A local’s take on the Art Deco era

If you’d asked me before this year what Art Deco was, I’d have said it was an architectural style and that Leeton had lots of Art Deco buildings, the main one being the Roxy Theatre.  If pushed, I might have said that 1920’s flapper fashion was/might also be Art Deco.

Leeton’s Roxy Community Theatre built in 1930

I did know, though, that I really wanted to help my old flatmate, Sues Vos, who is co-ordinating the 2019 (and beyond) Leeton Art Deco Festival.  I was keen to work with Sues and also saw it as an opportunity to get to know some locals as, even though I grew up in Leeton, I’d lived away for about 30 years and only moved back a couple of years ago.

I was surprised to learn that the Art Deco period is from 1910 to 1949.  That covers a LOT of history!  It means that as well as what I think of as the glitzy and glamorous Art Deco 1920’s, there was a lot of challenge – two world wars, the Great Depression and trying to recover from all of those.  People who lived during that time would have seen so much change and faced so many challenges.

I know of locals who in the 1940’s still lived in tents on farms – can you imagine that in our cold winters and hot summers?  I know of people who rode their bikes around 60 km from one small farming community to another to attend a dance – I imagine that would have made the night out even more precious and enjoyable.

My most exciting personal discovery is that my house in Maiden Avenue was built in 1946 so I’m claiming it as an Art Deco house even though there’s not any distinctive architecture!

If you love all things Art Deco or just want to know more about this era our festival is where you need to be this July!

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