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1959 Wynnum Fire at Star Picture Theatre kills 2 Firefighters

Most long time Baysiders would be aware that before the Coles was built, The Star Picture Theatre stood on the Tingal Road / Florence Street site.
The Star, built in 1915, was orginally an open-air theatre but was later built in. In it's heyday during the 1930's it enjoyed great success. Sadly on May 17th  1959, a fire started in a neighbouring shop, eventually spreading to the theatre and destroying it. Tragically two local firefighters died while fighting the blaze when the projection room collapsed and buried them.
Fire broke out in the Star Fish Shop in Florence Street Wynnum Central at approximately 0823hours.

In 40 minutes it had razed the fish shop, the adjoining Star Picture Theatre, a cafe in the theatre and the office of the Waterloo Bay Leader.
Two firefighters were killed instantly when the roof of the theatre collapsed and buried them under 15 feet of blazing debris.
Sub-Station Officer HERBERT LEES, 62 married of Camp Hill and Station Officer SYDNEY WILLIAM BROWN, 44 married of Wynnum Road Wynnum gave the ultimate sacrifice.

SSO Lees was in control of the Wynnum Fire Brigade at the fire.
SO Brown was off duty and had driven from home to assist with the fire.

SO Brown & SSO Lees were standing in the theatre foyer playing water on the fire when a tremendous noise was heard and the two firefighters were buried under a blaze of burning debris.
C/O Healy at the time said Firemen's life was always a dangerous one, and few people realised the great risks involved. The fate of SSO Lees and SO Brown serves as a reminder not only were these two men Hero's in their own right, but so to are all members of the Metropolitian Fire Brigade, as it was then named, who devoted their lives to the protection of others.
In the early 1960's Coles established their first Queensland supermarket on this site, and it has been servicing and supporting the local community ever since. The refurbishment was carried out by Hutchinson Builders, who own the building, and a business that began locally in the Bayside.

The mural that has been created on the Florence Street side of the building is a wonderful tribute to the history of the site. As is the plaque to the left of the main entrance, which honours the memory of the firefighters that perished while trying to save the Star Picture Theatre.
To view the images taken on this Memorial Day 17th May 2009, click here >>>> WYNNUM