10 April - 30 May 2014



10 APRIL 2024 - 30 MAY 2024

From suburban cinemas to grand picture palaces in the heart of the city, the buildings designed for showing motion pictures in the twentieth century became centres of entertainment for South Australians.

These were often highly decorated and embodied the glamour of Hollywood in their design. Going to the movies was a popular form of entertainment but also, in the days before television broadcasts, was a way of getting the latest news. The social aspects of watching a movie together with others in a venue, the cinema snack bar, queuing for tickets, chatting during the intervals, and in some cinemas, the live music from a theatre organ were also part of the experience. On show in this exhibition will be original architectural drawings and photographs of cinemas including the Piccadilly at North Adelaide, Wests on Hindley Street, and the Capri at Goodwood, as well as those from regional areas, like the Ozone at Victor Harbor.

Cinemas contributed not only to the lives of those who visited them but also to main street architecture across the state. This exhibition will explore what happens when these businesses close down, with examples including the Regent Cinema in Rundle Mall recently given new life as a bookshop, as well as those we have lost to demolition such as the Ozone at Glenelg. By holding up a mirror to the past and examining our constructed world we can learn not only about the bricks and mortar of cinema buildings but also about the relationships and networks of people who brought them about, how film culture impacted our lives, as well as learning about the wider community which they served.

This exhibition is curated by Julie Collins, Naomi Giles, Susan Avey and Susan Lustri, Architecture Museum, University of South Australia.

Images: Left - Glenelg Ozone cinema, 1937, F. Kenneth Milne, photograph by D. Darian Smith, Garnaut collection S308.
Right - Hindmarsh Town Hall, Hindmarsh, 1936, Chris A. Smith, Chris Smith collection, S334

Capri Theatre, Goodwood, 1940, Chris A. Smith, Hurren, Langman and James collection, S251/39

Now Showing…Cinema Architecture in South Australia is presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre and Architecture Museum, UniSA Creative, as part of South Australia's History Festival


The Architecture Museum in UniSA Creative is a cultural facility for the preservation of South Australian architectural records. Its invaluable research collection of architectural design documentation, drawings, photographs, artefacts and ephemera currently comprises over 400,000 items. The Architecture Museum promotes intellectual enquiry into built environment history, supporting research undertaken by staff, students, external researchers and the general public. The Architecture Museum is located at the City West Campus in the Kaurna Building and is open for research visitors by appointment. Visit the Architecture Museum website.


Presented by
The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre AND architecture museum, unisa creative 
as part of sa history festival


While the views presented by speakers within The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre public program are their own and are not necessarily those of either the University of South Australia, or The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre, they are presented in the interest of open debate and discussion in the community and reflect our themes of: Strengthening our Democracy - Valuing our Diversity - Building our Future. The Hawke Centre reserves the right to change their program at any time without notice.