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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 2022, Hand Heart Pocket, with the assistance of Freemason Lodges, had provided close to $24 million in philanthropic and in-kind support to worthy causes over six 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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Get in touch with our team and we will get back to you as soon as possible!

News & Publications

NewsInvestment Dialogue

New investment and community partnerships to improve outcomes for Australia’s children

Philanthropy welcomes the Budget announcements from the Australian Government in support of The Investment Dialogue for Australia’s Children: a cross-sector collaboration to improve the wellbeing of children, young people, and their families, by working with Australian communities to reduce intergenerational disadvantage. We are proud to be working in partnership on this important initiative. In addition […]
News23 04 20 Foyer Foundation Report

A solution to youth homelessness that pays for itself

Every year for the past decade more than 44,000 young Australians have received support from specialist homelessness services. For 3 in 5 young people this won’t be the first time they need crisis support as they struggle with the high cost of rent and the almost impossible task of skilling up or finding a job […]
News23 02 10 Alan Sims Hhp Story Volunteering

Volunteer like Alan and be matched by Hand Heart Pocket

This is Alan, a Member from Cairns. Alan volunteers 4-6 hours every week at the COUCH Wellness Centre, a place dedicated to supporting people living with cancer in the Far North. Alan does everything from planting and tending to the garden beds, as well as checking the sprinklers and gurni-ing the concrete footpaths. “When it’s […]
News23 03 30 Micah Projects Case Study

Being supported to be your best

Most small business owners will remember the thrill and excitement of making their first sale. That feeling of accomplishment you get when other people love your product just as much as you do and are willing to be a paying customer. It’s a great feeling. Setting up and running a small business is no mean […]
NewsDoug Sailability 2

Volunteer like Doug and be matched by Hand Heart Pocket

This is Doug, a Member from the Sunshine Coast. Doug volunteers at Sailability, an organisation that supports people with disabilities to experience freedom on the water through sailing. Doug volunteers about six hours a month and says seeing the joy that sailing brings to the participants make it so worthwhile for him. He is proud […]
News23 03 16 Latest News Disaster Relief

Our disaster relief donation for flood-affected North-West Queenslanders and ways you can give too

On behalf of the Freemasons of Queensland, Hand Heart Pocket is donating $15,000 to GIVIT, our disaster relief partner, to support people impacted by floods in North-West Queensland. Over the past week we have been working closely with GIVIT to understand the level of need and how our support can best help those affected across […]

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