Our Swiss friend Wor Bro Dr. Michel Jaccard, Past President of the Alpina Research Group of Switzerland, will shortly be leaving Australia shores on his way home, via a few speaking engagements in Asia. His recent visit to Tasmania was a great success and enjoyed by the many Tasmanians who met him. Especially, those fortunate enough to hear him speak on some of his varied topics of Masonic Research, and in particular his talk about Sir Isaac Newton, Solomon’s Temple and the Craft of the Moderns. The lucky ones who purchased a copy of his book “Continental Freemasonry” were also delighted where he was available to personally dedicate their copy to them.
Michel was invited on his 2015 Lecture Tour by the Australian and New Zealand Research Council. Coincidentally, this tour coincided with the 30th anniversary of the Swiss Group, the Groupe de Reserche Alpina (GRA) – founded in September 1985. Numerous literary and lecturer exchanges have been practiced over the years with other renowned research lodges in Europe; Quatuor Coronati in London being an outstanding example. Despite the language barrier, as English is not the mother language for Dr. Jaccard, with the help of slides and English subtitled text, full comprehension was guaranteed for all attendees. As a calendar note, the next Australian and New Zealand Research Council Conference will be held in Tasmania’s North late next year. See launcestonresearchlodge.org.au for more info.
Michel was also most impressed in meeting with our Grand Master M Wor Bro Allan Sangwell and those members of his Grand Lodge team who attended the Launceston Lodge of Research lecture. Swiss/Tasmanian masonic relations gained extra cordial connection with M Wor Bro Allan Sangwell making a special trip up from Hobart for that evening. W Bro Jaccard, as the ‘emissary’ of the Grand Master of the Grand Lodge Alpina of Switzerland, M Wor Bro Maurice Zahnd, made a special presentation on behalf of his Grand Master to our Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Tasmania. A letter and gift from our Grand Master’s counterpart in Switzerland was warmly received. Michel was treated by Lodge Phoenix to their dining lodge experience, and he was welcomed at Dorset lodge where he discovered country lodge hospitality.
Michel had a most enjoyable stay and told how he was overcome by the warmth of the people and with the beauty of Tasmania during his short visit. He commented how fortunate Tasmanians are to live in such a picturesque Island. His sightseeing highlights included a visit to the top of Mount Wellington to see the sweeping vista of Hobart and its outlying regions and the countryside around Scottsdale country-side as viewed from the Sideling lookout. Switzerland, being covered with the massive Alps, is similar to Tasmania in that Swiss people reside mainly on the flat lands. More than 75% of their population of 8 million live on the central plain, which stretches between the Alps and the Jura Mountains and from Geneva in the southwest to the Rhine River and Lake Constance in the northeast.
During his stay Michel’s camera was constantly snapping as he captured many memories to share with his wife once back home. He visited the unique Reliquaire at Latrobe (there is nothing like this in Europe!!!), he sampled fine Tasmanian cheeses and raspberries from the farm gate, he saw a number of Tasmanian Devils and he saw a Tiger Snake up close in the Wild. All very exciting. And according to Michel “The observation of the pingouins at night was also an outstanding expérience!”
As a point of interest to our readers, our Grand Secretary informs us that in 2015 there were recorded 82 Lodges under the Grand Lodge Alpina of Switzerland with a membership of 3612 and they variously work in all four language regions of the country being German, French, Italian and English.