The Beenleigh Masonic Centre is earmarked for resumption to make way for rail upgrades after a long history of being displaced.

Masonic members received an intention to resume letter from the Department of Transport and Main Roads, stating the George Street property would be bought by the state government for the Faster Rail project.

This will be the fourth time in 147 years the Beenleigh lodge has had to move and the second time it’s due to rail development.

“Our first block of land was right behind the Imperial Hotel, but it was resumed to make way for the train station and rail line,” Southern Queensland Lodge member Paul Kranen said.

According to Veronica Dawson from the Beenleigh Historical Village and Museum, who is investigating the lodge’s history ahead of its 150 anniversary, the lodge’s first property was resumed before they could even build on it.

It was on a street that doesn’t exist anymore: Courthouse Lane.

“The lodge’s original block of land that they purchased in 1879 was resumed in 1882 for the very first railway line and station for Beenleigh,” Ms Dawson said.

“Fortunately, the lodge hadn’t yet built on that block, as they only started in 1878, and were still madly saving money to do so.”

But the lodge’s bad luck didn’t end there.

They purchased a second block around the corner on James Street but didn’t stay for long.

“Their second block, located in James Street between the school and the show grounds and which they did build on, was eventually resumed by the government to extend the Beenleigh school,” Ms Dawson said.

“They then purchased another block… and built on that.”

In 2001 just three days after 9/11, Mr Kranen said, the Beenleigh lodge’s third home was burned down.

“It’s all weird stories – Beenleigh is a freaky place,” he said.

Now the Southern Queensland Lodge is again searching for a new home.

“It’s easy to lose something, but it’s hard to rebuild it,” Mr Kranen said.

“I suppose things have got to develop and change.”

Mr Kranen said their current property on George Street was expected to be resumed in the second half of next year.

“One would hope we get a smooth transition,” he said.

“We’re quite unique in that our property has two stories of carparks – above ground and below ground – which just doesn’t exist in Beenleigh.

“So, when our building goes, we want TMR to know its value.”

Mr Kranen said the lodge wasn’t “chasing money” but didn’t want to be “left in the lurch”.

He wanted the government to know the lodge’s current and historical commitment to the community.

“Our Lodge is called ‘Southern Queensland’ because Beenleigh as a town did not exist at the time it was created,” he said.

“We’ve been here for over 100 years quietly plugging away, donating to charities and helping the community.”

Like Mr Kranen, Ms Dawson said she felt bad for the lodge.

“They haven’t had much luck,” she said.

 

 

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