3-5 Brisbane Street,
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Tamworth is halfway between Sydney and Brisbane. Its the regional seat of the district known as New England in northern New South Wales. In the 1920’s and 1930’s you could go almost any town in the state and you’d find first-rate theatres run by Greek immigrants. One was Zachariah “Jack” Kouvelis who built the Tamworth Capitol Theatre and in 1938, the Art Deco style Regent Theatre. Opening night was a gala affair broadcast on radio, and the opening double bill programme was Bobby Breen in “Make a Wish” and Tyrone Power in “Love is News”.
The theatre had features that were rare even in Sydney, a soundproof theatrette, the Crying Room for mothers with babies, air conditioning and gas heat. Acoustic material was used throughout the interior to give the best sound reproduction, and there were special hearing aids for the partially deaf.
Kouvelis sold his circuit to Hoyts in 1946 and retired at the age of 50. Eventually the Regent Theatre was twinned, then made into a fourplex. It operated until 2008 when Hoyts built a six screen theatre in the new Centrepoint Mall on the site of the old Capitol Theatre.
The building still stands, ‘For Sale’, on one of the best corners in downtown Tamworth.
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