Provincial Grand Lodge of Dorset

The official website of Dorset Freemasonry


For Province P0060 - Province of Dorset.

Doc Martin discovers ancient Masonic burial site - Part One

Last Tuesday evening Martin Clunes presented the first part of a series of programmes exploring the Islands that surround Australia. One of the Islands he visited was Norfolk Island.

Norfolk Island was originally a penal colony reserved for the worst offenders, being hundreds of miles from any other land in the Pacific Ocean.  Contrasting the beauty of the Island with the harshness of the regime, the camera flicked over two gravestones, the second of which was decorated with a large square and compasses of which no mention was made in the programme.

In August 1801 a George Hales, who was the Captain of an American Whaling ship called the 'General Boyd', was brought ashore on the penal colony of Norfolk Island after becoming ill at sea. Hales did not recover and died on the 16th August.

Bro George Hales, Master Mariner is listed at Grand Lodge as having joined the Dundee Arms Lodge No. 9 in Wapping on December 24th 1789. Whilst the Governor of the Sydney Penal Colony had banned Freemasonry, such dictates had not reached remote Norfolk Island and there was a Lodge, albeit unwarranted, thriving on the Island.

The gravestone shown on the Martin Clunes programme is the one that Lodge members prepared 216 years ago as a sign of respect and care for a fellow Mason who died on a tiny isolated island amongst strangers, thousands of miles from his home.

Somehow the programme's researchers must have missed it……

Author: Mark Hinsley


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