THE COOBER PEDY DRIVE - IN THEATRE - SOUTH AUSTRALIA - 1970's

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THE COOBER PEDY DRIVE - IN THEATRE - SOUTH AUSTRALIA - 1970's

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE COOBER PEDY DRIVE-IN THEATRE – The Drive-in theatre was built in 1965 and has become an important part of Coober Pedy. Films had been screened previously in the town hall. The Drive-In provided a venue for people to get together. Families would share a picnic meal before the films started, and made the outing a major social occasion. The Progress and Miners Association built the Drive-in with money raised from donations and the raffle of a Holden ute. Volunteer’s gathered to do the construction work. The original bio box was a corrugated iron shed, equipped with the Tokiwa projectors. In 1996, a private group approached the District Council with a proposal to re-open the drive-in. Two Kalee 21 projectors were acquired from the Port Augusta Drive-in – Now movies could now be shown weekly. The lease ran out in 2000, and a group of volunteers took over with a reduced policy of showing films fortnightly.

SCREEN DREAM COMES TRUE – Screen dream come true for Coober Pedy, as 50-year-old drive-in wins fight to stay open – Callie Watson, Coober Pedy, February 14, 2014 – The Advertiser writes – The Coober Pedy drive-in has won its fight to stay alive, receiving more than $70,000 in State Government funds to help buy a new projector. The Outback community has spent the past year fundraising to keep the iconic drive-in going, raising about $70,000. But this fell short of the at least $120,000 needed to upgrade from the old, phased-out 35mm film projectors to a more modern alternative. The Coober Pedy is one of only two drive-ins in South Australia, along with the Gepps Cross drive-in. Planning Minister John Rau on Thursday confirmed $7.5 million in funding for projects which will be matched dollar-for-dollar by local councils, securing the drive-in’s future. Chief projectionist Tina Boyd said new equipment would help the 50-year-old drive-in, which screens films about once a fortnight, operate more regularly and access a wider range of films. “Sometimes there will be 20 cars, other times 100, it’s very popular,” Ms Boyd said. Drive-in committee chairman Steve Staines said it would also allow the town to market it as a tourist attraction. “We’re thrilled that it will not only keep going for the local community, but also add another aspect to the tourism offerings we have here.” – Contributed by Greg Lynch for the sake of history – 70’s Coober Pedy Drive-in photo – “Opals of the Never Never” by R. G. Haill. 1982 –

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