Page 9 - untitled
P. 9


           seating for some 409 patrons. For a cinema on the very fringe of
           the eastern  suburbs  the Loyalty  was a quite substantial  building,
           similar to the plaster-clad structure of the original Cameo Theatre
           in  Belgrave and comparable with  many  smaller  inner suburban
           In its later years the theatre was sold and renamed the 'Festival' in
           recognition of the  fact  that  its  rebirth  was,  as the dictionary
           defines the word, •·a joyous occasion"!
           The Festival survived  closing  as  a cinema  to  later  re-open  as  a
           live theatre, home to the well-known  1812 Theatre Company.
           Croydon Hall Cinema

                                                                  Interior o(the Croydon Hall today.
                                                                  Sound  came  in  July  1931 when  the  new  operator,  Mr Gray
                                                                  Edmeston. installed  a  sound-on-disc system.  The  opening tallde
                                                                  was The Trial  of Mary  Dugan,  starring  Norma  Shearer. The
                                                                  talkies  were  very  popular and  regu lar  '·house-fulls" led  to
                                                                  pressure to enlarge  the hall. Architectural changes to the hall saw
                                                                  it  finally  emerge.  much  enlarged,  in  1937  and  renamed  the
                                                                  Croydon  Hall.  A  heating system,  new  interior and  a  brick front
                                                                  were combined  with a smart new decor in  the foyer of panelling
                                                                  and the rear section raised to improve sight-lines for film shows.
                                                                  Decorative plasterwork in  the  auditorium  was added  in  the  Art
                                                                  Deco style  which  gave the  hall  an  attractively  srrean11ined and
           The original Croydon Mechanics Institute Hall          uncluttered look.  Despite competition from  the Croydon  Drive-In
                                                                  and the corning of television, even in  1964 the Croydon Hall was
           Croydon too, boasted a more substantial cinema building. Seating
                                                                  still  operating as Croydon Cinema Pry Ltd, with both matinee and
           460 the Croydon Hall Cinema had  a long  involvement with film   evening shows on Saturdays. The Croydon  Film Society. fom1ed
           even after it  ceased  operating as a  regular venue.  Silent  film
                                                                  in  1956, continued  to  screen  at the  Croydon  Hall  even  after
           shows carne  to  Croydon around about  1923  at the  Mechanics
                                                                  regular film  shows had  ceased.  Today,  the  building still  stands,
           institute Hall on  Mt Dandenong  Road, Croydon, which had been
                                                                  now a youth-oriented leisure centre. Regular cinema is now to  be
           built  in  1910.  The first  film  operator was a ''Mr F. Taylor" who
                                                                  found  up Croydon's main street in a multi-cinema complex.
           had  only obtained a short  term lease at  first,  apparently sceptical
           of the viability of a cinema in  this isolated agricultural settlement   Public Hall , Montrose
           of small  farms  and  orchards.  But  business  apparently  flourished
           and  this  impressed  the Hall  Board of Management in  a  periodic
           inspection in August 1925. Their findings led to the installation of
           new projection plant at a cost of some £284 ($569).
           At  first  the  movies alternaaed on Saturday  nights  with  popular
           dances but. by  1926. the cinema had won and was now operating
           every Saturday  with  an  additional  room  provided  for sweet and
           ice-cream sales. A "Mrs Swift" was engaged as the official pianist
           to accompany silent lilms at a fee of 12 and 6d ($ 1.25) per show.
           By  1928. however.  someone had  been  doing  their sums and  her
           services  had  been  dispensed  with.  in  favou r of a  (cheaper)
           "electric gramophone''.

                                                                  It has often been called the 'Montrose Theatre' but cinema (rather
                                                                  than  live) shows  were  largely  the only ones  held  in  it over later
                                                                  The Montrose Hall  was  erecred  in  1915. It was, and sti II  is, a
                                                                  simple country weatherboard hall, with the biobox above the tiny
                                                                  entrance  foyer (originally  accessed  by  an inside ladder) and a
                                                                  small  stage at  the far end.  Having screened  films  there myself I
                                                                  would estimate an audience capacity of about  150 people  would
                                                                  have just about  filled  the auditorium. The Montrose Hall  is  an
                                                                  attractive and neat little venue for movies.

           The facade of the Croydon Hall today

   4   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14