History – The NSW Masonic Club, a Yardstick for 1920s Architecture

The premises of the New South Wales Masonic Club began construction in 1926 in the Commercial Palazzo style and it was completed in September 1927.

Holding a small but significant piece of Sydney’s history, the building was the first reinforced concrete construction seen in Sydney and became the yardstick for all of the other buildings built in Sydney in the 1920s. At the time of construction it was also the tallest building in Sydney, standing 12 floors.

A stunning example of 1920s Art Deco architecture, the building was heritage listed in 1980 and enjoys a close working association with the Historic Houses Trust. It has been involved in their annual Sydney Open Architectural Day for many years with a great showing of interest from the general public.

A committed program of restoration and refurbishment was undertaken in the 1990’s and is still ongoing to this day. Of these notable works the 2004 official opening of the fully refurbished Boardroom, by Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Governor of New South Wales, was a highlight.

Original features included a library, ballroom, billiard and card rooms, the main bar, lodgings and the magnificent Grand Dining Room, now one of the last of its kind in Sydney. In the 1990s the dining room was restored, at a cost of $350,000, to recapture the charm and elegance of its original splendour. Amazingly, metal plates installed during the war, had to be removed from concealed windows.

The ornate gold leaf decorations adorning the walls of the Dining Room, original plastering kept intact and the original Steinway grand piano from 1927, make dining here a pleasure – a memorable indulgence in true opulence and elegance.

Still today, the traditions of the past century are significant and great pride is taken in the preservation of standards set so many years ago.

Whither our Club? - The full history

Original photos from the 1920s.