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Robert Burnaby is Born

Today in Masonic History Robert Burnaby is born in 1828.

Robert Burnaby was a British-born Canadian politician and businessman.

Burnaby was born November 30th, 1828 in Woodthorpe, Leicestershire, England. Until leaving England he worked as a civil servant in London.

In 1858, Burnaby arrived in British Columbia, Canada to find work with Colonel Richard Moody. Moody had been appointed as the Governor of the colony of British Columbia. Moody hired Burnaby as his personal secretary, the two became fast friends. Burnaby explored the area around Burnaby lake which Moody had named after him. Burnaby also helped survey for several towns in British Columbia.

In 1859, Burnaby established a commission trading post. Due to high risk and speculation the business failed in 1865. After the closing of his business he went into real estate and insurance.

In 1862, Burnaby made a claim against the "Three Greenhorn Englishmen." The men were the founders of what is known as the West End of Vancouver. Burnaby claimed part of the land belonged to him. The documents he submitted were rejected by a judge who said they were written by a liar or knave.

Burnaby moved to Victoria and quickly was elected to the Legislative Assembly. He served in the Assembly for five years.

By 1869, Burnaby's health had begun to fail so he retired from working. In 1874 he returned to England. Burnaby passed away on January 10th, 1878.

Burnaby was very active in the Masonic fraternity in British Columbia. In 1860 he helped to form Victoria Lodge No. 1085, which is the first masonic lodge in British Columbia. He was it's first Worshipful Master. In 1868, a District Grand Lodge of British Columbia was formed under the United Grand Lodge of England. Burnaby was made the District Grand Master. Tensions grew in British Columbia between the British and Scottish affiliated lodges. Scottish Lodges wanted to form an independent Grand Lodge, which Burnaby opposed. After putting up the motion for a general vote, he found there was wide spread support in both the Scottish and English lodges. In 1871, the Grand Lodge of British Columbia was formed. Burnaby turned down the position as Grand Master due to his failing health, he was elected as the first Past Grand Master.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.