Grand Lodge of Freemasons Adelaide Masonic Centre

Grand Lodge of Freemasons Adelaide Masonic Centre

Freemasonry was one of the earliest associations of South Australia and several of its members played crucial roles in the state’s history.

The South Australian Grand Lodge, formed before the colony was settled, was the first to be established in Australia. The South Australian Lodge of Friendship was consecrated in London on October 22, 1834. George Strickland Kingston, the colonisation commission’s deputy surveyor, was first senior warden. At the proclamation ceremony at Glenelg, freemasons present were Kingston, Robert Gouger, John Morphett, and possibly Thomas Gilbert and Beare.

Fundraising for a masonic temple to be built on North Terrace took place in 1913-14 but it was 10 years before the plans could be executed.

In 1923, architects J. Quinton Bruce and W.H. Harral submitted a design that was unanimously accepted. However, when tenders were called, the cost was far greater than expected, so the specified cut stone and granite work was replaced by reinforced concrete. “This was a disappointment to many craftsmen to whom the aesthetic appeals, but Freemasons do not believe in overrunning the constable even for the sake of appearances.”

The imposing scale of the design was retained, however, with the front section to comprise five storeys, a basement and a rear part, with a great hall for grand lodge functions. “On the ground floor will be the administrative offices and billiard rooms and the Hall of Fame, this last rising two storeys with a balcony all round at the height of the first-floor level.”

Harral personally supervised the work, the main contract for which was let to Anderson and Company. The building was opened in May 1927. There have been few alterations since.

The building’s massive scale and form dominate its surroundings, although it is complemented by the Brookman building on the northern side of North Terrace.


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This city landmark illustrates the way compromises were reached between form and function in buildings during this transitional period. Classical orders and stylised ornament of Roman origin were deliberately used as the orders figure prominently in masonic ritual. The central Hall of Fame is notable for its propylaeum-like form. The interior reveals lofty halls and spaces and impressively executed detailing.

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Images of Grand Lodge of Freemasons Adelaide Masonic Centre

  • Grand Lodge of Freemasons, 2014
John Bruce, Bruce Harral
M S Stanley
Building materials
Architectural styles
3.12 Inter-War Period (c. 1915–c. 1940), 3.21 Functionalist & Moderne
1927 -
Architecture and design features
John Bruce, Bruce Harral, Ionic, Doric, portico
Engineering features
East End
Council Ward
Alternative Addresses
Town Acre
Planning Zone or Policy Area
Original owners
Grand Lodge of Freemasons
Original occupant
Later occupant/s
Purposes and use
Recreational, Clubs and association
AS2482 classification
12530 - Civic/Community Centre
Public Access
Opening hours only
State Heritage ID
ACC Reference No.
DPTI Heritage No.
Certificate of Title No.
CT 6062/837 F162944 A93
NTSA file exists
Heritage Status
State Heritage listed
State heritage listing
State Heritage listed
Date of State heritage listing
Local heritage listing
Date of Local heritage listing
NTSA listing
NTSA registered
Date of NTSA listing
Section 23 (4) crtiteria
Risk status
Historic Themes
4.3 Development of the Building Industry, Architecture and Construction
4.3.3 Building Materials
6.4 Forming Associations
Georhe Kingston, Robert Gouger, John Morphett
Australian Curriculum references
Year 6: Australia as a Nation


  • ACA, Annual report 1924, p. 92, BSO, drawings, file 5; Builder, 6 October 1926; Burgess, H.T., Cyclopedia of South Australia, Vol. 2, 1909, pp. 151-4; Chronicle, 10 December 1927; MLSA, Historical photographs (Town Acre 26); South Australian Freemason, 12 March
  • 1913, p. 18, 12 April 1913, p. 17, 15 September 1916, p. 5.

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