Theatres/Venues 7a: Perth & Fremantle

Perth ……. p.1
Fremantle ……. p.2




aka Palace Gardens / Bijou

Cremorne Gardens - Perth 2, 1898 [theatreheritage,org](1895-1914) Goderich Street.

Established in 1895 as an open-air venue at the back of a Perth hotel (running through to Howick Street, now Hay Street), the Cremorne became an enclosed theatre the following year. It was leased twice by Harry Rickards (1897and 1898) before coming under the control of Jones and Lawrence (1899-1902) and Leonard Davis (1904-07). Rickards reestablished his association with the venue between 1907 and 1911. Hugh D. McIntosh (Harry Rickards Tivoli Theatres Ltd) leased it out for films, boxing and occasional vaudeville shows before it closed down in 1914. It was later used by the Y.M.C.A.



aka Prince of Wales

(1911-1935) Murray Street.

A 2000 seat open-air theatre, the Melrose Gardens was built by Thomas Coombe and opened on 11 February 1911 under the management of film exhibitor T.J. West. After Harry Rickards staged a season of vaudeville there in December the venue operated as both a film and vaudeville house until West moved his operations into the suburbs in 1914. Various vaudeville managements, including the Fullers and Durham Marcel, leased the Melrose until Coombe built the Prince of Wales picture house in its place in 1922.



(1911-1934) 800 Hay Street.

The Olympia Gardens was built by Edward Branscombe for his Australian-wide Dandies circuit. After being opened on 31 October 1911 the venue proved popular with Perth audiences well-past the end of World War II. Its fortunes declined somewhat during the 1920s as newer and more comfortable theatres were built. The theatre opened as the New Olympia Open Air Talkies in 1932 (as Perth’s only open-air cinema) but closed two years later.



Later Regent Theatre / Metro

(1899-1926) 91 William Street (between Hay and Murray streets)

queens-hall-perth-wa-organsBuilt by the Wesley Methodist Church, Queen’s Hall opened on 19 April, 1899 for the intended purpose of weekend church meetings and public hire during the week. By 1905 it was being used for all manner of social events and long-term hire (including film, legitimate concerts and variety). Among the many entertainment firms to lease the hall were the Cozens Spencer, Charles Sudholz, and J. and N. Tait. West’s Pictures and Vic’s Pictures were later long-term lessees. The entertainers ranged from Dame Nellie Melba and Clara Butt to the Corrick Family and Sydney James’ Pierrot Pie Company (see Royal Strollers [1]). Competition from other venues saw it revert to casual hire and even retail leasing from 1919. It was rebuilt in 1927 as Hoyts Regent.

1: The West Australian headquarters of the Wesley Methodist Church (now the Uniting Church) had been located on the corner of William and Murray Streets since 1830. The Church itself is situated at the corner of William and Hay streets. The entire block is now known as the Wesley Quarter.
2: Interestingly the first film exhibition was organised by Commandant Booth of the Salvation Army in August 1899.
Image: W.A. CinemaWeb.



aka Shaftesbury Picture Gardens / Luxor Theatre / Luxor Picture Theatre / Tivoli

(1911-1950s) 49 Stirling Street.

Six weeks after its March opening, the 3,000 seat Shaftesbury Picture Gardens closed down so that a roof could be built. After reopening in June the programmes included vaudeville support acts, but over the coming years this reversed. Known as the Shaftesbury Theatre from 1912, the entertainment between 1918 and 1936 was almost exclusively vaudeville. The venue’s name changed several times before it was demolished in the 1950s. These included the Luxor (1925), Luxor Picture Theatre (1936), and Tivoli (1940s). It also briefly served as a dance hall (Canterbury Court).



Theatre Royal - Perth 1897 [West, 91](1897-1978) 637 Hay Street.

The Theatre Royal and Hotel Metropole (1894) was one of only two theatre/ hotel complexes to be built in the Perth CBD, and also the first purpose built theatre built in Western Australia. Opened on 19 April 1897 under the management of Jones and Lawrence, the Royal was initially used for variety, drama and Perth’s earliest film screenings before eventually being converted into a permanent cinema.


Image citation details for entries without expanded biographies are noted at the bottom of the overview. All other image details are provided in the expanded PDF biographies.
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Published on April 18, 2014 at 1:29 am  Comments Off on Theatres/Venues 7a: Perth & Fremantle