The Boulder Council commissioned Philip Goatcher to paint a theatre curtain for the Boulder Town Hall and is thought to be the last working Goatcher stage curtain of its kind in Australia.
The 6.25m x 8.45m curtain was hand-painted in 1908 by Goatcher, using water-soluble paints on an un-primed canvas. It was created as a drop canvas to complement and close the ‘picture frame’ stage of the Boulder Town Hall.
The curtain is in the trompe l’oeil (deceiving the eye) painting style, a precursor to modern realism with its lifelike perspectives giving the impression of dramatic three-dimensional settings.
Over the years the Goatcher Curtain was forgotten, as the hall and stage scenery was used less often.
In 1990 it was rediscovered by a local artist sifting through backstage props. The curtain was in a state of disrepair; dust, water leaks, vandalism, wear and tear had contributed to its poor condition.
In 1991 a preliminary conservation report was prepared and in 1994 a conservation report by a professional artist and restorer estimated the cost of restoration at about $224,000.
The City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder received funding from the National Estate grants program, as well as community fundraising through Boulder’s Hidden secrets, to undertake an extensive restoration of the curtain. The restoration was carried out in Sydney by International Conservation Services in 1997 and took six months to complete at the cost of almost $250,000.
The Goatcher Curtain is one of the City’s biggest tourist attractions.