THIS Saturday, for the second time, Les Cooper will be installed as the master of the Duke of Richmond lodge at Mount Waverley's masonic centre.
It's been about 30 years since the former policeman last occupied the chair reserved for the leader of the lodge and he says it's an honour to be chosen again.
"It's a recognition of me as a individual for them to choose me to lead them," he says. "It's an extreme privilege."
Mr Cooper joined the freemasons in 1972. He describes the organisation as a "universal brotherhood" where members are only asked one question before joining — do they believe in God?
He says it doesn't matter which God a man believes in, just that he does.
So what about rumours that the freemasons is a secret society?
"We don't have any secrets," Mr Cooper says simply. "We are a society of secrets.
"Once upon a time — and it was somewhat of an incorrect decision-making process — we pretended to be a secret society.
"We are now an open society where we invite people to join freemasonry if they choose."
Freemasons in the Duke of Richmond lodge range in age from 50 to 80.
But membership of this branch of freemasonry is still reserved for men.
Mr Cooper says that while there are a number of other masonic orders like co-freemasonry — which allow women to join — the Mt Waverley branch he's a part of will only allow male members.
Freemasonry has been instrumental in Mr Cooper's life. "It's made me a better person and this is what the aims of freemasonry are about — to make good people better."
Mr Cooper's installation coincides with 150th anniversary of the Duke of Richmond lodge.
As part of the celebrations, residents are invited to attend the lodge and watch the re-consecration ceremony, usually only reserved for freemasons. "We're prepared to open up the doors and open up our ceremony to the public," Mr Cooper says.
The Duke of Richmond lodge will be holding an open re-consecration at the Waverley Masonic Centre, 318-322 Stephensons Road, Mount Waverley, from 4pm on Saturday, September 25.
Bookings are essential and a banquet will be held afterwards at a cost of $25 a head.
Details: Neville Johnson, 9700 2729.