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History of the Rite

The use of the word “Scottish” has led many Masons to believe that the Rite originated in Scotland. Actually, the first reference to the Rite appears in old French records where the word “Ecossais,” meaning Scottish, is found. During the latter part of the 17th Century, when the British Isles were torn by strife, many Scots fled to France and resumed their Masonic interests is that country. It is believed that this influence contributed to the use of the word “Scottish.”

In 1732, the first “Ecossais” or Scottish Lodge, was organized in Bordeaux, one of the oldest and most influential Masonic centres in France. The membership included Scottish and English Masons. The years 1738-40 saw the formation of the first “Hauts Grades” or advanced degrees.

Our first record of what is now known as the Rose Croix Degree (18th) dates from 1765. In its early years the degree had a chequered history and eventually became one of twenty five degrees in what was known as the Rite of Perfection. In 1786 a group of eminent members of the Rite under the titular direction of Fredrick the Great of Prussia published the Grand Constitutions of 1786. Under these Constitutions the Rite of Perfection was renamed the “Ancient and Accepted Rite” and extended to thirty three degrees of which the Rose Croix degree became the Eighteenth.

The Grand Constitutions of 1786 provide for a procedure whereby a Supreme Council in one country can move to establish a Supreme Council in another country where a Supreme Council does not already exist.

Under this procedure, a Patent to establish a Supreme Council for England and Wales was sought from the Northern Masonic Jurisdiction U.S.A. and was granted in 1845. A patent to establish a Supreme Council for Scotland was granted by the Supreme Council for France in 1846.

Within a comparatively few years both the Supreme Council for England and the Supreme Council for Scotland has approved petitions for Charters to establish Rose Croix Chapters in Australia.

Until 1945 progress of the two orders was slow but steady. After 1945 development of Rose Croix Freemasonry in Australia accelerated. It was natural that post 1945 there should be a demand for a Supreme Council 33° for Australia and in 1985 that demand was satisfied. The Supreme Council for England and Wales and the Supreme Council for Scotland conducted a plebiscite of all their members and Chapters. The plebiscite proved favourable and on the 12th October 1985 the “Supreme Council 33° of the Ancient and Accepted Rite for Australia” came into being.

 

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