The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes (RAOB) is a fraternal organisation started in the United Kingdom in 1822 and is known as the Buffs to members. The RAOB organisation aids members, their families, dependents of former members and other charitable organisations. The Order’s motto is “No Man Is at all times wise” (Latin: Nemo Mortalium Omnibus Horis Sapit) and it has the maxim of “Justice, Truth and Philanthropy”. The Order has a Rule Book, Manual of Instruction and Ceremony Lectures issued and revised by the Grand Lodge of England. The ‘lodge’ description for branch organisation and headquarters was adopted in imitation of Freemasonry. (Source: Wikipedia)

Peel Island’s Recreation Hall 1956-7 (Photo Barbara Walker)

Peel’s Buffalo Lodge – Bayview 99 – was consecrated on the third of April 1950, by Bro. E.Franklin, ROH, W.G.P. who was also a founder of the lodge. The man behind the formation of the lodge was Bro. Frank Bennett. He was the live wire, spurred on with enthusiasm to get the lodge started, and to give the male inmates of the institution another avenue of enjoyment to break the monotony of life on the island.Bayview Lodge 99 used to hold their meetings in the old billiard room at the settlement, after the billiard table had been removed to another location in the new recreation hall. On large occasions the recreation hall had to be used and this was often filled to capacity.

A night at lodge was something to be enjoyed and remembered. Membership at the lodge peaked at about 15-20 per meeting on a fortnightly basis. Visitations from city lodges and also from Stradbroke Lodge from Dunwich, was always a highlight. Not only were patients members, but a large proportion of the staff were active Buffs, especially during the latter days of the institution’s existence, and these staff brothers were the ones who actually kept the lodge going as patients were systematically transferred to the mainland, pending the closure of the institution. Lodge meetings were well conducted, and played an important part in the social life of the island.

Bayview 99 was indeed a unique lodge, formed under never to be repeated circumstances. It may go down in history as the only lodge ever to operate or be constituted within the precincts of a Lazaret. May the memory and the achievements of Bayview Lodge, No. 99, remain an integral and vital part of the history of the Buffalo Order in Queensland. Bayview 99… a unique lodge in a unique situation!.

Story by Barrie Shrimpton, July 27, 1988