Greater Union Russell Cinemas

131 Russell Street,
Melbourne, VIC 3000

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Greater Union Theatres

Architects: Ron G. Monsborough

Firms: Ron G. Monsborough & Associates

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The main foyer looking down from the top balcony.

This is the second cinema building built on this site. The first was the 1,376 seat Kings Theatre built in 1908 as a live theatre. It was later taken over by Greater Union Cinemas in use as a cinema. In 1958 it was remodeled by Greater Union into the 1,054 seat Barclay Cinema which operated until 1976.

The Barclay Cinema was demolished and in its place Greater Union Cinemas built their prestige six screen Greater Union Russell Cinemas. It opened on 23rd November 1978 with “Death on the Nile”, “Pretty Baby”, “International Velvet”, “Candleshoe”, “The Irishman” and “Sargent Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band”.

Each auditorium is given a totally different individual decorative scheme, which range from a normal curtained auditorium, one which has bare brick walls, one lined with wood panelled walls and ceiling, one in a Regency style with crystal chandeliers, one in an abstact style and one in a modern style. Seating capacities in the auditoriums are: 546, 272, 418, 252, 358 and 742.

The complex remained open as a popular city centre multi-screen cinema, totally unaltered from its original 1978 opening. Sadly, it was closed by Greater Union Event Cinemas on 2nd October 2013. It was demolished in November 2014 to build a hotel on the site.

Contributed by KenRoe

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

woody on February 9, 2009 at 7:06 am

photos from january 2009
and groovy 70’s lobby with wave shaped coffered concrete ceiling
front doors

atmos on November 3, 2014 at 9:23 pm

Demolition of the building has commenced.

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