News Release

Remembering the First 20 Years of the Melbourne Australia Temple

Members and friends of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are invited to a virtual devotional meeting remembering the first 20 years since the dedication of the Melbourne Australia Temple.

The meeting is scheduled for 20 November 2020. The program will feature remarks from the first temple president and matron, Keith and Avis O'Grady, and the current temple president and matron, Chris and Cindy Donald, as well as musical numbers, and closing remarks given by Elder Kazuhiko Yamashita, a counsellor in the Pacific Area Presidency.

It will be streamed on YouTube at 4:00 pm and 7:00 pm, AEDT.


Speaking of the temple blessings of the past 20 years, Emmanuel Richards, president of the Melbourne Australia Wyndham Stake, remarked, “Tens of thousands of members [of the Church] from all over Victoria, and the world, have experienced the sweet and beautiful feelings that are found in a ‘House of the Lord’ over that time.”

The temple ground-breaking was held on 20 March 1999. Land was cleared in July and construction began that same year.

A public open house was held from 31 May to 10 June 2000 and nearly 30,000 people participated in tours of the interior of the newly completed temple.

On Friday, 16 June 2000, the temple was dedicated by Gordon B. Hinckley, then Church president. After the cornerstone ceremony prior to the dedication, Donna Young, choir director, recalled, “As President Hinckley walked into the temple, the choir sang, ‘God So Loved the World’ with tears in their eyes, marveling at the wonderful opportunity to be in the presence of a prophet of the Lord.”

President Hinckley initiated the construction of more, smaller temples for greater accessibility for the members of the Church.

Murray Lobley, who was serving as a stake president in Melbourne at the time, and later as the temple president, commented, “For 16 years we travelled the 2,000 km round trip to the Sydney Temple, and before that, many members of the Church had to sacrifice – sometimes their house, car, and other possessions so they could afford to make the journey to the [Hamilton] New Zealand Temple. We have been truly blessed to have a temple built in Melbourne.”

Chris Donald, temple president, said, “What a blessing it is to have had this temple in our midst for the past 20 years, where we have been able to be… [joined together] as families for time and all eternity.

“Now the temple has been closed to us for more than seven months due to COVID-19, I hope we have been filled with a deeper sense of appreciation for what we have in our midst, and that we will all rededicate ourselves to this great work of salvation for our families and our ancestors.”

President Richards added: “As members we have been encouraged to remain faithful and remember that although we may have been in quarantine, we have never had our faith quarantined. Having access to a temple, to those who have qualified themselves to enter, is an important component of faith-filled dedication and service, that enriches and blesses our lives.”

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