History of the Perth Meditation Group
The Perth Meditation Group of Self-Realization Fellowship was founded in 1959 by two devotees, Walter Dawson and Rupert (Billy) Dingley. For many years meetings were held in a building in Hay Street, opposite the Perth Mint. The accommodation consisted of a suite of three rooms on the third floor, including a small bookshop and library, and a chapel which seated about twenty people. In 1977, the Perth Meditation Group moved to Yorkshire House (fourth floor) at 200 St Georges Terrace, Perth. In 1979, the Perth Meditation Group was given notice to move again; Yorkshire House was to be demolished in 1980 (the current building, Mt. Newman House, was constructed in the same year).
After a few months meeting in a hall at the rear of the Perth Theosophical Society, our first permanent location was established in 1980. The chapel was located in a transportable building at the rear of Rupert Dingley's property at 278 McDonald Street, Yokine. At the rear of the chapel, which seated about thirty people, was a book table and a common area used for socials and meetings. Between the house and the chapel was a small garden, which was maintained lovingly by devotees. Although situated in the suburbs, the Sanctuary, as it came to be called, was a haven of peace, ideal for meditation and worship.
The founders of the Perth Meditation Group were far-sighted. Mindful of Paramahansaji’s prediction of the spread of Self-Realization Fellowship, they set up a building fund for the acquisition of a large scale premises. In 1997 (after many happy years at the Sanctuary), it became apparent that the Perth Meditation Group’s tenure on the Yokine property would not continue indefinitely, and devotees began to search actively for a new site. In 1999 the church on the corner of Barker and Lapage Streets, Belmont, was placed on the market and an offer was made by the Perth Meditation Group. After intense discussions with the vendor, and with the support of SRF International Headquarters, the sale was successfully negotiated.
The Perth Meditation Group moved into its new residence in June 1999. The centre in Belmont is owned by Self-Realization Fellowship, and is the first such property acquired by Self-Realization Fellowship in Australia. The confidence which SRF International Headquarters has expressed in the Perth Meditation Group is not only a source of inspiration and gratitude, but is also a challenge for the future. Through the grace of God and Guru, a hive of spiritual riches has been established. It is our earnest wish to share the hive and riches with fellow seekers of God.
In April of 2009, the Perth Meditation Group was privileged to host the first weekend retreat conducted by SRF Monastics in Australia. Over 85 people enjoyed this special spiritual event. 2009 also marked the 50th anniversary of the Perth Meditation Group. A celebration was held at the chapel on Saturday 14th of November to mark this momentous milestone in the group's history. Both of these events further inspire us to continue to share spiritual riches with others.