Location: Flushcombe Rd Blacktown
Capacity: 700 Cars
Operator: Great Union/Consolidated
Closed: Now Open
Blacktown is one of only two suburban drive-ins operating in Sydney. With its large snack bar and lush garden surrounds it became a favorite for patrons and became one of the best trading drive-ins in Sydney. It was the first of the Consolidated circuit to add a second screen in 1984 and this enabled it to offer quality “A” double features.
This drive-in like Bass Hill is maintained in excellent condition by its enthusiastic staff. The lawns are manicured, the palms in their place and the speaker posts glisten in the sun. The quality of the food is excellent and it puts most fast food restaurants to shame. These hamburgers are good, (Buddy has visited over 200 drive-ins so you better believe him!).
The lack of signage on the freeway next to the Blacktown Skyline ensures that motorists drive past daily oblivious to its existence. How about a neon on the rear of the screen GU? Sound is speaker, AM Cine-Fi and FM – when it’s switched on! Recently cars have been parking in nearby “scabs alley” and viewing movies on the sly. When discount Tuesday offer double features there is no reason to cheat the admission price.
Each year puts more pressure on Blacktown’s existence as the land values increase, the operating profit must make the venture worthwhile. Sentiment goes some way to ensuring the survival of this venue, but when Amalgamated Holdings shareholders start to think their returns will be higher with capital utilised elsewhere, its all over. Thankfully Greater Union operate these two drive-in theatres efficiently and professionally and should be commended for ensuring a big slice of Australian way of life lives into the new century.
It is of interest to note that the Consolidated drive-in circuit changed from Hoyts to Greater Union control after being owned by a joint venture company owned by both. The competition of Village and Hoyts in Victoria ultimately led to more drive-ins built as each tried to outdo one another. Other than a few independents and MGM at Chullora, Consolidated had Sydney all to itself. Most of the competition ultimately passed to Consolidated control in later years.