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The Loons

Biography

The Loons has been an integral, significant and well-known part of the Lyttelton community for over a century. Built in 1905, the building housed a range of commercial premises through to 1944 including a grocery shop and the Loons garage. In 1944, the building was purchased by three watersiders and around that time the premises was converted to become the Waterside Workers Social Club known locally as ‘The Loons’.

With post-earthquake renovations completed in December 2020, the Loons has been transformed into a state of the art performance venue with facilities to match. The Loons caters for Theatre, Arts and Music to the people of Lyttelton and the wider Canterbury area.

The Loons Facebook

In 1951 during the watersiders lockout, the National government under Sidney Holland tried to seize assets of the watersiders and anybody who supported them.

The watersiders club was sold to a trust for the sum of £1 to prevent the seizure from the government, the Loons then acted as a soup kitchen to feed the striking watersiders.

After 1951 the Loons/Watersiders Club became the Lyttelton Working Men’s Club.

The name comes from the Loons motor garage owned by a gentleman named Mr Loon in the 1930s, legend has it he committed suicide up in the auditorium where his garage used to be and he still haunts the venue to this day.

I can vouch that I have heard some Erie things late at night when I have closed the venue such as clomping of heavy boots and mysterious triggers of alarms when I’ve been the only person there.

Alex Wright, Bar Manager The Loons.

Details

Also known as: Lyttelton Working Mens Club

Location: 16 Canterbury Street, Lyttelton

Current Status: Running!

Active as a live music venue: 2007 – 2011, 2021-2023

Bar Manager: Alex Wright

Bookings: info@theloons.org.nz

Website: http://www.theloons.org.nz/

Capacity: 300?

All-Ages: Yes

History

  • 1905: The Loons building is built at 16 Canterbury Street, Lyttelton. Originally a commercial premise and at one time a garage.
  • 1944: Building becomes home to the Water Side Workers Social Club, known locally as The Loons.
  • 2007: Building is leased to the Cabaret Club, becoming The Loons Theatre Company.
  • 2011: Heavily damaged in Canterbury Earthquakes
  • 2021: The Loons re-opens with major renovations

Contact Details and Links

2 thoughts on “The Loons”

  1. Hi I can provide a wee bit of additional history. In 1951 during the watersiders lockout, the National government under Sidney Holland tried to seize assets of the watersiders and anybody who supported them. The watersiders club was sold to a trust for the sum of £1 to prevent the seizure from the government, the Loons then acted as a soup kitchen to feed the striking watersiders. After 1951 the Loons/Watersiders Club became the Lyttelton Working Men’s Club. The name comes from the Loons motor garage owned by a gentleman named Mr Loon in the 1930s, legend has it he committed suicide up in the auditorium where his garage used to be and he still haunts the venue to this day. I can vouch that I have heard some Erie things late at night when I have closed the venue such as clomping of heavy boots and mysterious triggers of alarms when I’ve been the only person there.
    Alex Wright, Bar Manager The Loons.

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