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Thursday, June 06, 2024

Two Masonic Halls Destroyed in Rioting on Pacific Island of New Caledonia

by Christopher Hodapp

As reported on June 2nd on the Hiram.be website, two Masonic temples in the Ducos peninsula area of the Pacific island French territory of New Caledonia were destroyed by fire earlier this week. There has been widespread rioting going on across New Caledonia in recent weeks, especially in and around the capitol city of Noumea. It's difficult to ascertain if these two Masonic halls were the target of a specifically anti-Masonic arsonist, because there have been so many other fires set recently on shops, homes, factories, hospitals and churches around the region. 

At least 6 people have died in the riots since mid-May, and the sight of roadblocks and burning cars have been reported in the press. 

New Caledonia is a French-run island that sits about 700 miles east of Australia, and lodges of the three largest French grand lodges are at work there: Grand Orient de France (GOdF), Grand Loge de France (GLdF), and the more widely recognized Grande Loge Nationale Française (GLNF). 

The local mayor described Noumea as a "city under seige." More than 3,000 foreign tourists have been trapped there for weeks, and the airport has been closed. Between 600 and 1,000 French gendarmes were sent to New Caledonia last month to attempt to stop the ongoing violence.

NOTE: I'm uncertain which Masonic halls were actually destroyed. Area Masons, or French-speaking brethren — please help me fill in the details I don't have.

According to a letter posted by the Grand Orient's Grand Master Guillaume Trichard, (if I'm translating this right), there are 8 GOdF Masonic lodges at work in New Caledonia. His letter says the two destroyed halls are the Eugène Porcheron Masonic Temple and the Jean Unger Masonic Temple. 

Regardless of which lodges and under whose jurisdiction they fall, the damage to the two Masonic halls is shown on the clocherobecourt.com website HERE. One temple's burned out main lodge room can be seen in the photo at the top of this post.

The other destroyed Masonic hall's gutted lodge room in the photo below:

No word yet about potential suspects.

During World War II, New Caledonia's Ducos peninsula was home to an important allied naval base at the port near the capital city of Noumea. All of the island's inhabitants hold French citizenship. While there have been several attempts to split from France in recent decades, at least three independence resolutions have failed by slim majorities. The current clashes are between pro-France and pro-Independence supporters.

(All photos from https://www-clocherobecourt.com)

1 comment:

  1. Lodge buildings in another island nation, Fiji, were destroyed a few years ag0.


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