A History of the New Melbourne Temple

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, July 16, 2020 : The Sri Vakrathunda Vinayagar Temple in The Basin was first conceived in 1989, when a breakaway group moved away from the Hindu Society of Victoria, frustrated at the slow progress in the development of a Ganesha temple. “We procured a church building no longer in use, close to the city,” said Shan Pillai, Secretary of the Melbourne Vinayagar Hindu Sangam (MVHS). “A pro-tem committee was founded with trustees, members and volunteers, and with donated funds, we began the process of building the temple in 1990.”

The Deity was given to them by Kanchi Shankaracharya. Shan Pillai and his wife went to India to source a Deity that they wanted blessed by the Shankaracharya. They could not find one, but paid a visit to the Shankaracharya regardless, and were pleasantly surprised when he offered them a Deity. (It would turn out to be the first of many “miracles” in the journey of the construction of this temple, miracles in which challenges that cropped up were magically sorted out – almost as if Ganesha himself, the Remover of Obstacles, was clearing the barriers for this devout group of Melbournians.) In Melbourne, in the absence of formal premises, the Deity lived in the home of devotees Mr. and Mrs. Somasundaram for eighteen months and was taken out every month for worship at a local hall where devotees gathered. “500 devotees turned up in those early days. It was a number we never expected, but it only strengthened our resolve to build a temple to our Ganesha.”

More of the temples’ history at “source” above.