The Majestic Theatre was established by baker and picture show enthusiast Albert Augustus Smith in 1926.1 It was Gloucester’s first purpose-built theatre and became the hub of community entertainment. In 1928 Smith installed ovens and a bakehouse at the rear of the theatre and in 1933 the theatre was renovated in the style that exists today.2
Albert’s wife Edith was a beautiful and talented jazz musician who toured the nation playing drums in orchestras. At the Majestic Theatre she performed the accompanying music for the silent movies.
On 20 July 1930 Edith, along with her Pomeranian dog, jewellery and clothes, went missing from their Gloucester home. It wasn’t Albert who reported her missing but Edith’s mother who lived in Sydney. News of her disappearance made national newspapers and her photo was posted around the state.
In Albert’s police interview he claimed Edith had taken £280 hidden under the linoleum and was sure she would return when it was spent. Police searched Smith’s house and ovens for clues but only found a piece of fuse which they couldn’t tie to Edith’s disappearance.
Edith had thrice left Albert before a ‘chance’ meeting in Sydney reunited them. Twelve months earlier, while living with her mother, Edith narrowly escaped a violent death when the house was nearly destroyed by gelignite. Police never arrested anyone for this incident nor for Edith’s disappearance. She was never seen again.3
Albert however was jailed for attempted murder in 1935 when he blew up the home of the owners of the rival Star Theatre with gelignite.4
The building’s interior room is now known as the Edith Margaret Smith Room in memory of the woman who brought music and life to the theatre.
Author: Janine Roberts
1 Building application 9310, 5 March 1926, held at MidCoast Council, Gloucester.
2 Building application 17978, 21 May 1934, held at MidCoast Council, Gloucester.
3 Northern Champion, 4 October 1930.
4 Labor Daily, 28 August 1935, Sydney Morning Herald, 17 December 1935.