Skating has long been a popular pastime in Elizabeth (South Australia). As early as 1959 it was realised that the need for further amenities became more urgent as the town grew rapidly. As a result of this the promoters of Youth Enterprises Ltd. Built what was at that time the most modern hall for skating in South Australia at a cost of approximately £16,000.
Opened on 3rd November 1959 as the Elizabeth Skating Rink, it was the largest hall of its type built in a single span being 140 ft. x 100 ft. Apart from the rink itself, it had cloakrooms, canteen ad a sitting out area for spectators. A maple timber was chosen for the floor and 300 pairs of “Ice-Flo” skates with boots attached were available for hire – the boots being fumigated after each session as a good hygiene measure. To avoid damage to the floor patrons who owned metal wheel skates could have them changed to wooden wheels at a moderate cost by the management.
The building was used for various purposes besides skating. Hundreds of young students sat their Intermediate and Leaving Certificate public examinations there and the Apex Club helped to construct the many desks needed. The Birthday Ball was held there for the first time in 1959 and continued to do so until the Octagon Theatre opened in 1965. On a wild winter’s night the hall was the venue of the first parish dinner of St. Theodore’s Church of England. A gale was blowing and the roof vibrated alarmingly. As Father Howell Witt went up the microphone at the top table, the end wall crashed down burying the table and everyone fled.
Extensive renovations were carried out in 1976 and the present building is very different from the early hall which nearly buried Father Witt. The wooden floor has been replaced by urethane-coated concrete, the wooden seats and walls by completely carpeted areas. The rink celebrated its 21st birthday in 1980. The World Roller Skating Championships were held there in 1977 when the Elizabeth roller hockey team won their event, and the State Championships were held there in 1980.
Local skaters have had many successes in world roller hockey championships and speed skating events, and the Elizabeth roller hockey team competed in world titles staged in Argentina and Spain in recent years.
Adelaide in the 70’s Roller skating ABC Adelaide Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
Published on Nov 16, 2014
A rare 1970’s inside view of the old Elizabeth Skating Rink. Elizabeth, South Australia 5112.
The 1975 movie Roller ball promised that in the not too distant future there would be no wars.
But there would be Roller ball.
Set in the year 2018 the violent international sport was played instead of rivals going to war to solve their disagreement.
The future came to the Elizabeth in 1978 and This Day Tonight was there to capture it.
Reporter Richard Lower ventured within the shag-pile carpeted walls of the Elizabeth skating rink to discover the roller skating craze.
Youngsters were hard at it practicing speed skating and roller hockey
Lower impressed his audience with the great news that South Australia had the second fastest team in the nation.
In fact five of our locals were part of the Aussie team traveling at breathtaking speeds of up to 40 and 50 miles per hour.
The locals were preparing to do us proud at the 1979 World Championships of Roller Skating in Argentina.
According to a turtleneck wearing roller-skating official competitive roller skating is a non-contact sport and there is no injury at all.
She confirmed for Lower that “you don’t have to be dangerous and it isn’t a blood sport”.
“as fast as they can go on their legs”.
That was enough to convince our fearless reporter, in his own turtle neck skivvy, to don some wheels for his first ever skate.
Lower wasn’t quite able to join the slipstream of the fit young speed skaters that dominated the stories footage.
Rather he enjoyed a wobbly “couples lap” around the suspended mirror ball with a middle aged chap propping up his elbow.
Elizabeth (South Australia)