SWANPOOL’S LITTLE GEM
The old world charm of the art deco inspired Swanpool Cinema still brings in the crowds.
CINEMAS, like pubs and general stores, were once found in nearly every Australian country town, but television, videos and DVDS and more recently population drift have seen them die out like dinosaurs.
But every now and then along country roads off the main interstate freeways you will pass a classic old store, picture theatre or hotel that has bucked the trend. Like the Swanpool Cinema. The former Swanpool Hall was transformed into the Swanpool Cinema in 1991 by retired SEC worker Kevin Smith who, with his wife Shirley, ran the cinema as a private business for just over 20 years, retiring in December 2011 on New Year’s Eve.
Since that time it has been a not-for-profit community cinema, operated entirely by volunteers, screening the best of art house and quality movies, usually as a double feature on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
The cinema now has a modern digital projection system, Dolby Sound, and a new roll up screen so it can show the latest releases, while also retaining the 16mm, 35mm and carbon arc glass slide projectors so the old classics can still be run.
Air-conditioning now adds to the comfort and espresso coffee is available at the candy bar.
The cinema operates most weekends except during the colder winter months and is also popular for tour, community and business groups and fundraisers with customised screenings available.
Special events include New Year’s Eve, and the annual Bald Archy exhibition - the irreverent alternative to the Archibald Prize for portraiture which attracted over 3000 people in less than two weeks last year.
David Beer, treasurer of Swanpool Cinema Inc, said the cinema was going from strength to strength with patronage up 25 per cent in the last 12 months.
“We show two movies for the price of one with a half hour break between them which offers great value,” he said.
“The cinema is now digital, the seats have been reupholstered, and we’ve installed air-conditioning. “The cinema has really built up the community spirit.” Upcoming features include Florence Foster Jenkins, Hunt for the Wilder People and on Saturday, October 25 the cinema will celebrate its 25th birthday and screen The Philadelphia Story, which was shown at Kevin and Shirley’s wedding back in 1991.
To enjoy a classic cinematic experience or to find out more about the Swanpool Cinema visit www.swanpoolcinema.com.au.