Drive-in Theatres

Skyline drive-in theatres were the first to open in Australia on February 18th 1954. It was opened in the Melbourne suburb of Burwood and was the first of 330 drive-in theatres that would open across Australia. Many have since closed with the large amounts of land taken up by drive-ins being sold off to build houses or shopping centres.

Most older people have gone to a drive-in at some stage in their lives and unfortunately there's a good chance that they will disappear altogether at some stage in the future. Going to the drive in became a national pastime in Australia at one stage when people would go out in a group and on entry would have 4 in the car and 2 in the boot. A sagging back end of the car was a dead give away but it doesn't stop people trying even today. Others would go out with partners as it was a bit more private than actually sitting in an indoor movie theatre but still had all the amenities as a indoor movie theatre such as toilets and snack bar.

Fortunately there are still some left scattered throughout Australia but nowhere near the amount of 330. There are now only 21 drive-in theatres throughout Australia which are still running with 3 in Victoria, 4 in New South Wales, 6 in Queensland, 5 in Western Australia, 3 in South Australia, 0 in Tasmania and 0 in the Northern Territory. The reason so many drive-ins closed come down to 2 major factors. The first is that the land that the drive-ins occupied became so expensive that the owners cashed in. The other reason was the VCR with many people now choosing to stay home and watch movies in the comfort of their own lounge room. It became much cheaper to rent a movie from the video store and watch it at home rather than taking the whole family to the drive-in. This is still the case today for a lot of people when it comes to taking the family out to a movie theatre.

Now that we've entered the 21'st century technology has passed drive-ins by with superior sound and picture quality found in major indoor movie theatres. Some of the younger generation will go there as a novelty but the weekly weekend trip for the younger generation has passed. Fortunately some people still see the drive-in as a great night out with the family and this is keeping the few which are left in business.

The biggest success of the drive-in came in the sixties when people would take their families for a night out at the drive-in. Since the sixties there has been a steady decline in drive-in attendance figures which as mentioned before forced many of them to close down. In recent times there has been somewhat of a revival of the old drive-in movie theatres with many people returning to them. This is down to a number of factors with value for money being the most important. Most drive-ins are showing more than 1 movie in a session with some offering 3 movies for the price of one that is enticing people back. The drive in also tends to draw larger crowds during summer when it's a nice warm evening with many people preferring to be outside under the stars watching a movie. Also with fewer drive-ins around now the ones that are open aren't competing with each other to attract patrons.

In summary the drive-in theatre has been a large part of the Australian movie history and hopefully the ones which remain open can stay that way.