PAGEANTRY, colour and mystery were alive in Inverell over the weekend as the NSW and ACT Preceptories of the Knights Templar gathered to celebrate their 2014 Malta Festival.
The Knights’ history dates to the 12th century during the Crusades when they served as Christian protectors. Their customs and rituals caused them to face medieval persecution, but they survived to serve over subsequent centuries in charitable roles in society.
John McMaster is the Right Eminent Knight, Knight Commander of the Temple with the Tamworth Preceptory. He was instrumental in co-ordinating this year’s Festival, and elated with the outcome of the weekend.
“It was an overwhelming success. Everybody was absolutely thrilled with it,” he said. Flanders House was the venue for the Festival events and John took his hat off to the RSM Club staff.
“They were fantastic. Somebody who needs a little bit of thanks in particular is Ryan Kent, the events organiser at the club, and the chef. The meals were magnificent.”
John said the believed this was the third largest Malta Festival in recent years.
Friday night was a meet and greet for the Knights and their partners. John reported that 98 people sat down for the meal.
Those numbers grew by Saturday after all the participants arrived for the ceremonies which included visiting Grand Masters from Victoria and Queensland and their attending delegations.
“On the Saturday night, 117 sat down for the dinner, which was really good,” John said.
John said while the Knights were engaged on Saturday, 37 women enjoyed a bus tour around Inverell and saw a gem cutting demonstration at the Inverell Tourism Centre.
“The ladies absolutely loved it. A lot of ladies came up to me and said what a wonderful afternoon it was.”
In all their regalia, 64 Knights had a procession and attended the Sunday service at the Inverell Uniting Church.
He said the visiting Knights were impressed with the setting and the service.
Next year’s Malta Festival takes place in Bateman’s Bay, and John had a chuckle about Inverell’s event setting the bar.
They’ve got to do the right things I can tell you. The pressure’s on!” John laughed.
He reflected the Festival was also personally fulfilling.
“I said to Carol when I got home, ‘I’m very, very pleased to be a Knight Templar’.”
LOCAL KNIGHTS TEMPLAR: Ted Griffiths, Joe Bliss, Wayne Jones and Tom Blackburn (Moree) were part of the ceremony.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.