Page 10 - cr55
P. 10


                                                                               Below left: the former Williams’
                                                                               Hall/Mobilong Assembly Hall (1895)  in
                                                                               1963 (Ken Wells) Shop-front added later.
                                                                               Above: the ‘Rink’ of 1910, taken by the
                                                                               author in 2006.

          By Peter Wolfenden                                                   later moved their show to the new
                                                                               Town Hall (the former Institute), and
            For Colin Kennett of the Cameo
                                                                               regularly screened there during the
          Cinema at Murray Bridge, bringing                                               (10,7,11)
                                                                               early 1920’s.
          movies to the town is a labour of love.
                                                                                  Mr. Pulleine, local auctioneer and
          Colin, together with his wife Valerie, and
                                                                               land agent, opened a roller-skating
          more recently his sons Daryl and Craig,
                                                                               rink/dance hall in January 1910. This
          continue the tradition of the late John L.
                                                                               was in the main street, not far from the
          Brook (Jack) who had a 45-year career
                                                                               site of the future Lyric, which would
          in Murray Bridge theatres from 1924.
                                            made Australia’s oldest surviving movie  be the town’s first purpose-built
            Murray Bridge, originally part of  - the Melbourne Cup of 1896!  No
          the Hundred of Mobilong, gazetted in  doubt it was on the program at Murray  cinema. His rink was soon to become
                                                                               an alternative venue for general
          1860, is now a city with a district  Bridge, as it was included in an earlier  entertainment in the town, including
          population of about 15,000. Located on  show at the Mount Barker Institute. (2)  movies. It soon became known simply
          the Murray River about 80km south-   Among the travelling picture    as The Rink.
          east of Adelaide, it is a well-appointed  showmen who came to Murray Bridge,
          town with many fine buildings,    the Ive-Sheridan Company in 1909      The Mount Barker Courier advised
          facilities and attractions, a legacy of its  proudly boasted that they screened  that Empire Pictures were to screen at
          historic importance as a river port.    ‘movies without flicker’ using Edison’s  the Rink on 5 August 1910. Within two
            Murray Bridge’s first movies were  Biograph. Heller’s Company was in  months Lyceum Pictures, a travelling
          probably screened at Mr. Williams’  town in February 1910, followed by the  show, had it booked for every Saturday
                                                                               night, sharing the program with the
          hall, also known as the Mobilong  famous Corricks on 10 May 1910,    Mount Barker Institute on Monday
          Assembly Hall. Built in 1895 and  which included Leonard’s Beautiful  nights. C. B. Raymond, the touring
          privately owned, it was the original  Pictures. Later, Stillwell the Great, a  manager claimed that the Lyceum's
          location for most town functions. The  conjuror and society entertainer, brought  pictures were ‘screened by powerful
          Murray Bridge Institute, founded in  a fight film of Sam Langford versus  electric light’. The image must have
          1894, did not have its own hall until  Tiger Smith, which he used to help fill-  been half reasonable for according to
          1911 and then only after many years of  in the interludes in his program. (3)  one report, the film seemed so real that
          difficult negotiation with the local  The town’s first regular movies
                                   (1,6)                                       the coach and four horses in it appeared
          council. It is now the town hall.  commenced sometime prior to 1910;  to come right out of the screen. (3,6)
            The earliest advertisement for a  probably screened by the Fraser
                                                                                  Other travelling shows included
          picture show in the town was found in  Brothers, at an open-air venue in Bridge  Harrison’s Electro Pictures, which also
          the Mount Barker Courier and Southern  Street. Electricity for the entrance and  screened at Mannum during 1915.
          Advertiser of Friday 24 September  display lighting was supplied by  Griffiths Pictures in 1918 included
          1897, advising that the lessee of  Smyth’s Ice Works, behind the theatre!  Murray Bridge and Mannum on their
          Adelaide’s Theatre Royal, Mr. Wybert  The projector was hand cranked, and  circuit. In 1923 Hanns and Bell were
          Reeve, by arrangement with Monsieur  the illuminant was limelight, a common  travelling to nearby Monteith and
          Sestier, would be exhibiting Lumiere’s  light source until a reliable electricity  Pompoota as well as Murray Bridge.
          Cinematographe on Wednesday 29 at  supply became available.          Stan Hanns was to become the first
          7.30pm and the venue was to be the   The Fraser Brothers did not appear  operator at the Lyric theatre, which by
          Institute, which at that stage was Mr.  to advertise initially and so their early  this time, was well beyond the drawing
          Williams’ hall. Sestier was the man who  activities could not be confirmed. They  board. (10)

          10  2007 CINEMARECORD
   5   6   7   8   9   10   11   12   13   14   15