Lodge Hiogo & Osaka No. 498 [4]

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At Shioya Country Club

Eventually, arrangements were made to hold our meetings at the Shioya Country Club, about 8 miles to the West of Kobe and about 30 miles from Osaka.

At the 682nd meeting held on 19/11/53, 1 brother was passed and at the 683rd held on 17/12/53, 4 were elected as affiliates.

As at 31st December, 1952, there were 13 Life Members, 21 Life Absent, 33 who paid full dues (but of whom only 16 were resident) and 5 absent members and the General and Benevolent Funds stood at ¥881,843.76 and ¥287,269.40 respectively. It was noted that War Damage Claims had been submitted.

As at 31st December, 1953 there were 14 Life Members, 20 Life Absent Members, 27 members who paid full fees (but of whom only 17 were resident) and 9 absent members while the General & Benevolent Funds stood at ¥987,238.50 and ¥321,197.30 respectively.

The Report for 1953 noted that the war damage compensation claims in regard to the various Masonic institutions still remained unpaid and that considerable sums had had to be paid to erect fences to prevent squatters settling on the land on which the Corinthian Hall had formerly stood. In the meantime, the 1,000 year lease had been transferred from the names of Bros. Adam, Abraham & Whymark to that of G.K. Kobe Building Association. This was not effected without difficulty as the three brethren concerned had died very many years before and had left no deeds showing that the property was held in trust.

It was also reported that on top of our other misfortunes, the heirs of the owners who had granted the original 1,000 year lease had raised a court action to secure an economic rent. This was done though the original owners had received the same amount as for an outright sale and the stipulations in the lease about rent were merely to protect the owners against any liability for Land Tax. Our fortunes may be considered as at their nadir about this period.

Bro. K. M. Pate: Re-installed at 77th Installation Meeting on 16/1/54.

Installing Officers:— Bro. C. H. Woodward, M., Bro. W. Lackie, S.W., Wor. Bro. A. N. Petersen, J.W., Wor. Bro. F. Rodriguez, I.G. and Bro. H. H. Kulpe, D.C.

During the period that Bro. Pate was in office, 8 regular meetings from No. 684 on 21/1/54 to No. 691 on 16/12/54 were held, Bro. J. F. Wallace deputising at the 689th and Bro. C. H. Woodward at the 690th and 691st.

During the period, 1 brother was initiated, 1 raised and 1 affiliated.

At 31st December, 1954, there were 14 Life Members (4 in Kobe), 21 Life Absent, 20 resident and 17 absent while the General and Benevolent Funds stood at ¥1,066,458.13 and ¥332,927.07 respectively.

It was noted that the Lodge had received ¥441,584 from the liquidation of the Kobe Base Masonic Club and that this had been temporarily placed to Reserve Fund and would be transferred to General Fund when it was known that members who had not attended the meeting that dealt with the disposal of the funds had no claims.

It was also noted that the war damage compensation remained uncollected and that the law suit still dragged on.

Bro. W. Lackie: Installed at 78th Installation Meeting on 8/1/55.

Installing Officers:— Bro. C. H. Woodward, M., Wor. Bro. A. W. R. Taylor, S.W., Wor. Bro. A. N. Petersen, J.W., Bro. H. H. Kulpe, D.C. and Wor. Bro. F. Rodriguez, I.G.

During this Master’s period of office, 8 meetings, from No. 692 on 20/1/55 to No. 699 on 1/12/55 were held, Bro. K. M. Pate deputising, at the 696th. 2 brethren were initiated, 2 passed and 1 raised. Bro. L. J. Nuzum was made a Life Member under Rule 187. Bro. Nuzum was initiated in 1914 and has an impressive record of service to the Lodge.

At 31st December, 1955, there were 9 Life Members (4 resident in Kobe), 16 Life Absent, 17 resident and 12 Absent. It was pointed out that a number of Life Members had lost touch with the Lodge and an appeal was made for help in re-establishing contact.

At 31st December, 1955, General Fund stood at ¥1,098,725.42, Benevolent Fund at ¥384,378.91 and R.B.M.C. Reserve Fund at ¥733,072.40. A further distribution of ¥291,488.40 was received from the liquidation of the Kobe Base Masonic Club. It was reported that during the year, the authorities had acknowledged but not yet paid a war damage compensation claim of ¥5,836,279 made by G.K. Kobe Building Association in respect of the destruction of its own building, Corinthian Hall, but that its title to claim as bailee for destruction of the property of its tenants — 3 craft lodges, 1 mark lodge (E.C.), 1 R.A. Chapter (E.C.) and the Kobe Masonic Club (not to be confused with the Kobe Base Masonic Club) was in doubt.

During the year, it became apparent that membership was suffering due to the distance of Shioya from Kobe and Osaka, particularly in view of the bad state of the roads.

An agreement was therefore made with the Kobe Club, whereby in return for the sum of ¥4,000,000 contributed in equal portions by Rising Sun Lodge No. 1401 E.C. and our own Lodge, the Club undertook to provide accommodation for the two Lodges, subject to certain reasonable safeguards, for the lifetime of its newly erected buildings. It had been hoped that the K.B.A. war damage compensation claim would be collected before completion of the Club’s new premises but this turned out not to be the case. It was therefore necessary for the two Lodges to borrow ¥4,000,000 from a local bank which was made possible by a few members of each Lodge standing as guarantors for repayment.

During 1955, the elder daughter of the late Wor. Bro. A. Kirby died, leaving her property in trust for the maintenance of her blind sister, the residuary legatees being the Benevolent Funds of the two Kobe Lodges. The surviving sister created a similar trust in regard to her own property. Practically the only assets of the combined trusts were house-property and land at 48 Kitano-cho 3-chome, the house-property being in a very run down condition. The two Lodges agreed to advance sufficient funds for the rehabilitation of the houses so that the larger house could be rented and Miss Kirby and her amah could be maintained on the property revenue in the smaller house.

Bro. Pate, P.M. was the first tenant of the larger house, some non-masonic tenants followed and Bro. Lackie, P.M. is the present occupant. The scheme has worked out very well — Miss Kirby has lived in much greater comfort that she had since the outbreak of World War II and, due to the appreciation in real estate values, there is every likelihood that the value of the property which will eventually fall to the two Lodges will considerably exceed the advances made for the late Miss Kirby’s hospital etc. expenses and the cost of rehabilitating the property.

The law suit in connection with the Kobe Building Association’s leased land still remained unsettled at the end of 1955.

During 1955, Bro. R. M. Burns visited Lodge Zetland, No. 391, Grangemouth which supplies our Proxy Master and Wardens and conveyed our greetings.

Bro. C. H. Woodward: Installed at the 79th Installation Meeting on 17/12/55.

Installing Officer:— Bro. W. Lackie.

It is interesting to note that Bro. Lackie had installed Bro. Woodward 15 years previously.

One further meeting was held at the Shioya Country Club, No. 700 on 19th January, 1956 at which Bro. Albert Baugh was initiated.