Astra Theatre

Pennant Hills Road and Station Street,
Thornleigh,
Sydney, NSW 2120

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Thornleigh is a small suburb in Horsby Shire, about 16 miles from centre Sydney. Entertainment began with the Prince of Wales theatre in 1923, owned by locals P.Keeley and J.W.Payne. Movies were shown and occasional live events. The Sydney Morning Herald for July 16th 1929 reports on a presentation of the Japanese operetta “Princess Chrysanthemum”, staged to assist a benefit fund.

In 1940, renamed the Astra Theatre by new owner J.S. Mathieson the programming was movies. Ross Thorne, Associate Professor of Architecture at Sydney University was a boy of 11 and frequent patron. He recalls seeing Disney movies there and described the theatre as “pretty basic with exposed trusses in the ceiling. The entrance, as far as I remember was on the corner – very small with a ticket box tucked under the stairs to the small upstairs. My memory tells me that the floor of the entrance was plain red concrete – possibly periodically painted with “Solpah” red. It would have been the least decorated of all the suburban picture theatres I know, reminding me of country cinemas of the 1920’s”.

The Astra Theatre may not have been architecurally splendid but it survived into the 1970’s, finally being demolished in a general development of Thornleigh’s business strip.

Contributed by john gleeson

Recent comments (view all 3 comments)

johngleeson
johngleeson on December 6, 2013 at 4:01 am

Our thanks to Professor Ross Thorne for his comments but above all for his passion towards saving theatres as an important part of our architectural and cultural heritage.

Dizi4u
Dizi4u on February 9, 2014 at 5:26 am

Very interested in getting photo/photos of ASTRA THEATRE Thornleigh around the 1960’s-1970’s if anyone has one. Cheers, Dizi4u : )

Eric GLASBY
Eric GLASBY on March 1, 2014 at 1:58 am

Hello,

My frontal exterior pic of the ASTRA Theatre THORNLEIGH – taken in the sixties/seventies – was published with my permission, in KINO, the magazine of the Australian Cinema and Theatre Society during 2013 – page 6 of the SPRING, 2013 publication, Issue Number 125.

The original is an Ektachrome 127 color transparency cardboard mounted slide.

Cheers,

Eric GLASBY ()

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