Temples now circle Australia

Pres. Gordon B. Hinckley dedicates Brisbane edifice

BRISBANE, Australia — The Brisbane Australia Temple, the Church's fifth operating temple in Australia, became a reality June 15 when President Gordon B. Hinckley dedicated it in four sessions attended by 6,504 Church members.

Located in Brisbane, the Queensland state capital about 600 miles north of Sydney, the temple will service the more than 20,000 members who live in Queensland and the northern areas New South Wales.

It is the Church's 115th operating temple, and the 80th dedicated by President Hinckley. Before the temple was erected, the site was the location of the Brisbane Australia Stake center, which was built in 1956 and was one of the oldest Church meetinghouses in Australia.

The four dedicatory sessions were held in the temple and via closed-circuit satellite transmissions to the Brisbane Australia North Stake Center at Burpengarry and at the Eight Mile Plains Stake Center at Eight Mile Plains.

Speaking in a break between the sessions, Elder L. Tom Perry of the Quorum of the Twelve, who participated in the dedication, said the events in Brisbane were a reflection of the strength of the Church in Queensland.

"We've found here a very devoted people, a wonderful people," he said. "From the time we arrived last night . . . large groups gathered. They're so anxious to see the prophet, having an opportunity of being with him and are so grateful for the opportunity of having a temple."

For Elder Perry the temple "is unique and beautiful . . . just a wonderful touch of beauty and yet simplicity that will make it such a warm place to come. . . . When you go out and look at the grounds [you can see] the masterful work that's been done on selecting this location and making it so beautiful. It will be one of the great spots in all of Brisbane."

The temple is located atop the cliffs at Kangaroo Point, a suburb of Brisbane that overlooks the picturesque Brisbane River and the city skyscrapers, and boasts captivating views of Southbank and the Captain Cook Bridge. Alongside the temple is a new two-ward meetinghouse.

While the Brisbane temple conforms to the standard size and design of many of the newer temples, it is unique in many respects. Surrounding the site are stunning, stepped gardens with palm trees, water fountains and grassed areas.

Although the statue of the angel Moroni faces east away from the city, the temple and chapel complex will dominate the Brisbane skyline for many years to come.

A painting in the temple foyer by a Queensland artist, Ken Wenzel, shows Mt. Mitchell near the Queensland border with New South Wales. The first ordinance room features a mural on three walls painted by Utah artist, Linda Curly-Christensen. The scene shows the Glasshouse Mountains, a panoramic part of Queensland in the hinterland north of Brisbane.

Dedication of Brisbane Temple. (Submission date: 06/15/2003)
Dedication of Brisbane Temple. (Submission date: 06/15/2003) | Photo by Alan Wakeley

The temple and the chapel sit on a thick concrete slab that act as the roof of a 130-space underground car park.

In remarks following the dedication, Elder Kenneth Johnson of the Seventy and area president, said, "What a glorious day this is. [The members here] have waited a long time for this. When I first arrived at this assignment there were just two temples in this area — Sydney, Australia, and Hamilton, New Zealand. Now there are five in Australia. Who would have thought this possible? Only a prophet of God. This is the beginning of a new season of opportunity for Church members to come to the temple not only for themselves but for those on the other side who don't yet have the blessings that we have."

Patience and perseverance were essential for the Brisbane saints during the long wait for the construction of their new temple. President Hinckley announced the Brisbane temple in 1998. It was to be the first of four such announcements affecting Australia. Similar declarations were made for Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth shortly after the Brisbane announcement. However, opposition from a local community group resulted in delays to the Brisbane project.

Mural by artist Linda Curly-Christensen shows the Glasshouse Mountains.
Mural by artist Linda Curly-Christensen shows the Glasshouse Mountains. | \\\\© 2003 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

After negotiations and some minor changes to the design, the Brisbane City Council approved the temple and chapel complex and ground was broken for the new structure May 26, 2001. The old Kangaroo Point building was immediately torn down and an extensive excavation was undertaken before the construction project began in earnest the following November.

Now, with the Brisbane dedication, the last of the new Australian temples to be completed, these sacred edifices encircle Australia. The vast distances that the 106,000 Australian members had to travel across their wide, spacious land to perform the sacred temple ordinances have been substantially reduced.

Only in the United States, Canada and Mexico — countries where there are greater numbers of Church members than in Australia — are there more temples within the geographical boundaries of a nation.

Five Houses of the Lord in Australia fulfills, in a very real sense, President Hinckley's desire to see the temple ordinances made more readily available to Latter-day Saints in the far-flung corners of the globe.

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