Location: Flushcombe Rd Blacktown
Capacity: 700 Cars
Screens: One, later two
Operator: Great Western/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 like "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" plus "Wargames".
What sort of theatre is it? Who owns it? What is it called? Oh well, at least this sign tells whats showing tonight. The sign has not kept pace with the change of ownership over the years.
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 antenna between the palms is for FM stereo transmission. Behind the screen is a 6 lane freeway.
The lack of signage on the freeway next to the Blacktown Skyline ensures that motorists drive past daily oblivious to its existance. 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.
These are RCA speakers designed in the 1940's, the first type to be used in Australia at Skyline Burwood, Victoria in 1954. NTS (National Theatre Supplies) speakers are also in use at Blacktown.
Each year puts more pressure on Blacktown's existance 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. (Steps down from soapbox.)
The large snack bar with twin bio box sitting on top. This building is not as pretty as the one at Bass Hill but it is the size of a bowling alley!
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 independants and MGM at Chullora, Consolidated had Sydney all to itself. Most of the competition ultimatly passed to Consolidated control in later years.
Welcome to Greater Union Blacktown drive-in, headlights off please, trucks and campers to the right, enjoy the movies.
Have a look at what's screening at Blacktown Drive-in theatre.
This is where Buddy likes to park, on the front ramps, no sense wasting a 100ft screen!
Buddy's hamburger rating 9/10. Photos by Buddy September 1999.