Horsham Mota-Vu

Opened: 1950’s
Location: Horsham, Victoria
Capacity: 660
Screens: One
Operator: Mota-Vu Drive-in Theatre Pty Ltd
Closed: mid 1980’s

Cinema has survived more than a century because it has constantly reinvented itself through sound, colour, cinemascope, stereo, 70mm, digital sound etc. Whilst these changes are obvious to most students of cinema, the venues used to present these changes have evolved as much if not more. Travelling picture show men visited towns and hamlets in the early part of last century showing the “flicks”; silent films in tents and mechanics institutes. By the late teens towns with a population to support regular films had a resident operator in the local hall. By the 1920’s and 1930’s one or two purpose built cinemas were running. When television entered the picture in the late 1950’s many of these cinemas closed only to be replaced by drive-ins. The drive-in had its glory run for about 25 years only to close due to the impact of the VCR. Today multiscreen cinemas have inherited the mantle. Horsham is a classic example of this tag team event of cinema venues.

Horsham was a large drive-in and traded successfully for decades. Built by Ivan Stevens and operated by him for years, it was then sold to Laurie Barber. Today a housing estate is located on the site, but for years the residence of the owners, firstly Ivan Stevens and then Laurie Barber remained long after the drive-in closed. Houses for the owners and managers were more common in country drive-in theares but did occur in the cities too in locations like Dandenong. It provided added security during the non-theatre hours.

A classic shot from the 1960’s supplied by Brett Enright, a relative of original owner Ivan Stevens. This view is from the garden of the residence looking toward the snack bar/bio box building and onto the screen. Neat ramps of speakers can be seen to the left and right.

Former residence at the rear of the drive-in property.