Wangaratta Village

Opened: 1970
Location: Hume Hwy
Capacity: 500?
Screens: One
Operator: Village/Kenrick, Kevin Adams, Alan Vogt
Closed: 1997

Brief history:
Wangaratta was another drive-in that was built later in the piece. This was possibly caused by the fact that Village operated the Orana theatre in the town and already controlled the boxoffice there. Most other locations that Village moved into was to expand and increase market share.

Big illuminated sign with HGC dates from the Kenrick days. Wonder what the deal with the house-owner was to situate the sign here?

Not long after Wangaratta drive-in was openned, a fire burnt down the snack bar and projection buildings and construction started again. An efficient, economic design was utilised

Sign in ticket box announces "Radio Cine Hi-Fi sound". Photo 1990 when drive-in was still operating.

Wangaratta had a large amount of playground equipment that resided under the screen for the kids to play on. This remained in place until even after closure. Speakers were Brady and they hung on UFO junction boxes.

What a difference a decade makes. Photos compare the same view in 2000 and 1990.

When Village moved out of Wangaratta after videos had reduced the profitability of the location, the drive-in had a series of operators. Business was steady during the warmer months, but sparce in Winter. In latter years the drive-in operated during Summer only.

For a while there every time I visited Wangatatta it rained, and this is one of the driest parts of the state! This shot shows the ghostly remains of the screen towering over the playground equipment.

With a population of over 16,000, it was only a matter of time before someone once again established an indoor theatre in Wang. Today a small multiplex resides in the town and this ended the drive-ins almost 30 year run. Today the site is used as a building materials and surplus yard. Next time you drive up the Hume Highway, take the old road into town and have a wander amongst the Modern maid ovens and Whirlpool washers that now sit on the ramps where cars once did.

You know all those old washers and ovens that are collected from suburban nature strips? Well now I know where they all go to - Wangaratta drive-in! There is soooo much stuff spread on the ramps and all very cheap.

Have any early photos or more information on Wang. drive-in? E-mail me.

A UFO junction box (painted Mission Brown, yuk) with a Cine-Fi aerial clip. There would have been over 100,000 of these at one time, now try and find one.

An RCA Hylite slide projector. These were very common in drive-ins and were often adapted to show more than plain old slides. Some were equipped with colour wheels and varying textures of glass to give entertaining effects if intermission was needed to be prolonged due to large crowds in the snack bar.


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