MELBOURNE, Australia "It's no surprise that we are commencing a temple here, at this time," Elder P. Bruce Mitchell told the 350 members and friends at the groundbreaking service for the Melbourne Australia Temple March 20.
Speaking in the Melbourne Australia Maroondah Stake center, Elder Mitchell, an Area Authority Seventy, stated that the faithfulness of the Saints in attending the Sydney Australia Temple every weekend during the past 15 years had not gone unnoticed by the Lord. The trip to Sydney required a 12-hour bus journey each way.
The Melbourne temple, announced late last year, will be built on property adjacent to the Maroondah stake center, with the temple district encompassing the states of Victoria, Tasmania and Southern New South Wales.
In his remarks, Elder Mitchell, second counselor in the Australia/New Zealand Area presidency, quoted Elder John A. Widstoe of the Quorum of the Twelve: " 'When we go through the temple for other people we taste the sweet joy of saviorhood and our stature becomes more like the Savior Jesus Christ who died to save us all.' "
Elder Mitchell then thanked the various groups, including neighbors, architects and planners for facilitating the smooth passage of planning approvals and paid tribute to those who over many years had pioneered, through sacrifice and service, the coming of this day.
He asked that members in their prayers during the next 12 months pray daily that all would go well in the building of the temple and that there would be no mishaps or undue delays.
Other speakers included Pres. Malcolm Mullis of the Melbourne Australia Heidelberg Stake, Pres. Jon Galanos of the Melbourne Australia Maroondah Stake and Sister Christine Mathieson, Melbourne Australia Melbourne West Stake Relief Society president.
After the service in the stake center, the gathering moved to the construction site where Elder Mitchell conducted the ceremonial turning of the first shovel of soil. Assisting him were current and former stake and district leaders. Then others attending the groundbreaking, including many families, were invited to take a turn with the shovel.