Southern District Grand Chapter


  • Established in 1985 with the following Chapters in its jurisdiction:
    • Bega Chapter No 187
    • Canberra Chapter No 52
    • Fraser Chapter No 192
    • Goulburn Chapter No 94
    • Hume Chapter No 201
    • Moruya Chapter No 200
    • Wagga Wagga Chapter No 189
    • Young Chapter No 202
  • Governing Level was the Grand Chapter of NSW


Notes from a meeting of members in NSW & ACT Chapters outwith a District held in Goulburn Chapter Hall on Sunday 9th September 1984 at 11.30 am.

PRESENT: Miss Lois Olfen W.G.M., Mr David Harrington W.G.P., Mrs Elaine O’Brien IPWGM, Mrs Gladys Sharp GAM, and 56 members.

APOLOGIES: were received from Mr. Thomas Graham IPWGP & Mr. Charles Latimer GAP (both travelling in New Zealand) and Miss Norma Casley Grand Secretary.

OPENING: The Worthy Grand Matron welcomed all present. The Worthy Grand Patron led the meeting in prayer.  The Worthy Grand Matron in her opening remarks referred to the address she had given in each Chapter and made the following points:

  • At present there is little for members to look forward to, after being WM or WP, and a District Grand Chapter would provide this.
  • A District Grand Chapter broadens the knowledge of its members.
  • While PWMs & PWPs are eligible for office in Grand Chapter, for the most part, distance does not make that very practical.
  • With 8 outwith Chapters and the responsibilities that places on Grand Chapter;
  • the Grand Chapter does not have adequate time to carry out its administrative tasks; there are visits to metropolitan and country Chapters, and members probably do not realise how much time is devoted to Committee meetings – O.E.S. Home Fund, O.E.S. Home Management, Laws & By-Laws, Finance and lately Autonomy.  If you place too much stress upon the members, they cannot give their best to their tasks.
  • The Grand Chapter certainly is not thinking in terms of “getting rid of” … the Outwith Chapters, but it does have a responsibility to the whole of N.S.W. & the A.C.T. which includes the present 8 Districts. Over the last few years Inspection Visits have been combined into a “tour” but Outwith Installations take 8 weeks in a row, travelling from Sydney & return. All this combined, is perhaps not allowing the Grand Office Bearers to give their best. When one attends Committee, it is not sufficient just to be there, but time and thought must be put into preparation for the meetings or there is no input into the deliberations.
  • It is envisaged that once the United Grand Chapter of Australia is “off the ground” there will be a commitment and involvement for many of the Grand Chapter members.
  • The area which encompasses the Outwith Chapters is very large, and there would be some difficulties of travelling, as the Grand Chapter itself encounters; these may be increased, as you cross the mountains -which would perhaps not be possible in the depths of winter. Suggestions have been made that perhaps boundaries could be re-defined and maybe the Outwith chapters could be allocated to already existing Districts.
  • The 8 Outwith Chapters have become a very cohesive group, and already have the attributes of a District; they visit each other’s installations and this is the kind of thinking you find in a District.
  • Maps were displayed showing boundaries; If boundaries were re-allocated, not all the Outwith Chapters would go to the same District; Most would be away from the active centre of the present Districts. Districts are having the situation arise where Chapters are closing, and we have written to the Supreme Grand Chapter to enquire as to how many Chapters it needs to keep a District operative (the Constitution being silent on this, although it stipulates 7 to petition for a District).

The meeting was then opened for questions and comments from members (which continued through, and after a lunch break)

W.G.M.: Again I would put to you that there are four alternatives:

  1. A massive upheaval and redistribution of boundaries and Chapters for the entire State;
  2. Redefine the boundaries of, possibly. Illawarra, Parramatta & Western Districts;
  3. Leave things as they are;
  4. Form a new District Grand Chapter in the present “outwith”

(at the end of the meeting) On a show of hands, 50 of the 56 members present indicated their interest in the formation of a District Grand Chapter encompassing the present 8 outwith Chapters. Approximately 17 members indicated that they would be interested in holding office and it was noted that several members unable to be present today had also indicated such an interest.

It was decided to elect an Interim Committee and Representatives from each Chapter present nominated the following members (subject to ratification at the next meeting of their respective Chapters):

Young Chapter – Muriel Hardy & May Robinson
Wagga Wagga Chapter – Norma Lohrey & Lorraine Priest
Hume Chapter – Glad Christian & Bruce Fuller
Bega Chapter – Myrtle Hart & Norma Green
Goulburn Chapter – Valmai Hunt & Valerie Brand
Canberra Chapter – Joy McKellar & Joan Coyle
Moruya Chapter – Jean Hore & Aileen McDonald
Fraser Chapter – Joan Grallelis & Emmanuel Grallelis

Subsequently the nominated Committee elected a Convenor: Valmai Hunt, and a Secretary: Norm Lohrey.

The Committee will meet on Sunday 20th January 1985 at 11.30 am in Goulburn- Chapter Hall to consider correspondence to hand from the Chapters, each of which is asked to place the following questions on the Agenda for its December meeting and reply, giving order of preference, to Mrs. N. Lohrey, 33 Northcott Parade, Wagga Wagga. 2650. by the end of December:

  • Are you in favour of formation of a District Grand Chapter encompassing the present 8 “outwith” Chapters and the present “outwith” area?
  • Are you in favour of the absorption of the present 8 Outwith Chapters into appropriate existing Districts?
  • Do you favour, and so recommend to the Grand Chapter, that a Demarcation Committee be formed to redefine the boundaries of all Districts in N.S.W. and redistribute all Chapters into suitable Districts.

The Interim Committee will thus be in a position to make a report to the Grand Committee in February.

If the result is that a Petition be submitted for a new District, it was suggested that same be named Proposed Southern District Grand Chapter.

Chapters are reminded to place on the Agenda for their next meeting the Ratification of Selection of Representatives to the Interim Committee.

The Interim Committee suggests that each Chapter, when replying to Mrs. Lohrey, forward the sum of $5 towards cost of postage, etc.

The Ex-Officio members of Grand Chapter were invited to attend the meeting of the Committee on 20th January 1985.

The meeting closed at 3.50 pm. after Mrs. Dorothy Allen proposed a vote of thanks to the Worthy Grand Matron for convening and presiding over this very interesting and helpful meeting, which was carried by acclamation.

The institution of Southern District Grand Chapter took place in the Mount Austin High School Auditorium, Leavenworth Drive, Wagga Wagga on Saturday 28th September, 1985.

Present were – Most Worthy Grand Matron Sis. Elaine O’Brien & Worthy Grand Office Bearers, Worthy Grand Matron Sis. Gladys Sharp, Worthy Grand Patron Bro. Charles Latimer, Past Worthy Grand Matrons, Past Worthy Grand Patrons and Grand Office Bearers, Visiting W.D.G.M.s and W.D.G.P.s from Bankstown, Eastern, Illawarra, Northern, Parramatta, Sydney, Western & Melbourne Districts, Worthy Matrons, Worthy Patrons & members of visiting Chapters, the Deputy Mayor of Wagga Wagga, Mrs Mary Kidson, Mr Joe Schipp, State M.P. for Wagga Wagga and R.W. Bro. Jack Barrett.

The Instituting Officer was Brother Charles Latimer – Worthy Grand Patron of the Grand Chapter of NSW.  He was assisted by the following Instituting Office-Bearers: Sister Norma Casley (Grand Secretary); Brother Frank Mellersh (Grand Chaplain); Sister Isabel Thornton (Sister Grand Marshal) and Sister Elaine Wallbank (Sister Grand Organist).

The Installation and Investiture of the first board of District Grand Office-bearers was carried out by Sister Gladys Sharp WGM (Grand Installing Officer); Brother Leslie Coop PWGP (Grand Chaplain); and Sister Isabel Thornton (Grand Marshal).

Due to a decline in the number of Chapters in the jurisdiction of Southern District Grand Chapter, it was with a heavy heart that the members voted for its closure.  Its final meeting was held on 8th August 2014 in Canberra.  The remaining Chapters – Canberra, Fraser and Goulburn;  then came under the direct supervision of the Grand Chapter of NSW & ACT.

Such is Life
By Brother Eric Hunt PWDGP Poet Laureate of SDGC

There has to be a beginning before we have an end,
so we look back in retrospect to that time.
When this District its beginning and its presence so born
it happened at Wagga Wagga with the Office-bearers drawn.
This District Institution happened on that day the Installing Officer
Sister Sharp GM, Brother Latimer GP, Instituted so they say.
With Office-bearers gathered from Chapters then around
and a future ever certain good feelings did abound.

For years it served its purpose, and guidance so did give
to the eight Chapters it had taken under its wing.
And the Charter Members, and Members elected to this core
were proud and ever humble to be added to the score.
The first DGM was Sister Lohrey from Wagga Wagga,
with Brother Thomas Graham by her side.
With their careful planning and experience they knew,
this District did flourish and prosper as it grew.

Many learned Members have followed their pursuit
and have held this District Gavel with great pride,
to assemble all the Chapters together as one
that the wording of the ritual and correctness properly done.
Now the conditions and the issues of problems did expose
that the ageing of our Members their enthusiasm slowed
with all the problems facing down the line,
it was decided on our numbers, that the District must then be closed.

So it is with sadness, that we must approach this time
as lifetime years increase and Memberships decline.
When Members no longer have that energy of push,
as the created rules united, made our District undermine.
So today we face these issues, there is no other way
but to close with graceful thinking these rules we do obey.
Remember all the past times it guided with goodwill,
the friendship formed and fostered will remain then with us still.

Then look towards the rising and not the setting sun
remember one door closes another had begun.
Then the expressive care of others, goodwill with us abide
as Chapters join hands together, and travel side by side.
In unison and caring this file time track we go
the example of Southern District to everyone will flow.
Then we must bind together, outwith or otherwise,
for the fleeting blue of skyline will open before our eyes.


L to R Back Row: Bro Gerry Bassell; Sis Denise Davies; Sis Maureen Grant; Bro Eric Hunt; Middle Row: Bro George Dobbin; Sis Hester Harris; Sis Judy Knight; Sis Dawn Bellingham; Sis Irene Kyle; Sis Joan Grallelis; Sis Norma Kindleysides; Front Row: Sis Norma Stacy, Sis Jean Gidley; Sis Alice Dobbin, Sis Kathy Mitchell (WDGM); Bro Gary Sweeney; Sis Margaret Ray (Kestenbaum); Sis Valmai Hunt


A Chapter Bear for each of the 5 Chapters in the jurisdiction of Southern District Grand Chapter. Adah Bear (Canberra); Ruth Bear (Fraser); Esther Bear (Goulburn); Martha Bear (Hume); Electa Bear (Wagga Wagga). Sister Angela Sweeney (WDGM) and Brother Gary Sweeney (WDGP) 2005-2006