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Our story

Founded by the Freemasons of Queensland, Hand Heart Pocket has a proud history of  benevolence and community service dating back more than a century. Here is a brief overview of how we have evolved into the philanthropic foundation that we are today.

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A proud history dating back more than a century

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1907- 1946

The founding of The Board of Benevolence and of Aged Masons Widows and Orphans’ Fund

Our journey started in 1907 when the Freemason’s Grand Lodge
of Queensland founded the Widows & Orphans & Aged Masons Institution.

In 1909, a committee under the Freemasons’ District Grand Lodge of Queensland established a fund called Freemasons Homes. This fund was set up to establish homes for aged Masons at a time when care homes for the elderly were rare.

In 1913, 17 acres of land was purchased at Sandgate in Brisbane and in 1925, the first facility was built, Lewis Cottage, which was the start of what later became known as Masonic Care Queensland.

The Board of Benevolence was also formed in 1913, and then in 1946, all Freemason Benevolence activities in Queensland amalgamated to form The Board of Benevolence and of Aged Masons Widows and Orphans’ Fund.

1925 – 2016

Masonic Care Queensland – a legacy built on caring

Over 91 years from 1925, Freemasons established residential aged care and retirement living facilities across Queensland, all of which later became part of The Board of Benevolence and of Aged Masons Widows and Orphans’ Fund trading as Masonic Care Queensland. These facilities were in eleven locations including Atherton, Cairns, Townsville, Gracemere, Tin Can Bay, Kingaroy, Sandgate (Brisbane), Crows Nest, Texas, Inglewood and Arundel (Gold Coast). You can read more about our legacy built on caring here.

Masonic Care Queensland was sold in 2016, so the organisation could focus on greater charity, benevolence and philanthropy trading as Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland.

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2014 - Now

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland – creating philanthropic impact

Hand Heart Pocket the Charity of Freemasons Queensland was launched as a new brand and trading name for the charity and benevolent activities of The Board of Benevolence and of Aged Masons, Widows and Orphans’ Fund in 2014. The brand and trading name are based on symbols that Freemasons have used for centuries – hand, heart and pocket to pledge practical help, genuine empathy and financial generosity to those who need it most.

When the organisation sold Masonic Care Queensland in 2016, a large philanthropic fund of $180 million was established from the sale proceeds. This philanthropic fund allowed the benevolent work of Freemasons across Queensland and in Papua New Guinea to be magnified at both a local and state-wide level.

By June 2021, Hand Heart Pocket, with the assistance of Freemason Lodges, had provided almost $19 million in philanthropic and in-kind support to worthy causes over five years.

In 2019, Hand Heart Pocket was recognised for its longstanding history of philanthropy and was presented the inaugural QCF Board of Governors’ Award for Outstanding Achievement at the 2019 Philanthropists of the Year Awards.

Hand Heart Pocket further refined its philanthropic approach in late 2019 to focus on helping to improve outcomes for youth at risk. The organisation continues to back its Members to engage with their local communities and support the cause they care about most.  Hand Heart Pocket also helps local communities get back on their feet in times of disaster and hardship.

You can find out more about our strategic approach through our whiteboard video and our Theory of Change.

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Want to make an enquiry?

Get in touch with our team and we will get back to you as soon as possible!

News & Publications

News23 01 18 Frrr

Disaster resilience funding for regional and remote communities

We partner with the Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) to support regional and remote communities in Queensland to plan their response to future disasters and put in place mitigations that will reduce the impact if disaster strikes. We are one of over 40 funders supporting the Strengthening Rural Communities grants program administered by […]
News23 01 17 Osb Alan Sims

Decades of service to the community recognised with prestigious honour

Cairns Freemason Alan Sims says he was gob smacked when he found out that he was one of four Freemasons in Queensland to be awarded the prestigious Order of Service to Benevolence (OSB) jewel in the last year. Presented by the immediate past Grand Master Paul Holland, Alan says he never expected the recognition. “I […]
News23 01 12 Qmtc Pyjama Foundation

Pyjama Angels play special role in the lives of children in foster care

Pyjama Angel volunteers play a very special role in the lives of children in foster care and can make an enormous difference through their presence. From teaching them life skills, to helping with homework and reading books, the Pyjama Angel forms a special bond with each child, helping them build a brighter future, despite a […]
News22 12 22 Guide Dogs Barron Barnett Lodge

Puppies Barron and Barnett to be part of the next generation of Guide Dogs

For a person with low or no vision, getting out and about in the community can take a lot of planning, if they use a cane. The freedom that comes with having a Guide Dog is lifechanging, knowing they’ll be safely guided and able to be more spontaneous. To breed, raise and train a guide […]
News22 12 21 Legacy Sunshine Coast

Freemasons donation for families of veterans

Legacy has thanked Maroochydore Freemasons Lodge for donating $1,000 to support families. The service supports 893 widows and widowers and 21 young people locally, whose loved ones have been injured or have given their lives for this country. Maroochydore Freemasons Lodge representative Mike Aldrich said it was important for the Lodge to make sure the […]

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