New vision for SMC: The first-choice venue for meetings, conferences and events in Sydney’s CBD

General Manager Paul Davison shares his new vision for Sydney Masonic Centre (SMC) to align with the recently announced multi-million dollar renovation plans that will transform the centre.

According to Davison, who took up the GM mantle in July 2018, the overarching vision is for SMC to be the first-choice venue for meetings and conferences in Sydney’s CBD.

Davison aims to position SMC as the market leader in venue management, event planning and customer service by capitalising on its ideal Sydney city location as well as the ability to offer both variety and flexibility in venue selection and bespoke in-house services. “We have identified five key pillars that support this mission,” he explains, “Our Market, Our Clients, Our Delegates and Guests, Our Environment and Our Community.”


In this article, we explore SMC’s first pillar “Our Market”, and will visit SMC’s other four pillars in future articles.

For Davison, SMC’s market sits firmly in the business-events sector while the centre also attracts cultural and social events including concerts, award galas and Christmas parties. As both enabler and host, the SMC team forms a rapport with each event organiser that is more like a partnership than a typical client/venue relationship.

In the B2B space, SMC’s strong connections across government, NGOs and NFPs mean that many of the events held at SMC deliver a social legacy as well as an economic benefit. The combination of SMC’s client-first approach, its CBD location, excellent facilities and attractive pricing has seen the conference centre welcome the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, NSW Department of Family and Community Services, NSW Department of Education, International Urban Design Conference, Migration Institute of Australia as well as the Australian Council of Social Services to name a few.


Due to the very nature of these events, SMC becomes an incubator for policy-shaping think-tanks where direct and indirect socio-political benefits flow to the people that live in Sydney, in NSW and in Australia. From the macro to the individual level, events at SMC generate:

  • social and networking opportunities
  • opportunities to share and communicate ideas
  • opportunities to develop new relationships and nurture existing relationships
  • opportunities to participate in cultural experiences.


On the cultural front, SMC opened its doors to approximately 1000 Sydney Open visitors on Sunday 4 November. Deputy Grand Secretary of SMC Chris Craven was ‘delighted to give Sydney Open visitors the opportunity to enjoy rare access to the world of an ancient fraternal organisation in one of Sydney’s most enigmatic pieces of architecture.’


On Sunday 18 November, SMC hosted the important cultural event Sing Out Sydney to celebrate the joy of singing during the ABC’s Ausmusic month. Every year, this popular annual ABC Radio event brings together community choirs to share stories and performances, culminating in a glorious mass choir song. Last year Sing Out Sydney covered Nick Cave’s ‘The Ship Song’, which you can view here.

“Given our unique market positioning and great value, SMC hosts a variety of events that enhance people’s lives, develop resilience in communities, progress innovative agendas and have a positive influence on the outlook and wellbeing of our guests and delegates. We’re very proud to enable this sort of enrichment,” says Davison.