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Ambassador's Theatre, Perth

Perth Ambassador's Theratre
Stanfield Holliday at the Ambassador's console

Perth Ambassadors

Perth Ambassadors



Name of institution Ambassador's Theatre
Type of institution Cinema
Street Address Hay Street
City Perth
State Western Australia
Postcode 6000
Country Australia
Name of building Ambassador's Theatre
Name of room Ambassador's Theatre
Dates of the building 1928
Architect’s and builder’s names Bohringer, Taylor and Johnson
Special architectural features The Ambassador’s theatre with a wide frontage in Hay Street, Perth was built for Union Theatres Ltd, opening on 29th September 1928.  In 1938 Union Theatres withdrew from participation in cinemas in Western Australia, and Greater Union did not make a return to that state until the 1970s. Hoyts Theatres Ltd took over the management of the Ambassador’s, selling the lease it had on Perth’s Regent theatre. Hoyts carried out some refurbishment, employing architect William Leighton (who had worked with the Bohringer firm) - he stripped “much of the flamboyant air from the interior”, and provided a more modern streetscape façade. The theatre finally closed on 4th February 1972 and was then demolished.
Special fittings The theatre was another in the “atmospheric style” with the theme of a Florentine garden, similar to but smaller than the Capitol theatre in Sydney, New South Wales. Parochial debates took place as to which was the better.
Other location information
Name of contact
Mailing Address
Other contact information
Previous organ(s)
Date of previous organ None
Detail of previous organ
Dates when key work has been undertaken
Dates of any moves that have taken place
Variations from original design of organ
Information on previous organ
Information about comparable instruments to previous organ
Present organ
Type of installation Front chambers
Case description
Placement in room
Builder's name Wurlitzer Co., Tonawanda, N.Y., USA.
Opus number 1902
Date of completion/installation 1928
Construction materials
Number of manuals Three (3)
Key compasses
Number of keys
Key material
Pedal compass
Number of pedals
Pedalboard type
Pedalboard material
Type of chests
Type of key action Electro-pneumatic
Type of stop action Electro-pneumatic
Console type Remote horse-shoe style stopkey console
Stop label material
Placement The console was on a hoist at the extreme left of the auditorium adjacent to the orchestra platform.
General design
Playing aids
Wind pressures
Stop list
Tuba Horn
Vox Humana
Brass Trumpet
Tibia Clausa

Orchestral Oboe

Oboe Horn

Brass Saxophone
Total number of stops
Total number of ranks 15 ranks extended
Total number of pipes
Dates when key work has been undertaken on current organ
Dates of any moves that have taken place to current organ Removed 1946 to Regent Theatre, Melbourne, and incorporated into 4 mamual organ reconstructed by Lancelot Smith.
Information on current organ When the Ambassador’s opened in 1928 it was equipped with WurliTzer theatre pipe organ, opus No. 1902, style 260, of 3 manuals and 15 ranks.
In all there were six style 260 WurliTzer organs came to be installed in Australia. The organ was opened by Les Waldron. Other organists who performed at the theatre included Jack Laing, Bernie Randall, Jimmie Miller , Reubert Hayes and Stanfield Holliday. 
In 1945 a disastrous fire gutted the prestigious Regent theatre in Melbourne, Victoria, completely destroying its 4 manual 21 ranks WurliTzer theatre organ (opus 2009). Hoyts reconstructed the Regent and removed the Ambassador’s organ, reinstalling it in the Regent with a rebuilt console and 4 added ranks from the Paramount theatre (Melbourne) WurliTzer opus 359, as an organ of 4 manuals and 19 ranks. The organ remained in the Regent until 1969 when it was sold.
The purchaser, organist Alan Tranter, placed the organ in storage and it has not been heard of again.
Comparable instruments to current organ
Current status
Assessment of organ
Other organs by this builder
Photographs Historical photograph of the organ console from the Australian Theatre Organs web site.
Photograps of the theatre exterior and stage from Theatre Organs under the Southern Cross.
Technical documents  Information about the theatre and organ from Rod Blackmore
General documents An informative article on the renown organist Les Waldron was written by John Fuhrmann in April 2011.
Supporting information
Document control Original entries J R Elms, OAM, Gazetteer of Western Australian Pipe Organs, 1971, 1999,2003 and 2004.
This entry D B Duncan 07 January 2009.
Additional article link added 22 May 2011.
Newspaper clip and photo of console sourced by Andrew Gardner 16 April 2020.