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film commented about Kyneton Town Hall on Mar 26, 2020 at 4:24 pm

Kyneton Shire Hall 141 Mollison Street, Kyneton, VIC.

Kyneton Shire Hall Located at 129 Mollison Street, the Kyneton Shire Hall is recognised as one of the most substantial Shire Halls in Victoria. It was built in 1878-1879 and added to in 1929. The Heritage Register records that “The principal elevation of the Shire Hall is significant for the unusual architectural synthesis of elements of the first stage designed by the important architect William Pritchard, and the second stage designed by theatre and civic hall specalists Richardson and Wood some fifty years later. Both designs are characteristic of their individual eras while forming an architecturally unified whole.


The 1929 internal alterations which were designed to provide a combined picture theatre/hall are less sympathetic to the original than the exterior works, but are an important manifestation of the recognition of the desire of communities to adapt to the growing popularity of the cinema in the 1920s – Contributed by Greg Lynch –

film commented about St. George's Theatre on Mar 23, 2020 at 10:14 pm

St. George’s Theatre 34 Birmingham Street, Yarraville, VIC

Statement of Significance –

The former St Georges Theatre is significant to the City of Maribyrnong because: – its creation was heralded with much enthusiasm by the community and its leaders and has been a major social gathering place within the City over a long period ( Criterion A4, G1); – it was the setting for expression of dissent to conscription in the World War One era plus other events such as bitter conflict among the City’s youth ( Criterion A4); – its upper facade shows great architectural invention, using the Romanesque revival (Criterion F1); and – it is a prominent landmark within the Yarraville railway precinct, relating closely with much of the adjacent significant architecture, but identifiable as a public auditorium among the commercial and transport structures nearby which make up the precinct – Contributed by Greg Lynch –

film commented about Kingscote Public Hall on Mar 23, 2020 at 7:27 pm

Kingscote Public Hall 43 Dauncey Street, Kingscote, SA

HISTORY AND DESCRIPTION: The District Council was first proclaimed on 5th January 1888 and the meeting took place in the Queenscliffe Hotel. The original Council Chambers were constructed in 1898 with meetings up until this time held at the Hotel. On 26 October

1903, the name of the town of Queenscliffe was changed to Kingscote. In 1912 a larger hall was erected behind the original building. The two storey building facing Dauncey Street and incorporating two shopfronts, which was constructed in 1955, is the work of Adelaide architect and contractors Walter D Cowell of William M Essery and Sons Pty Ltd.The additions incorporated the earlier hall on the site. Internally, the complex retains much of its original detailing.

There are important items of local art in the building, including the mural displayed in the foyer which was designed and embroidered by Kangaroo Island CWA members. In the main hall is a second mural designed by Ben Gerdsen and crafted by the Kangaroo Island Spinners and Weavers. Prints on the stair well depict The Investigator and Le Geographe. The building continues to provide a focal civic and cultural function within Kingscote – Contributed by Greg Lynch –

film commented about Wittenoom Theatre Gardens on Feb 12, 2020 at 2:18 pm

Wittenoom Theatre Gardens 3rd Avenue and King Street, Wittenoom, WA – PHOTO 1949 Tom Whiting.

The first films in Wittenoom were screened for the mine workers and their families before 1947, in the 16mm format and were free. The location was a site in the gorge. An iron bio box housed the projectors, and the patrons sat on tin drums or packing cases. A stage was mounted on drums with steps at one side and the screen was placed behind and above the stage. Screenings here went on for some years, at least to 1949.

Pioneering Times

Utilizing only one projector, Charlie Smith continued regular 16mm film screenings on the site until the theatre was later erected. This was on the east corner of the junction of King and Third Streets. According to old tales there were many times when the spool ran out, Charlie had to be collected from the Hotel down the street to continue the screening – Contributed by Greg Lynch –

film commented about Times Cinema on Jan 17, 2020 at 1:48 pm

The Times Newsreel Theatrette was located in the basement of the Odeon Theatre @ 283 Bourke Street, Melbourne. It was the Ist Newsreel Theatrette in Victoria.

NEWSREEL THEATRETTES* These were scattered around central Melbourne, and first appeared in 1932. Most were below street level.These establishments screened continuous newsreels from Movietone, Universal & Cinesound, along with cartoons, Pete Smith & Three Stooge comedy’s – to name a few . There were no intermissions and it was possible to sit there all day! – Contributed by Greg Lynch –

film commented about 1946 on Jan 4, 2020 at 7:16 pm

Ascot Theatre and Gardens 33 Great Eastern Highway, Rivervale, WA

One shilling would buy a ticket, with sixpence left over to buy a Dixi Cup.

During the middle part of the 1940’s, my dad returned from the war and we moved as a family to Rivervale WA, a suburb of Perth. Food rationing coupons were still being enforced, which meant clothing, tea, sugar, butter and meat were limited to the number of coupons you had on hand. Butter was limited to 1 lb per household per fortnight, and for most of the war years there was a shortage of quality meat, so for the bulk of the time we ate offal, such as lambs fry, tripe and brains, with sago or tapioca pudding for desert. Rabbit fare was a big highlight for Sunday lunch. Rationing for tea and butter didn’t finish until June 1950. Money was tight back then, and there wasn’t a lot left over for extras, such as visits to the Rivervale picture theatre.

From an early age I had an interest in anything to do with cinema, and we were not long settled when I discovered the local flea house (that’s the Ascot Theatre located on the right of the Great Eastern Highway Rivervale, as you proceed towards Belmont). In my young life a visit to the flicks was always a much looked forward to event, and a major distraction from the social problems that were around us. Even walking by the theatre and checking out the coming attraction posters was a simple enjoyment. The Ascot during the 40’s was indeed a flea house, however in retrospect I use the term with much affection. The building had pretensions of Art Deco, but once you walked through the door all bets were off, as it was really only a dressed up country hall. Perth in the 40’s was still a village with approx 250 thousand people, and Rivervale a bustling, but still pioneering suburb. The front stalls were equipped with wooden benches without backs, while the ceiling featured exposed beams which were curiously decorated with fading streamers, or bunting which fluttered in the projection beam when ever a patron entered or left the theatre.

During the winter of 48 and after a lot of pestering, dad took me to a Friday cartoons & featurette night, (admission for me was one shilling) which included an episode of the Columbia Pictures, Sam Katzman produced, 15-part black-and-white serial “Superman” which starred Kirk Alyn as “The Man of Steel”. Later I was to learn that this was the first live action appearance of Superman on film. Some time during 1948 an open air theatre was built along side the existing cinema with seating for 300, thus becoming “The Ascot Theatre & Gardens”. The term gardens were a stretch as there was very little greenery. The theatre walls and elevated bio box were made from corrugated galvanised iron and A/C sheeting. The colour scheme was yellow with green trimming. On the plus side the sight-lines were excellent and the step down canvas seating always popular with the patrons. The screen was made of flat tin sheeting and was erected with it’s back facing the highway. Of interest the painted (flat black) screen masking featured rounded corners. It was a pleasure to sit under the stars on a hot summers night in the comforting bosom of the new open air gardens. On one such night Perth were having power problems and electricity was being rationed. In this case the power was on for one hour, then browned out for half an hour. So there we sat like lemmings watching the 1946 Monogram Pictures production “The Shadow Returns” in installments, while the power company played musical chairs with our entertainment. I can’t imagine today’s theatre audience accepting this for a micro second.

Later in life and with a lot more savvy I looked into the nut and bolts of the Rivervale Ascot. The Ascot Theatre began as a public hall, opening 22 February 1919. The local Rivervale community and the prominent Newey family raised the funds to build it. Films were shown from the beginning mixed with public events. As time progressed the local committee running the hall ran into debt, and the property was sold and used for a variety of purposes, including a billiard saloon. After World War 2. the hall reverted back for use as a cinema with seating for 250. For many years it was the Belmont district’s only dedicated theatre. In the main the theatre and gardens were operated by R. R. Perrie, who over the decades ran a circuit of theatres in the southern suburbs. This included Armadale Hall & Gardens, Gosnells Hall & Gardens, Queens Park Hall & Gardens and Bayswater Hall & Gardens . R. R. Perrie was a talented visionary and showman, with extensive managerial experience at the prestigious “Prince of Wales” (Perth City) and “Hoyts New Regent” (Perth City)

By 1959 the television juggernaut had began with the launching of TVW-7 Perth, and the resulting devastation of our cinema audience. The Ascot Theatre and Gardens survived longer than most, however were forced to close in 1966. And now after a lifetime of working in the Cinema/Motion Picture Industry this writer looks back with warm appreciation to the Golden Era, and know we have lost something very special with the passing of our suburban Picture Palaces and unique cinemas, such as the humble Ascot Theatre and Gardens in Rivervale WA. …Greg Lynch –

film commented about Skyline Drive-In on Jan 1, 2020 at 9:00 pm

Wodonga Historical Society Inc
· October 26, 2018 ·

Wodonga Skyline Drive-in. Opened 1956, closed 1984. South-west corner of Melrose Drive and Melbourne Road. Hence the name Roadshow Drive. The Cumberland Argus, 28 Nov 1956 had the following report:

A drive-in theatre at Wodonga (Hume Highway), has a supporting structure of round poles for its gigantic screen. The screen is of hard-board on a timber frame, and is roughly 84 feet wide by do feet high. It is supported by six poles rising 65 feet clear of the ground, and braced by six shorter buttress poles. The poles, of a durable species, came from the north coast of N.S.W. The architects gave the following reasons for choosing the poles: —

(a) The poles give a ‘cleaner’ structure than a braced steel frame. (b) The cost of the structure was about 15 per cent, less than that of a steel frame. © Poles were available at a nearby depot at the time. The tops of the poles and exposed timber of the screen have been painted dark brown, while the bases of the poles have been painted white to emphasize their position in the restaurant built beneath the screen. This building is mainly lined and covered with vertical cypress pine boards, dressed and clear finished. Round messmate stringy bark poles have been, used by the architect for the screen at another drive-in theatre at Ballarat, Victoria, for the same owners. Contributed by Greg Lynch

film commented about Esplanade Picture Gardens on Nov 22, 2019 at 5:39 pm

Esplande Picture Gardens – The Esplande & William Street, Perth, WA

In 1908, King’s Picture Gardens in William Street became the first premises in Perth designed and built exclusively for the presentation of moving pictures, before becoming Spencer’s Esplanade Gardens in 1911, which combined films with boxing events. This site was later redeveloped to become the Capitol theatre and the Temple Court buildings housing the Embassy Ballroom at 2-10 William Street, Perth – Contributed by Greg Lynch –

film commented about Ambassadors auditorium on Nov 18, 2019 at 6:38 pm

The interior of the Ambassadors Theatre, Perth. PHOTO: The atmospheric interior of the Ambassador’s Theatre, with a sky-painted ceiling, when it opened in 1929. (Supplied: State Library of Western Australia –

film commented about Century Theatre and Gardens on Nov 16, 2019 at 6:13 pm

Century Theatre and Gardens Kent Street, Rockingham Beach, WA


History Rockingham after WWII, regained it’s popularity as a tourist destination and development increased, including new recreational facilities, for both residents and holiday makers alike. Outdoor Picture Theatres were popular in the 1930’s through to the 1950’s. The Cabaret which also known as the Jazz Hall was built to the south of the Rockingham Hotel in 1920. It was first used as a dance hall by licensees, the Harrisons and Griggs and then became the venue for moving picutres in Rockingham. A projection box was built outside the hall to the south side, with picture images projected through a hole in the wall onto the screen installed in the hall. The patrons sat uncomfortably in old wrought iron framed padded seats, which were later replaced with deck chairs.

Film nights were held every Saturday throughout the year and every night during the holidays when there were many visitors in town. Throughout the 1930’s and 1940’s Syd hart and his wife ran the Rockingham Pictures. It was taken over by McGrath who has placed billboards and banners around the hall to advertise films showed at the theatre. In 1940, Jack Bidstrup who leased Mandogalup Hall in Safety Bay, used it as a picture theatre named Bay View Theatre. It showed films in opposition to the Theatre in Rockingham, and both occasionally showed the same films by swapping reels every half time.

In 1944, Harry Delevale took over Rockingham Hotel and built an open air theatre next to the hotel where the tennis courts were located. In the late 1940’s, an open air theatre was built a few blocks south towards Railway Terrace on a site sloping towards the screen at seaward end. It was less sheltered and patrons were watching films in the cold during winter nights. In the 1950’s, a purpose built theatre called the “Century Gardens” was constructed st the corner of Railway terrace and Kent Street. It was managed by Jack and Maureen Bidstrup who were also managing the Bay View Theatre at that time. A few years later, the Jazz Hall was demolished to make way for new shops – Contributed by Greg Lynch –

film commented about Rink Theatre on Nov 5, 2019 at 12:38 pm

RINK THEATRE – Queen Street and Pasture Street, Pingelly, WA

Peter Narducci Historian shared on line – November 11, 2013

Henry Ernest Lambert, known as Ernie Lambert, married in 1906, and moved to Pingelly, where he ran the aerated waters company in Queen St, close to the south-west corner of the intersection of Queen and Pasture Sts. In about 1909 he built the Rink on the south side of this, in Queen St – a large tin shed with a flat concrete floor and a high roof which allowed for upstairs seating. Lambert installed electric power to his aerated waters plant, and then to the nearby hotel, and in 1911 he won the power concession for the town and built the power house. He was soon showing pictures at the Rink two nights a week, after finding that the Council were unwilling to give him a lease on the Town Hall for Saturday nights.

Canvas deckchairs

The rink was still primarily used for skating, and on picture nights patrons were seated on canvas deckchairs. The bio-box was located on the balcony, which also housed the most coveted seats. During Show Week, they would take out the side wall of the Rink and extend the seating outside: people would watch through the side wall, allowing them to increase seating by 500, even if only for two nights a year.

Films at the Rink weekly

Ernie Lambert moved to Albany in 1919, leaving the power house in the care of a manager. After several unsatisfactory years, Harry Harding took on the job and stayed there for 28 years, from 1926 to 1954. During his years there, the Rink and the power house were enclosed, stone buildings, and in front of them were shops, used by Harding as an electrical store and workshop. He continued screening pictures in the Rink, except when he leased it to other operators, such as Star Entertainments who presented films at the Rink weekly in the forties.


The buildings were completely demolished and the Police Station and house now stands on the site – Contributed by Greg Lynch –

film commented about Renown Theatre on Nov 4, 2019 at 7:01 am

THE GRAND OPENING OF THE THEATRE RENOWN – As reported in The Swan Express (Midland Junction, WA) – Fri 15 Apr 1927

Tuesday evening the new picture theatre in Midland Junction was the center of interest, and the crowd waiting admittance was at once apparent to anyone entering the town. Happily for the enterprising proprietors the theatre was ready for the night of opening, the only unfinished portion being part of the granolithic footpath. Next week we hope to publish architectural details. A programme was given worthy of the occasion, and the large audience expressed their appreciation by applause, especially during the turn of the Specialty Four. The opening ceremony was performed by the Hon. Dr. Athelstan Saw, M.L.C., who was introduced by the Mayor of Midland Junction (Mr W R. Crosbie). The Mayor remarked that the Municipality of Midland Junction should be congratulated on having such a fine theatre. He commended Messrs. A. Herbert and G. G Trefoy on their enterprise, and on their behalf thanked the splendid audience for their patronage.

Dr. Saw also extended congratulations for the magnificent theatre, which would give much instruction and pleasure to (the inhabitants off the town. It was a great thing to possess a theatre of this kind in the town, because it would be of considerable convenience and advantage, for it would obviate the necessity of going to large cent res for amusement. It was only about twenty years since the first picture theatre had been opened in Perth. At first those who considered themselves wiseacres thought picture theatres would not last for any length of time, but they had Increased their hold on the people, and contributed to their amusement and education. He had very much pleasure In declaring the theatre open, and hoped it would contribute to the prosperity. and enjoyment of the people of Midland Junetlon. – Contributed by Greg Lynch –

film commented about Oriana Theatre on Oct 31, 2019 at 3:23 pm

Oriana Theatre 177 High Street, Fremantle, WA


In 1937 a local company, Hoyts (Fremantle) Pty Ltd (formed by local businessmen and Hoyts Theatres Limited), proposed to construct a picture theatre at the corner of High Street and Queen Street, Fremantle. The cinema was estimated to cost ₤20,000 and seat 1,300 persons. The site was previously occupied by the Rose and Crown Hotel which was built in 1830, although in the late 1870s it was used as a school, a private dwelling and lodging rooms. The architects were H. Vivian Taylor and Soilleux of Melbourne, who designed the Windsor Theatre in Windsor, the Padua Theatre in Brunswick and the Plaza Theatre in Perth. The cinema, Hoyts Fremantle, was officially opened by the acting Mayor of Fremantle, Cr Stevens on Thursday 4 August 1938. The first film shown at the cinema was Walt Disney Productions' “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and Love on a Budget, starring Shirley Temple.

The cinema, due to the acutely angled intersection on which the site was situated upon, created a visually striking design. The entrance foyer, lounge and stairways were unusual in their spherical design. The cinema featured a “floating” screen, a soundproof “crying room”, to allow parents with crying babies to watch the movies and a “powder bar” in the women’s lounge. It was also unique in that it used ducted ventilation rather than air conditioning.

The cinema remained under the management of Hoyts (Fremantle) Pty Ltd until the 1961 when it was bought by a consortium of stakeholders including Goldfields Pictures and City Theatres (owned by TVW). This was when it was given the name Oriana Cinema. In 1967 the cinema was renovated reducing the seating capacity to approximately 1,000 and in May 1968 a new 70mm screen was installed. The last screening at the cinema occurred on 4 December 1971

The demolition was a speedy affair brought about by plans to widen High Street, and despite protest by community groups was effected within four weeks, in March 1972. The building built in its place is set back from the road considerably, with respect to its neighbour the Victoria Hall, as the road-widening plans never did come to fruition.

Following the demolition of the cinema, a series of menswear shops (1972: Walsh’s Men’s Wear; June 1979: Geoffrey Bruce Men’s Clothier filled the new building, which as of 2012 houses La Tropicana Café, Magpie Books, Raine and Horne Real Estate Agency, Potters House Christian church, and ITP Tax Agents – Source Wikipedia – Contributed by Greg Lynch –

film commented about Orion Theatre on Oct 30, 2019 at 3:37 pm

Orion Theatre 159 Beamish Street, Sydney, NSW

Photo Source Barry Sharp. A Pictorial history of Sydney’s suburban cinemas. Volume 1. Strawberry Hills, NSW: Barry Sharp, 1982, p 22-23 – Contributed by Greg Lynch –

film commented about Orion Theatre on Oct 30, 2019 at 3:33 pm

Orion Theatre 159 Beamish Street, Sydney, NSW 2194

Campsie Orion Theatre

The Campsie Orion Theatre had seating for 999 persons and boasted a long wide foyer, elegant appointments and sparkling mirrors. The Campsie Orion was independently operated and in 1949 was given a face lift.

The stalls had a parabolic floor and a deep exaggerated curve which allowed unrestricted vision from all parts of this area. With concealed auditorium lights and colorful red, blue and silver stage curtain, it was indeed an impressive house – without doubt one of the best in the suburban area. The Orion was taken over by Greater Union in 1953 and operated on a restricted policy, screening only Fridays and Saturdays for a period before closing in 1959.

Canterbury Council Purchases the Building Canterbury Council purchased the building in 1964 with the view to converting it to a public hall – Canterbury Town Hall, located on Canterbury Road, Canterbury, had been demolished that same year. Between 1959 and 1984 the Campsie Orion Theatre building served as a community market, public meeting place, theatre rehearsal venue and migrant neighborhood centre.

Orion Centre During 1984 Council began extensive restoration work on the building with the view of using it as a multi-purpose community function centre. Restoration work in the main hall brought the building back to its former Art Deco grandeur. The additional building work carried out by Canterbury Council provided a stage with the impressive dimensions of 12 by 18 metres, and, on a lower level, dressing rooms and storage facilities. The main hall now provided seating for 650 persons. The mezzanine and foyer areas were made available for smaller functions. After the Campsie Orion Theatre building was restored by Canterbury Council, it was renamed the Orion Function Centre but is generally referred to as the Orion Centre.

Source Sharp, Barry. A Pictorial history of Sydney’s suburban cinemas. Volume 1. Strawberry Hills, NSW: Barry Sharp, 1982, p 22-23 – Contributed by Greg Lynch –

film commented about Koorda Drive-In on Oct 27, 2019 at 8:47 pm

Koorda Drive-In Aitken Road and Orchard Street, Koorda, WA – UPDATE #

For the sake of history – Here are the original Exhibitors..

The theatre was opened by C.P.Baker of Perth in October 1965. During a later period W.J. Weyworth of Koorda was the operator. Then in 1982 the theatre was taken over by T.Wilmot of Merredin, who ran the drive-in until it’s closure in 1983. The theatre was to sit dark till it was re-opened in 1987 – Contributed by Greg Lynch –

film commented about York Drive-In on Oct 27, 2019 at 6:18 pm

York Drive-In Theatre – Wheeler Street and Avon Terrace, York, WA – UP-DATE #

A capacity of less than one hundred cars

The drive-in theatre at York had a capacity of less than one hundred cars, and opened on Fri 16 February 1968 with “Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines”. The original Exhibitor was Ted Rainch. It was later taken over by J.H.Rogers. The area was one of the earliest to receive television (both from Perth and local), so the drive-in became one of the first to close, approx sometime during the late 70’s – Contributed by Greg Lynch –

film commented about Koorda Drive-In on Oct 20, 2019 at 4:20 pm

Koorda Drive-In Aitken Road and Orchard Street, Koorda, WA

As one of only three left in in Western Australia, the Koorda Drive In has recently been given a ‘retro’ renovation in the cafe area, and a brand new digital system has been installed to enhance the picture quality.

With two new release movies shown every screening, the Koorda Drive In is truly a unique and memorable experience.

The Koorda Drive-In Outdoor Cinema was built in 1965. The Koorda Drive-In was one of many built in the 50s and 60s and there were over 80 throughout Western Australia during their peak. Today Koorda is one of only three Drive In’s is still operating in the state.

​The Koorda Drive-In has a capacity of approximately 110 cars and still uses the original Westrex NTS RCA in car speakers, although FM radio transmission has been added. The FM radio transmission sound system is of superior digital quality.

The original Simplex projectors (manufactured/built in 1929) are still operational, and one is now housed in the diner downstairs for public viewing, these projectors are one of the oldest operating machines in Australia. The sound-heads are the original Westrex type and date back to 1927 when “talkies” were introduced.

The sound system is still valve technology through some of the original Westrex, RCA & NTS speakers which hang on the car windows as in the past but a digital FM transmitter has been installed to provide superior sound through the modern car radio systems.

In February 2015, Koorda converted to the newer digital system which offers a clearer picture and is far more user friendly. Photo & article courtesy of Australia’s Golden Outback web-site – – Contributed by Greg Lynch –

film commented about Sunshine Theatre on Oct 19, 2019 at 7:01 pm

Exhibitors through the years were…

1925 – 1953 : Exhibitor : Sunshine Pictures Pty Ltd
1931 – 1966 : Exhibitor : Kirby’s Theatres Pty Ltd

Sold – During 1966 the theatre was sold to Nikos & Demetrios Lazogas who pursued a Greek screening policy, mainly of family & comedy product they had purchased.

Comment : Between 1962 & 1968 it is believed that The Sunshine Theatre followed a policy of running Greek Motion Pictures. There is evidence that over the remaining years that Reg Boulter / R Penny & Grove Bros were exhibitors at The Sunshine Theatre.

Melbourne is home to one of the largest Greek diaspora communities in the world as well as being the city with the largest Greek-speaking population outside Greece. According to the 2001 Australian census, Melbourne has the largest Greek Australian population in Australia (151,785 or around 47%), and the largest Greek population of any city in the World, outside of Greece – Contributed by Greg Lynch –

film commented about Sunshine Theatre on Oct 17, 2019 at 5:20 pm

Sunshine Theatre 128 Hampshire Road, Sunshine Victoria

Physical Description Description today.

This is a Moderne style, one and two-storey, former theatre, sited opposite the Masonic Hall in the former civic and social centre of Sunshine. The street facade has a streamlined tiered treatment with curved corners and projecting fins, all executed in moulded cement. The projection booth, set back in the upper level, sits forward of the auditorium and so is expressed externally. Originally, banding in black tiles at the plinth and a string course at the top of the entrance created a strong horizontal effect (since over painted). This was accentuated by the curve-edged cantilevered verandah over the set-back entrance.

The multiple sets of glass doors sat at the top of a small flight of three steps. Internally, the building was decorated with Moderne style geometric patterns executed in plaster, with timber panelling in the foyer. Much of this has been removed in the conversion to first a furniture shop, and then to offices. However, the ceiling panels and proscenium arch remain intact.

Physical Conditions Condition/integrity

In good condition. The conversion to commercial use has meant the foyer interior has been stripped, windows have been inserted into the originally blank facade, and the entrance remodelled in modern glazing. The rear corrugated-iron clad shed which held the auditorium has been replaced with a masonry shed of approximately the same footprint. Note – This place/object may be included in the Victorian Heritage Register pursuant to the Heritage Act 2017. Check the Victorian Heritage Database, selecting ‘Heritage Victoria’ as the place data owner – Contributed by Greg Lynch –

film commented about Savoy Theatrette on Sep 14, 2019 at 4:37 pm

Savoy Theatrette 636 Hay Street, Perth, WA

New Theatres for Perth City.

In March 1954 Lionel Hart established Independent Film Distributors & opened “The Liberty” in Barrack Street, with 450 seats on a single upper level; The theatre initially specialized in a Continental Art film policy. Independent Film Distributors subsequently established a second theatre on 23 December 1955, which was named “The Savoy” Newsreel Theatrette, and was located in the basement of the Savoy Hotel in Hay Street, in what was previously a billiard saloon. The Savoy ran in competition to the all ready long established, and very successful, Mayfair Newsreel Theatrette, also in Hay Street City.

The Savoy ran continuous “hour shows”

The 300 seat Savoy ran continuous “hour shows”, that is programmes of not less than an hour (though frequently slightly more), starting at 10 am and continuing without a break until approximately 11 pm, allowing patrons to enter and leave as they pleased, and to stay as long as they wished, its appeal was particularly to shoppers and others with a short time to spare in the city, so it advertised nursery, powder rooms, free cloak and parcel depository.

The introduction of television

The introduction of television brought this to an end, by providing similar programmes free in viewers' own lounge rooms. So, at the Savoy, continuous programming of re-runs of successful feature films replaced the newsreel format; for example in January 1964 seven sessions per day of a Three Stooges' film, in January 1965 eight sessions per day of East of Eden. Even this was difficult to sustain, and the cinema drifted more and more into sensational programming, after the success of films such as London in the Raw, presented in June 1965, to which children under 16 were not admitted. By the time of the “R” certificate legislation in 1972, the Savoy had a reputation for rather risque product, and in 1975 was one of the first cinemas to convert to a policy of screening only R-rated movies, a policy with which it was very successful until the early 1980s.

Topless usherettes

It closed briefly in 1983, then reverted to more conventional programming when taken over by John Marsden later that year, re-opening on 17 November 1983; when Marsden had difficulties with film supply, he sold it to Ken Hill who installed video projection and in February 1987 began to run it as an adult cinema, with topless usherettes. The cinema closed in August 1991 and its equipment moved to Club X Cinema in the basement of the Club Emporium in Barrack Street.

The End

In 1997, the building that housed the old Savoy was still there, but the cinema staircase and entrance had been demolished, and shops extended across these gaps; access was still possible from the lane way behind to the derelict interior, as it was with the rest of the Savoy Hotel – Contributed by Greg Lynch –

film commented about Premier Theatre and Summer Gardens on Sep 14, 2019 at 12:23 am

Premier Theatre and Summer Gardens 293 Stirling Street, East Perth, WA 6000 – Photo by Bill Burton 1981 – The sun was setting on a great historic theatre & landmark – Contributed by Greg Lynch –

film commented about Premier Theatre and Summer Gardens on Sep 13, 2019 at 8:18 pm

The Premier Theatre was built by the East Perth Football Club. Films had previously been screened outdoors at Perth Oval and the club decided to build an indoor theatre. WR (Bill) Haynes, the club’s patron, lent them the money for it but in 1927 he decided to take it over himself. Cyril Norton (secretary of the EPFC) became the manager.

The club colours of blue and black.

The tiles along the front of the building were in the club colours of blue and black. The interior had a pressed tin ceiling. The theatre seated 1,000 patrons downstairs and 440 upstairs (some reports 450) – In 1938 it underwent a major renovation both externally and internally to the Art Deco style, and new projectors and a sound system were installed. “When it was a top film we used to switch with the new Oxford Theatre. They’d show the first half and we’d show it the second half. A chap on a motor bike used to run between the two theatres with the spools.”

The deck chairs were expensive

The Premier Theatre Gardens were built in Stirling Street in the mid-1930s. “The deck chairs were expensive and the garden seats were the cheap ones. When it rained they used to have to carry half of the projection equipment across from the gardens to the theatre and start 20 minutes later. Everyone from the garden’s cheap seats used to head straight for the good seats upstairs.” posted online by (Graham Norton) – Contributed by Greg Lynch –

film commented about New Mentone Theatre on Sep 2, 2019 at 5:17 pm

The New Mentone Theatre, located on the corner of Balcombe Road and Point Nepean Road, opened on Saturday 5 May 1928, with live entertainment and movies. Seating catered for 1306. Paramount films presented a double bill, Beau Sabreur supported by Jesse James as the gala program. Although opening in the days of silent movies, Albert Lydford: Builder of The New Picture Theatre at Mentone considered himself an Entrepreneur & a Showman, and was quick to realize talking pictures were the future and installed Western Electric sound equipment. Mentone became the first suburban theatre in Victoria to screen talkies. The New Mentone was at first run by its builders, Mr A. E. Lydford and his three sons, until the depression in 1931 forced them to sell the theatre. It was then run by Fowler & Carr Theatres Property Ltd, who ran the theatre for most of its life. When the Carr family bought Mentone Theatre they also operated the Paramount at Mordialloc, which in 1938 became The Regent. The Mentone & Mordialloc theatres began switching the program in 1936, and continued until the closure of both theatres – After the advent of TV in 1956 attendances collapsed. The theatre went dark on September 25, 1961, and was demolished the following year to enable the widening of the Nepean Highway. Fowler & Carr Theatres Property Ltd. were still the operators when it closed. Contributed by Greg Lynch –

film commented about Lyric Theatre on Aug 17, 2019 at 8:15 am

Statement of Heritage Significance

*“The Lyric Theatre Maylands” is important for its association with cinema, by far the most popular form of entertainment in the early twentieth century, which provided entertainment to the people of Maylands and surrounds for more than 38 years.

*The Lyric was the heart of the community. More people would pass through the Lyric than any other building in Maylands. By the 1940’s cinema had come of age. It was a time when most of the population went to the movies, at least once, sometimes twice a week.

Architecture – “The Lyric Theatre” Maylands is an early and intact example of an important cinema building, constructed during a decade of unprecedented growth in the Motion Picture industry. The facade of the building is two storied in height, with stucco ornamentation in the Classical style. The upper storey, (five) windows are round headed, with modest archivolts suspended by slender columns. The balcony balustrading and stairway is still intact. The fibrous plaster paneled ceilings, and the ornate columned square proscenium, provide a unique architectural picture frame, with traces of staggered Roman / Greek decorative influence. The theatre seated 1000 people.

*If any building in Maylands has a story to tell it’s the Lyric Theatre. The struggle to stay open during the Great Depression comes to mind, when in desperation management introduced Roller Skating, Dancing and Cabaret to supplement the movies.

*During World War Two “The Lyric Theatre” was the center of many loan rally functions. These were held by “The Maylands War Loan Committee” which encouraged Australians to invest in war bonds. Substantial funds were collected on these occasions..

*MAYLANDS. ANZAC ENTERTAINMENT – During the war years and after “The Maylands Sub Branch of the Returned Soldiers” held numerous functions at “The Lyric”. While the theatre was often used as a fitting termination to the solemnities of Anzac Day.

*The Lyric Maylands is significant for its association with Herb Robinson who operated a number of companies and cinemas in Maylands, and who will be remembered as one of the “Fathers of the West Australian Cinema Industry”. The story of Herb Robinson is one of achievement. Born in Perth April 9, 1909 to Mary Ellen and Richard Herbert Robinson. His father was killed in action in France when he was only eight years old. in April 1918 Robinson attended St Patrick’s Boys' School, and after leaving school worked as a clerk for the W A Government Railways. In 1933 he and his sister opened the Roxy Gardens, Maylands. The following year they took over the nearby “Lyric Theatre”, also in Maylands. Uniquely remaining owners of both theatres until their eventual closure in the early 1960s because of the inroads of television. On 16 July 1940 Robinson enlisted in the Australian Army during World War II, serving with the 5th Australian Infantry Troops. Then on 8 August 1942 he married Annie Mary Eluned Morgan, resulting in two daughters. Robinson was discharged from the army on 12 December 1945. He was elected to the Perth Road Board in 1951, and from 1959 to 1961 served as its chairman. Robinson also served as president of the Motion Picture Exhibitors' Association of WA, from 1951 to 1956. When the Perth Road Board became the Shire of Perth in 1961 Robinson was elected to shire president, serving in the position until he left the council in 1963.

*Political career – Herb Robinson was elected to the Legislative Council in 1962, representing the three-member Suburban Province. Robinson was a Justice of the Peace from 1951 till 1985. In retirement he moved to Canberra, passing away in July 1990 at the age of 81. – Vale H. R. (Herb) Robinson. Footnote: The Robinson family were hands on theatre owners and show people. Most Saturday nights you would find a member of the family at either the Roxy or the Lyric acting as welcoming hosts in the old style, by positioning themselves at the theatre entrance door, and then fare welling the patrons as they departed.

*OPINION – “The Lyric Theatre Maylands” can never be replaced, and it is important that every member of the Maylands community rally to protect the cultural memory of this heritage structure. Potentially “The Lyric Theatre” could be restored to it’s original glory. The size and location of the building would make an excellent Community Arts Center – Contributed by Greg Lynch –