This is a song from my performance at the Gulgong Folk Festival January 2012. Gulgong is a terrific little town whose glory days are long gone. The festival was a great success and a load of fun
The Prince of Wales Opera House began as a music hall, built from bush timber and bark, in the early 1870s.
The riches of the goldfields allowed an early impresario to engage some of the most famous performers of the era, and to employ an experienced manager. Before long a large weatherboard theatre was built, and named the Prince of Wales Opera House. Those times were captured by Henry Lawson ( the poet and short story writer who I have previously posted a couple of songs about here on Flyinshoes), whose first visit to any theatre was to see ’The Pirates of Penzance’ at the Prince of Wales Opera House. In The Last Review he recalled,
Rough-built theatres and stages where the world’s best actors trod,
Singers bringing reckless rovers nearer boyhood, home and God,
Paid in laughter, tears and nuggets in the drama fortune plays,
‘Tis the palmy days of Gulgong - Gulgong in the Roaring Days.
Opera House in the 1870's
Gulgong Opera House today
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