The history of the Majestic Theatre is as dramatic as the movies that played there for over half a century. In 1926 Albert Augustus Smith, baker, bought the property and built a bakery and a picture show.1 The theatre, with seating for 400, opened on 21 August 1926 with Charlie Chaplin’s “Gold Rush” being one of the first movies shown.2 Smith’s wife Edith, a well-known musician, played the music for the movies. The building became the heart of the town’s activities with live performances, ANZAC day services and social functions being held there.3
During Smith’s time a number of dramatic events occurred. In 1927 fire nearly destroyed the theatre and its proprietor but for the brave efforts of Constable Lette.4 Then in 1930 Smith’s wife Edith mysteriously disappeared.5 In 1934 just after Smith remodelled the theatre he was accused of setting fire to the rival Star Theatre.6 In 1935 Smith agreed to sell his theatre and bakery to Hall, an agent acting on behalf of Ernest Lowe, but Smith later tried to renege. Court cases ensued and Hall’s house was blown up and Lowe’s house narrowly escaped destruction. Smith was found guilty of the latter crime and jailed.7
Lowe took over both the Majestic and Star Theatres and showed first class talkies.8 In 1938 both theatres were sold to Roy Lewis Hughes who ran them successfully until his sudden death in 1947. Hughes’ wife Gladys continued to run the theatres.9
Around 1980 the Majestic Theatre finally closed its doors but now operates as a shopping arcade.10
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Land & Property Information, 1926, Albert Augustus Smith Book-No: 1417-4.
2 Northern Champion, 18 Aug 1926; 28 Aug 1926.
3 Gloucester Advocate, 15 Oct 1926; 23 Dec 1926; 25 Apr 1927.
4 Gloucester Advocate, 1 Apr 1927.
5 Northern Champion, 4 October 1930.
6 Newcastle Morning Herald and Miners’ Advocate, 13 Dec 1934.
7 Truth, 15 December 1935.
8 Gloucester Advocate, 12 Nov 1935.
9 Gloucester Advocate, 11 Nov 1938; 22 Jul 1947; 29 Aug 1947.
10 Town Australia https://town.com.au/town/gloucester/gloucester/