At Footscray a Church is Pulled Down for a Cinema
Workers on the roof and outside a Christian church in Paisley Street, Footscray, prepare it for demolition. A sign at the front of the church reads, 'This land has been secured by the Federal Picture Company for the erection of a picture theatre’. Inside the church, men strip the walls and fittings from the rooms. Long beams are used to knock down the remaining façade. Men stand close by as they watch the building crumble.
The theatre that was subsequently built on this site was the Grand Picture Theatre, one of the best known and loved art deco picture palaces in Australia. It remained open until 1987 when it was converted to a bingo club, which itself closed in the mid-2000s to be replaced by several retail stores. Summary by Poppy De Souza
The theatre that was subsequently built on this site was to become the Grand Picture Theatre, one of the best known and loved art deco picture palaces in Australia.
This Pathé Freres Australian Animated Gazette newsreel item shows a small church in Paisley Street in Footscray, Melbourne. It is being prepared for demolition to make way for a new cinema, the Grand Picture Theatre.
Title Curator's Notes
In December 1910, a Pathé Freres Australian Animated Gazette film crew recorded daily life in the inner-west Melbourne suburb of Footscray. A week later, the finished film screened at Federal Hall as part of the Federal Picture Company’s first regular series of films of Melbourne suburbs. According to film historian Chris Long, growing audiences throughout 1911 prompted the Federal Picture Company to build a second theatre on the site of an old church in Paisley Street.
This footage shows the preparations for demolition. It was screened at the opening of the Grand Picture Theatre in November 1911, along with the December 1910 Footscray footage. The Grand continued as a cinema until it closed in the 1980s.
Notes by Poppy De Souza