Morwell Panoramic

Morwell Panoramic

Morwell Panoramic
Latrobe Road (near Holmes Road intersection)
Showing films from: 1956

The Morwell Panoramic Drive-in was located on a 12-acre site on Latrobe Road close to the Holmes Road intersection.

The launch of the Panoramic was marked by two events, first an invite-only function that took place on the 29th August 1956. Unfortunately, for those attending, it was a wet and damp evening – not the best start for a drive-in! However, it didn’t dampen the feelings of Mr Frank James, the Panoramic’s Managing Director, who enthusiastically thanked everyone who had played a part in opening this exciting new venture in Morwell. On the following evening, the public opening took place. As a special event the cost of admission was at a reduced rate of 1/-, regardless of how many there were in the car. Children were given free lollies and balloons as they arrived, and the evening’s takings were donated to various community groups in the area.

In 1956, the regular price to attend the Panoramic was 4/- on a weeknight and 5/- at the weekend. The drive-in was open six nights a week (Monday – Saturday). Films started at 7.30pm, with a double-bill on a Monday and Thursday night. Refreshments were available from the café or you could have a tray service brought directly to your car. Parents were able to keep an eye on their children while watching films, as there was a children’s amusement area adjacent to the screen.

An unusual aspect of going to the Panoramic was that you got your windscreen washed at the same time. As each car drove through the gates someone would be on hand to wash the windscreen in readiness for the evening’s entertainment. To help visibility on wet evenings chemicals were added to the wash to help keep the windscreen clear during the rain.

The Panoramic was a medium sized drive-in accommodating more than 430 cars, with a cinema screen that was 80 x 30 feet. The projection and sound equipment was installed by R.C.A. (Radio Corporation of America) and the over all cost of building the drive-in was approximately £60,000 ($117,000). The drive-in offered employment to over 30 people in the area.

The Panoramic closed in the 1970s and the site has been used as a Sunday market for many years.

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2 Responses to Morwell Panoramic

  1. I used to take my kid brother and his mates down there in the boot of my EK Holden. They thought they were getting away with something but I actually paid for them anyway. Sometimes me and me mates took girls in for … you know… Then we’d make ’em walk home. I never got married. Died in the house I lived in most of my 67 years. Morwell always was a hole anyway. Everybody who left was better off. Those of us who stayed and died here were just loosers [sic].

  2. Yes I recall the opening night of the Drive In.Because our dad had arranged the insurance for the Drive In we had special tickets for the opening night.It rained lightly throughout the evening but that didn’t dampen our enthusiasm as it was still exciting to see the movie and cartoons on the big screen.I also recall the manager Frank James visiting our home a few days before opening night.He wanted to thank dad for arranging the theaters insurance.During a cuppa tea he placed on our kitchen table a large wad of notes which he wanted dad to take.But dad said no the insurance had been arranged through his work and handed the money back.We were surprised at this but dad had his principles which he always stuck by.

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