Freemasons Hall

As with the nearby Adelaide Club, this imposing building was constructed as a meeting place for men. Specifically, it was for men who belonged to the Freemasons.

Freemasonry is an organisation that evolved from stonemasons’ guilds in Great Britain in the 17th Century. Eventually membership expanded to include non-masons. Lodges were set up around the world, including in Australia.

Freemasonry was one of the earliest associations in South Australia. In fact, the South Australian Grand Lodge was formed in London in 1834, two years before the colony was settled. Among the first Freemasons were many important South Australians, including George Strickland Kingston, Robert Gouger and John Morphett

At first the Freemasons met in various buildings around the city. In 1869 they built permanent offices and a Masonic hall on Flinders Street. However, by 1913 the organisation had outgrown this space and began plans for a new Masonic hall. In 1921, the Grand Secretary, Charles Glover (later Adelaide’s first lord mayor) toured overseas to find architectural inspiration for the new building.

A year later land was purchased on North Terrace. Architects John Quinton Bruce and William H. Harral (a Freemason) designed a hall. The original design was for the structure to be made of cut stone and granite. However, rising costs meant much of it was reinforced concrete.

The new hall, completed in 1927, was still impressive. The six levels, including the basement, housed administrative offices, reading and billiard rooms, a ballroom, banquet room, lodgerooms, and 24 rooms to accommodate visiting members. The Great Hall, at the rear of the building, was used for Grand Lodge functions and for public events.

Today this is still the home of South Australia’s Freemasons. It also hosts public events and is a lecture space for the University of Adelaide. There are weekly tours of the building on Thursdays at 2pm.


Freemasons Hall, North Terrace, 2014

Freemasons Hall, North Terrace, 2014

Above the building's North Terrace entrance, you can see what was the Lodge motto until the 1950s. Written in Latin, it reads, 'Hear, see, be silent, if you would live in peace'. | Creator: Photograph by Jessica Cronin View File Details Page

Freemasonry in South Australia, 1838

Freemasonry in South Australia, 1838

Many British organisations and traditions were brought to South Australia by the first colonists. The founding of the South Australian Freemasons Lodge in the 1830s was a celebrated event for the new colony. As this newspaper article notes, the establishment of groups like the Freemasons appeared to demonstrate the confidence in the colony and in its long and promising future. | Source: ‘South Australia’, Colonial Times, 30 October 1838, p.6, View File Details Page

New Masonic Temple, The Register

New Masonic Temple, The Register

The 1920s was a period of significant growth in membership for Freemasonry both in Australia and around the world. As this article suggests, space in the former Freemasons premises on Flinders Street had become an issue for the growing organisation. | Source: 'New Masonic Temple', The Register, 14 April 1925, p.9, View File Details Page

Street Address:

254-260 North Terrace, Adelaide [map]

Cite this Page:

Adelaide City Explorer Team & East End Coordination Group, “Freemasons Hall,” Adelaide City Explorer, accessed July 23, 2017,
comments powered by Disqus

Share this Story