Lodge Cronulla was consecrated with 21 petitioning members. Consecration date was the 16th November, 1917, and the ceremony was carried out by the Deputy Grand Master at the time, Rt. Wor. Bro. W.T. Wearne. Foundation Master was Wor. Bro. Tonkin, Senior Warden was Bro. Innes-Noad and Junior Warden Bro. J.F. Hastie. It is on record that 150 Brethren attended the meeting in the Lectur Hall of the Cronulla School of Arts. The next Installation Ceremony was held in the Cronulla Methodist Church 1918.
In 1919 the site of the present Centre was purchased at £5 a foot. The Grand Master, Most Worshipful Bro. William Thompson laid the foundation stone in 1920 and the building was dedicated in 1921.
Many things in lodge Cronulla’s history are worthy of mention.
In 1919 meetings had to be cancelled because of the influenza epidemic. The Lodge was invited to participate in a reception for the Earl of Cassilis, which was held in the Cecil Hotel. A motion was passed in 1932 for the abolition of intoxicating liquors from the meetings, a ban that lasted 2 years and anyone who required supper and soft drinks had to bring his own!
The work of Henry Tonkin was recognised by Grand Lodge in 1926, when he was appointed DGIW of the then No. 10 District, which covered from Sydenham to Cronulla. The difficulties of transport must have made this a very arduous task. He occupied the Chair of Lodge Cronulla at a P.M.’s Night when he was 81 and it was reported he carried out a most impressive ceremony. His memory is perpetuated in the Cronulla Centre, where it looks down on every Brother who enters the Lodge room. Surely it can be said without hesitation that Henry Tonkin was the founder of the Craft in the Shire.
Lodge Cronulla has had many outstanding brethren over the years. One such member was Wor. Bro. Bill Hayes, who even at the age of 90, was quite capable of presenting magnificent renditions of ritual. Considering this brother could barely read or write, this was truly a remarkable achievement and Bill Hayes was an inspiration to all who knew him.
In 1959, the Centre was enlarged by extending it further back, and this greatly increased the capacity.
Lodge Cronulla’s membership in 1917 was 21 and, in its heyday, grew to over 200 by 1972.