Location: Johnson Rd, Bass Hill
Capacity: 724 Cars
Operator: Greater Union/Consolidated Drive-in Theatres
The oldest drive-in in NSW is now gone. A once beautiful drive-in has now been turned into apartments. If you are sad about this, then visit Blacktown soon or it will go the same way. Event/Greater Union have made it clear, all of their cinema locations need to pay their way or they will become extinct. Blacktown is still criminally hidden from view so GU can certainly publicise the location a whole lot better. Who knows they may even reap some large profits like Village did when they pushed Coburg along a few years ago. What follows was written around 10 years ago………. NEWSFLASH: Two operating drive-in theatres were today found in the suburbs of Sydney. Long thought to have been extinct by most of the population, two very healthy examples were found located in Bass Hill and Blacktown. Like the Village Coburg Triple drive-in located in Melbourne, the two drive-ins in Sydney are among the cities best kept secrets to the internet generation. If you are over 30, then you grew up driving past monster screens with giant images every time you came home from grandmas house. If you were lucky, a few visits a year were planned during school holidays when you piled into the back seat of the Valiant or Volkswagon in your pyjamas.
Bass Hill is Australia’s oldest continually operating drive-in theatre. It is maintained in such pristine condition by Greater Union it’s almost like a new retro construction rather than a venue that is over 40 years old. The lawns, asphalt, speakers and posts are all immaculate and it seems the place is painted almost monthly. The hamburgers made and sold here (and its sister at Blacktown) beat most I have sampled in the world and I’m not just talking drive-ins. These burgers are up with Fatburger on Sunset Blvd, Hollywood and Soda Rock in Chapel St. Melbourne. The staff are friendly and have enough drive-in experiences to spin more than a few amusing tales.
Sydney, it’s time you stopped taking the existance of this venue for granted and visit it for a pleasant alternative to an indoor theatre. Outdoor cinemas were among the first in the country to show flickering images on a screen, today a century later you can still do this, but in the comfort of your Magna or Falcon XR8.
Bass Hill offers sound via speakers, AM Cine-Fi and FM stereo. Projection is with Cinemeccanica Victoria 8, Xebex lamphouses and Cinemeccanica platters. I can’t understand why no sign tells of its existance to travellers along one of Australias busiest roads, the Hume Hwy, that runs right alongside it. GU are shy about advertising or they have one nasty council to tens with.