Smooth lines and geometric shapes underpin the bold, optimist modern trends emerging after WWI. Australian architects weren’t immune to its international momentum either, now known as Art Deco.
INNISFAIL & THE ‘JOHNSTONE SHIRE COUNCIL’ TOWN HALL, FNQ
In 1918, a devastating cyclone razed the sugar-cane township of Johnstone (now Innisfail). Its rebuild happened significantly during the 1920s and 1930s resulting in magnificent Art Deco streetscapes.
Innisfail has a multicultural history, and what’s special about its streetscapes is they reflect Art Deco movements world-wide. You can download an app for a self-guided walk around town.
Annually, Innisfail celebrates its post WW1 influences with the Tropical Art Deco Festival, where vintage cars line the streets and locals dine and dance in dashing garbs.
A crowning jewel is the State Heritage-listed Innisfail Shire Hall, built between 1935-1938 (see above right).
Innisfail Town Hall, formally the Johnstone Town Hall, was ravaged by Cyclone Larry in 2006. Thankfully, architect Gayle Plunkett came on board to assist with the restoration.
And right now, you can admire 19 of her intricate drawings within the Innisfail Shire Hall Foyer Gallery.
ROXY COMMUNITY THEATRE, LEETON, NSW
You’ll find few names more fitting for a majestic 1930’s theatre than the Roxy, a centrepiece within the Art Deco township of Leeton, NSW.
Europeans settled in Leeton during the 20th Century so you’ll find a few Art Deco examples throughout town.
But the Roxy Community Theatre is its grandest, a double-storey cinema seating up to 800.
This remarkable gem is still used by the community today—both as a cinema and for live theatre performances. And its original interior is still intact.
A mechanism operates Australia’s largest roll up screen, measuring 12x5m metre, to reveal a 8.6×8.79m stage.
Tickets are available for weekly screenings, or you can contact the office on Wednesdays & Fridays between 11am and 1pm to arrange a tour.
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FISH CREEK HOTEL, GIPPSLAND, VIC
Look closely, and you’ll find one helluva catch on top of the Fish Creek Hotel built in 1939. Blazes had swept through the region that January claiming the timber pub that stood before.
This grand Art Deco building located in the heart of Fish Creek is 45 minutes from Wilsons Prom.
The current owners offer cracker meals and continue to faithfully restore this classic club. Including its famous fish, which was air-lifted into place following repairs in 2016.
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TATTERSALLS HOTEL, ARMIDALE, NSW
The Tattersalls Hotel in Armidale was built as the House of All Nations in 1856, but underwent extensive remodelling in 1936 when it was connected to the newly-installed mains plumbing.
It was the first building to feature an electronic lift within Armidale.
Then-owner Harold J Robinson also installed a gorgeous Tallow wood dance floor on the second level, lined the stairway with walnut plywood and fitted pressed metal to its ceilings.
It underwent restorations in 1977 after years of neglect. And again between 2016-2019, with the current owners remaining faithful to the Art Deco style.
Interior designer Luchetti Krelle recreated stunning spaces, around gorgeous restored centrepieces like the original fireplace below.
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MUDGEE REGENT THEATRE, MUDGEE, NSW
Although closed for almost a decade, the Regent Theatre interior is still very much intact, the building itself highly celebrated within the community.
Original projection equipment are among the treasures protected within its glorious double-storey interior.
It attained State Heritage-listed this year. Right now, travellers can admire its street profile.
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