Page 9 - CR
P. 9

The Roxy Theatre was built by Peters
          and Co because the Finkernagel
          Theatre, on which Peters and Co's
          cafe depended for part of its business,
          was failing to compete with Peacocke's
          old  Regent Theatre. However, Victor
          Peacocke was determined to build a
          New Regent and open its doors ahead
          of the Roxy and he completed it in just
          four and a half months between February
          and the end of June 1935. Peters and Co
          took 16 months to complete the Roxy
          Theatre, from December 1934 to the
          end of March 1936.

          It is true that Peacocke also built the Regent
          Café, but this happened later, in 1939-40,
          and he did not run the business, preferring
          to lease the building to others.
          Victor Peacocke was Mayor of Bingara
          in the late 1920s and again in the late
          1930s. He was also the President of the
          local branch of the RSL and one of the
          leading men in Bingara. He competed
          vigorously with the  Roxy and, as
          mentioned by Gerry Kennedy, employed
          some xenophobic elements in his
          campaign. In addition to advertisements
          on the front page of the local newspaper
          declaring that his cinema was owned and
          staffed by 'Australians', Peacocke wrote
          letters to his member of parliament
          and the Chief Secretary referring to
          'Bingara's little war with Greece' and
          'the Greek invasion into our little burg'.
          He also sought to use his position on the
          council to throw obstacles in the way of
          his competitors.
          In Peacocke’s favour it may be said
          that his attitudes were not unusual
          in the 1930s and his jaundiced view
          of ‘the Greeks’ was shared by many
          Gallipoli veterans.
                                             PHOTOS THIS PAGE:
                                             The in-between years after closure. The
          Nor was the Roxy failure all  Victor   Roxy lay dormant - its auditorium used for
          Peacocke's doing. Gerry Kennedy    storage, and a cafe inhabiting the foyer. Note
          notes that 'every thing about the (Roxy)   the curtained ‘widescreeen’ built forward of
          theatre suggests quality and expense,   the original stage
          particularly so in a small country town'.
          It is likely that Peters and Co contributed   Photos by Gerry Kennedy.
          to their difficulties by embarking on a
          development that was visionary for the
          time and too ambitious.

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