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Wednesday, 15 June 2011
Page: 6195

Mr GEORGANAS (Hindmarsh) (19:36): I rise tonight to draw the House's attention to the Save the Glenelg Cinema campaign which is being run in my electorate, run by many of the residents—my constituents—and local traders along Jetty Road, off Jetty Road and around that area of Glenelg. At the forefront of this campaign is Sam Cannell, who has been working tirelessly with residents and other shopkeepers in the area over recent weeks to prevent the demolition of this beautiful and historic building, the Glenelg cinema, on Jetty Road.

Glenelg is one of South Australia's most visited tourist destinations, yet unfortunately during the colder months there are few major drawcards because the beach, as we all know, in winter has limited appeal. Until 2009, the Glenelg cinema, which is a beautiful art deco building and a real institution on the Jetty Road streetscape, was that drawcard. It provided a great incentive for people to hop on the tram, get on their bike or jump in the car and come to Glenelg to watch a movie, perhaps have a bite to eat and a cup of coffee and browse the shops. Unfortunately the cinema closed in 2009 and since that time we have seen the many patrons disappear who would have gone to the movies and then gone out to do their shopping or patronise many of the businesses along Jetty Road and within the precinct.

Cinemas have a wonderful way of drawing people into local areas and right now Jetty Road in Glenelg needs those people to come. Cinemas offer year-round weatherproof entertainment which can be enjoyed not only by families but by people of all ages and interests. Although a cinema is clearly needed, the possibility of the Glenelg cinema being demolished would be a serious blow to traders in the vicinity. That is why I am supporting the Save the Glenelg Cinema campaign, to ensure the owners, Wallis Cinemas, know that they have the community's full support for a reopening. Sam has done a wonderful job collecting signatures for petitions, pounding the pavement every weekend to talk to people. She has also started a Facebook group which has attracted more than 1,500 supporters in a very short time and that number continues to grow.

The Wallis family have a strong track record in protecting and restoring historic cinemas, including the Chelsea and the Piccadilly, and we hope that they will extend that track record to the Glenelg cinema as well. Many people have written, phoned and emailed Wallis in recent weeks urging them not to demolish the wonderful building and to reopen the cinema as a local attraction. Although Wallis has not responded yet, we remain hopeful that the outpouring of support from the community—from the residents, from the shopkeepers, from the traders in the area and outside the area as well—for the retention of the cinema will help Wallis to continue exploring options for a viable and vibrant new future for the Glenelg cinema.

As well as being a great thing for the local economy, the building itself is particularly special because of its classic art deco architecture. Those of you who have gone down Jetty Road in the electorate of Hindmarsh would have seen the building—it stands out; it is a beautiful building. It was constructed in 1937 and was designed by architect Kenneth Milne, who also designed the 1911 Adelaide Oval scoreboard. The opening night souvenir program from 1937 gives a great insight into the excitement surrounding the opening, when a night out at the pictures was a real social occasion. That program in 1937 said:

We offer you the public of South Australia a centre of entertainment unique in this state. Every luxury, every thought, every care that 27 years of experience dictates, that modern science knows, is here for your comfort, your convenience, your service. We present the showplace of Australia, the Ozone Theatre Glenelg.

In 1971, the theatre was purchased by the Wallis family and in 1972 it was re-opened as only the second multiscreen theatre in Australia. It was also the first in the state to have a licensed bar. When the cinema closed in 2009 with a final screening of Gone with the Wind—very appropriate—the local community, as well as people from all over South Australia, mourned its loss. I know that Wallis place a great deal of importance on respecting heritage and history and will keep in mind the historic significance of the Glenelg cinema. (Time expired)