Morningside Picture Theatre, Other Historic Brisbane Theatres We Lost Through the Years

Brisbane lost quite a number of its historic theatres through the years including the Astra Theatre. This 300-seat building was originally opened in 1924 as the Morningside Picture Theatre.

Morningside Picture Theatre

Originally built as The Morningside Picture Theatre in 1924 for Schodel Bros. The theatre was  located at 98 Lawson Road on the corner of present-day Wynnum Road in Morningside and has a seating capacity of 300 people.

By 1928, the building reportedly underwent some renovations costing about £1,500 and was executed by Warendorp and Pipe.

In 1930, the building sustained fire damage valued at £785 after a lit cigarette caused the screen to catch fire which spread to the rafters. Although the property was insured for £1,200, only £685 was paid out by the insurance company as some Morningside Athletic Club items were not covered by the insurance.

The theatre hall was used by the local Air Raid Precautions committee during World War II to hold meetings and fundraising concerts. Then circa 1941, Morningside Picture Theatre was renamed Astra Theatre before it was sold in 1965.

Astra Theatre remained open until 1977 when it was acquired by Stipan (Stjepan, Steve, Steven or Stefan) Došen and Pero Vidaković for the Croatian Community. The building was later destroyed by fire.

Wintergarden Theatre

Wintergarden Theatre opened in 1924. The theatre housed the biggest organ in Australia and was dubbed as the one of “most modern theatres” at the time.

Closed in 1973, the Wintergarden Theatre’s foyer was turned into a retail space then later a bank. And by 1981, the auditorium was demolished followed by the rest of the building to facilitate the construction of a shopping centre.

Her Majesty’s Theatre

Facade of Her Majestys Theatre Brisbane circa 1898
Facade of Her Majestys Theatre Brisbane circa 1898 | Photo credit:  Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Adjacent to the Wintergarden Theatre was His Majesty’s Theatre which opened in 1888 as Her Imperial Majesty’s Opera House. It was renamed His Majesty’s Theatre (1901-1952) following the death of Queen Victoria but again changed its name to Her Majesty’s Theatre.

The largest theatre in Brisbane during its time, Her Majesty’s theatre was renowned for its facade that combined Italian Renaissance architecture and Corinthian styles. It was demolished in 1983 to make way for the Hilton Hotel despite community opposition.

Other historic theatres Brisbane lost through the years include the Albert Hall (replaced by Suncorp building) and The Tivoli Theatre – Brisbane (1914 – 1963).

Published 8-January-2023