Managing Masonic Centres, Temples and Halls.
You can read some of Damien’s published articles
Damien Hudson has been on committees advising the United Grand Lodge of Victoria and is the editor of “Devotion News” and often writes and solicits articles on Masonic Centers
If you have found this page, you are most likely a Freemason looking to preserve and improve your Masonic Centre.
Well done! I share a passion for preserving our Masonic Footprint established by our buildings.
Opening Halls might be your Centre's single best chance of survival and success.
Opening Halls was founded by myself, WBro Damien Hudson, Past Master of Lodge Devotion 723 UGLV, Australia
Devotion meets at the Collingwood Masonic Centre in Abbotsford Melbourne. A great building, but like many other centres it was run down and in need of maintenance and improvement that it could not afford.
Indeed, it was worse than that, we calculated the Centre was heading towards insolvency and an inevitable sale would follow.
I became the voluntary manager of the Centre and we were able to generate just enough income to keep it afloat, but it became evident to generate the income truly needed to keep the centre going, we needed more income. We looked at a lot of models to achieve that but income from external hirers looked to be the best source of funds, and to engage with those hirers, I needed to devote more time to that project. The only way to do that was to see me paid for that time so I founded Opening Halls and the Collingwood Masonic Centre became my first client.
Grand Lodge did assist us. It as a pleasant surprise when they offered us a loan for improvements. Our commitment to the Centre was, and is, so high, we had been in discussions with several banks concerning business loans, but the seeding capital from GL to the Collingwood Masonic Centre allowed us to paint the main hall, repair the roof, and carry out other essential work.
Nonetheless, Grand Lodge will not normally save a Masonic Centre under threat and it didn't save Gipps St but only helped it. The key to saving a centre is making it a financially viable entity with at least one lodge meeting in the building. Yes, just one is enough. There are examples here in Victoria of that – but also throughout the world.
About 18 months on, and after Opening Halls was established in November 2011, we have a healthy income from external hirers, improved some other external income sources and now have a capital improvement fund of about $20,000, plus working capital and some small investments. Capital works on the Centre are far from complete and will take many years, but now we have a income to fund those works.
Using Gipps St as an example, it is a tragedy when our Masonic buildings are sold. Simply while we could not afford to replace them, it is easy to hold them. Having the will to preserve them for future generations is the first and most important step, and solutions soon follow. The Brethren of today act as custodians of the fruitful efforts of our past Brothers and I believe we have a responsibility to hand our buildings onto future generations of Freemasons. For Collingwood, the solution to see that happen was a combination of a new leadership team and outlook within the Committee of Management – but the critical ingredient was Opening Halls.
Contact me via Damien@openinghalls.com.au or 0407 805 616 to discuss how Opening Halls might help you.
Even if you are not looking for a Hall Manager but simply want some general advice on how we achieved success at Collingwood, I invite you to contact me.
Warm Fraternal Regards
WBro Damien Hudson, PM
The Brethren of today act as custodians of the fruitful efforts of our past Brothers and I believe we have a responsibility to hand our buildings onto future generations of Freemasons.