Oriana Cinema

The Oriana Cinema was an art deco cinema and theatre built in 1938 in Fremantle, Western Australia and demolished in the early 1970s.[2]

Oriana Cinema
Hoyts Fremantle
Oriana Cinema in 1950
Address177 High Street
Coordinates32.053708°S 115.749512°E / -32.053708; 115.749512
OwnerHoyts (Fremantle) Pty Ltd
OperatorHoyts, City Theatres[1]
Opened4 August 1938[3][4]
DemolishedMarch 1972
ArchitectH. V. Taylor and Soilleux


In 1937 a local company, Hoyts (Fremantle) Pty Ltd (formed by local businessmen and Hoyts Theatres Limited), proposed to construct a picture theatre at the corner of High Street and Queen Street, Fremantle.[5] The cinema was estimated to cost ₤20,000 and seat 1,300 persons.[5][6] The site was previously occupied by the Rose and Crown Hotel which was built in 1830[4] although in the late 1870s it was used as a school, a private dwelling and lodging rooms.[7] The architects were H. Vivian Taylor and Soilleux of Melbourne, who designed the Windsor Theatre in Windsor, the Padua Theatre in Brunswick[5] and the Plaza Theatre in Perth. The cinema, Hoyts Fremantle, was officially opened by the acting Mayor of Fremantle, Cr Stevens on Thursday 4 August 1938. The first film shown at the cinema was Walt Disney Productions', Snow White and the Seven Dwarves and Love on a Budget, starring Shirley Temple.[8][9]

The cinema, due to the acutely angled intersection on which the site was situated upon, created a visually striking design. The entrance foyer, lounge and stairways were unusual in their spherical design. The cinema featured a "floating" screen, a soundproof "crying room", to allow parents with crying babies to watch the movies and a "powder bar" in the women's lounge. It was also unique in that it used ducted ventilation rather than air conditioning.[10][11]

The cinema remained under the management of Hoyts (Fremantle) Pty Ltd until the 1961[12] when it was bought by a consortium of stakeholders including Goldfields Pictures[2] and City Theatres (owned by TVW).[1] This was when it was given the name Oriana Cinema. In 1967 the cinema was renovated reducing the seating capacity to approximately 1,000 and in May 1968 a new 70mm screen was installed.[12] The last screening at the cinema occurred on 4 December 1971.[3]

The demolition was a speedy affair[2] brought about by plans to widen High Street, and despite protest by community groups[13] was effected within four weeks,[2] in March 1972.[12] The building built in its place is set back from the road considerably, with respect to its neighbour the Victoria Hall, as the road-widening plans never did come to fruition.

Following the demolition of the cinema, a series of menswear shops (1972: Walsh's Mens Wear;[4][14] June 1979: Geoffrey Bruce Men's Clothier[4]) filled the new building, which as of 2012 houses La Tropicana Café, Magpie Books, Raine and Horne Real Estate Agency, Potters House Christian church, and ITP Tax Agents.

See also


  1. Ken. "Western Australian Television". Allan Stiles spoke on his family involvement in cinemas, the building of the Grand Theatre, operating the Gaiety Theatre in South Perth, buying the Royal and Princess Theatres (Fremantle), and leasing the Piccadilly, (the company also expanded their suburban circuit with two more venues in the South Perth area, the Hurlingham and the Como), then just prior to the introduction of television, cinema companies started building drive-in cinemas. Finally TVW bought out the City Theatres consortium, and was visionary in retaining Arthur Stiles to run it and research the establishment of a ground breaking cinema for Perth, to be known as Cinema City. Hoyts then sold them the Skyline drive-in and Oriana Cinema in Fremantle, and they then built the Starline in Hilton Park, the Parkline at Forrestfield, the Riverline at Riverton, and the Beechline at Beechboro.
  2. Bell, Max D (1986). Perth, A Cinema History. p. 38. Relevant page.
  3. Dowson, John (29 August 2000). "Today's shops replace 1930s cinema". Fremantle Gazette.
  4. History of Lot 386 Cnr. of High and Queen Streets, Fremantle, Local History Collection of the Fremantle Library
  5. "New Fremantle Theatre". Perth Gazette. Perth: National Library of Australia. 26 August 1937. p. 14. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  6. "£20,000 Theatre for Fremantle". The Sunday Times. Perth: National Library of Australia. 29 August 1937. p. 21 Section: First Section. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  7. "Rose and Crown". Perth Gazette. Perth: National Library of Australia. 6 November 1937. p. 7. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  8. "Hoyts, Fremantle". Perth Gazette. Perth: National Library of Australia. 5 August 1938. p. 4. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  9. "New Theatre Wins Public Approval". The Daily News. Perth: National Library of Australia. 5 August 1938. p. 3 Edition: City Final. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  10. "Floating Screen, Powder Bar at Hoyts Fremantle". The Daily News. Perth: National Library of Australia. 3 August 1938. p. 9 Edition: Home Edition. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  11. "Modern Picture Theatre". Perth Gazette. Perth: National Library of Australia. 14 July 1938. p. 9. Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  12. "Hoyts Fremantle". WA CinemaWeb. The Australian Museum of Motion Picture & Television (Inc). Retrieved 14 February 2013.
  13. Davidson, Ron; Davidson, Dianne (2010). Fighting for Fremantle: a history of The Fremantle Society. Fremantle Press.
  14. Lot 386, Certificate of Titles 1055 715.
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