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Country News                                                                   by Brian Miller

             An extended "country weekend drive" in  1999 provided some interesting cinema details.

             Maryborough  Paramount Theatre:  A  veteran  1920's building,  was  used  as  a high  school  indoor sports arena after
             television commenced.ll was re-opened around 1995, using the original dress circle and a screen at the balcony edge. The
             stalls were being convened  into  three more screens  with access  via a  conidor on the  left side of the building, and  a
             projection room immediately above.

             The new screens are on the opposite side wall area, with projection beams at right angles to the original design. Interest-
             ingly, the first projection room in the old back staJJs area, and no longer used, remained intact.

             Maryborough  Town  Hall:  This dates from  1887,  and  with  the Post Office and Court House  forms  pan of a  grand
             Victorian square. The Town Hall has a compact Victorian-style auditorium, windows for natural light, and a good sized
             stage apron in front of red CUI1ai ns. The fu II U -shaped cast-iron fi I agree baleen y is reminiscent of the demolished Temperance
             Hall/Savoy Theatre building in Russell Street. Melbourne.

             A newer entrance foyer in 1940's style bas been added to the side of the building, giving separate access from the Municipal
             offices. Although once used for films, there was no visible sign of a projection room area.

             Donald Soldiers Memorial Hall:  Extensive exterior restoration work was being carried our on this hall, erected in  1936.

             Birchip Community Hall:  This hall consists of the original hall with a modern entrance added. The property appeared
             well  maintained, with roof restoration underway.

             Birchip Drive-In:  The North-West drive-in screen was still standing in a side street.

             Warracknabeal Town Hall:  This is now sixty years old. It was opened as an O'Halloran Theatres Regent in  1939 with
             M.G.M.'s "Sweethearts". No tilms were listed but the screen remains intact.

             Swan Hill:  This attractive city contains
             an imposing pre-war art-deco Town  Hall.

             Also the former O'Halloran Regent is now
             the Oasis Twin Cinemas.  This building
             dates from the late fifties and the cinemas
             were re-opened in the dress circle area      ·'>, TWIN CINEMA :
                                                           . .
             in  1996.                                                                .
             Deniliquin: Another O'HaJloran-built Regent from the same era functions at Deniliquin, N.S.W. The stalls area is occupied
             by a large video rental store. and this is closed off when films are shown, using the circle seating only. Matinee and night
             pe1formances ranged from two to five a week, according to demand.

             Echuca Paramount Centre:  Opened in I 979, on the site of the original Paramount Theatre. This mu Iti-purpose bui I ding
             is owned and sponsored by the Shire of Campaspie. including film screenings.

             A variable  function area downstairs is available for hire and there are twin auditoriums upstairs. Number One has fixed
             stadium seating and a  large performing space for live  shows.  Number Two is a flexible area with  portable seating. An
             unusual feature is that the two screens are back-to-back. with large sand filled doors, eighteen inches thick, positioned to
             close off each house.

             At the time of the visit there was talk of a newer Paramount Centre for the future.

             Echuca  - Sharps: Sharps Magic Movie House and Penny Arcade screens old newsreels and silent comedies in  the old
             Customs House. Admission  includes some coins to work the  machines. "Movies run from  9 to 5 each day, and include
             some dating from 1896, including George Wallace, Jack O'Hagen and F.W. Thring Snr."

             Rochester:  The Shire Hall is a classic Gothic style building reminiscent of a church hail. Dating from  J 892, on one level
             only,  there was no apparent evidence of having been used for films.

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