Queensland Places – Thursday Island – Entertainment in the 1920s and 1930s

In the 1920s/1930s the residents of Thursday Island had access to a range of different entertainments, as part of the community and social life of the town. A variety of concerts, dances, balls, card nights as well as films were advertised in the newspaper and were no doubt very popular and well attended.

On New Year’s Eve, 1928, the Queensland Country Womens’ Association was hosting a grand New Year’s dance at the town hall, with the town band providing the music. On 15 March 1929, at the same venue, a grand euchre party and dance was held with features including novelty dances, refreshments as well as the awarding of prizes. On 7 July 1933, a grand childrens’ fancy dress ball was held, also at the popular town hall venue, with prizes awarded for the best fancy dress costumes.

In April 1934, again with the town hall as the venue, Mr. J.A.C. Kenny MLC addressed the electors of Thursday Island. Following Mr Kenny’s speech, a dance was held. Later in the year, in May, a Captain E. de Bishopp of the French Navy, was giving a public presentation with the subject being his recent “trip from China to France aboard a Chinese junk”. In July 1934, a moonlight fete was held in the grounds of All Souls Memorial Cathedral, with the proceeds going to the Cathedral Benevolent Fund.

Concerts were also regularly held at the town hall. On 19 November 1929, a grand concert was staged with the “Tuneful Thirteen” providing the entertainment. Admission was advertised as two shillings for front seats and one shilling and sixpence for back seats. The box plan was available for viewing at E.W. Saranealis’ shop, where tickets to the event could be purchased. Residents could also see a range of films at the cinema. By way of example, in May 1934, Thursday Island Pictures was showing “Robbers Roost” and “Beauty and the Beast”.

Town Hall (Victoria Memorial Institute) Thursday Is. ca 1935, State Library of Queensland Neg. No. 42736

Town Hall (Victoria Memorial Institute) Thursday Is. ca 1935

This image shows the Victoria Memorial Institute building around 1935. By this time, the building was being used as the Thursday Island town hall.

Brian Randall – Queensland Places Coordinator, State Library of Queensland