Percy Tilse opened the Strand Theatre on the corner of Nebo Road and George Street on Friday, October 18, 1940. It was the first (by two weeks) of the suburban theatres (cinemas) in Mackay, the second being the Four Ways Theatre. The Strand was built by local builder William Guthrie, and its ornate interior and modern sound and projection equipment made it one of the most advanced suburban theatres in Queensland. The building was designed for to maximize the impact of its corner block. Designed in the style of streamline art deco The Strand theatre was constructed of brick and steel construction plaster Interior decoration. Special attention was paid to the selection of carpets chairs and draping which were designed as part of the general colour scheme. At the time of its construction there were three new theatres built-in Mackay the progress being made in in our Sugar City and the appetite for modern technology such as cinemas.

The architect of The Strand was Mr George Rae of Brisbane. In his early thirties he was one of Brisbane’s most successful young architects, Rae had established his own architectural practice in Brisbane in 1933. Rae designed a variety of buildings, he introduced new forms of architectural construction to Brisbane. He is most well-known for has deigns for picture theatres and residential flats. His more substantial purpose-designed flat buildings are amongst the most important of their type of their period in Brisbane.