“Drum roll please! Ladies and Gentlemen, tonight at the Boomerang Theatre…Blind-folded Boxing!” In 1921, Taree Theatre was open for business. It was later renamed the Boomerang Theatre and then the Savoy.1 This was the start of a very popular and locally famous place to go.
The theatre was located where ‘Saltwater Wine’ now sits on the corner of Manning and Albert Streets, Taree. There used to be a box-shaped room that held the film projector sticking out the side with six arches supporting it. The box is now gone but the supporting arches are still there.2
On 6 September 1924, the finals of the Blind-folded Boxing tournaments were held at the Boomerang Theatre.3 The theatre held many special and fun events like this. Just two weeks later, the Manning Jazz Band held a dance there.4 Another special event was the Fashion Parade that included around 500 people.5 But the decisions the theatre made were not always good.
From the 1930s until about the 1950s there was racism at the theatre. The Aboriginal people had to sit in the front rows chained off from the white people.6 This was very disrespectful. The Aboriginal people protested and eventually gained the right to sit where they wanted.7
The Savoy stopped operating as a theatre around 1966, though one-off events were still held there after this date, finally ending this beautiful monument of the arts.8
Authors: Riley Brown and Ben Wright, Year 6, Taree West Public School.
1 Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of NSW, 26 October 1921; Northern Champion, 6 Sep 1924; MidCoast Libraries Local History Resources ‘Theatres’.
2 Northern Champion, 19 March 1921.
3 Northern Champion, 6 September 1924.
4 Northern Champion, 20 September 1924.
5 Wingham Chronicle and Manning River Observer, 15 October 1940.
6 Denis Byrne & Maria Nugent, Mapping Attachment: A spatial approach to Aboriginal post-contact heritage, Department of Environment and Conservation, NSW: 2004, 95-96.
7 Patricia Davis-Hurst, Sunrise Station Revisited, Taree: 2010, 50.
8 MidCoast Libraries Local History Resources ‘Theatres’, resources from the NSW State Archives.