TODAY on the 45th anniversary of the opening of the Orange Function Centre, many Orange residents will fondly recall the great times at Stomp City, one of the many dances held there, and the social dinner dances organised by the East Orange Sports and Social Club.
The building, originally called the Amoco Community Centre, was made possible through the vision of Orange builder Ernie Tilston who formed the East Orange Sports and Social Club.
John Tilston spent many hours of his youth at Stomp City.
“There was never any trouble - no fights and, of course, no alcohol but the place was always packed out when the bands came to town,” Mr Tilston said.
Headliners of the day including Little Patty, The Easybeats, Normie Rowe, Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, were among a string of high profile bands who played regular gigs at the Amoco Community Centre.
Romance blossomed for Marilyn Cantrill and Frank Hetherington who went on dates to the dances at Stomp City and later married.
Frank would walk from his home in Cemar Avenue to the top end of Anson Street, collect Marilyn and together they walked hand in hand to the Amoco centre.
When the show was over they would walk back to Marilyn’s house and Frank would walk back home.
“We did that in all seasons, even the winter, and only sometimes could I afford a taxi,” Frank said.
“It really was a great venue and we were so lucky in Orange because we got to see the cream of the Australian music scene at the time.”
The venue was always solidly booked every Friday night during the ball season.
Bachelor and spinster (B & S) balls, however, had a limited run at the centre after complaints of considerable damage.
Orange City Council took over the running of the entertainment venue in 1990 and it underwent a makeover that would see it used for job expos, the annual antique fair, weddings, theatre restaurants, church services, graduations, school concerts and speech days.
“There wasn’t a weekend when we didn’t have two or three things booked in,” said council’s former manager Neina Campbell.
“Orange is lucky to have such a diverse facility operating for 45 years and I believe we still need a large entertainment centre.”
Mrs Campbell says she would like to see another entertainment venue built in Orange.
“Perhaps behind the gallery and it could include rooms for hire and a ballroom or two,” she said..
l Share your fondest memories of your days attending events at the Orange Function Centre. Email email@example.com.