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Compiled by W. Bro. Dr. Santokh Singh


The Island was “discovered” by Captain Francis Light in 1786. The Island was called the “Prince of Wales Island” while the town which developed was named “George Town”, after the then King of England. Captain Francis Light had been initiated into Freemasonry in India and was hence the first Freemason to set foot on this land. The “Prince of Wales Island” was later renamed “Penang” and after Malaysian Independence as “Pulau Pinang”.


Speculative Freemasonry arrived on the Prince of Wales Island with the establishment of the “first” Neptune Lodge No.344. The warrant dated 9th September 1809 was granted by the ‘Most Worshipful the Grand Master of the ANTIENTS GRAND LODGE OF ENGLAND, who was the fourth duke of Atholl’. The Lodge was consecrated in 1810.


Due to the reorganization of the two Grand Lodges in London it was re-numbered 441, but became extinct in 1813.


In 1821 a military Lodge called Humanity with Courage Lodge No.826A was formed with a provisional charter from the Provincial Grand Lodge of Bengal. This Lodge initiated many civilian citizens of George Town but due to complaints against a Military Lodge the Warrant was returned to Calcutta in 1828.


With this the “second” Neptune” Lodge No.293 saw light but went into darkness in 1844. It was this the “second” Neptune Lodge No 293 which initiated the first Asian into its membership in 1830. He was Bro. Causmee Shapoorjee, a merchant. The second Asian brother, initiated in 1833, was Bro. Murxa Sadat.

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In 1850 the “third” Neptune Lodge was formed but like its fore runners it went into darkness in 1862.


Hence in about half a century, the Prince of Wales Island witnessed the establishment and extinction of four English Lodges.


The Royal Prince of Wales Lodge 1555 E.C. was chartered on 5th July 1875 by the Most Worshipful Grand Master, H.R.H. Albert Edward, then the Prince of Wales and later King Edward VII of England. The consecration and subsequent meetings were held at the same building used by Lodge Neptune, located near the corner of Beach Street and Union Street (where the Malayan Banking building is now located). It is recorded that the “Square and Compasses” were prominently displayed on the façade of the building.


Later the meetings were held at the second temple which was situated in Light Street. The 27th December 1878 (St. Johns Day) was indeed a red letter day for Masonry on the Prince of Wales Island. On that day, the Regular Meeting of The Royal Prince of Wales Lodge was held at the residence of Bro. A. Huttenback. The Lodge was opened in the first degree and the District grand Master, Rt. W. Bro. W. H. Read, was received in due form. The Lodge was then called off and the Brethren marched in FULL MASONIC COSTUME to their new third Temple in Northam Road (now renamed Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah) for the Consecration of the new Temple which was followed by the Installation of the W. Master W. L. Hill. The Installation Banquet was held in an adjoining room and the Brethren returned home near to midnight.

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The cost of the third Temple in Northam Road, Penang, known as ‘THE FREEMASONS HALL’ was as follows:


Cost of site:                                  $800.00
Building Cost                                $5537.00
Furniture and other costs:              $2025.84     
Total Cost:                                    $8362.84


However this figure was later amended to $9380.13, leaving the Lodge in debt to the value of $3630.39.


This third Temple underwent several renovations and by the year 1903, the Temple was practically reconstructed. The membership then stood at 130. The completion of the renovations was celebrated with great joy at a Special meeting of the Lodge on 6th May 1903 when W. Bro. A. R. Adams was conferred the rank of District Grand Warden. He was later appointed the Deputy District Grand Master.


In 1906, Lodge Scotia No. 408 S.C. was consecrated and as there were many common members the meetings were held at the same Freemasons Hall in Northam Road.


In those early days the premises were utilized by the following Lodges:

  1. The Royal Prince of Wales Lodge No. 1555 E.C. consecrated on 5th July 1875

  2. Gottlieb Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 382 consecrated on 1st July 1877

  3. Victoria Jubilee Chapter No. 1555 consecrated on 14th July 1888

  4. Lodge Scotia No. 408 S.C.


From 1906 to 1917, Lodge Scotia shared the Temple building as a tenant with The Royal Prince of Wales Lodge in Northam Road. That Temple was known as the “Freemasons Hall”.

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In 1916 the desire of the Scottish Brethren to have their own Temple sprouted but aborted. In 1917, due to some unresolved differences between the two Lodges, and the heavy financial burden of excessive rental, Lodge Scotia bought and moved to their own premises at No. 12 Logan Road, Penang called the “Scotia Masonic Hall” which was consecrated on 15th January 1917.


In mid 1924, good Masonic sense prevailed when the members of the two Lodges came together to help build the present day Masonic Temple at 136 Western Road (know known as Jalan Utama). The English and Scottish Brethren of two Craft Lodges pledged a firm commitment to be together on 28th September 1924. The Scottish Brethren sold the “Scotia Masonic Hall” at No. 12 Logan Road on 30th December 1926. Their meeting was then again held at The Freemasons Hall at Northam Road.


On 23rd March 1927, the two Lodges established “The Penang Masonic Temple Company Limited" (later changed to “Penang Masonic Temple Sdn. Bhd." to comply with the Companies Act of 1965). The first Directors were as follows:


From the Royal Prince of Wales Lodge:

  1. W. Bro. John Gray Allan

  2. W. Bro. Montague James Thorpe

  3. W. Bro. Leonard Russell Tofield

From Lodge Scotia:

  1. Bro. James Murison Chalmers

  2. Bro. Duncan MacKinnon

  3. Bro. Harry Relph

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The authorized and issued Capital was Malayan Dollars 27,000 split into 54 shares of Malayan Dollars 500 each, held equally by both Lodges. There were 40 Debentures of Malayan Dollars 500 each and Debentures of Malayan Dollars 2500 each, held in equal numbers by both Lodges. Hence from the very start of this new venture the two Craft Lodges shared equal responsibility.


The land on the Corner of Brown Road and Western Road was bought on 9th November 1926 at a cost of Malayan Dollars 4530.00 and together with the legal fees amounted to M $ 4823.00. The Brethren of the two Lodges jointly contributed M$ 3600.00 towards the Penang Masonic Temple Company’s Land Fund.


The cost of the building was about M$ 31292.50.


The tessellated pavement, the organ, the electrical fittings and the sanitary ware were donated by the Brethren. The floor of the dining hall is on springs imported from England meant for ballroom dancing well indicating the other purposes that the Brethren used it for in addition to their Masonic Banquets. Since then there have been minor renovations but the main building is a very solid structure with ample parking space for vehicles. The Honorary Architect was Mr. Howard Leicester while the contractor was Mr. Lee Ghee Sok.


The Chief Cornerstone was laid by W. Bro. John Gray Allan, a Past Master of both Craft Lodges. The Cornerstone was of Langkawi Marble from the Langkawi Marble Company. It cost M$ 317.16.

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Masonic Temple Foundation Stone

The ceremony for the laying of the Foundation was held at 3.00 pm on Saturday 17th December 1927. On that day both The Royal Prince of Wales Lodge and Lodge Scotia were opened in The Freemasons Hall at Northam Road and then the Brethren proceeded to the site at the junction of Brown Road and Western Road for the laying of the Foundations of present day Freemasonry in Penang.


Today the Penang Masonic Temple is well utilized by the following Lodges:


English Constitution:

  1. The Royal Prince of Wales Lodge No. 1555 E.C.

  2. The Victoria Jubilee Chapter No. 1555 E.C.

  3. The Gottlieb Lodge of Mark Master Masons No. 382 E.C.

  4. The Malaysia Utara Council No. 96 E.C.

  5. The Gottlieb Lodge of Royal Ark Mariners Lodge No. 382 E.C. 

Scottish Constitution

  1. Lodge Scotia No. 1003 S.C.

  2. Scotia Royal Arch Chapter No. 408 S.C.

  3. Scotia Lodge and Council No. 408 S.C.

  4. Scotia Cryptic Council No. 408 S.C.

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The maintenance of the building and the land is in the hands of the Board of Directors of the Penang Masonic Temple Sdn. Bhd. which has three Directors from each of the two Craft Lodges that own the shares. The Chairmanship of the Board of Directors rotates between the two Craft Lodges. The Directors term of office is one year and they may be re-appointed by their respective Lodges.


Indeed the building is a majestic, magnificent edifice and our predecessors planned it well for its future use. The Brethren today have reason to be proud of their heritage which they should well preserve.


Heritage has great value. It demands tender loving care. A price the present day Brethren have to pay to maintain this masterpiece. Each Craft Lodge has a yearly contribution of MR25,000.00 and the side Lodges pay RM2400.00 for the use of the facilities.

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Page last edited: 08 August 2009