Pennant Hills Road and Station Street,
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Thornleigh is a small suburb in Hornsby 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.
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