Townsville Soundshell

Townsville Soundshell, Dean Park
(image – NLA)

The Townsville Sound Shell was officially opened on Friday 5 December 1975 at 7.30pm by the Mayor of Townsville Max Hooper. The opening concert was compered by Lyle Hillway and featured the North Queensland Ballet, the Townsville Citizens band, Allen and Sandra Voss (organist and singer), Ian Logan (minstrel and banjo), Ronnie Burns as Guest Star and popular Australian Entertainer.

Owned and operated by the Townsville City Council, the Townsville Soundshell was situated at Dean Park only minutes from the heart of the city. It had a full range of facilities and professional services.
These services included:
Stage floodlights and area lighting for patrons
Full on stage power
Complete dressing room facilities accommodating from 1 to 30 people
Quick access from the stage to these dressing rooms
surrounding security fences
box office and booking agencies
public facilities
easy access for large commercial vehicles entering the enclosure
administrative services
ticket takers
a box office manager
cleaning staff.

A large grassed mound which gradually sloped 6 metres away from the stage and creating a fan shape of 120 degrees works well as the audience seating area. This mound allowed the maximum capacity of 4,000 people a complete view of the stage from any angle.

On the 15 Aug 1980 the Townsville Daily Bulletin reported that a new $60,000 tensioned fabric roof had been erected over the Soundshell stage the day before. The roof was developed from a study of soap bubbles.
Engineers David McCready and Bob Barrow, of Geodome Space Frames Pty Ltd, used a small wire frame dipped in detergent to determine the shape of the roof.
When supplied with the dimensions of the area to be covered – 700 square metres – the engineers made a wire frame to an accurate scale.
Using a special detergent which forms a bubbles that solidifies they made bubbles in the wire frame. Accurate data of the size, shape, and curves of the bubbles were then fed into a computer and the dimensions were scaled up and translated into terms which applied to fabric.
The method was used for two reasons. Bubbles always form a “minimum surface” between a given perimeter and bubble surfaces are always in total equilibrium as soap film shifts around until this is achieved. When designing a structure supported by tension it is important to have a shape in total equilibrium.
It was the first time this design technique had been used in Australia. Two cranes and a team of workmen began at 5.30am to hoist the fabric roof into place. The cranes lifted the big white sheet onto steel supports 15 metres high. At other points the fabric was fastened to ground footings using cables more than an inch thick.
By 8.30am the roof, which took 20 weeks to prepare, was erected

On the 14 July 2004 the demolition of the Soundshell had commenced to make way for a new free TCC carpark.

The Soundshell in South Townsville

The Band of the Grenadier Guards 1985 Tour

Cliff Richard appeared at the Soundshell on 16th March 1988 during an Australian Tour.

List of Soundshell Shows


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