Starlight Ballroom

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Starlight Ballroom event, 1969

The Starlight Ballroom was a dance hall venue situated in Anglesea St in the late 1950s, through the 1960s, and into the early 1970s. The Starlight Ballroom was the only night venue in Hamilton for a number of years. Dances were held regularly on Saturday nights, between eight and midnight, with occasional Wednesday night events or on Sundays preceding a Monday holiday. The Starlight did not serve alcohol, offering only soft drinks.

Starlight Ballroom sign, found covered in building, 1991. Photo by Athene Jensen

Bands that played there initially were swing bands, including those of Johnny Corban, Andy Shearer, the George Vercoe Big Band, and Ray Sentch. Later, after the rise of rock 'n' roll, bands that regularly played there included The Satellites, who had a contract to play three nights a week there for two years between 1960 and 1962, Dynasty, The Mods, The Reataz and the Paragons. It was run for a number of years through the 1960s by Charlie Lea.

The hall itself was originally from Pirongia, and was moved to the Anglesea St site in 1921. The building as initially called The Alexandra, until entrepreneur Leo Beeson took over the lease in 1954, inserted a sprung floor, and opened it as the Starlight Ballroom. A dress code initially required males to wear a tie and jacket. The main competition for the venue when opened was the Winter Garden in Garden Place, and the Frankton Town Hall. The building was used as the Anglesea Market in the 1970s and 1980s, but progressively became run down. It was demolished around 1991.

Further Reading

  • Jensen, A.C. (2012) The Starlight Ballroom: A Documentary Drama from Conception to Production. Unpublished M.A. thesis, The University of Waikato [1]