About the Brolga Theatre

The Brolga Theatre is the entertainment heart of the Fraser Coast. 

Situated on the banks of the Mary River in  Maryborough, the Brolga is a first class theatre and conference venue, which attracts the finest international and national performers.  

The Brolga Theatre and Convention Centre is owned  and managed by the Fraser Coast Regional Council.

Less than an hour's flight from Brisbane to Hervey Bay (30 kilometres away) and a 2½ hour drive north on the Bruce Highway, the Brolga is one of regional Queensland's best theatre and convention centres.

National and international performers touring Australia and Queensland regularly perform at the theatre.  The venue also hosts regular conferences large and small, expos, trade shows, meetings, product launches, celebrations, awards dinners, school formals and weddings - the list is endless!

Features of the centre include:

  • a 900 seat main Auditorium with raked floor and comfortable lounge seating;
  • a 200 seat multi-purpose Federation Room with a flat-floor and the option of tiered seating, an innovative and exciting theatre space, suitable for exhibitions and the perfect spot for medium-sized conferences, dinners or receptions;
  • a spectacular glass framed Foyer with river views - seats 300 at table, suitable for cabarets, civic receptions, trade shows, school formals, dinners and more;
  • a Conference Room - perfect for intimate meetings, seminars and breakout space - catering for up to 20 persons; and
  • a Band Room - a small gathering area for rehearsals, dance warm-ups, break-outs or meetings.
  • a large terrace used for outdoor functions takes maximum advantage of the sweeping views of the city’s beautiful, historic Queens Park and the Mary River.
  • the River Stage - suitable for weddings and small performances with the audience on the Brolga lawn.

The Brolga's History

Opened in July 2000, this modern building sympathetically incorporates elements of the site’s industrial heritage.  

The site on which the Brolga Theatre stands has a history dating back to November 1881. Its story, however, began in 1865 when Scotsmen Andrew Wilson, James Bartholomew and Robert Hart formed a sawmilling company on the banks of the Mary River at Granville, a short distance downstream.

Two major disasters caused the timber mill to relocate to the site which is now home for the Brolga Theatre. Devastating floods covered the mill in February 1875 and claimed the life of James Bartholomew, and in 1881 it was totally destroyed by fire. Just over 50 years later it was destroyed by fire again. It was rebuilt on both occasions. Wilson Hart & Co Sawmill ceased operation in 1986 and the site was left vacant until the Brolga Theatre and Convention Centre was built.

The dream for a modern entertainment venue for the region started in 1989, around the same time performers were bypassing Maryborough due to poor acoustics at City Hall.

Following a huge community fundraising effort of $1million and with contributions from Council and the State and Federal Governments, a further $10 million dollars was raised to construct the theatre.

The external design of the Brolga Theatre building is simple, yet bold. It is conceived in the tradition of the large sheds which characterise Maryborough’s industrial heritage. A timber theme is reflected throughout the design. Timbers on the stairs and on the Foyer’s striking bar face speak of Maryborough’s timber heritage. 

Why the Brolga?

The dancing bird

The Brolga Theatre takes its name from the beautiful Australian bird known for its stately dancing displays. According to Aboriginal legend, Brolga was a beautiful girl who loved to dance. The evil magician changed her into a tall, graceful bird when she refused to marry him and from that day forth they have named the bird Brolga. These charming water birds are known to forage in the swamps and waterways of the region.

Wilson Hart Sawmill 1920

Wilson Hart Sawmill 1920s

Wilson Hart Sawmill 1938

Wilson Hart Sawmill 1938