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Saturday, July 31, 2021

History of the Ivalda Masonic Temple

The foundation stone for the Ivalda Masonic Temple was laid on December 8, 1923. So we are fast approaching a centenary.

Ivalda Masonic Temple, Darebin

On April 5, 1923, representatives of the Ivanhoe, Alphington and Darebin Lodges met and discussed the advisability of erecting a central temple in the district of Ivanhoe worthy of Freemasonry, and as a result, a magnificent temple was built and officially opened by Wor. Bro. Sir Herbert H. Olney, PJGD, the first Chairman of the Ivalda Masonic Temple Trust, on July 29, 1924.

Former Member Profile - Sir Herbert Horace Olney
Wor. Bro. Sir Herbert ‘Bert’ Olney

The name ‘IVALDA’ has been derived by taking the first two letters of the names of the Ivanhoe, Alphington and Darebin Lodges which, by coincidence, were consecrated in that order.

A visit to this fine addition to the many splendid temples in Victoria reveals something different from the others.

It is wonderfully fine, and a fitting house to portray the sacred mysteries of the Craft.

A ceremony in such a temple is considered enhanced. Within the sacred walls, one is immediately struck with the wide dome which is of considerable beauty, moulded in pale blue and illuminated with invisible globes to depict the Heavens and universality of Freemasonry.

The blackwood canopy. Open Installation of Wor. Bro. Wayne Motton.

There is an imposing Canopy for the Master, set out in beautifully figured blackwood. The same timber is used in the lovely Tracing Boards and Warrant Cases, Pedestals and Pillars.

The Ivalda Lodge Room

The Tesselated Pavement and black and white rubber is indeed delightful and is correctly placed with squares. The revolving case for the Working Tools, the handsome Secretary’s Table, Wardens’ Chairs and the carpets are furnishings of further admiration.

The Supper Room is on the ground floor and is both spacious and richly decorated. Also on the ground floor at the front of the building are a nicely furnished room for Trustees’ meetings and a Robing Room for officers of Grand Lodge. Adequate kitchen space and generous locker facilities have also been provided.

Wor. Bro. Sir Herbert H. Olney donated the beautiful Canopy and the three chairs in the East of the Lodge Room which had been set out of the one log of Australian blackwood, all the leather upholstery, and in addition, a number of other blackwood additions including the frames for the Tracing Boards and the Charters.

Lady Olney presented the Temple with its first piano.

The Senior Warden’s Chair was the gift of the Ivanhoe Lodge, the Junior Warden’s Chair was the gift of the Darebin Lodge and the revolving pedestal for the Working Tools on the dais was the gift of the Alphington Lodge.

The Organ was donated by RWor. Bro. T. Ward, PDGM, and the pipes on the Organ were the gift of Wor. Bro. G.T. Martin. Bro. J.A. Terdich donated the handsome Secretary’s Table as a memorial to his father, and with Wor. Bro. Sir Herbert Olney also provided most of the furnishings for the kitchen.

Downstairs at Ivalda Temple. A ‘Welcome home’ to Wor. Bro. H.H. Olney, and Bros. Rev. S.L. Buckley, A.J. Terdich and M. Beddgood. December 9, 1926.

The beautiful windows in the East were the gift of Wor. Bro. E.A. Knell, PSGD. The whole of the furnishings in the Trust Room were donated by the original members of the Trust. The clock in the Lodge Room was presented by lady friends of the Officers of the Ivanhoe Lodge, and the clock in the Supper Room by Wor. Bro. E.E. Smith.

The Emblems were the gift of Wor. Bro. J. Ludbrooke and the Casket was donated by Bro. Taylor.

Bro. G.F. Cussons contributed the very beautiful work in the painting and making of the Tracing Boards. VWor. Bro. J.F. Morris, PGIWkgs made a very valuable contribution in his splendid organising work which resulted in securing over £300 in cash donations from members for chairs in the Festive Board room.

The list of subsbcribers for chairs at £1 each. December 1923.

Each contributing brother, by paying £1 for a chair, had his name on a plate fixed thereto. Other Brethren who rendered outstanding assistance prior to and during the building of the Temple were: VWor. Bro. W.C. Joy, PGIWkgs, first Secretary of the Trust; Wor. Bro. M.L. Sullivan, PJGD, Assistant Secretary of the Trust; Wor. Bro. W.H.J. Bailey, the builder of the Temple, and his father, Wor. Bro. W.A.H. Bailey’ Wor. Bro. B.D. Reynolds, the honorary architect; and Wor. Bro. T. McIntosh.

Turning of the first sod. October 16, 1923.

The turning of the first sod in connection with the building of the Temple was performed by Wor. Bro. Sir H.H. Olney, PJGD, Chairman of the Trust, on October 16, 1923, and the Foundation Stone was laid on December 8, 1923.

MWor. Bro. F.T. Hickford, Pro. GM, conducted the brilliant Ceremony of laying of the Foundation Stone, and at 2.30pm the Choir opened the proceedings by singing a hymn.

M.Wor Bro. Frederick T. Hickford, Pro. Grand Master

VWor. Bro. T.F. Reed GC then offered a prayer. MWor. Bro. Hickford delivered an address appropriate to the occasion. Then the Chairman of Trustees addressed the Pro. GM and VWor. Bro. W.C. Joy, PGIWkgs, read the inscription on the Stone, which also bore the names of B.D. Reynolds as architect and Wor. Bro. W.H.J. Bailey as builder.

Wor. Bro. M.L. Sullivan, PJGD, then stepped forward and presented a trowel to the Pro GM. Wor. Bro. G.F. Pitcher presented records and treasures which the Pro GM deposited in the cavity. The Pro GM spread the cement in really workmanlike fashion, and the Choir had rendered another hymn, MWor. Bro. Hickford addressed the masters of the Darebin, Alphington and Ivanhoe Lodges, who, in turn, applied the Plumb Rule, Level and Square and replied in beautiful ritual as to the symbolic uses of these tools.

Wor. Bro. T. Trevena PJGD then presented the Plumb Rule, Level and Square in that order to the Pro GM and Wor. Bro. E.T. Stone PJGD then presented him with a heavy Setting Maul. Taking the Maul he struck the Stone with the measured knocks of an E.A. and invoked TGAOTU to look down with favour on upon the undertaking and bless it with abundant success.

Laying of the Foundation Stone. From left: Wor. Bro. H.H. Olney (later Sir); Wor. Bro. J.F. Morris; and Wor. Bro. W.C. Guy, Secretary.

In the course of his address, the MW Pro GM said that during the last few years the world had been pulling down memorials and destroying the ingenuity of mankind. Now the time had come to build up again and to reconstruct society. Men and women must make individual sacrifices for the benefit of the whole community and that was what Masons’ Lodges stood for.

No man was fit or suitable to be a Freemason unless he was willing to sacrifice his individual aspirations for the good and betterment of the institution. It was a fine inspiration to recognise the sacrifices made by the three Lodges combining in this co-operative way in the erection of an appropriate edifice.

Freemasonry was still an operative process and the only happiness to be obtained in this world was by working co-operatively together to bring about the finest results for their particular locality, and humanity in general.

MWor. Bro. Hickford touched on the work of the institution in raising £22.000 for the relief of Brethren who returned from the ‘Front’ and spoke of the Freemasons’ Homes. The very cornerstone of the edifice, he said, was charity in every sense of the term; charity not so much in giving money, but in recognising the alternating changes in human affairs.

Laying of the Foundation Stone, 1923. An electric train can be seen in the background. Darebin Railway Station opened on May 8, 1922.

Freemasonry endeavoured to build up reliable character which would stand firm against poverty or success and show itself sane in all circumstances. By combining righteous principles and putting into operation high moral ideals, Freemasonry fulfilled a most beautiful purpose in every well-organised society.

He trusted the Temple would be the radiating centre of all that was good in the community.

After the interesting ceremonials had been gone through, the Pro GM declared the stone to be “plumb, level and square”. He was then presented with a silver replica of the front view of the Temple mounted in blackwood as a souvenir of the occasion.

Laying of the Foundation Stone. 1923. Photo taken from the Hurstbridge railway line.

The GC delivered an address. The Ivalda Choir then sang the anthem The Chapel effectively, after which Bro. Reynolds, the architect, presented the plans and the Pro GM handed them to the builder Wor. Bro. Bailey with appropriate address.

The Order of Service for the Laying of the Foundation Stone.
December 8, 1923.

The Temple was dedicated with much solemnity on May 29, 1925, by MWor. Bro. F.T. Hickford, Pro GM, in the presence of a very large attendance of Brethren.

The ceremony was conducted in the First Degree, and after solemn prayer Wor. Bro. F.B. Sandwell, the Master of the Ivanhoe Lodge No 230, presented the VSL and Square and Compasses to the Pro GM.

Then RWor. Bro.G.W.P. Rice PDGM who acted as DGM, requested the Pro GM to dedicate the Temple in accordance with the wishes of the Brethren; this after Bro. B.D. Reynolds, the architect, had presented plans and WT’s which the Pro GM accepted.

The Sanctus was sung by the Combined Choir under the baton of Wor. Bro. John Jenkin PGStdB.

MWor. Bro. F.T. Hickford

The Invocation was faithfully recited by MWor. Bro. Hickford, after, which the Lodge Board was convened and the Sacred Vessels of the Sanctuary presented with much impressiveness under the supervision of Wor. Bro. H.D. Hirst, GDC.

Those who presented the Vessels were RWor. Brn. G.W.P. Rice PDGM, J. Adcock SGW, C.T. Martin PSGW and VWor. Bro. H.G. Swindells Asst. G. Sec., whilst Bro. A. Morrison assisted as Grand Herald, Wor. Bro. Millard SGD and VWor. Bro. V. Heath GStdB acted as Grand Deacons and Wor. Bro. R.G. Bell PSGD acted as Sword Bearer.

RWor. Bro. Tregear PJGW GC perambulated the Lodge Room three times with the C. MWor. Bro. Hickford dedicated the Temple at 8.50pm with trumpet fanfare.

The Proclamation was made in the E. by Wor. Bro. H.D. Hirst, the GDC. The Oration was delivered by RWor. Bro. C. Tregear who congratulated the Brethren on their enterprise in conjunction with the vision and generosity of the Brethren who had contributed to the building of such a unique and appropriate edifice.

He traced man’s attempt at building with boughs of trees for a shelter to the present advancement in architecture and its present-day style for each ideal. The House of Parliament should symbolise an impression of law and government, the Church with an atmosphere of worship to God, the theatre as a house of enjoyment and recreation; and the hospital, that palace of pain, to represent Brotherliness and sympathy.

Masonic Temples were to be found in all parts of the habitable Globe to speak of the ideals of the hearts of men banded together in fraternity where all difference of sect or variation of politics were unknown.

It was the House to learn the teachings of Freemasonry that might make us known outside by its expressions. This beautiful building was the idea in the brain of the architect and it was hallowed because it expressed our ritualistic ideals.

The Operative Mason had raised the edifice from thatidea in the architect’s plans and we, as speculative Masons were now to be responsible for the building of character as symbolising our labours in building a spiritual Temple.

It was impossible to do this without a plan, good foundations and the very best materials. The VSL, that Great Light in Freemasonry, was the Trestle Board of life and was the plan for the work of the speculative Mason.


Michaelangelo lay on his back for four years painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel at Rome, and when at last the painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel at Rome, and when at last the scaffold was taken away, there was revealed the glorious work that has since created intense admiration and wonder – the Angels and Seraphs in all, exquisite marvels of beauty, Masons were endeavouring to create something beautiful in life, but one day a workman called Death would come along and clear the scaffolding away and there reveal our work. The Benediction followed and then the Lodge was closed.

Over the intervening years, Freemasonry was expanded tremendously in this district, so many new lodges having been formed and Consecrated that accommodation reached saturation point. When the Temple was erected there were three Craft Lodges and one Mark lodge; but by 1953 there were 11 Craft Lodges and one Mark Lodge, two Royal Arch Chapters, one Royal Ark Mariner Lodge, one Preceptory of Knights Templar and one Princes Rose Croix Sovereign Chapter.

The property adjoining the Ivalda Masonic Temple was used for a separate rehearsal room.

In order to provide improved facilities for these Lodges and make possible the admittance of any additional Lodges which might require accommodation,, it was decided in 1953 to erect a separate Rehearsal Room and enlarge other sections of the building by extending onto vacant land acquired by the Trustees alongside the existing structure.

This work was completed in 1958 to a standard well in keeping with the appointments of the original building. For this work the architect was Wor. Bro. A.K. Lines PGStdB, a member of the Sherwood Royal Arch Chapter and the builder by RWor. Bro. Rupert F. Anderson PSGW, a member of the Eaglemont Lodge and several other Lodges meeting in the Temple.

The Trustees take pleasure in recording their appreciation of the expert craftsmanship of these Brethren. Since these additions and alterations, two new Craft Lodges have been consecrated and because of the excellent facilities available, three Craft Lodges have transferred to Ivalda from other Temples which now makes the total number of Craft Lodges 16.

Members of the Trust paid special tribute to the outstanding work of the undermentioned Brethren; Wor. Bro. Sir Herbert H. Olney PJGD, who in addition to the practical assistance already recorded occupied the office of Chairman of Trustees from 1923 to 1939 and provided himself a tower of strength and inspiration in the designing and decorating of the original building and directing the administration of the Trust’s affairs during his period of office; Wor. Bro., T.M. Dickson PSGD for his attention to the legal work connected with the building of the Temple including the preparation of the Trust Deed, followed by an unbroken period as Trustee and Hon. Solicitor to the Trust up until the time of his death on April 9, 1958.

He took over as Chairman of Trustees in 1939 and continued in that office until 1957, during which period the Trust had the advantage of his valuable guidance in connection with the legal work incidental to the acquisition and additional land and building extensions referred to elsewhere; VWor. Bro. W.C. Joy PGIWkgs, for his foresight and initiative in combining the Lodges meeting in the territory to proceed with the building of our magnificent Temple and for his unstinting and onerous work as the first Hon. Sec. of the Trust, an office he held until 1932 when ill health overcame him and he was forced to resign. He incidentally was also mainly instrumental in bringing about the Consecration of the Ivanhoe Lodge in 1914 from which ultimately spring the Alphington, Darebin and several other Lodges.

These three Brethren have since passed to the GL Above and the beauty of the Ivalda Temple as it stands today will forever be a symbol of the high esteem in which they are held and will also serve as a memorial to their enthusiasm, service and sacrifice in the interest of our great institution.

Each built his niche in the walls of our Masonic Temple and we can never forget what they did. That thought reminds us of the great responsibility which rests upon us and inspires us to dedicate ourselves to building for the future on the foundations which they so splendidly laid.

Lodges presently (1962) meeting in the Temple are: Ivanhoe, Alphington, Darebin, Eaglemont, Samaritan, Friends in Council, Rectitude, Comradeship, Ivanhoe Grammarians, Memphis, Rockbeare, Exemplar, Rotherwood, Adoration, Ideals and East Ivanhoe Craft Lodges; the Ivanhoe Mark, the Ivanhoe Royal Arch Chapter, the Sherwood Royal Arch Chapter, the Ivanhoe Royal Ark Mariner Lodge, the Ivalda Preceptory of Knights Templar and the Ivalda Princes Rose Croix Sovereign Chpater. There is also the Ivalda Lodge of Instruction and the Ivanhoe District Lodge of Instruction.

Details of the early days of Ivalda were contained in The Eaglemont Lodge No 353, The Silver Jubilee Booklet 1924-1969 (Wor. Bro. E. Murray, WM, and RWor. Bro. John F. Morris, PSGD, Secretary), and The Eaglemont Lodge: The First 60 Years (Wor. Bro. John Liesegang, PM, and Wor. Bro. Lindsay D. Brooks, PM) in 1986.

Frederick Thomas Hickford (November 5, 1862 – May 15, 1929) was an Australian politician, member of the Victorian Legislative Assembly.
Born in Brunswick, Victoria, to signwriter James Hickford and Mary Ann Dowman, he attended Melbourne University and earned his Bachelor of Arts in 1890, his Bachelor of Law in 1892 and his Master of Arts in 1897. A schoolmaster at Geelong College, he was called to the bar in 1892. On March 28, 189,4 he married Dorothea Margaretha Boehme, with whom he had two children, Julie Hickford (Dr. Harbison), one of the first women physicians in Australia, and Charles Hickford, a pioneer farmer. He was a partner in various law firms from around 1897 until his death. In 1902 he was elected to the Victorian Legislative Assembly as the member for East Bourke Boroughs, but he resigned in 1903 to run for the federal seat of Mernda, without success. From 1906 to 1918 he was a Brunswick City Councillor, serving as mayor from 1909 to 1910. He visited the United Kingdom in 1924. Hickford died at South Yarra in 1929.

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