In my travels yesterday I noted the Masonic Temple at 88 Smith Street, Wollongong.
Obviously derelict, so I investigated. Yes, there is a new Masonic Temple in Gwynneville.
This building was Heritage Listed, but does not appear to be now. When it was listed it was described thus: “Victorian Free Classical style. Inscription reads 1887. Single storey. Corrugated cladding to gable roof. Painted cement rendered brick walling to façade. Side and rear is face brick. The item has group, architectural, townscape and aesthetic value. The item has cultural and social value. The item has representative value.”
There is an approved development application (PDF file).
DA-2002/1374/B-Lot 13 DP 613775 No. 88 Smith Street, Wollongong. Renovation of existing masonic temple comprising of 3 X 1 bedroom loft terraces with parking for 4 cars and the construction of 24 X 2 bedroom units over 6 levels with basement parking for 30 cars
No sign of action yet.
Freemasonry was a very significant part of New South Wales history, but today it is in decline. Vacant temples appear on a number of Real Estate listings. One even achieved some notoriety a few years back.
SBS, despite criticism that it has become bland since adopting advertising during programs, does continue to put out highly significant programs. This coming week there are two of interest.
1. Temple of Dreams (Tuesday 8.30) — “Fadi Rahman runs the self-funded ICRA Youth Centre, operating out of a converted Masonic Temple in the heart of Sydney’s Muslim community. When the Cronulla riots take place in December 2005, Fadi realises the need to accelerate and increase the programmes for Muslim youth made possible by ICRA. In the meantime, the local council has ruled that the location of the Youth Centre contravenes zoning regulations. The film follows Fadi and his team of dedicated volunteers for over 18 months. A couple of ambitious youth projects are successfully realised, while in the background the fight to retain the Centre’s premises goes on.”
— 2007 post
See Whatever happened to… the Freemasons and W Bro Richard Num on Freemasonry in Australia.
The Woolpack Hotel in Parramatta was originally (1798!) The Freemason’s Arms. And in Wollongong in the past: Freemasons Arms/Hotel, Crown and Keira Streets, Wollongong, 1878-1934. Formerly Caledonian Hotel. And: Freemasons Hall/Hotel, Market Square, Wollongong, 1856-1864.
Nice bit of local history (PDF linked to title page above) courtesy of Wollongong University.