Image: Natasha Newman

The Tasmanian Temperance Alliance commissioned architect Robert Flack Ricards to design a Temperance Hall adjacent to the Wesleyan Chapel in 1889.

It served to provide entertainment without serving alcohol as an alternative to hotels and was a venue for magic lantern shows and live acts. During the First World War it was a place for entertaining troops and later became known as the Bijou Theatre. In 1932 the theatre was redecorated in the latest Art Deco interior as Hobart’s first ‘talking picture theatre’ and renamed the Avalon featuring three shows daily and intermission live acts and occasional ‘movie balls’. As a picture theatre the Avalon remained at the forefront of technology with ‘Western Mirrorphonic’ sound and ‘Philips 70mm Widescreen’ during the 1960s.

Closing in 1976, it was then used for 40 years as a retail store and marketplace, and it has recently been rediscovered as a performance venue for Dark Mofo.

Address: 52 Melville St, Hobart

Building specs: Type: Theatre, Commissioned: 1889, Architect: Robert Flack Ricards


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