Theatres/Venues 7b: Western Australia

Boulder banner

aka BOULDER CITY

Boulder - mapSituated some 600 kilometres east of Perth, Boulder was founded during the gold rush that ensued after gold was discovered in the area 1893 (the first find was in the vicinity of where Kalgoorlie is located). Within a short time more than 90 hotels and 8 breweries had been established and the population of the twin towns swelled to over 30,000. By 1896 the initial township of Boulder, which had been established as a small square block of buildings near the railway line had given way to Boulder City, a new development in the vicinity of the Boulder Mines. In addition to its hotels, merchant establishments and community/ entertainment venues, the new precinct featured a sports ground and bike track. In 1903, the year of peak gold production during the first gold boom, Kalgoorlie and Boulder’s combined population had settled to around twelve and a half thousand. However, many more people lived in the great number of nearby mining settlements.

Boulder remained both a separate town and municipality until the formation of the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder in 1989. Reputedly one of the greatest concentrations of underground mines ever established, the area that comprises Kalgoorlie and Boulder is often referred to the ‘Golden Mile’.
Boulder montageL: Lane Street Boulder, ca. 1900 (State Records Office of WA). R: The “Golden Mile,” 1900 (State Library of Western Australia)

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BIJOU THEATRE

aka Theatre Royal

(1902-1925) Lane Street.

The Bijou quickly popular with vaudeville companies touring the Western Australian goldfields. It was renamed the Theatre Royal in 1908. Electra Pictures leased the theatre during the winter months of 1910 and 1911 (playing the Palace Gardens over summer), while Lyric Pictures operated there occasionally during the mid-1910. It also continued to be used for theatricals. The Royal was eventually destroyed by a cyclone which hit Boulder on 5 December 1925.

Th Royal - Boulder [DNP 11 Feb 1928, 1]

Some details sourced from the Western Australian Cinemaweb.
Image: Daily News (Perth) 11 Feb. (1928), 1

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POWELL’S ROTUNDA

Powell's Hotel, Boulder - 1897-1900 [SLWA](1898-1904)

Although Kalgoorlie’s alluvial gold was all but worked out by the late-1890s, the discovery of deep reefs at nearby Boulder in 1897 quickly saw that town’s population rise to over 30,000. The following year Thomas Powell, owner of a small hotel in Boulder Block (a small business area situated adjacent to the Great Boulder Mine), built a rotunda near his premises for the purposes of public meetings, social events and entertainments. Among the artists known to have appeared there were George Sorlie, Ted Stanley, George “Bronco” Wallace, Tom Dawson, and the Boulder City Brass Band.

Image: ca. Powell’s Hotel, ca. 1897-1900. Source: State Library of Western Australia

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Published on March 6, 2017 at 9:35 pm  Comments Off on Theatres/Venues 7b: Western Australia