25 November 2021

Historic Crookwell Masonic Hall goes under the hammer

| Clare McCabe
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Crookwell Masonic Hall

Crookwell Masonic Hall is up for auction on Friday, 3 December. Photo: Supplied.

The historic Crookwell Masonic Hall is up for sale.

When the Art Deco hall was built in 1885, Crookwell was a burgeoning regional town with Goulburn Street being developed.

By then, town planning was well progressed with the Commercial Hotel – now the Horse and Hound – having been built in 1874, the Bank of NSW built in 1875, the Court House and Police Station built in 1878, and a tannery, cordial factory, flour mill, five stores, two chemists, saddler, butcher and blacksmiths also established.

Crookwell Primary School had also been built in 1874, as was Crookwell Hotel in 1884.

There was a passenger coach to Goulburn, however it took a day to travel each way. In 1885, it was still 16 years before rail would come to Crookwell.

In 1903, the inaugural committee of the Masonic lodge was formed with Francis Brew as treasurer. Francis lived in Crookwell for 35 years and was a major contributor to Freemasonry in the area.

A search of trove reveals newspaper articles recording the installation of the lodge officers and a few soirees, but not much more.

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When the brotherhood disbanded, memorabilia and photographs were passed over to Goulburn Masonic Centre.

In the 1960s, Crookwell Masonic Hall was used by the school for exams, dance practice and special occasions. Others recall playing indoor sport inside the hall.

The building, the one that still stands, was completed in 1927. It is 562 square metres and situated at Denison Street, across the road from Crookwell Public School.

The extraordinarily large open-plan spaces could be repurposed for a restaurant, accommodation or a function centre, or as a conversion into a family home or residential apartments.

The stately brick building features large upstairs and downstairs rooms, original floorboards, high ceilings with exposed beams and rear access.

When it was purchased by photographer Rachael Cramp with her husband, Mick, they had planned to repurpose the building as their family home.

“I love how unique it is and what an amazing blank canvas it is to be able to incorporate all that old-school craftsmanship with modern technology to convert it into something extraordinary,” says Rachael.

People walking down stairs at Crookwell Masonic Hall

The interior of the old Crookwell Masonic Hall has stood the test of time. Photo: Supplied.

“Everything about the hall’s size and presence screamed at me. My grandfather was also the grand lodgeman in Lithgow so I really felt a connection.

“We have made the decision that although this is a perfect building and project for our family, the timing is just all wrong and we would much rather see someone convert the hall into something usable.

“We are a family of eight and nothing ever is simple and plans change.”

Rachael says she can see endless possibilities of the revival of the hall, which has stood empty for around 30 years.

The building is currently listed with Justin Gay, principal at Ray White Goulburn.

“It’s been locked up for almost 30 years and used as storage,” he says. “The building has stood the test of time and is in a remarkable, somewhat preserved, condition.

“I can’t wait to see the next chapter for this unique building.”

The Crookwell Masonic Hall auction will be held onsite at 44 Denison Street in Crookwell on Friday, 3 December, at 11 am.

For more information, visit Ray White Goulburn.

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