Narrative Transport. The official Michael Pryor website.

May16th

I’ve been doing some research on the great picture palaces of 1930s/1940s Melbourne. Recently, I stumbled across the wonderful Harold Paynting Collection at the State Library of Victoria and discovered these images of the long lost Padua Theatre, Brunswick, Victoria.  Thanks to people like photographer Lyle Fowler, we can gaze on this extraordinary streamlined edifice that landed in suburban Sydney Road.The 2,000 seat theatre was opened to much fanfare in 1937 – footwarmers! Revolving stage! Crying room! Service!

As with all the magnificent cinemas of this era, the Padua suffered when TV came along, so much so that its superb Art Deco interior was gutted in 1968 and it began a new life as the Metropole. Eventually, though, it was torn down in 1982(!). Today, a supermarket is on the site.

What a loss.

argus 1937

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7 Comments

  • Comment by Margaret Peachey — January 28, 2018 @ 4:24 pm

    I have a booklet which was apparently printed for the opening of the Padua. It has information about coming films and acknowledgements of the companies who contributed to the building. I was born and lived in Brunswick and lived there until I was 20 years old.

    I attended the Padua both with my parents and Saturday Afternoon matinees.

    I later worked for Hoyts theatres in the offices in the Regent Building.

    During that time I was sometimes enlisted on my way home to call into the Padua and other theatres with reels of newsreel or occasionally a reel of film which had to be shown that night.

    I could attend the theatre with my boyfriend now husband
    and be allowed in for free in return.

    The building in Collins Street apart from housing the Regent theatre had what had originally been the Ballet room when silent films were shown. It had a beautiful Parquet floor.

  • Comment by michael — January 29, 2018 @ 8:55 am

    Margaret, your first hand recollections are like gold! Lovely, important stuff – many thanks for contributing.

  • Comment by John Clifford — March 20, 2018 @ 6:46 pm

    Hi Michael. I am sitting with my 84 yr old Mum who was born and raised in Brunswick and has clear and very fond memories of the Padua. I even remember myself as an 11 yr old the sheer horror on Mum’s face when she saw it had been demolished (by then she was living away). I am sure she can make a gr8 contribution if there are any particular questions u want answered

  • Comment by michael — March 21, 2018 @ 10:44 am

    Thanks for this, John. Any memories – and any memorabilia – would be welcome! What about some of the films she saw there?

  • Comment by Gregory Perkins — May 15, 2018 @ 2:21 pm

    Hi John..fond memories of the “Pad ” as both my older brothers and i worked as lollie boys in 1957 -58. A caring Mrs Bond managed both shops on either side of the theatre and dispatched us to our designated position for the night. The upstairs foyer was the best position as you sold small boxes of chocolate and scorched almonds , the front stalls polly waffles and dixie ice creams and dairy caramel with the cow on the box. The uniform was really smart with a Burgundy jacket with trimmings of grey and gold buttons like a West Point Uniform and you were expected to wear grey long pants. There was always time to kill before interval and we would explore the theatre visit the projectionist and the Volcano coffee shop a few doors up and play soccer listening to Paul Anka sing Diana. Friday and Saturday nights were often booked out and there was a popular Saturday after noon session. The big movie was Giant with Doris Day and Rock Hudson and we made extra money delivering flyers into letter boxes promoting the movie. Great and sad to see the images, the space ship ticket box was rarely used when i worked there. i met a guy through business who said he knew me from some where else. we eventually worked it out sometime later that we were lollie boys together.

  • Comment by Ed Mylan — June 13, 2018 @ 6:36 pm

    Can anyone help wit a question? I am doing a video for a friend who is turning 80 this year and he went to the Padua as a kid. During intermission they would play a song all the kids would sing along with, I would like to include this song in the video. In the lyrics were the words “We all go together” If anyone knows the song please let me know the name of it or where I can find it. Thanks so much.
    Ed Mylan

  • Comment by Nicholas — June 14, 2018 @ 5:54 am

    Fondest childhood memories of growing up in Brunswick and attending matinees every Saturday at the Padua. This theatre has left an everlasting impression, from early 9 year old age. From the decor to the ushers uniforms, it was immaculate. my mother would would dip into her gas money to give me one and a half shillings to attend every Saturday matinee. From the Cinetone news, national anthem and the prelude that always left you on the edge of your seat are memories that will never fade. Randolph Scott and Audie Murphy westerns are entrenched. Can still recall them flashing Gatum Gatums win across the screen in the 1963 Melbourne Cup. Was absolutely devastated to learn that this work of art was demolished.

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