Author, David Cornish, Executive Officer, PAC Foundation.
Photo: Don and Lesley Catford, join with Romy and Anjan Joshi, in congratulating Rojan Joshi.
In 1907 a group of Old Scholars of the school set about the establishment of the Prince Alfred Old Collegians’ Masonic Lodge. I am proud that my link goes back that far as my great-grandfather, Frank Cornish, was a senior Mason and signed the warrant establishing the Lodge. Whilst great-grandpa wasn’t an Old Scholar his five sons were, including my grandfather, and in turn his son Frank Cornish (my Father), who twice served as Master and was an active member of the Lodge until his death.
Over the next 110 years the Lodge provided meaningful interaction for many Old Reds and members of the College community and strongly supported the College and its students in many ways. A highlight of the year was the Lodge meeting for city and country Old Reds held as a part of Old Boy’s Week.
Whilst never a Lodge member myself, I’ve benefited from knowing many past and present members and credit these men with helping to shape my understanding of service and philanthropy. Therefore, it is with a strong sense of association that I tell the story of the closure of the Lodge and the good news that its philanthropic work at the College will continue.
In 2017 and with dwindling membership the PAOC Lodge ceased functioning. The Lodge’s last Master, Rev Don Catford, worked with the College to ensure that funds held by the Lodge were placed in endowment for perpetuity and that two activities would be funded from it; The Lodge Short Talk Competition in the Preparatory School and the Lodge Grant for a Senior School student.
Yesterday the Headmaster hosted remaining members of the Lodge, partners and guests for morning tea at the College. The Headmaster thanked the group for their ongoing interest in the College and spoke of the endowment’s performance and thanked those who support it financially. Year 6 student Apollon Velonakis addressed the group about the forthcoming Short Talk Competition, which will take place next month as a part of a competition with students from Seymour College. Rev Catford presented Year 11 student Rojan Joshi with the Lodge Grant and Rojan spoke of his experiences as a boy in Nepal, his arrival in Australia and education before commencing at PAC last year, and of his career aspirations.
Whilst the closure of the PAOC Lodge was a time of great sadness for members, visiting the school and hearing that their funds are well stewarded means a great deal. But nothing meant as much to the men and women as meeting Apollon and Rojan and seeing that the Lodge’s quiet support for the College that commenced in 1907 will live on.
Executive Officer, PAC Foundation.