George O’Gorman Boustead was a Gloucester mechanic who had a passion for moving pictures. He is credited with bringing the ‘talkies’ to Gloucester when he showed them in the old School of Arts hall.1 In 1929, he erected the Star Theatre at 81 Church Street.2
Three years earlier, Albert Augustus Smith had built the Majestic Theatre which was situated close by.3 Smith was implicated in two incidents that took place at the Star Theatre. The first was the wilful damage of the optical and sound system which forced the Star to close while repairs were undertaken.4 The second was a fire that would have destroyed the theatre if it had not been quickly extinguished. Police immediately searched Smith’s theatre and found the material used to light the fires. When Smith was arrested almost by way of defence he said “There’s not enough room for two shows, hardly enough for one. I would have leased her [Mrs Boustead] theatre if she would have leased it. I would have turned it into a skating rink. One man with two could make it pay.”5 Amazingly Smith was found not guilty even after a retrial.6
The Star Theatre was repaired and continued to be used until the 1940s when it was leased to Mr and Mrs Mysels, of the Meta Manufacturing Co as a clothing factory. The company made ladies’ frocks, costumes, skirts and blouses.7 The factory closed in 1954 and the theatre has since been used as the Gloucester Radio and Television Service,8 Gloucester Retravision,9 and Gloucester Leading Appliances.10 In 2019, the store is known as ‘Gloucester Betta Home Living’.
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Gloucester Advocate,21 April 1933, 2.
2 Building application 11897/1928, viewed at the Gloucester Museum.
3 Northern Champion, 18 August 1926.
4 Gloucester Advocate, 19 January 1932, 2.
6 Gloucester Advocate,12 July 1935, 2.
7 Gloucester Advocate,6 March 1945, 2.
8 NSW LRS Book-No: 2886-844.
9 NSW LRS Book-No: 3695-26; Gloucester Advocate, https://www.gloucesteradvocate.com.au/story/1390253/new-name-same-store/