MW BRO ROBERT ARTHUR HAMMOND, B Comm, GRAND MASTER 1969-72, Born: 9 March 1925, Sydney, New South Wales, Initiated: 13 September 1945 — Lodge Balmain No. 23 NSWC, Passed: 8 November 1945, Raised: 19 January 1946, Invested JW: 4 July 1953, Invested SW: 8 July 1954, Installed WM: 14 July 1955, Joined: 7 December 1962 — Lodge Torchbearer No. 638 NSWC, DGIW: 1960-62. AGM: 1966-68. DGM: 1968-69

Robert Arthur Hammond was born in Sydney on 9 March 1925, the son of Percy T. Hammond, a wool-scourer. He spent his early years at Rosebery and Coogee until his family moved to North Sydney in 1933. He was educated at the Sydney Church of England Grammar School (1936-43) and during his final year at school his father suddenly died. As a result he unexpectedly became the breadwinner of his family.

Percy Hammond had been a partner in a wool-scouring business on Botany Bay which his son now inherited. Determined to improve himself and the business, he studied wool-classing for two nights a week at the Sydney Technical School, completing the five-year course in four years. At the same time he spent a further three nights each week studying accountancy and in later years he gained a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of New South Wales.

He was thrust into business during World War II when the wool industry was under government control. After the war, at the age of twenty-three, he branched his firm into wool-trading and fast became a pre-erninent trader. In 1954 a decision was reached dissolve the partnership. His father’s former partner, Arthur Miatt, concentrated  his business solely on wool scouring, while the new firm of R.A. Hammond Pty Ltd prospered on wool-trading.

In 1957 Brother Hammond diversified his business interests by acquiring a 500-acre grazing property at Guyra, in the New England region. He had it managed. by a cousin, and through pasture improvements its carrying capacity was greatly increased. A further 1000 acres was later added to the holding. Meanwhile, he continued his Sydney trading. In 1962 he commenced a term as President of the Woolscourers, Carbonisers and Fellmongers Association of New South Wales. However, the 1960’s saw the wool market become  increasingly unstable and  in 1965 he decided to leave wool-trading and concentrate on farming and grazing. He then became the general manager of Agris Ltd, a company formed to buy underdeveloped properties for the purpose of pasture development and improvements. During his five-year tenure, the company developed about fourteen properties ranging from 2000 to 5000 acres each. Unfortunately, the slump of the wool industry around 1970 saw the company's fortunes plummet. Brother Hammond subsequently involved himself in a range of commercial endeavours, as a trust fund director, a property developer and as a stockbroker. He eventually sold his Guyra holdings in 1977.

In 1978 he was appointed as chairman of the Commonwealth Government Superannuation Investment Trust. Australia's largest pension fund with more than 250,000 members, it is responsible for the investment of funds held by the Commonwealth Superannuation Fund on behalf of federal public servants. He considered his appointment as 'a great challenge' and under his leadership the fund spread its investment wings into equities and property, areas which had previously been untapped.

Brother Hammond retired as trust chairman in 1984 but he continued as chairman of Grosvenor Place Pty Ltd, a company he had been associated with some years previously. This enterprise has been responsible for designing and building the largest and most technically advanced single-tower office block in Australia. This investment was one of the most significant undertaken during his term of office with the Superannuation Investment Trust. Its success encouraged the trust to initiate a similar development in Melbourne on the completion of Grosvenor Place in Sydney. Brother Hammond was appointed chairman of the company building a similar-sized project in Collins Street, Melbourne.

He has also been chairman of Property Unit Nominees Pty Ltd; the trustee of the Kern Property Trust; a director of German Creek Coal Pty Ltd; and a director of Capricorn Coal Management Pty Ltd. He is currently a director of Pacific Assets Management Ltd and Advance Asset Management Ltd.

Brother Hammond has also been most active in various community pursuits. He has spent much time running helping-hand missions for disadvantaged people, and he has been finance director and property committee chairman of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust since 1969. He was a member of the council of Sydney Church of England Grammar School from 1977 until 1981. His major pastimes include skiing (he is president of the Coolibah Ski Club at Thredbo), sailing (he is a past commodore of the Northbridge Sailing Club) and marathon running. He raced in both the 1988 Canberra and Gold Coast marathons, and it is highly probable that he is the only Past Grand Master actively involved in this sport! He has also held a pilot's licence for many years, and has owned several light planes.

The initiation of Brother Hammond as a Freemason took place in Lodge Balmain No. 23 NSWC on 13 September 1945. A Lewis, his father and both his grandfathers had been members of the Craft. He became Master of his lodge in July 1955 and in 1960 he commenced a two-year term as a District Grand Inspector of Workings (District 31). He affiliated with his old school lodge, Torchbearer No. 638 NSWC, in December 1962. In 1966 he became Assistant Grand Master and in 1968 he received appointment as Deputy Grand Master. He was elected to succeed MWBro Primrose as Grand Master in 1969. A most popular and outgoing Grand Master, he served in the position for three years. He acted as a trustee of the Grand Lodge from 1971 until 1978, and served for several years on the Grand Lodge Investment Committee and on the Masonic Temple Fund Board. He has been Grand Representative in New South Wales of the Grand Lodge of Alberta since 1966.

MWBro E.A. Primrose, PGM, said of his successor: 'Bob Hammond is a man of exceptional character. His ability as an administrator and businessman is almost legendary, as is his integrity. He is a fine family man, and he stands ever ready to come to the aid of the disadvantaged and the unfortunate. The tremendous help and advice he has given over the years to those many whose life he has touched will ever be his living testimony