50th Anniversary Of Busselton Drive in Theatre



What: A special screening of Australian films and display of south-west cinema memorabilia to mark 50 years of the Busselton Drive in.

Where: The event will be held at the Busselton Drive-in cinema.

When: Friday December 3rd, 7.45 pm. Gates open at 6.00 pm

A special event is being planned to commemorate the legacy of the southwest’s pioneering traveling picture show man Allan Jones and of 50 years of continuous operation of the States only remaining purpose built country drive-in cinema. Also it is to draw attention to the need to locate any remaining artifacts or photos of the days of the country based film exhibitors and the contribution they made to the social cohesion of many remote communities.

To mark the occasion, the Australian Museum of Motion Picture & Television (AMMPT) and the cinema owner operator, Ron Jones are presenting a special double feature programme and a 1960’s themed display at the Drive-in on Friday December 3rd.

The film programme has been supplied by the National Film & Sound Archive. They include the iconic Australian produced titles The Picture Show Man, staring John Meillon and Rod Taylor, a story based in outback N.S.W. This parallels the showmanship life of Allan and Doll Jones from the silent movie days as they provided film entertainment to the tiny timber mill towns in the South-west till they built their own permanent picture theatres and drive-ins throughout the region, of which Busselton is the only venue remaining in operation. The other feature is The Man From Snowy River. The programme will also include a newsreel taken of Allan when he operated a cinema museum in the now re-configured Allan theatre in Busselton.

Photographs, equipment and other memorabilia from the days of the Allan Jones Circuit Pictures will also be on display. The public will be able to purchase car speakers, film spools and other reminders of the days when drive-ins provided a generation of teenagers and others with a regular meeting place and family entertainment.

To recreate the atmosphere of those heady days, a local radio station will provide rock and roll music before the show from 6.00 pm, where those who are still physically able, can turn the clock back 50 years. Local vintage cars, one being the model used by Allan Jones as he traveled from town to town, will also be on display. Food will be available at the kiosk from 6.00 pm.

To ensure everyone gets a clear view of the screen, the Busselton Scout Troop will be available to wash windscreens in return for a small donation towards their activities.

Members of the AMMPT Cygnet cinema team will also be there in uniform to assist and add to the colour of the occasion.

AMMPT is appealing to residents in the South-west region to let them know of the existence of any cinema related equipment, photographs or other memorabilia. It is their intention to collaborate with local community museums to arrange displays depicting the cinema heritage of each area. Unless urgent positive action is taken to record and preserve the stories of these pioneering film entrepreneurs, a colourful and significant chapter in Australia’s social history risks being lost forever.

Media release written by AMMPT President Daryl Binning 

Leave a Reply