Page 8 - CR
P. 8



                                                            Report by
                                                           Kevin Adams

                  he remote NSW town of Condobolin was shocked by a fierce overnight blaze that razed the former Renown Theatre on
              TJanuary 7, 2012. Two people were seen running from the scene and police determined that the fire was deliberately lit.

              Lachlan Shire Council had recently served an order on the Sydney based owners requiring them to control the vermin within
              (pigeons), repair, maintain and secure the badly dilapidated property.  After the fire, council found that the structure was also
              contaminated with friable asbestos. Little remained standing and after failed attempts to have the owner clear the dangerous ruin,
              council purchased the property so that clearing could begin. A new medical centre has been proposed for the location.

                                                 The theatre had an interesting history
                                                 that dated back to 1914 when a Mr
                                                 Bassett opened it as the  Grand
                                                 Central Hall. It could seat around
                                                 1000 people with a further 150 in
                                                 the adjoining supper room. Stage and
                                                 dressing rooms were provided for
                                                 theatrical presentations and the hall
                                                 was used extensively for receptions,
                                                 balls, concerts, roller-skating – and
                                                 pictures shows.

                                                 The popularity of the latter saw it develop
                                                 into the  Central Theatre – operated
                                                 in the 1920s by George, Leo and Nick
                                                 Spellson (who also operated a show at
                                                 the Tolhurst Hall in Bogan Gate).

                                                 Along with Condobolin’s open-air
                                                 Aussie Theatre, the Central was taken
                                                 over in 1946 by Emmanuel Fatseas and
                                                 was renamed the Renown in 1955. The
                                                 Aussie was demolished in 1967 after its
                                                 license was surrendered in 1966.

                                                 The  Renown then came under the
                                                 control of Fatseas Enterprises Pty.
                                                 Ltd. in 1967, shortly before Emmanuel
                                                 Fatseas passed away in 1968.  The
                                                 theatre was then left to Emmanuel’s
                                                 two sons, who continued to run the
                                                 business through the difficult years of
                                                 television, finally succumbing to the
                                                 home-video boom of the 1980s.

                                                 After closure, the building had
                                                 a number of uses including a
                                                 restaurant, video store and take-away
                                                 food shop. All had been long closed
                                                 prior to the January 7 fire. Sadly,
                                                 local interest in turning the Renown
                                                 into  a  community    theatre/arts
                                                 centre also dashed by the flames. +

               8   2012  CINEMAREC ORD
   3   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13