Yarrawonga Lakeside

Opened: Late 1950's
Location: Murray Valley Hwy, Yarrawonga
Capacity: 380 Cars
Screens: One
Operator: Lakeside drive-in, Steve McDonnell
Closed: 1999

Brief history:
Another drive-in with a hot and cold history is the Yarrawonga Lakeside Drive-in. It is located on the Victoria/NSW boarder on the main Hwy into town, this one you can't miss. The Lakeside, whilst being the main and often only film venue in town for most of the last 40 years, traded well in the early days. Yarrawonga had the advantage of a large Summer influx of water-skiers who would swell the ramps. The irony is, despite a small population of only 3,500, Yarrawonga had a drive-in that operated until 1999.

Seen here in 1989, the screen has lost a few panels. At the time I thought this was close to the last we would see of the Lakeside Drive-in theatre.

Sure the drive-in had spent a good deal of the last 15 years closed, but the fact that it was ressurected and operated in Summer whilst competing against another venue showing films in the same small town is quite amazing. The conclusion can be drawn that interest in drive-ins is higher today than during the mid-1980's. It is however difficult to operate a venture that only makes money during the warmer months.

The sign says it all. Note the replacement panels on the left of the screen, covering the holes seen in the photo above. This photo Febuary 2000.

When I first photographed this drive-in in the late 1980's the screen was missing panels and the site was only used as an occasional trash and treasure market. I admit to being surprised when years later it was refurbished and re-opened to strong business.

Multicoloured posts became popular in the 1960's, the long grass really ads to the picture paddock feel.

Today this picture paddock is once again dark. The owners wish to turn the site into some sort of drive-through wine tasting venture - just what the world needs!. A lot of interest in the town of Yarrawonga will dissappear for me and thousands of others when the drive-in on the highway bows to this new use. R.I.P. Lakeside drive-in.

The projection room at the Lakeside: Ashcraft Core-Lite carbon arc lamphouses on the back of Century projectors, you could not get much better combination for a drive-in in the 1960's. Slide projector sits to the left. The projectors are ready to roll with 2,000ft spool threaded up for tonights feature. Steve McDonnel Photo.

Projection room at the front of the snack bar/toilet building. Fenced gardens were in front of all ground floor projection rooms to stop little kids and big kids making rabbit ears in the projection beam. Steve McDonnel Photo.

The snack bar is neat, clean and simple. Over the last 40 years a lot of hamburgers have been passed over this counter. Steve McDonnel Photo.

A couple of cattle was all that was required to keep the grass down, as long as they did not eat the speaker wiring! Steve McDonnel Photo.

More history on the Lakeside anyone?


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