Background Image

Barcaldine Masonic Temple

Supporting the community to preserve, conserve and value Queensland’s heritage


The 120-year-old Barcaldine Masonic Temple has received a well-deserved facelift thanks to more than $88,000 in Queensland Government funding.

Built in 1900 as the second temple of the Comet Lodge, the Queensland heritage-listed building is a striking local landmark. The first temple was constructed at Dingo Creek in 1878 by railway workers building Queensland’s central western railway, running west from Rockhampton.

The railway’s chief engineer Robert Ballard, and a handful of other Masons working on the railway, established the Comet Lodge No 1680 at Dingo Creek in 1876. As the railway progressed, workers carried the building westward with them, dismantling it and moving it in railway trucks to be bolted together again in the next settlement.

The first temple could therefore be Queensland’s most travelled public building, being moved six times, from Dingo Creek to Cometville, Emerald, Bogantungan, Pine Hill, and Jericho before coming to rest at Barcaldine in 1886 – 320 kilometres from the site of its original construction. The temple was then refurbished and used until the current temple, a larger and more elaborate building, was constructed (for £720) in 1900 and dedicated in 1901.

While the exterior of the Barcaldine Masonic Temple is clad plainly in corrugated iron on the back and sides, the front of the building features a rare and elaborate façade, clad with horizontal timber boards painted to mimic a classically styled masonry building.

The Comet Lodge has received more than $88,000 in Queensland Government heritage grants for internal and external conservation works


When and where

The Barcaldine Masonic Temple was one of the first group of places entered in the Queensland Heritage Register when the register was established in 1992.

The temple is located on the west side of Beech Street, Barcaldine.


Facts and figures

  • The Barcaldine Masonic Temple is a two-storey, timber framed building set on low stumps with a gambrel corrugated iron clad roof with triangular dormers on the north and south sides. The exterior is clad plainly in vertical corrugated iron on the back and sides. The most striking feature of the building is the elaborate treatment of the front, which is clad with horizontal timber boards painted to mimic ashlar masonry.
  • In 1980, the Comet Lodge engaged a firm of heritage architects to provide conservation advice for the Barcaldine Masonic Temple. 
  • During the architects’ work, an historic photo was found inside the temple that showed the original paintwork on the building’s façade. By this time the paintwork effect had almost completely faded, due to long exposure in western Queensland’s climate. A paint scraping identified the original colours, allowing plans to be prepared to reinstated the main façade’s rare and unique paintwork effect.
  • In 2017, the Comet Lodge received a $48,469 Queensland Government Community Sustainability Action Grant for Heritage Conservation to undertake conservation works to repair the protective paint coating on the façade to showcase the building’s significant architectural features.
  • An expert heritage architect inspected the building and documented the required conservation work allowing paintwork and minor timber repairs to be carried out by skilled local tradespeople during 2018. Now, with its freshly restored façade, the Barcaldine Masonic Temple retains its original charm and remains testament to the ongoing efforts of the Comet Lodge in conserving this remarkable building.
  • Building on conservation work on the building’s exterior, in 2019 the Comet Lodge received a further $40,000 Community Sustainability Action Grant, for additional conservation work on the building’s beautiful internal structures and fittings, protecting and conserving this remarkable structure inside and out.


The Barcaldine Masonc Temple's interior – the home of Comet Masonic Lodge since 1901



  • 2017 – $48,469 Community Sustainability Action Grant for Heritage Conservation for conservation works
  • 2019 - $40,000 Community Sustainability Action Grant for Heritage Conservation for internal conservation works


Reflections and learnings

The Barcaldine Masonic Temple provides a fascinating insight into the historical development of Freemasonry in Queensland, and remains the home of the Comet Masonic Lodge.

The masonic temple is important in demonstrating the rapid growth of towns along the path of the central railway and a reminder of the way in which Freemasonry was established in many western towns by the workers constructing these lines.

The temple is also a remarkable demonstration of how the building’s designers adapted a classical building style for a local environment using available materials – the painted mock stonework on the building’s front is very rare in Queensland.


Find out more

For further information on the Barcaldine Masonic Temple contact the Barcaldine Visitor Centre on 07 4651 1724, or view the building’s Queensland Heritage Register listing.

The Barcaldine Masonic Temple - painted mock stonework on the front of a galvanised iron building is rare in Queensland