A LARGE crowd was on hand on a hot Friday night in 1960 for the Trocadero fight night.
The fight nights were a popular pastime in Leeton in that era and a 12-year-old Brian Troy was there among the crowd with his older brother John.
The two normally went to the fights with their father, who had instilled a love for the sport in his two sons, but on this occasion the two boys were there by themselves.
As they waited for the next bout in the fly weight division, organisers announced that one of the fighters had failed to turn up to take on Tony Peacock in the next fight.
Among the chorus of disapproval from the crowd, Brian's brother John, approached the organisers and boldly declared "my brother Brian can fight him".
In a very short period of time, a very nervous, but determined Brian found himself in the ring waiting for the bell to start his first ever boxing bout.
While the Trocadero was being used for boxing on that night, the building had had a somewhat chequered past with a number of different identities.
The building that became known as the Trocadero was built in 1925 by Mr B. Governa, an Italian migrant who had a farm at Stanbridge.
The property consisted of two blocks at 18 and 20 Belah Street, with the building constructed at number 18.
It was opened on November 8 of that year and was known as "The Gaiety Theatre".
Mr Governa was a well-known local identity and its first purpose was a cabaret and wine saloon.
Following that it was used as a motion picture theatre and was also utilized to host other performances like concerts and dances from travelling companies.
In June 1927, under the entrepreneurship of Reg Hollis and Jack Bacon, roller skating was introduced and this was very popular for about two years.
The 1930s saw a falling off in patronage of the Gaiety, due mainly to the opening of the Roxy Theatre and the Cabaret Hall.
From 1925 to 1937 the Leeton Old Time Dance Club were holding weekly old-time dances at the RSL open air dance floor known as "The Glideaway".
These came to an abrupt halt when the RSL was destroyed by fire, and the old-time dances were then held at the Belah Street building from 1937 to 1940 and was known as "The Aussie Theatre" being leased by a Mr W.W. McEachern.
In May 1941 the property was purchased by a Mr H.J. Helson who also built a cottage on the adjacent unused land at 20 Belah Street.
The Aussie was used by him as a laundry and dry-cleaning works. It was later leased for the same purpose by "Renue Dry Cleaning Service" and was then occupied by "Ashtons Cordial Works" from September 1949 to June 1951.
In August 1953 the property comprising the cottage and the theatre was sold to Messrs R.J. Cafe Snr, R.J. Cafe Jnr and A.E.J. Cafe.
They subsequently put the property to various uses, including fruit packing, produce exchange, timber and joinery yard and roller skating amongst other things.
For a number of years there had been a call for a National Fitness Centre to be established in Leeton with the Leeton Shire Council rejecting the idea in 1949. In December 1956 a public meeting was held in Leeton to again discuss the idea, particularly as the Yanco National Fitness Centre had been established and was running successfully.
From that meeting a committee was formed which established the Leeton National Fitness Committee and they obtained the use of the building which was now back being known as the Trocadero.
In November 1958 the property was purchased from the Cafes by Messrs S.G. Lanham, J.E. Dooley and A.R. Hobson as trustees of National Fitness Committee.
In May 1941 the property was purchased by a Mr H.J. Helson.
The Trocadero was transformed into an indoor basketball court, albeit not regulation size, and with boxing and table tennis in the basement level. It served itself well in this form for a number of years but in the 1960s full sized basketball courts were built by the council in Parkview and eventually the basketball and the boxing ceased to be.
The building stood abandoned and fell into disrepair and on Christmas Eve in 1985 fire destroyed the building. So, how did a young Brian Troy go in that fight 61-years-ago?
After three rounds of quality boxing before an excited and raucous crowd, the match was declared a draw.
As was the tradition at that time, patrons showered the ring with money in appreciation of the effort of the two young boxers with the combatants each pocketing a handsome five pounds each as well as trophy for their pugilistic efforts.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Pumped up on adrenalin and emotion, Brian ran home to Parkview to wake his parents with the exciting news.
The reaction from his father was a little more subdued than he had hoped for and both he and John were banned from ever attending the fights again unaccompanied.
Despite offers from some locals to train Brian, his father would not permit him to box again and his record of one fight, one draw would remain his forever.
As for his opponent that night, Tony Peacock, he went onto to become the Riverina Champion is his weight division and is now a well-known harness racing driver and trainer in Victoria.
Acknowledgements: Brian Troy, Joe Burns, Luke Melidonis, Joy Young, The Murrumbidgee Irrigator, A Brief History of Leeton - A.E. Bowmaker, Trove.
Disclaimer: The information found in this article has come from a number of sources. The Leeton Family and Historical Society has taken every measure where possible to ensure accuracy and therefore cannot accept any responsibilities for inaccuracy or omissions.
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