Tasma Theatre

High Street and Castle Street,
Coffs Harbour, NSW 2450

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The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth

Coffs Harbour is about halfway between Brisbane and Sydney on the Pacific coast. It was called Australia’s most livable city due to a beautiful setting and near perfect climate and it provides a second home for celebrities like Sean Murray and Russell Crowe.

When the Tasma Theatre opened in 1937 it was the grandest building downtown. Designed in their trademark Art Deco style by architects Guy Crick and Bruce W. Furse, the Tasma Theatre offered big city luxury. Seating was for 226 in the Royal Lounge and 515 in the stalls.

The name was chosen by a contest with the winner getting a cash prize. The Tasma Theatre was the pride and joy of Jack Gerard and his partner Lawrence Penn. In the 1920’s Jack ran a garage servicing cars and bicycles and showed silent films in the Memorial Hall. A gifted cameraman he supplied footage for Movietone News including a famous scare when five lions escaped from a visiting circus. They were captured without incident.

7,000 people showed up for opening night of the Tasma Theatre when the film was “The Big Broadcast of 1937” with Jack Benny and the closing program was “After The Fox” with Peter Sellers and Victor Mature. A mall was built over the site, blocking the original corner.

Contributed by John Gleeson

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

johngleeson on April 8, 2015 at 3:34 pm

Many thanks to Terrie Beckhouse, Museum Coordinator, Coffs Harbour Regional Museum, and her staff for information and photos. Support your local library!

johngleeson on April 10, 2015 at 5:00 am

When the mall was built streets were changed. Castle Street no longer connects with High Street (renamed Harbour Drive) so the crossing where the Tasma was no longer exists.

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