Happy 90th Birthday to the Hall.

Post date: Nov 10, 2019 9:49:43 AM

It has been about a decade since the Hall has been more actively offered to the public for use and in that time our volunteers have worked hard to maintain and improve it.

Our mission is to slowly renovate our treasured "Ancestral Home" and see it used for its original purpose - as a meeting place for the Freemasons who built it, and for the surrounding community. And although our Centenary, our 100th year, approaches, we look to a future of seeing the hall reach 200 years of age as a local treasure. We have become the last of the Masonic Halls in inner city Melbourne still standing and in operation (gone are 25 Collins St, the Club on Flinders St, North Melbourne, Clifton Hill, Fitzroy, Richmond etc with Dallas Brooks Hall demolished and replaced by Freemasons Melbourne which opened yesterday on the same site). While Freemasons still meet in the CBD, they do that in Clubs and facilities owned by others, and often in much newer facilities; comfortable yes, but lacking the history and legacy of the Collingwood Masonic Centre; and its community asset in the space offered for use by the public which is known as Abbostford Hall.

Weddings, funerals, sales, workshops, community meetings and events have been held at the Hall since it first opened in 1929, and today, all these activities continue, but some have basically disappeared, like the Union meetings once held there, and the local dances where so many of our grandparents first met. However the community need for the hall is perhaps higher than ever, and Freemasonry still attracts special men and our lodges continue and offer a valuable historic framework for, while many other Institutions have gone and evolved into organisations like Men's Sheds - Freemasonry still offers a wide community for men working full time, bringing up families and indeed the retired and also the old; all together in Brotherhood unbound by political or religious or social boundaries.

Sixteen years ago I became a Freemason, walking into the hall not yet knowing that that meant, but it has been one of my best decisions and offered me a principled way of life and friendship with some of the best men (and women) I have ever met. I joined a group of Benevolent and Caring Gentlemen, who have quietly supported each other and local groups like Abbotsford Primary, Spensley St Primary, Collingwood College and the Neighbourhood House not only with tens of thousands of dollars, but also goodwill and well wishes. Statewide, few know we support the community with millions of dollars each year, but also donate our time in and outside Freemasonry to try to make others lives, and the world, a better place. I realized how important that was, and stuck out the first few years when I was trying to fathom what Freemasonry was really about, and together with so many Brothers, worked on all sorts of projects, but one of the closest to my heart is the Hall. Too many do not value the work, effort and expense of our predecessors and are too quick to put up a FOR SALE sign, take the money, and run to something easier for their own comfort without thinking of the legacy they inherited or will leave.

An important part of that legacy began when the Foundation Stone of the “United Collingwood Masonic Temple” was laid on 27 Oct 1928 and the trowel used to lay the stone is pictured to the left.

The first Lodge Meeting held in the building was on 26 Nov 1929 so as we mark our 90th Year, we should start to keep in mind that starts the approach to the Centenary of the Building’s operation. UGLV is on its third (Collins St 1887, Dallas Brooks Hall 1969 – 2014; – lasted 45 years, and now 288 Victoria Pde same site – Dedicated on 9 Nov 2019). Our Brick building is about to reach double the age of Dallas Brooks Hall did. May it long continue from this generation to the next.

Our goal for the Centre remains the same – to see it hit 200 years of age with Lodges operating in it, but perhaps we might start thinking of how we will mark our Centenary in 10 years?

Thanks to all who have supported us, Freemasons, their wives and partners and family and to the public who have supported is via hire.

We will work hard into the future to make sure generations in the future enjoy the same.

Happy 90th Birthday to the Hall.

For a history of the hall, see this web site.