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Globe / Church Street Garden Picture Palace / The Star

Venue Summary
Name Globe / Church Street Garden Picture Palace / The Star
Address Cnr William and Church Streets, Wollongong, New South Wales 2500
Operation Dates 1911-07-21 - 1935-03-01
Capacity 900
Suburban/Country City
Purpose Cinema
Screens 1
1924-01-01 - 1935-03-01 : Owned : Wollongong Theatres Pty. Ltd.
1928-01-01 - 1931-01-01 : Leased : Union Theatres Feature Exchange
Venue Comments

The Church Street Garden Picture Palace, commissioned by Mr. Henry Marriott of Wollongong was the first purpose-built moving picture theatre in Wollongong. This open air stadium style construction measured 115ft long and 82 ft wide and was used as a permanent venue for both the moving pictures and boxing. Parkinson notes that as both activities often took place simultaneously it is likely that the construction was divided into two sections (Parkinson 1995, 9). The South Coast Times (17 March 1911) records that the venue seats 3000 patrons however this number appears to have been reduced to between 600 and 900 by the 1920s (Parkinson 1995, 9)

In 1912 The Picture Palace was enclosed and renamed the Star Theatre under the management of Mr C. W. Wills. During this period addition to the regular screenings hosted by Mr C. W. Wills the venue was also used by travelling picture companies (Parkinson 1995, 9). The Star was extensively remodelled in 1915, with “a large modern vestibule, stage and proscenium; dress circle and “modern theatre chairs” being added (Illawarra Mercury 2 March 1915; 19 March 1915).

The renovated theatre, now under the management of Mr M. Simon, reopened on 1 July 1915 under the name of the Globe theatre. Further remodelling of the interior was undertaken in 1918 (Parkinson 1995, p. 10).

In 1924 the Globe came under the control of Wollongong Theatres Ltd, a newly formed company founded by the entrepreneurial Henry Boland. Boland was owner of the Globe’s major rival, the Crown Cinema, also located in central Wollongong and had extensive interests in a number of the smaller village cinemas across the Illawarra (Huggett 2002, pp 45 – 46).

After a period of closure for further renovations in 1927 the cinema reopened as the New Globe Theatre (South Coast Times, 19 November 1927). Despite the improvements the cinema remained of basic design and structure described by the NSW Board of Fire Commissioners (BFC) report in 1929 as being an iron and weatherboard, with no gallery or projection-box (BFC quoted in Parkinson 1995, p. 10).

In 1928 Union Theatres reached a leasing agreement with Wollongong Theatres Ltd and took over the running of the cinema until 1931. In 1931 Union Theatres went into liquidation and the cinema once again came under the control of Wollongong Theatres.

Wollongong Theatres demolished the aging and much remodelled Globe in 1935 and built a new cinema, the Savoy on the site (Parkinson 1995, 11).

Across its life-span the building had also been used for boxing, skating and mini golf.

Huggett, N 2002 ‘A cultural history of cinema-going in the Illawarra (1900-1950)’ PhD thesis, Faculty of Creative Arts, University of Wollongong.

Parkinson, R. J 1995, Gauffered Velour: A history of motion picture exhibition and picture theatres in the Illawarra district of New South Wales 1897-1994, Australian Theatre Historical Society Inc, Campbelltown NSW.

Venue Events
Event Date Name of Venue Address Latitude /
Capacity Suburban Purpose Screens
1911-07-21 Church Street Garden Picture Palace Cnr William and Church Streets
New South Wales 2500
3000 City Cinema 1
1912-01-01 Star Theatre

1915-07-01 Globe Theatre

1927-11-19 New Globe Theatre