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Redcliffe Rollerdrome

Updated: Dec 6, 2022

The Courier-Mail Tue 15 Nov 1938


Council Grants Lease

REDCLIFFE, Monday.— The Lands Department notified the Redcliffe Town Council today that 24p. of the beach opposite the Council Chambers had been gazetted a reserve under the council's control, so that a lease for 15 years, at £50 a year, could be given to Southport Recreations, Ltd, to erect a roller-skating rink. The building, estimated to cost £1500, is to become the council's property at the end of the lease. Alderman P. S. Frost said he thought these people were getting the lease too cheaply. They should be made to pay £50 a year rates as well as £50 rent. The Mayor (Alderman A. H. Lang don): We should stick to our agree ment. We agreed to £50 per year, and the company also will have to pay licence fees and charges for water and sanitary services. It is a good proposition from the council's point of view. Alderman A. Sampson said Redcliffe people were lucky to get an uptodate skating rink. . Other seaside resorts would be happy to accept the same terms. The council decided to instruct its solicitors to complete the lease in accordance with the council's requirements. It is expected that the skating rink will be completed by Christmas",

View of Redcliffe Parade from the jetty 1938. Showing the Council Chambers, the Police Station, Post Office and the construction of the Rollerdrome.

Photo from the Moreton Bay Library Collection:vRMPC-101\101611

The Rollerdrome was built by Alex Smith and opened in December 1938.

  • The Telegraph Saturday - 10th December 1938 - Page 10:


"Today Redcliffe made a forward step in solving the problem of how to spend leisure. The Redcliffe Rollerdrome was opened.

The Mayor (Alderman A. H. Langdon) officiated and with him was Mrs. Langdon. The Mayoress was presented with a pair of gold scissors and a manicure set. With the scissors she cut the ribbon to free the floor for roller-skating. Other visitors Included the aldermen and their wives, together with the town clerk (Mr. L. Lucas) and the council staff. Every Redcliffe public body was represented—the C.W.A., Redcliffe Traders Association, Chamber of Commerce, Woody Point, Clontarf, Scarborough, and Margate Progress Associations. Miss Billie Goldbraith, of New Zealand, Miss J. Harrington, and Mr. J. Stapleton, of Brisbane, gave wonderful exhibitions of skilful skating. A splendid breezy afternoon encouraged a large gathering of the general public, and the management (the Southport Recreation Co. and L. A. Dobson in conjunction) are to be complimented. The architects of the building, which has a skating floor area of 60 feet by 100 feet, were Messrs. Hall and Phillips, of Brisbane."

Sunday Mail - " Sunday 25th December 1938- Page 3

"REDCLIFFE In 10 years Redcliffe has not seen such crowds as thronged the Main Esplanade last night. Scarborough had similar numbers, and the extent of the 'canvas towns' has increased enormously. Both the Redcliffe to Petrie Service and the Hornibrook Highway buses have had to add to fleets which had been enlarged. In wealth of entertainment this is the brightest Christmas in history. While 500 skaters crowded the floor of the Rollerdrome last night, 2000 milled round the doorways. All shops report heavy sales. WOODY POINT The shark-proof pool at Clontarf was popular, and the ambulance carnival at Woody Point attracted a large crowd."

  • The Telegraph Monday 14th April 1941 Page 6 :

"Young women who are attending the fitness camp find skating at Redcliffe, a good exercise and a pleasant pastime.":

Mrs Morgan, Mrs Bassett, Mrs Dellitt and Mrs Symonds at Redcliffe Skating Rink selling soft drinks.1950.Photo: Jean Bassett - from the Moreton Bay Library Collection: RLPC-001\001028

Jack Burns ran the hire shop at the skating rink. Jack was Ethel Flanagan's husband.

Photo: Ethel Flanagan - from the Moreton Bay Library Collection: RLPC-001\001534

The Rollerdrome attracted professionals, including world champions such as Ethel Flanagan, regarded as the world’s greatest lady artistic roller skater in the ‘30s and ‘40s.

In the 1938 Australian Rollerskating Championships in Sydney, Ethel won the pairs title with her brother George. In 1940, Ethel toured New Zealand competing and giving exhibitions, and in 1947 was invited to tour the United States to compete and give exhibitions.

Paired skaters were just as exhilarating to watch. Performances by Jean Bassett and Ken Grice in the ‘40s and ‘50s, and in the ‘70s and ‘80s by sisters Tracey and Wendy Symons.

Ken Grice and Jean Bassett at the Redcliffe Rollerdrome.

Photo from the Moreton Bay Library Collection: RLPC-001\001046

Kay Langdon being coached by Ethel Flanagan.

From the Moreton Bay Library Collection:RLPC-001-001529

Ethel Flanagan with Joan in the doorway.1948.

From the Moreton Bay Library Collection: RLPC-000\000405

Ethel Flanagan with Joan and a group of girls at the entrance to the skating rink at Redcliffe in 1948.

Photo from the Moreton Bay Library Collection: RLPC-000\000406

Redcliffe Skating Team in 1949, on board the MV Wangawella travelling to New Zealand to compete in championships. Back Row: Ken Grice, Miriam Hawker, Des ?. Front Row: Shirley Baker, Jean Bassett, Ethel Burns (nee Flanagan), Norm Free.

Photo from the Moreton Bay Library Collection: RLPC-001\001045

Jean Bassett and Elma Dellitt at the Redcliffe Rollerdrome.

Photo from the Moreton Bay Library Collection: RLPC-001\001022

Skating trio. Ken Grice, Gloria Parkes and Lloyd Summers at the Redcliffe Skating Rink.

Photo from the Moreton Bay Library Collection: RLPC-001\001272

The Redcliffe Rollerdrome in 1950, with the canvas sides rolled up and people outside the building looking in.

Photo: Jean Bassett from the Moreton Bay Library Collection: RLPC-001\001031

It had canvas walls, allowing for breezy, open air skating during warm weather. Spectators stood around, enjoying the skater’s skill and colourful costumes.

March 26th 1969 advert in the Redcliffe Herald:

Rollerdrome c.1960s - from the Moreton Bay Library Collection: RLPC-000\000491

Photo c.1960s from the Moreton Bay Library Collection: RMPC-100\100702

Aerial view of the Redcliffe CBD. Rollerdrome is shown in right foreground.

Photo: Jim Fenwick from the Moreton Bay Library Collection: RLPC-000\000470

After almost 50 years of service, the Rollerdrome closed in 1985 to make way for the expansion of Anzac Park.

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