Category Archives: Transit & Urban Affairs

Urban Affairs: L.Ron Lives on in Melbourne

Just a short 15-minute drive out of the city, where suburban bicycles meet tram cars, you’ll now find Melbourne’s new Scientology  Headquarters. It’s hard to miss. The church stands on a 19th century estate, bought from the Catholic Church for $7 million in 2005 and has been renovated at an estimated cost of $20 million. Inside the massive compound, sits a large chapel, a public auditorium, course rooms and a multimedia public information centre. It’s a state of the art product.

Former planning minister Justin Madden was there for the opening:  ” it’s  as Melbourne as Melbourne gets,” he said. It’s drawn criticism from Victoria’s premier Ted Baillieu when he stressed, “I, like many Australians have concerns about the role Scientology has played in the past.”  When Mayor Robert Doyle  said “In no way was this any affirmation or support for the religion or the church,” after he attended the opening and cut the ribbon, one might suspect the new property has left an imprint of mixed emotions amongst Melburnians, after its grand opening recently.

If you happen to shun its existence, here’s the bad news:  the Church of Scientology is here to stay in Melbourne.

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Urban Affairs: Sketch me a map, anytime.

Last month I was invited over to a friend’s house for dinner. He and his wife had just moved into their three-bedroom property and it had been a while since we had caught up. I was eager to see their new pad. My friend had phoned me earlier that day to give me his address and directions. I scribbled down the information on the back of a receipt and continued to listen. Going to a suburb I’ve never  been to before, I try to take in the good advice from my friend. “Take this road, turn at that corner, it’s quicker if you head in this direction,” he said. But, it’s all German to me. The directions did not sink in. He was telling me what he visualized, but I had no visuals. I had never been there before. But I nod politely at the other end of the phone  and gave him the satisfaction of letting him direct me. I knew the moment I got off the phone I would Google his address and create my own path there.

It just seemed easier that way.

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