RETIRED Police Superintendent Geoff Newby might be wearing different robes these days, but he is still taking leadership to heart.
The recently-installed Worshipful Master (president) of the Gippsland Lodge of the Freemasons wants to continue to bring Freemasonry "to the people" and present the masonic lodge to the next generation.
And he believes his former leadership roles in the force, mixed with his years in volunteering and mentoring roles, will help him in his endeavours to grow the Freemasons' Sale chapter.
"Freemasonry used to be quite closed, but is more and more open and accessible these days, and I'd like to see our membership keep growing as more people see what we do," he said.
"We're getting younger people interested all the time, and I think more people see that service to the community and camaraderie and friendship is what Freemasons is all about."
Geoff is a familiar face to many in the community through his time as Divisional Commander of East Gippsland and Wellington local government areas, and his current role as compliance officer for Wellington Shire Council.
Despite leaving the force just a few years ago, Geoff's commitment to leadership and community have continued to determine his path forward.
After retiring, he took on the challenging role of president of the Sale RSL and Community Club for two years before his more recent instalment as Worshipful Master of the Sale-based Gippsland Lodge.
He is also the membership and education officer for the Freemason district, which covers from Morwell through to Orbost, and Omeo to Walhalla, and he has been selected in the 2019-20 Grand Lodge Ceremonial Team as the Assistant Grand Pursuivant in charge of secretariat work and logistics management for the Gippsland component of the ceremonial team.
Though it might seem to be a change from his former life, Geoff says the day-to-day tasks of being in a fraternity such as the Freemasons still centre on being a good role model, helping people and putting back into the community.
Highlights of his distinguished career include being awarded the Australia Police Medal in 2012 for his leadership in changing the culture in east Gippsland, being involved in the establishment of the Long Tan Cross and memorial Garden at the Sale RSL, and enhancing membership within the Freemasons at Sale, encouraging five new members in the past year.
"I love fostering good people and encouraging an environment where people can grow, make change and develop," he said.
"With Freemasonry, I find it really satisfying when we can support the community, such as we did last year in fundraising for the Sale 545 Primary School, where, in conjunction with the Freemasons Foundation, we managed to raise $18,500 for furniture for the grade five and six students.
"This year our fundraising efforts are aimed at the Sale and District Specialist School to purchase a bus for their students.
"It is terrific being able to put something back into the community and raise awareness of Freemasonry at the same time."