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47 Eighth Ave/ 240 Guildford Rd, Maylands IN closed


47 Eighth Ave/ 240 Guildford Rd, Maylands

A Picture Gardens was advertising in Eighth Ave, Maylands in February 1920, but it is not clear if that is the same venue as the Lyric, which opened as a semi-open-air theatre at 47 Eighth Ave, in 1924, with a capacity of 600 patrons, operated by Thomas Snooks. In 1928 a hardtop theatre accommodating 1000 was built by Thomas Coombe (probably on this site). It was a beautiful building, with an impressive staircase and red carpet. Members of Maylands Historical Society recall that it was not possible to book seats at the theatre, but that certain people always sat in the same seat: if anyone else tried to sit there, there would be a great fuss!

In 1933, the Roxy Gardens opened at 240 Guildford Rd with seating for 900, built by H.R. Robinson (who later became Perth Shire Council president) and his sister Miss M.I. Robinson. The cheaper seats in this venue were wooden benches on bitumen, the dearer seats were deckchairs on grass. The screen was located at the rear of the site, and poplar trees were planted along the side wall. In the days of pan toilets, it was possible for the adventurous boys of the district to open the back of the men's toilet, push the pan aside and crawl in through the hole, replace the pan and so gain free entry to the pictures.

The Lyric Theatre and Roxy Gardens were owned and operated by separate managements till 1934, when the Robinsons took over the operation of the theatre as well as the gardens, which they still owned outright. After that, despite the distance between them they were operated as a single enterprise, with screenings in one or the other depending on the weather. This continued until the Lyric closed in June 1961, and its fittings were dispersed at auction. The Lyric building became first an electrical goods showroom, then a growers' market, and in 1997 was a Red Shield Op-shop. The upstairs pool parlour was leased out as a flat in recent years. The Roxy closed a year later than the Lyric, in June 1962: the site became a used-car yard, and in 1997 was a Coles supermarket.

Max Bell, Perth - a cinema history, The Book Guild, Lewes, Sussex, 1986, pp.31, 59, 66
Max Bell, ´Maylands (WA), Lyric', Kino, p.30, December 1989, p.22
Australasian Exhibitor, 12 December 1957
Daily News, 25 January 1962, 8 June 1962
Post Office Directory, 1924, 1932/3
West Australian, 3 March 1920, 1933 - 1961
Maylands Historical Society, July 1997
Informant: Michelle Valdrighi (2001)
2 exterior, b&w, undated (after 1962) (Max Bell, Kino, p.30, December 1989, p.22)