Buckley Street, Morwell
Also known as: Karma
Showing films from: 1947
The Paramount opened in Buckley Street on 27th September 1947. For a number of years the only place to go to the ‘movies’ in Morwell had been the Town Hall, this new cinema on the south side of the train tracks offered some competition.
Mr H Verey, the former lessee of the Yallourn Theatre and original lessee of the Town Hall Pictures, transformed the former Morwell Market building from a galvanised iron structure into a modern cinema within a few weeks. The success of the transformation was reported in the Morwell Advertiser, where it was remarked that the cinema was filled to capacity on the preview night. The newspaper also noted the transformation of the building had been well done, explaining that:
A concrete brick annexe to the front of the building has been tastefully treated for use as foyer, and the whole effect has made for a pleasing outside approach. Inside the building has been lined out with hardwood and caneite, and painted dove grey to tone with stage accessories. The comfort of the seating accommodation has been favourably commented on.
Verey also brought with him the projectors and sound equipment that had been installed in cinema in Yallourn and promised some excellent programmes to come. The Paramount was officially opened by the shire president, Cr J H Catterick. The feature presentation was the sea drama: Two Years Before the Mast, (1946. dir. John Farrow) staring Alan Ladd. Film screenings took place on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday nights. By 1952 the management of the Paramount was in the hands Rex Hamilton, who was by that time running both Town Hall Pictures and the Yallourn Theatre.
By the mid-1950s the Paramount had become known as Karma Theatre. In June 1958, the building almost burnt down and was only saved due to someone who had been staying up late watching TV noticed flames coming from the building across the street. The Morwell Fire Brigade where on site for over an hour dealing with the fire.
In later years the building was used mainly as a dance hall, music venue, for parties, and it was even the location for a skating rink for a short while. The Morwell Lions Club, took over responsibility for the building in 1994 and a number of local groups used the building for various purposes. However, a fire completely destroyed the former Paramount in 2005.