‘I love that it’s a sport for women that’s about contact. I didn’t know that was an important thing to me until I started playing. Full contact sports like this where women are physically supporting one another, standing in the way of someone else, protecting them. It’s really wonderful. I’m really proud to be a part of it.’

What does that do for women?

‘Women are strong and we can protect one another. We can protect and defend ourselves. Derby’s not about violence. It’s a game about strategy. When I see two blockers protecting their jammer, I actually do get a bit teary. I get a bit emotional about it. It means a lot. I don’t want to paint Derby as a violent sport because it’s not. It’s about strategy.’

If you could describe Roller Derby as a person, how would you describe them?

‘I’d say they’re feisty and never say die but they’ve got a really big heart. They care about their friends but they’re dedicated and focused and they work hard.’

Do you think that ties in with Jackie O?

‘Yeah, I think it does. She’s an incredibly strong woman. She has amazing style. Derby is all about having your own style!’

How would you describe the partnership with the Inner West League and Young Henrys?

‘It’s just a really great opportunity for us to hook up with a crowd that know how to get the Inner West people together which is what we really want people to do as well . We just want people to understand what Derby is as a game and how much fun it is and come and support their local team.’

 

‘I grew up in an era in the 1980s where you’d leave the Sutherland Shire and come in to the city and see half a dozen bands on the way. Poker machines came in the 1990s and destroyed the music industry in Sydney. We’re here to revitalise it.

‘We’re protectors of our heritage so to speak. I personally think that it’s my obligation as an owner of the building to see it live on for the next generation and generations to come.

‘We’re in the process of looking at about four Australian companies that are interested in leasing it.’

Is there anything in particular that whoever gets the contract, you would like to see the do?

‘As long as they’re Australian and they keep it live entertainment here whether it’s theatre, Vaudeville or whatever.

‘Three stipulating points – the back outside wall will belong to the artist (who just completed his artwork today) for as long as he can paint and the other artists that have used that wall – they’re Australian. They have to use the painter that I’ve commissioned to paint the building and my electrician because he knows it inside out.

‘The huge ceiling lights took us about two months each to restore. In 1999 a hailstorm went through this place and did close to $700,000 worth of damage to everything. It was a swimming pool down here. We never really restored the lights properly – we just sort of temporarily restored them. We’ve spent so much money here now doing the restoration, we decided to spend some time on the lights. We got geniuses in plaster work and basically remoulded them, fixed them up and rewired them. They’re all LED now. That’s the only thing that’s changed in here simply because the first three on each side used to come down to the ground so you could change the globes and then they would be winched back up. We didn’t want them touched any more. If there’s loud music in here we don’t want them rattling and falling down. They’re an important part of the architecture in here.

‘The architect that built this place is responsible for around 2,000 buildings in Sydney. He built the Grace Bros Broadway building. The Hub falls in to the P&O style where the patron would come to the cinema and get ‘taken away’ on a boat. Hence the round circles at the top and the front. They’d come in here and they’d feel like they were going away on a cruise. People needed escapism so theatre was killing it back then.

‘I’m enjoying the work here. It’s our building so it’s a labour of love. I’ve been working on it for two years now. Why wouldn’t you do it up? It’s such a beautiful building.’