A recent review I wrote on the Britannia Hotel got me thinking about other mysterious, seemingly abandoned buildings around Melbourne's west. Anyone travelling on a train between Footscray and the city would espy the lonesome looking Heavenly Queen Temple. As long as I can remember this austere looking building has appeared to be under construction, but how long can a building such as this be vacant and remain cost effective?
On my way to Footscray Market I decided to drive down Joseph Rd, possibly the quietest street in Footscray. Amusingly the signage for the temple doesn't appear until you're a good 200 metres down this ostensibly dead-end road.
At the end of Joseph Rd you come to the car park which has a gate, chain and padlock attached, but open. In another incongruity there are two signs on the gate that contradict each other "Private Property - Trespassers Prosecuted" and "Open 9:30am - 3:30pm".
Going under the theory that I could argue against prosecution before Her Majesty by virtue of the latter sign I pressed on into the car park - quite an extensive car park for a building that apparently receives no visitors (and in fact does not welcome trespassers).
The building up close is very impressive in the morning sun. With a traditional looking Chinese arch and a number of seats it would certainly be a wonderful place to meditate, reflect on life or take some touristy happy-snaps. Unfortunately in another ironic juxtaposition this edifice to Buddhist acceptance is surrounded by a chain-link fence.
See below for some rather dramatic time lapse footage.
Happily having viewed the rear end of the Heavenly Queen herself from the morning train I was able to greet her face-to-face by skirting the perimeter of the building, scattering seagulls who clearly aren't used to human company at this venue. The gold coloured statue is a beautiful work and is certainly what grabbed my attention each morning from the train as it forded the Maribyrnong.
Visiting the Temple's website you wouldn't know that it has been closed for as long as I have caught trains past it. I do notice that there are menu items for Committee 1, Committee 2 and Committee 3 - with so many committees it is small wonder nothing gets done! I guess I will just have to practice the patience of the Buddha.