The Bowraville Theatre was built in 1940 and like many -picture shows- in country towns, was at the hub of the social activity on a Saturday night for a number of years. In the 1960’s the building was given a second lease of life, as “the Remnant Basket.” It went through several changes over a number of years until eventually it fell into disrepair.
In 2000, local identity, Rob Turnell, interested in the community and in various fields of art, saw the need for a live performance venue in the area. Rob had approached the owners of the Remnant Basket several years earlier with the
request that should they ever wish to sell, they give him a shout. Rob, together with several other community members built awareness in the community and a public meeting was held in the foyer of the Theatre. Over 100 people attended the meeting. They voted unanimously to form a group with the aim of restoring the Theatre and providing a venue for cultural activities.
The Bowraville Arts Council was established. One of its first projects was to set up a task force to plan the purchase and
restoration of the building. It was purchased, in the name of the Nambucca Shire Council, in October 2001, and restoration
began. Since that time the Bowraville Arts Council members have raised around $650,000. This includes grants from the Commonwealth, State and Local Governments, plus fundraising, from social events, shows, raffles and the like. Members and friends from the town have also contributed thousands of dollars in unpaid labour to achieve the impressive restoration.
On Friday 29 August 2003, the Bowraville Theatre re-opened its doors. The indigenous community held a smoking ceremony and performed a welcome dance. It was an event celebrated by the whole town and since then, the Theatre has been the venue for a remarkable variety of film and stage performances.