Rise and fall of the late Ozone Theatre

Due to the construction of the new bridge, many buildings in Murray Bridge were being built at a fast rate for the increase in population. In 1922, a local syndicate formed the Murray Bridge Palace Company Ltd. 

The Lyric Picture Palace was opened on April 16, 1924, on the corner of Bridge Street and West Terrace at a cost of £12,000. It was the first purpose-built cinema for Murray Bridge having a capacity of 928 seats and was decorated with murals on the walls and windmill murals on either side of the proscenium. 

There was a large illuminated pendulum clock below the left windmill, which alerted patrons to train times for nearby Tailem Bend.

It opened every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights with a matinee on Saturday afternoon.  The cost was 1/6 for lounge and back seats, 1/- for front stalls and 6d for children. 

The Saturday night was so popular in the 1950s that a permanent booking was necessary to gain the best seats!

In 1932, sound-on-film was installed but due to the Depression the licence “as a place of public entertainment” lapsed soon after. 

By 1937, the Waterman Brothers had taken over and renamed it The Ozone Theatre. Deaf aids were installed for persons with hearing impairment, patrons were supplied with an earphone similar to a telephone receiver at no extra cost.

One of the most popular movies was Dad and Dave in “On Our Selection” held January 26 to 28 which was re-issued by popular request.

The Waterman Brothers sold their interest in Ozone Theatres to Hoyts in the early 50s. The theatre was renamed Hoyts Ozone Theatre. 

In 1955, major refurbishments took place in preparation for CinemaScope. To accommodate the wider screen, the proscenium opening was enlarged by removing the side panels, and a Miracle Mirror Screen installed and evaporated air conditioning installed.

The Hoyts Ozone Theatre closed in 1969, closure was said to be due to a combination of TAB, the State Lottery and 10 o’clock closing.

(Extracts from Cinema Record – Cinema and Theatre Historical Society Inc. Issue 55 Edition 2-2007 pages 11-13.

Murray Bridge & District Historical Society Inc. 

“A Community Saving Our Past”