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Great Pop Groups, Blue Light Discos and More!

One of the most popular posts featured on the Adelaide Remember When Facebook page early last year concerned the Octagon and Shedley Theatres at Elizabeth.

It attracted thousands of views and likes and almost 500 comments, as people recalled their past experiences and reminisced about the early days of Elizabeth and the good times had there.

Photo from the City of Playford. The Octagon was designed to cater for any type of entertainment from stage shows, balls and cabarets to indoor sports.

Photo from the City of Playford. The Octagon was designed to cater for any type of entertainment from stage shows, balls and cabarets to indoor sports.

The City of Playfords website describes the theatres as ” officially opening on 21st August, 1965 by the Governor of South Australia, Sir Eric Bastyan.

They were designed by Geoffrey Shedley, chief Architect of the South Australian Housing Trust, and built by the Elizabeth City Council at a cost of approximately half a million dollars.

The final design resulted in two separate units, an intimate theatre seating 412, named The Shedley after its designer, and a stadium type theatre named The Octagon with a seating capacity of 1,422.

The Octagon was designed to cater for any type of entertainment from stage shows, balls and cabarets to indoor sports, exhibitions, cinema events, boxing and promotional activities. Its popularity over the year has been marked by the addition of events such as musical concerts, eight-ball championships, darts championships, wrestling, Bingo and community activities such as large presentations, public meetings and baby shows to mention a few”.

Hazel Clark recalled “being there in 66 & 67, saw the Bee Gees on their last performance before they left OZ. Their Aunt lived in Elizabeth East like me. Billy Thorpe, Ray Brown and the Whispers, MPD Ltd, Masters Apprentices the list goes on. My twins won first prize in the Elizabeth Baby competition in 1985 at the Octagon. Some good memories”!

Poster from 1973 of Ariel appearing at the Octagon Elizabeth

Poster from 1973 of Ariel appearing at the Octagon Elizabeth

Heather Snowden wrote of many fond memories of the building: “I attended quite a few Blue Light discos & some school functions there. I also remember singing there as part of the Combined Primary Schools choir. Good times”!

Many seemed mystified as to why The Octagon was demolished in 2001. Carolyn Hughes wrote “Probably the most stupid thing the powers that be did was to rip down the place. So many great innocent memories there with great bands and large enough to hold some terrific nights”. And this from Christine Dixon; “I remember the Octagon. For the life of me I can’t figure out why it was demolished. My family & I were regulars there”.

Jo Cooper contributed this information; “The entire complex was re-developed in 2005, the library is now on the site of the Octagon. The Shedley is still there (with the same signage in the hall area). Floorboards from the Octagon were re- sanded and also put in the hall area. Go have a look, it is a great building blending the old and new. I worked for playford council for 7 years during the redevelopment”.

The Shedley had been home to several local groups such as the Elizabeth Repertory Company, the Northern Light Theatre Company, Mirrabooka and recently the S.A. Stage Company.  It has also been the venue for productions by visiting groups and theatrical companies such as the Australian Dance Theatre, the Australian Elizabethan Theatre Trust and the South Australian Theatre Company.

What are some of your memories of the Octagon and Shedley Theatres at Elizabeth?


7 Responses to Great Pop Groups, Blue Light Discos and More!

  1. Peter Jones October 26, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

    I remember going to the Scout “Gang Shows” at The Shedley. Also if I remember correctly the old Police Station was across the road, out of sight on the right hand side of the above photo.

  2. Jim Dunn October 26, 2014 at 6:28 pm #

    I remember both.i did northern schools choral society in 1977 at The Shedley. I have been to the octagon a few times.
    For our TAFE graduation we used The Shedley again.
    I have no idea why they knocked The Octagon down. It was the community theatre and in my mind not replaced.

  3. Linda Staszynski nee Gliddon October 26, 2014 at 6:49 pm #

    As new migrants in 1965, I loved the Octagon. We saw so many big names, The Twilights, Johnny Broome and the Handles, The Cliffmores, MPD Ltd. Saturday night was THE night. I lived in Elizabeth Pk, near the Motel, easy walking distance. Such good days in Elizabeth then.

  4. Margaret October 26, 2014 at 9:36 pm #

    i used to go to the midnight dances when my dad would come and pick me up at 4am. I saw and danced to Billy Thorpe, Ronney Burnes, Normie Rowe. Five Sided Circle plus heaps more I can’t remember, I’m in my late 60’s now, those were the days. I remember being asked by neighbours son why was I there this particular might as he thought I was too old at 18 to be there, he was 15 lol.

    • JEFF May 6, 2017 at 11:49 pm #

      Do you remember a band by the name
      BLUES RAGS And HOLLERS Around the time the EASY BEATS , MPD etc where Playing there. I also lived at the park

  5. Helen October 28, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    My dad was responsible for the lighting at the Shedley many years ago and I remember going to concerts at the Octagon. I remember one of my favourite bands was ‘Hard Time Killing Floor’

    • elaine June 5, 2016 at 9:04 pm #

      hard time killing floor are having a reunion in june of this year. if youre interested i can give you details. the lead singer is my brother. elaine

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