Woolloongabba Continentals

Woolloongabba Continentals

Stage Number: MBSH.03.01.78

Group: Southern

Local Study Area: West End-South Brisbane-North Wolloongabba

Epoch: Early 20th Century

Street Address: Woolloongabba Cricket Club, Stanley Street, Woolloongabba

Latitude & Longitude: -27.48638889,153.03825

Time Link: 1906

Map Link: 1906

Image Time Point: 1906

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Brisbane’s first permanent picture theatre, The Lyceum, opened in George Street in 1906 and its immediate success saw several more open in quick succession. The arrival of the cinema in Brisbane, however, did not herald the immediate demise of more traditional forms of entertainment, and the new art form was integrated with these to produce a hybrid – the ‘Continentals’. These shows blended old-style vaudeville, band concerts and movie screenings. The Continentals were started by E.J. Carroll (co-founder of ‘Birch, Carroll and Coyle’) who established an open-air picture circuit around the suburbs of Brisbane.

The first of these ‘Summer Night Continentals’ was held at the Woolloongabba Cricket Ground on a Wednesday night in September 1908. A crowd of 2,000 people were entertained by a popular balladeer, the Brisbane Concert Band, the screening of ‘biograph pictures’, and a fireworks display. The following Saturday Carroll presented a similar show at the Exhibition Grounds, and for the rest of the summer the Continentals were on twice a week, alternating between these two venues and attracting large crowds. By December a weekly Continental in Ipswich was being regularly attended by 3000 patrons, and it was also around this time that the first open-air entertainments in Dutton Park began.


Brisbane Courier, 30 September 1908, 5 October 1908, 2 December 1908.

Image Citations

Advertisement for the ‘Summer Night Continentals’, Woolloongabba. The Telegraph, 19 September 1908.

Map References

MLMS. 8 chain series 1904–1917—Brisbane. 8 chains to the inch. Cadastral map of Brisbane and Suburbs sheet 1. MLMS 8 Chain