Cessnock Masonic Lodge up until recently looked “like a wedding cake” according to mason Damien Southam.
But now the 109-year-old building has undergone an astounding refurbishment, including a fresh colour scheme to bring it back to life.
Damien Southam, who is the masonic lodge’s Worshipful Master, said it was the first work done to the building since the 1960’s.
Along with new paint, the exterior has been resealed, the roof has been replaced.
More work is planned and includes updating electrical equipment, painting the buildings lodge room and painting the southern exterior wall.
There are also longer term plans to provide wheelchair access, improve the interior of the community hall area, enhance the area surrounding the building and improve the toilet and storage areas.
The work is being done as part of a $65,000 refurbishment, paid for by the United Grand Lodge and internal funds.
Mason Bryce Gibson said the refurbishment was done to not only ensure the safety of the people who use the facility, but to draw attention to the historical building.
“It was a drab old building that hadn’t had love spent on it in many, many years,” he said.
Mr Southam agreed, saying they wanted to contribute to the ongoing upgrade of the wider Cessnock area.
“We wanted to do out part to revitalise the look and feel of Cessnock CBD,” he said.
The organisation and the building have had a rich history in the Cessnock community.
An occasional lodge was opened in 1907, which was believed to have been at the Cessnock Hotel.
The building and land in Cumberland Street were later purchased at a cost of 500 pounds.
Since then the building has survived earthquakes and the premises have been expanded several times.
There has always been a lot of intrigue around the organisation, but the group said there are many incorrect myths about freemasonary.
“It’s not unusual to hear about 'riding the goat' and other things that obviously could not be true,” secretary Bob Kitching said.
Mr Southam said he hoped the refurbishment would raise awareness about the masons, as many people either don’t know who they are or have the wrong idea.
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