The Order of the Secret Monitor
A Brief History
The Order of the Secret Monitor in Australia owes its origins to the Order in England, and its development, constitutions and practices are actually based on those existing at that time in the Order in Britain.
What then are the origins of the Order of the Secret Monitor?
A generally held view is that the Order came to England from the U.S.A. However, there is sufficient evidence to support the view that the Order of David and Jonathan arose in Holland at least two centuries earlier than its establishment in England in 1887. The friendship of David and Jonathan has been assumed to have formed the basis of a brotherhood with modes of recognition by day and by night in the Netherlands about 1571 –1581 when several Provinces were declaring their independence from the Spanish Rule. It is also maintained that these modes of recognition were revived a century later in France as a means of bringing together patriots and Protestants who wished to resist the foreign religious invaders.
To escape religious intolerance, many Dutch Protestants emigrated to America. There they found a new life with greater liberty. It is quite understandable that they would have taken their Freemasonry with them. There are rituals of the “Order of Brotherly Love”, “Order of Jonathan and David”, “Order of the Secret Monitor” being worked in the 19th Century. Records in the 1830s in America mention the Secret Monitor being bracketed with the Knights of Constantinople as two Orders of Masonry.
As the Order grew in America it became absorbed as one of the Degrees of the “Allied Degrees” and when these Degrees came to England in the 1870s they contained the Degree of a “Secret Monitor”. The Grand Council of the Order of the Secret Monitor in England came into being in 1887.
The growth of the Order in Britain was accompanied by a similar growth in its overseas Colonies and Dependencies. Victoria was the first Australian State to establish a Conclave – Southern Cross Conclave, No. 27, which was consecrated in London on 8 January, 1896, and was to meet in Geelong.
By 1924, James Laurenson, a member of the Order had moved to Ipswich from New Zealand and was keen to establish a Conclave in Queensland. In 1926, Friendship Conclave, No. 56, was consecrated in Ipswich.
From this time on progress of the Order in Australia was accelerated and in 1930 a District – Southern District – was formed. In 1938, the Southern District was divided into two Districts – Northern and Southern. Our present Grand Conclave became autonomous and was inaugurated on 31 May, 1969.
(Prepared by Most Worthy Brother John DANN PGSR from various sources.)