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Strand Theatre, Toowoomba

163 Margaret St, Toowoomba, Australia
Landmark & Historical Place

Description

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Strand Theatre is a heritage-listed cinema at 159 - 167 Margaret Street, Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. It was designed by George Henry Male Addison and built from 1915 to 1933 by Luke Halley. It was added to the Queensland Heritage Register on 21 October 1992.HistoryThis three-storeyed brick picture theatre was erected in 1915-16 for James Patrick Newman, a Toowoomba City alderman.It was constructed during the early and enthusiastic adoption of cinema by Australian audiences in the first two decades of the 20th century, when the new nation boasted a truly vibrant local film industry which competed healthily with imported British and American product. Its construction was illustrative of the early 20th century attempt to legitimise cinema as a respectable middle-class entertainment in Australia.In 1915 Newman commissioned established Brisbane architect George Henry Male Addison to design a picture theatre on a site in Margaret Street adjoining the Crown Hotel. This site had operated as the Crystal Palace Picture Gardens since early 1914. Addison called tenders in July 1915, and the contract was awarded to Luke Halley.The American-derived design was similar to picture theatres erected in other Australian cities during the 1910s. In particular, the large semi-circular glazed arch was reminiscent of the Majestic (1912) and Britannia (1913) in Melbourne and the Pavilion (1913) in Brisbane. It was, however, unorthodox in that the top level was designed as additional accommodation for the Crown Hotel, which was also owned by JP Newman. This third storey was accessed via a staircase from the hotel.

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