Busselton Drive-In Outdoor Cinema - Living History
This section is a free form way to capture the story behind the drive-in and people associated with it. Please add to it by logging in and editing this wiki page.
The Busselton Drive-In Outdoor Cinema was opened in 1960 by William Allan Jones under the name “Allan Jones Circuit Pictures.” The name of the business was changed to “Jones Cinewest Drive-Ins P/L” in 1982. The company owned three other drive-ins in the Western Australian cities of Manjimup which opened in 1961, Margaret River that debuted in 1965 and Kojonup which was acquired in 1972. At its peak, Western Australia had over 80 drive-in theaters with many of them being built in the late-1950's and early-1960's.
1980's and 1990's
Although AM and FM radio sound was added, the drive-in still had some of the original Westrex NTS RCA in car speakers available. The Busselton originally had Simplex projectors, RCA Mousetrap soundheads, Peerless arcs and RCA valve amplifiers. Later the entire setup was overhauled with Ballantyne projectors and sound heads, Strong Super Lumex Xenon lamp houses, Auditec amplifiers, Panastereo cinema processor and FM and AM transmitters. The original wooden screen was refitted with an all-steel makeup. The modern screen's dimensions were 22 metres by 20 metres and could stand up to winds of 150 Kph.
The drive-in almost closed permanently in the early-1990's but was able to survive. It was open every single year since opening in 1960 and only closed for a few months in the winter.
Do to the Busselton Drive-In's value as a popular social gathering place and its status of being one of the few drive-ins left in Australia, the Busselton Shire had the theater listed as a local heritage place. A show called “Postcards of Western Australia” on the local Channel 9 featured the drive-in in 2004 calling the attraction “a must to visit when in Busselton.”
Final Season and Closing
The 2014-2015 spring and summer season was the final one for the Busselton Drive-In Outdoor Cinema. They played all classics the final year due to the fact that current movies were no longer available in 35 mm film format. The movies for the final weekend were Batman Forever and Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me on Friday, March 13th and Saturday, March 14th, 2015. ParaNorman and The Bourne Ultimatum were shown on the final night which was Sunday, March 15th, 2015.
“Drive-In Busselton Outdoor Cinema to close after 55 years of movies” by Roxanne Taylor from ABC.net.au, March 14th, 2015
“The final farewell to the much loved Busselton Drive-In Outdoor Cinema (video)” by the staff of GWN7, March 18th, 2015
The Busselton Drive-In Outdoor Cinema website and Facebook page