150th Anniversary of the Theatre RoyalPrint Page Print this page


Photographs supplied by John Huth

The plaque commemorates the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Theatre Royal in 1834.

In 1834 a consortium of Hobart Town’s business leaders was formed with the aim of establishing a permanent theatre for the rapidly expanding colony. The theatre was designed by Peter Degraves, founder of Cascade, Australia’s oldest brewery, and has walls of convict-carved stone. Built among the public houses, brothels, factories and tiny workers’ cottages of Wapping, the theatre opened in 1837.

Over the years, the Theatre Royal has been remodelled, refurbished and restored. The addition of the gallery in the 1850s, new decoration to the auditorium in the 1890s are just a few of the contributions that successive generations of Tasmanians have made to their theatre. Saved from demolition several times – most notably in the late 1940s when Sir Laurence Olivier was among the many to leap to its defence – the theatre has withstood a disastrous fire, public criticism and the rigours of age.

June 1984 was a low point in the theatre’s history.  A devastating fire destroyed much of the stage area and the front of the auditorium, and there was much smoke and water damage.  A fundraising appeal was launched to raise the $1 million needed to carry out repairs.  The money was raised and the theatre underwent major reconstruction and refurbishment, reopening in March 1986. Dubbed by Noel Coward “a dream of a theatre”, the Theatre Royal is Australia’s oldest working theatre and one of its most beautiful treasures.


Address:29 Campbell Street, Hobart, 7000
GPS Coordinates:Lat: -42.87974
Long: 147.330995
Note: GPS Coordinates are approximate.
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Monument Type:Plaque
Monument Theme:Culture


Actual Monument Dedication Date:Sunday 4th November, 1984
Front Inscription

This plaque commemorates the 150th anniversary of the foundation of the Theatre Royal 

Celebrated by the citizens of Hobart on 4th November 1984

Source: MA
Monument details supplied by Monument Australia - www.monumentaustralia.org.au