Neil Hart-Smith is a Masonic “late bloomer”, having joined the fraternal organisation at the ripe old age of 61. He was drawn to the altruistic nature of the Craft, and was keen on getting involved in efforts to give back to the community. As a member, he also appreciated how welcoming the society was, particularly in regards to religion. Whilst there is definitely a religious underpinning to Masonic teachings, Neil, who is an Anglican, was pleased to note that it didn’t matter what religion you were part of as long as you upheld the morals and teachings of the Brotherhood and expressed an acknowledgement of a Supreme Being in your first interview.
Neil has truly woven himself into the fabric of Freemasons Victoria since joining at the Old Scotch Lodge. He is a past Master of that same Lodge, as well as being on the Grand Lodge Team and has served as Assistant Pursuivant. He believes strongly in the future of the Freemasons, and looks forward to it becoming a more open and widely promoted organisation. “I don’t think we are a ‘secret society’”, Neil says, “but more a ‘society with secrets’, which is an important difference.”
While Neil understands that many people join for networking opportunities, he hopes most people will join because of the values and philanthropic championed by the Craft. He encourages all men to join, and notes that for older people like him, who may at times find themselves lonely, Freemasonry can provide a kind of secondary family of devoted and caring Brethren.