The Country Theatre
In a small country side town in Central Queensland is this early 20th century Theatre. Constructed in 1925 the Theatre operated as an open-air theatre comprising of an earth-floor enclosure, a canvas screen at the rear, a street frontage and a stairwell that leads to the projection booth above filled with carbon arc projectors, cassette tapes and film reels. In the early days the projectors were operational and powered from the back of a truck.
At the time, open-air theatres were common throughout the warmer regions of Australia. During the 1950s the theatre underwent major changes when it was sold. One more notable change was the addition of a roof. The conversion was made to shelter patrons and improve sound quality. Further changes commenced in the 1960s when the theatre was extended with toilets being added and a raked timber floor was installed.
In the 1970s televisions came to the area and reduced attendance, as it had elsewhere. In the early 1980s the theatre was purchased by a couple, a projectionist from Sydney and his wife, an usherette at the Regent in Toowoomba.
Common with many rural centres, the small town lost population in the 1980s and 1990s as severe drought reduced the town’s income and businesses closed. The theatre was last used to host the Movie Muster, a festival of Australian films, during the Centenary of Federation celebrations in 2001. The site amazingly retains its early carbon arc projectors, superior sound system and canvas stretcher chairs.