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MONCRIEFF ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE HISTORY

Olympia

The first entertainment centre on the current site was an open-air theatre built by a syndicate in 1911.  It was taken over by Birch, Carroll & Coyle in 1922.  The Olympia Theatre, as it was named, was officially opened in 1955 by the late Mr FH Buss who was the then Mayor of Bundaberg.  The Manager of the Theatre was Mr J Watson. In the early days, staff had anxious moments trying to seat patrons under cover when storms arose. After 30 years as an airdome, and 18 years in it's present form, the Olympia closed in November 1973 for major restoration work.

The Crest Cinema

The air-conditioned Crest Cinema was opened on December 19 1973 by the then Premier Sir Joh Bjelke Petersen and was managed by Paul Neville until 1981 when he was Wide Bay Manager for Birch Carroll & Coyle.  The Crest was then managed by a variety of managers over the next five years following the purchase by Bundaberg City Council.

The Moncrieff Theatre

The Theatre underwent major changes and became a theatrical theatre as well as a cinema.  The Theatre was renamed The Moncrieff Theatre in honor of Bundaberg first lady of yesteryear, singer Gladys Moncrieff.  Mr Pat Crowe was the inaugral Manager until his death in September 1999.  The Theatre was officially opened on August 16 1987 by Alderman AL Stewart, the then Mayor of Bundaberg, and the first movie shown was 'Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home', screening on Wednesday December 17 1986.  The first stage show was 'Johnny Chester'.

Moncrieff Entertainment Centre

The name Moncrieff Theatre was always a little ambiguous, with regard to the true nature of the business.  With the update of the venues' facade in October 2011 it seemed the perfect opportunity to undertake a name change.

Moncrieff Entertainment Centre better describes the venue, as all forms of entertainment, including cinema, live theatre, concerts and conferencing are held here.

Gladys Moncrieff

Gladys Lillian Moncrieff was born 13 April,1892 in Bundaberg Queensland and was the youngest child of Melbourne born parents Reginald Moncrieff (piano tuner) and his wife Amy Lambell (professional singer).  She was a talented child, making her stage debut in Bundaberg where she sang 'The Merriest Girl That's Out'.  She toured the state singing and giving concerts, and was billed as 'Little Gladys - the Australian Wonder Child'.  In 1921 she had a big success playing Theresa in a musical called Maid of the Mountain at the Theatre Royal in Melbourne.  She sang the part around 3000 times.  Gladys toured New Zealand and was extremely well received.  The Australian Public were proud of her achievements and Moncrieff became known as 'Australias' Queen of Song' and then 'Our Glad'.

Gladys had a powerful, wide-ranging, rich soprano voice, and excellent diction.  She approached her singing like a craft, meticulously and unostentatiously.  She dressed simply and did not shun menial tasks.  Her large informal parties were memorable for her superb cooking, especially her pie with seventy dozen oysters.

She became a legend in Australia in her lifetime, respected by her professional colleagues and loved by her devoted public. Her autobiography My Life of Song was ghosted by Lillian Palmer.

Gladys retired to the Gold Coast, Queensland in 1968, where she died, childless in Pindara Private Hospital, Benowa on 08 February 1976.

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Bundaberg Regional Council