The Murray Olsson Grand Lodge Museum
Freemasonry has been a part of South Australian life since planning of the colony commenced in 1834, prior to arrival of the first British settlers in 1836.
As the leading repository of the material cultural heritage of Freemasonry in South Australia, the Murray Olsson Grand Lodge Museum seeks to celebrate the contributions of Freemasonry and of individual Freemasons to the life and development of South Australia, the Northern Territory and Australia. It does this by collecting, documenting, preserving, displaying and interpreting Masonic records and the material culture of Freemasonry for the community of the State of South Australia and Australia generally.
The museum is named after Right Worshipful Brother Athol ‘Murray’ Olsson, who was the curator of the museum for many years, and passed to the Eternal East in 2018.
The Museum was located on the ground floor in the Freemasons Hall on North Terrace, Adelaide, in very cramped quarters, and was relocated in what was the Simpson Lodge Room on the third floor.
The Museum's core collection consists of many hundreds of items of memorabilia relating to Freemasonry in South Australia and the Northern Territory, including regalia, jewels, furniture, glassware, paintings, warrants, documents, photographs, illuminated manuscripts and video tapes. The collection includes a wealth of documents dating back to the founding of the Colony in 1836, and items belonging to famous Freemasons. A large portion of the collection is digitised and can be viewed by appointment only.
Permanent displays of banners and artefacts tell the story of the development of Freemasonry since 1836 and can be viewed during public tours.
One can also see the collection of the John McDouall Stuart Society. Australia's most famous inland explorer, John McDouall Stuart became a Freemason when he joined the Lodge of Truth in North Adelaide's Belmont House on 1 August 1859. The collection includes Stuart's Masonic Certificate and two Warden's gavels crafted from a limb of "Stuart's Tree" which stood at Chamber's Bay, Van Diemen Gulf, Northern Territory, and on which Stuart had carved his initials "JMDS" on 24 July 1865, to record the crossing of the continent from south to north. It is a national collection of great significance and honours a famous Freemason who traversed the continent for the first time from south to north in one of the greatest exploits of all time. The Stuart Highway, connecting Adelaide to Darwin, so named after him largely follows his original route.
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