The Unknown Soldier Ceremonial Team

  • VWBro. Jim Puohotaua
History

For many years, specially formed teams and individual Lodges have carried out various forms of this ceremony within the United Grand Lodge of Victoria jurisdiction. The most noted of these groups was a team formed in 1989 by a Past Master’s Group called the Corinthians. This team operated for 17 years raising $66,066 of which $34,099 was passed to the Freemasons Homes, as it was known in those days. The majority of the remainder went to the Freemasons Hospital now called the Epworth Freemasons Hospital.

The current Unknown Soldier Ceremonial Team was established in 2005 using members of the 2004-2005 Grand Lodge Team as a recruiting base. Jim Puohotaua in partnership with another foundation member Wayne Henry developed the script and Jim developed the military ceremony the team uses today. Wayne had in fact been a member of the Corinthians team. Bill Blood, a third foundation member secured all the equipment and “military artefacts.”

Left to right: Back: WBro. Bruce Jeffries PGStdB  (obscured), WBro. Steeve Moutia PSGD, RWBro. Milton Alexandrakis PSGW GLHer, WBro. Len Trezise, Grand Piper. Front:  WBro. John Blyth SGD, WBro. Roger Dikes PGStdB.

The current team has performed the ceremony in many metropolitan and regional based Lodges and RSL Clubs throughout the state. From Mildura in the North to Lakes Entrance in the South, in the process raised over $20,000 for the Royal Freemasons. On the 29 April 2017, the Team carried out the Ceremony of the Unknown Soldier in the Deborah Mine in Bendigo 61 metres underground. This event titled “Bendigo Freemasons Dig Deep for Legacy” was firstly to raise money for Legacy and secondly to mark 100 years since a group of ANZAC Freemasons held a meeting near the ruins of King Solomon's Temple in 1917. This initiative together with the evening auction raised $5,000. The event was aired on Channel 9's Regional Channel.

Aims and objectives
  1. To develop and present through narration and ceremonial drill a presentation which reflects the events leading up to the selection, conveyance to England and finally the interment of a British Unknown Soldier in Westminster Abbey. The Ceremony was subsequently further developed to include the story of the Australian Unknown Soldier.
  2. To perpetuate the memory of those men and women who gave their lives in defence of their country.
  3. To share the experience in Lodges throughout Victoria.
  4. To demonstrate that Freemasonry is an organisation of value in the community at large by encouraging Lodges to invite non-Freemasons to nights when this ceremony is being performed.
  5. Carry on the Corinthian’s tradition where all donations received are to be passed onto the Royal Freemasons together with a list detailing donating Lodges and amounts.
  6. All expenses incurred in maintaining the equipment, travel and accommodation costs are borne by the members of the team as their individual contributions to this initiative.
New recruits required

Recruits are required to ensure the good work done through the years continues. We require:

Roles:
  1. A team Pursuivant to take on the management and administration role.
  2. A team Treasurer.
  3. Team members with strong oratory skills to act as narrators.
  4. Team members with excellent ceremonial skills to carry out the ceremonial aspects.

Prerequisites:

  1. Must be a current or past Grand Lodge Ceremonial Team Member.
  2. Must be prepared to undergo an audition and attend training sessions.
  3. Dress Code for the Team is Dinner Suit and undressed Grand Rank regalia

Back: WBro. Bill Blood PJGD, WBro. Roger Dikes PGStdB. Front: WBro. Steeve Moutia PSGD, WBro. Lee Peries, PGStdB

The ceremony is carried out exclusively during the months of April and November being the months of ANZAC and Remembrance. A get together BBQ audition/training session is proposed for  February 2019.

 Expressions of interest in the first instance can be directed to to VWBro. Jim Puohotaua, Foundation Team Leader at  jpuohota@optusnet.com.au or  0418 561 905.

Left to right: Back:  WBro. Steeve Moutia PSGD, RWBro. Milton Alexandrakis PSGW GLHer, WBro. Bill Blood PGStdB (back facing camera). Front: WBro. Lee Peries PGStdB, WBro. Bruce Jeffries PGStdB, WBro. Roger Dikes PGStdB (obscured)

Left to right: Back: WBro. Wayne Motton PGStdB, WBro. David Game PGStdB, WBro. Bruce Jeffries PGStdB. Front: WBro. Don Jennings PGStdB, VWBro. Jim Puohotaua PGIWkgs GLHer (back facing camera), WBro. Lee Peries PGStdB