Physical description

A picture of the original Gordon Lodge lodge-room of 1886 - room currently in use by the Lodge's artist-in-residence. Below is a newspaper article from the North Melbourne Advertiser (Vic: 1873 - 1894) for Friday 22 April 1887 that describes the architecture of the building at the time of its completion. From some of the details included in the article it is obvious that the journalist who wrote the article was a Freemason.

Inscriptions & markings

THE MASONIC HALL ASCOT VALE North Melbourne Advertiser (Vic. : 1873 - 1894) Friday 22 April 1887 THE MASONIC HALL ASCOT VALE The now Masonic Hall, Ascot Vale, the foundation stone of which was laid by the Worshipful Master of the Gordon Lodge (Bro, W. F. Lamonby) in October last has just been completed, and will be formally opened: with grand Masonic ball on the 13th prox. The hall stands on a fine block of land having a frontage of 50ft to the Maribyrnong road by a depth of 130 ft., and is built of brick and cement on a most substantial foundation of bluestone. The Tuscan style of architecture has been adopted with the most successful result, and the front design which is especially handsome, includes four massive pilasters with frieze architrave and enriched cornice, forming the entablature of the order,- and giving a most imposing appearance. The front door, over which are the masonic emblems, is seven feet wide, and two escape doors made to open outwards in compliance with the Central Board of Health regulations are also provided, in case of emergency. In the vestibule is a very fine elliptic arch with keystone enriched with fruit, and the whole floor, 9ft. 6in. wide, is laid with Cawkwell's encaustic tyles. On the right, of tile vestibule is a commodious committee room 22ft. by 12ft 6in with side entrance for members, so that in case the main hall is engaged no inconvenience need be caused. On the left is the Secretary's room, and off this again is a staircase cellar. The vestibule is well lighted with two exceedingly pretty chandeliers, which have a very pleasing effect and give it a nice bright appearance ascending a handsome staircase leading from the vestibule the upper storey is reached, and here everything is splendidly arranged, especially 'the Lodge Room, which is a model of neatness and of comfort. The dimensions are 28ft. x 22ft 6in. with an elevation of 17ft. 6in. to the beautiful cove ceiling, which is quite a work of art. At the east end of the room on a raised dais is the master's chair with the masonic emblems, and neat forms of polished kauri are placed at the sides for members, about 150 of whom can be accommodated. The lighting and ventilation have both been well attended to and all is very complete. The main hall is 75ft. by 35 ft. with a stage 15ft. deep, leaving the auditorium 60ft. x 35ft. with a seating capacity about 600. Round the walls up to 6ft 6in. is a handsome dado in Portland cement and above it are panelled Tuscan pilasters to the entablature, architrave enriched frieze and medallion cornice forming the main cornice to the hall. Immediately inside the cornice is a sunken panel all-round the ceiling relieved with ornamental outlet ventilators. There are twelve large windows, six on each aide, and the sashes, skirting boards, and doors throughout the building are beautifully painted in imitation of grained cedar. Two enormous gas reflectors, each for 50 lights are suspended from the ceiling and besides these, four elegant hanging chandeliers for lighting up the proscenium, and back of the stage, under which is a storeroom for seats, &c, when the hall is required for a ball. The floor is made of kauri, secretly nailed, and is beautifully finished off. At the back of the stage are two lavatories and ladies and gentlemen's dressing rooms, between which are a connecting passage for a call boy. Outside is a capital asphalted yard, and the other usual conveniences on an improved plan. There is a right-of-way asphalted on each side of the building, and a large lamp is to be placed opposite the main entrance to light up the front. Everything that forethought and ability could suggest to make the hall comfortable and popular has been done, and it now only remains for the public to avail themselves of the advantages offered them by the enterprising Company. The cost of the building and furniture, including a magnificent piano, was £2,500, and the land £300. Mr J. C. M. Cowan, of Ascot Vale, is the architect, and Messrs Parker and Pater, of South Melbourne, the contractors. The plastering was done by Mr I Nicholas, of Murray Street, Moonee Ponds, who is also entitled to great praise for his splendid workmanship. Mr Cowan has been most assiduous and particular in seeing that his instructions were carried out to his satisfaction, and the result must be exceedingly gratifying to him and to the directors. The Masonic hall is only one of the many buildings erected by Mr Cowan in this district, among the others being the well known residences of Meessrs. J. Levy, Mooneo Street; W. Murphy, Eglington street; G. Groube, Maribyrnong street; C. A. Arvier, Moonee Ponds ; and F. Paul, Mount Alexander road. It may also be mentioned that Mr Cowan generously presented the plans for the now local fire brigade tower which is acknowledged to be one of the strongest and most graceful around Melbourne, The new Masonic Hall does infinite credit to the borough, and in accommodation, design, and comfort it is not surpassed by any similar building of the kind outside the city.