of its Conferences (containing the Kellerman Lectures of each), and collections of the papers of each travelling lecturer as presented during his tour. Some of these publications are still available.  Please contact the Secretary for further information.

In 1996, at the Perth Conference, the Council amended its Constitution to change its name to the Australian and New Zealand Masonic Research Council (ANZMRC), facilitating the accession to membership of New Zealand Research Lodges.

Since 1997 ANZMRC has published a Newsletter, entitled 'Harashim', which is distributed quarterly to all its Affiliate and Associate Lodges, and to subscribers.  You can subscribe online here. The ANZMRC website commenced about the same time, and an email list in 2000.  In mid 2009 the website was redesigned with the help of Grand Lodge of New Zealand who kindly host the site, after a decision by the Grand Masters of the Grand Lodges of Australia and New Zealand to support the ANZMRC Masonic Digital Library.

At the General Meeting held at the Adelaide Conference in 2002 it was resolved that"any General Meeting of the Council may, by resolution, confer upon any person whose contribution to the Council so merits, Fellowship of the Australian and New Zealand Masonic Research Council (FANZMRC)", limited to no more than three persons to be so honoured at any one General Meeting.  At the same meeting Murray Yaxley, Kent Henderson and Tony Pope were elected to Fellowship.  At the same meeting it was decided that future meetings should rotate between jurisdictions in the rotation - Victoria, NSW & ACT, WA, Tasmania, Queensland, SA & NT, and New Zealand.  It was also decided to publish a History of Australian Freemasonry.

The seventh Biennial Conference of the ANZMRC was held in 2004 in Tauranga, New Zealand.  Difficulties with the proposed History were outlined, and it was reluctantly decided not to proceed.  The Committee was authorised to explore the possibility of involvement with the World Conference of Grand Lodges, to be held in Sydney in early November 2005.  G. Stead, A. Walker and M. Webberley were elected as Fellows of the ANZMRC.

The eighth Biennial Conference was held in Ballarat, Victoria, in October 2006.   An Assistant Editor was appointed.  C. Heyward and R. Num were elected as Fellows.  Max Webberley was elected as President of ANZMRC.  Sadly he died in office on 15 March 2007.  Peter Verrall succeeded as President. An obituary of Max Webberley can be downloaded here.

The ninth Biennial Conference was held in Queanbeyan NSW in October 2008.  The Grand Master of UGL of NSW and ACT gave an opening address, "On Masonic Research" which can be downloaded here.  The ANZMRC CD Library project was progressed.  It was decided that in future Kellerman lectures should be one hour in duration, with half an hour for questions and answers.  ANZMRC Touring lecturers were appointed for 2009 and 2011.  Peter Verrall was elected as President, while Colin Heyward became Secretary, with Kent Henderson (the secretary since inception in 1992) as Assistant Secretary.   No nominations for Fellows were made.

The ANZMRC touring lecturers for 2009 will be Peter Verrall (touring New Zealand) and Kerry Nicholls (touring Australia).

Our Tenth Biennial Conference is to be held in Mandurah, Western Australia  3-6 September 2010.    More information here ...


Further reading: see paper  Masonic Research in Australia and New Zealand - an illustrated account of the formation and activities of the Australian & New Zealand Masonic Research Council (ANZMRC) by Tony Pope (2007)