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Masonic Hall - Artarmon mainstay

There has been a Masonic Temple in Artarmon, at 44 Hampden Rd since 1923. The foundation stone for the Artarmon Masonic Lodge was laid on October 21, 1922 by the NSW United Grand Lodge grand master William Thompson himself. Grand Master Thomson had long been remembered for his contributions to the Masonic movement in NSW. Foundation master AR Cooke laid the second stone.

Thompson’s address on the occasion was reported in The Sydney Morning Herald. He told those gathered the NSW UGL was gathering pace. It had at that stage grown from 30,000 members eight years ago, to 47,000 and Thompson expected numbers to reach 50,000 within a few months. The grand master officially dedicated the building on April 17, 1923 and that same evening the lodge room was dedicated and Norman Page was installed as master of the lodge by Cooke and others.

SMH reported the total cost of this building was almost £10,000. The main hall was built to seat 500 and the supper room to accommodate 250.

The Masonic Hall soon became the hub of Artarmon and surrounds’ social activities. The Artarmon flower show committee held its autumn exhibition there on March 6, 1925. In August the same year, Chatswood Tennis Club held a dance in the hall, which reportedly was “delightfully decorated with coloured electric lights and clusters of Wistaria”.

In May 1934, members of the Artarmon Auxiliary of the Royal North Shore Hospital held their annual May dance in the Masonic Hall; and two years later, in October 1936, members of the Artarmon Red Cross branch arranged a bridge party at the hall.

The next time Masonic Hall made the news was in June 1949, when Peter Russell Fitzell, 23, sustained internal and other injuries when he fell 20ft from a window to the footpath outside Artarmon Masonic Hall at a wedding reception, when he “over-balanced” while looking out the window (SMH, June 22, 1949).

On Thursday, December 13, 1951, Allan Toohey hosted a broadcast from the Masonic Hall during the Artarmon Jubilee Week when local amateur performers “broadcast to Australia”, according to contemporary newspaper reports.

Many local people have fond memories of attending events at the hall. It also served as an election booth.

But by the mid 1980s the temple was in poor shape and a replacement was required to suit the changing times and economic circumstances. On August 22, 1990, the land’s owners Artarmon Masonic Hall Company Ltd granted the ground lease to Kaye Denning & Lumere Pty Ltd for 125 years to March 3, 2114. Kaye Denning & Lumere built the new building in the early 1990s and are its owners. It will revert to the Masonic Hall on the expiry of the ground lease in 2114. The new building houses several Masonic lodges, which are still going strong, as well as several business premises.

Among those are Bella Beauty Lounge; a GP; Laing + Simmons Real Estate; and Pizzeria La Stazione on the ground floor. Offices on the other floors include international building code consultants Phillip Chun & Associates; fire and emergency response training firm First Five Minutes; and Leukemia Foundation of Australia.

by Eva Wiland, Gazette editor

Courtesy of Gazette August 2012
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Masonic Hall
Masonic Hall Building in 1987 ... ready for a change





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