BRISBANE, Australia — Almost three years after the announcement of the Brisbane Australia Temple by the First Presidency, the site for Australia's fifth temple was dedicated at a groundbreaking service on May 26, presided over by Elder Kenneth Johnson, president of the Australia/New Zealand Area of the Church.
More than 400 invited guests witnessed the groundbreaking ceremony, at which Church and community leaders turned the soil with gold-painted shovels following a brief outdoor service.
Elder Johnson told the gathering that the Lord was "hastening His work in our time."
"During the year 2000, 34 temples were dedicated worldwide. At the end of the year 2000, there were 102 operating temples in 31 countries. Since the beginning of 1998, 55 temples have been dedicated," Elder Johnson said. "Now 65 percent of Church members live within 100 miles of a temple and 85 percent live within 200 miles. That is a wonderful miracle.
"The temple links heaven and earth together. As you walk the halls of the temple you will feel of the Savior's love; you will sense His Spirit. You will know better than you have ever known that He lives."
In the dedicatory prayer, Elder Johnson gave thanks for the days to come, "when the gospel truth would light up this area as never before" because of the construction of the temple.
The site for the Brisbane Australia Temple is on a site known as Kangaroo Point, adjacent to a major freeway and on cliffs overlooking the Brisbane River, the Botanic Gardens and the city center. It will take the place of the 43-year-old stake center that is being demolished.
The Brisbane temple was the first of the small temples to be announced for Australia in July, 1998. Planning approval for the temple and adjacent two-ward meetinghouse finally was obtained in February.
There are 23,300 members in the six stakes and four mission districts in the temple district of Queensland and northern New South Wales, which has a total population of more than 3.5 million.
Members in Queensland currently travel to the Sydney Australia Temple, which is 600 miles from Brisbane and 1,600 miles from the Cairns District in north Queensland.