From tannery dumping ground and glue factory, the Heavenly Queen rises

by Dinah Arndt, The Age, November 21, 2008

Maribyrnong, Australia -- THE remarkable transformation of a vacant Maribyrnong River site into a Buddhist temple complex has begun, with a 16-metre statue of the Heavenly Queen.

The Heavenly Queen Buddhist temple on the shores of the Maribyrnong River slowly takes shape after many years of delays. Photo: Joe Armao

Train travellers on the Sydenham and Werribee lines have a perfect view of the statue, which is just south of the railway line opposite the Newells Paddock site.

The stainless steel, gold-painted statue was designed and made in Nanjing, China.

The six-building complex has been a decade in the making, since the 35,930-square-metre site was remediated and sold to the Heavenly Queen Temple Society.

Society president William Tsang said the first stage had been tendered and construction was expected to be completed by the end of next year.

The $3 million first stage will involve building the main temple, toilets, kitchen and restaurant.

Mr Tsang said the society expected hundreds of devotees to visit each week, along with school groups and visitors.

"I believe we'll have a lot of tourists from here and overseas," he said.

There are more than 1500 Heavenly Queen temples worldwide, but this is only the second one in Australia. The other is in Sydney.

The Heavenly Queen, also known as Mazu, lived from 960-987 during the Sung Dynasty. She became a legend after saving and helping many people.

Mr Tsang said the complex had been designed by a Chinese man and was modelled on Beijing's Forbidden City.

The proposal hasn't been without controversies. Initially, a planning permit for the temple complex was granted in 1999.

This was extended twice, and eventually lapsed. A second permit was granted in 2004.

The society and Maribyrnong Council then fought in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal over what environmental works should be done on the site, a likely dumping ground for nearby tanneries in the 1940s and '50s and the site of a glue factory 100 years ago.

The society operates from a site in Footscray, which may be sold to raise money.

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Omniscient Robotic-Being for Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: