Swan Hill Swan Line

Opened: Late 1950,s
Location: Murray Valley Hwy, Beverford
Capacity: 360 Cars
Screens: One
Operator: Murray valley Drive-in Theatres
Closed: Early 1980’s

The Swan Line drive-in at Swan Hill was one of two drive-ins operated by O’Halloran Theatres, the other was located at Kerang. At its peak the O’Halloran circuit consisted of 13 screens (11 cinemas, 2 drive-ins) and was run and founded by Frank O’Halloran and later operated by his son Brian. Swan Hill was one of the few towns of its size (10,000) to successfully operate both an indoor theatre and a drive-in simultaneously.

On a visit to Swan Hill in May 2000 for some new photos, Matthew and I decided to take some shots of the old ticket box from the side road. As we got as close as we could, Matthew said he thought he could see some dogs, maybe dingoes. As I moved the telephoto lens into place, I saw the figures move around and thought they don’t walk like dingoes, they look like lions! Yep, 2 lions and 2 tigers were living in this ticket box and surrounding enclosure. These were apparently former circus animals. It is interesting to note that some drive-ins had small zoos with exotic animals to attract children in the 1950’s, but I’m sure no drive-in ever had lions and tigers prowling the ticket box. It’s enough to make you never want to hide in the boot again!