While the city awaits the outcome of the redevelopment of the remains of this priceless treasure, a reflection on its past follows.
Built in 1929 to the design of Richard Gailey Jnr and Charles Hollinshed (designer of the Melbourne Regent) it was one of four opulent Regent theatres constructed in Australia in the grand Hollywood style of the time.
Its site had been acquired by one of the doomed Mayne children, William, in 1892 and after his death, passed onto his brother James and sister Mary.
During Bjelke Petersen’s reign in the 1970’s the auditorium was sacrificed to a Hoyts multiplex cinema and the city lost what was amongst the grandest theatre venues in Australia. It had boasted a 25000 pound Wurlitzer organ from New York (now in GOMA’s Cinematheque), an oval dome above the auditorium with a one ton bronze chandelier and extraordinary decorative plasterwork in the foyer.
After protests, only the foyer was retained. What lies ahead is anyone’s guess but it appears that unfortunately the lessons of the demolition era have not been learned and yet again Brisbane may be about to lose again one of its dwindling irreplaceable works of art.