Star Village, Smith Street Mall, Darwin

Historical Sites and Heritage Locations

Named after the Star Theatre, the Star Village is significant to the social history of Darwin. The theatre was the second open-air theatre in Darwin and renowned for the many great movies screened there, including the infamous ‘western’ nights. Harold Snell bought the block in 1928 and built the theatre, which opened on 14 September 1929 with seating for 860 people, offices and a milk bar. He sold the theatre to Christina Gordon and sons in 1930. Tom Derreck Harris was the manager at the time and sometimes organised live entertainment. In 1941, Harris leased the theatre from the Gordons.
Like most other buildings in Darwin, the theatre was compulsorily acquired by the military during World War II and was not returned to the Gordons until 1951, although the public was allowed back to the theatre in 1946.
Harris was granted a lease over the building in 1952 and in 1958 installed air-conditioning and undertook some modernisation. The theatre was destroyed in Cyclone Tracy in 1974. Tom Harris Junior built the Star Arcade in 1980. The name is a reminder of the part the theatre played in the cultural life of Darwin for 45 years


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