From rooms filled with 'e-meters' to an office dedicated to the founder: Scientology's $57 million Australian HQ - opened by Tom Cruise's best friend

Daily Mail, Australia/September 5, 2016

By Daniel Piotrowski

Tom Cruise's 'best friend' delivered a thundering speech, green and gold confetti burst into the sky and black-and-white portraits of author turned religious leader L. Ron Hubbard stared from the walls.  

The Church of Scientology has released stark new pictures from inside the weekend opening of its sprawling new Australasian headquarters in Sydney's north - its 'biggest spiritual centre outside the United States'.

David Miscavige, the religious group's 'ecclesiastical leader', flew in to cut the ribbon; singer Kate Ceberano performed Waltzing Matilda and an Indigenous group conducted a Welcome To Country.   

Also in attendance was the former mayor of Auburn council (and one-time Salim Mehajer colleague) Le Lam as well as 2500 members of the religion from around Australia and their guests.

The secretive group snapped up the site - which borders on Lane Cove national park in Chatswood - for about $37 million and outlaid another $20 million in renovations and construction.  

Built on the bones of the former National Acoustics Laboratory, Mr Miscavige described the 145,000 square foot as a 'physical wonder that gives meaning to the spirit of Scientology itself'. 

In a media release, Mr Miscavige was described the facility as 'perfectly perfect'. Some local residents had opposed the development in 2014 claiming it would disturb the neighbourhood. 

The sprawling 145,000 square foot facility comes despite reports the religion has waned in popularity in Australia.   

The 2011 Census found little more than 2,100 Australians called themselves Scientologists. 

Church president Vicki Dunstan said the figure didn't reflect the church's membership. 

The construction of the new 'continental base' also comes ahead of the release of a book about the religion in Australia by ABC journalist Steve Cannane. 

Dubbed Fair Game, a blurb for the book says it will tell the 'fascinating story of Australia's vital involvement in the secretive, powerful and punitive cult'.

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