“Although I am ever with my lovers individually, I am always happy when they gather in My love.”  ~ Meher Baba (telegram to Avatar’s Abode in 1967)

Avatar's Abode Queensland

Early Days

The earliest Australian followers of Meher Baba were people who in the 1930s travelled overseas as part of creative work in dance, film and theatre. An ‘Australian Baba group’ emerged in Sydney and Melbourne during the 1940s, largely from men and women studying the teachings of the Indian Sufi musician, Inayat Khan. This Sufi group was led by Baron Frederich von Frankenberg (1889-1950) and later by his nominated successor, the Australian poet Francis Brabazon (1907-1984).

The Baron, deeply impressed by Meher Baba’s Discourses, encouraged Francis to meet him in the United States. Francis was profoundly affected by this experience, and immediately recognised Meher Baba’s spiritual status. Consequently, the focus of many of this Sufi group shifted to Meher Baba.

Meher House in Sydney

Members of the early group nurtured a hope that one day Meher Baba would visit Australia. Francis Brabazon decided to build a suitable house to accommodate this potential visit at Beacon Hill in Sydney. Meher Baba followers would meet and stay with Francis to study spirituality and assist with the building work.

In August 1956, the group’s hopes were realised. Meher Baba came and stayed at the house and named it Meher House. It has ever since been the focus of the Sydney Baba group and is open to visitors from around Australia and the world.

 Meher House, Beacon Hill, Sydney. Avatar’s Abode Collection. © Avatar’s Abode Trust.

Founding of Avatar’s Abode

In 1958 there was news that Meher Baba might again visit. This time, on Francis’ suggestion, Baba decided on Queensland. Francis located a pineapple farm for sale, near the summit of Kiel Mountain on the Sunshine Coast, and immediately recognised the place as suitable. He cabled a description to Meher Baba, who endorsed the purchase of the property.

Within a few months, despite heavy rain and lack of electricity and running water, Francis and helpers from the Sydney and Melbourne groups erected a couple of buildings and organised facilities. In June 1958, Meher Baba and a few of his close disciples came to stay and met with his Australian followers. Meher Baba named the property Avatar’s Abode, and stated that it would become one of the great places of pilgrimage in the world.

During the 1960s-70s, there was widespread interest in Eastern spirituality in Western countries. Meher Baba and his books were amongst the first to attract attention. In Australia, as elsewhere, this generated a considerable growth in followers of Meher Baba. During the 1970s-80s, ‘Baba groups’ formed in Australian cities and rural areas. A community also developed around and near Avatar’s Abode.

In the present, volunteers and visitors gather at Avatar’s Abode throughout the year for events, meetings and to participate in service projects. A yearly focal point for many Australian followers is the Avatar’s Abode Anniversary, a long week-end celebration held each June to commemorate Meher Baba’s visit to Avatar’s Abode in 1958.

Avatar’s Abode, 1958. Avatar’s Abode Collection. © Avatar’s Abode Trust.

BANNER IMAGE: Meher Baba at Meher House, Beacon Hill, Sydney, August 1956.