Fremantle Stuff > cinemas > Majestic

Majestic Theatre

The Majestic Theatre was in High Street, in the middle of what is now the Mall, a one-block section of the former Street that is now closed to vehicular traffic. It was opened in 1916 and closed as a cinema in 1938. As part of Manning's Buildings, 1906, it was designed by Cavanagh & Cavanagh, and built by Richard Rennie.

Majestic Theatre

Fremantle Library photo #1724, I.N. Branson, c. 1930s [cropped: see bottom for the original]. Barney Silberts on the right were in Manning Buildings, 109-113 High Street. Next to them is the Majestic Picture Theatre, Manning Buildings, 115-117 High Street; and towards the Town Hall is Ezywalkins, Manning Chambers, 125-137 High Street.

The Majestic Theatre (cinema) High St Fremantle, right of centre, with the white facade. The sign on the top of the building says TALKIES, so this would be the 1930s - apparently 1937. The cinema auditorium is still (2015) inside: it's completely empty, unused, without a ceiling. The balconies which are dimly visible in the photograph (under the large poster) can still be seen from the street. The ironwork displays the initials MT. Image from the Fremantle History Centre.

The Theatre opened in 1916 and was closed in 1938 after which the site was redeveloped for retail, and the facade is over what is now the Manning Arcade, in which is Five Star Tattoo, which occupies the former cinema's offices. One of the staff was kind enough to allow me into the cinema auditorium 22 June 2014 so that I was able to take some of the photos below.

This is the exterior of what is now Manning Arcade. Note the balconies above the awning with the MT logo of the former Majestic Theatre.

A closer look at the windows from the outside. Now to the inside ...

The floor seems sound, although strewn liberally with pigeon shit. There is absolutely nothing at all in the former auditorium.

Even the former toilets have been completely stripped.

There's plenty of light the northern end.

Less light at the southern end. That's the door that gives access, and to what I believe used to be the Theatre offices.

A refit would require much more than a new ceiling, but that is the most obvious thing missing.

Five Star Tattoo, who were kind enough to allow me into the building.

Majestic Theatre

The last photo of the interior is from the Mayor's blog: much better than those I took.

Majestic Theatre

Fremantle Library photo #1232A, c1940. Following is the caption that accompanies the photo.

From the right are: Barney Silbert & Co, in the Manning Buildings, 109-113 High Street; (formerly, 1905, Breckler Brothers); Coles, Manning Buildings, 115-117 (formerly Majestic Picture Theatre, 1916); and Caris Brothers (formerly Adolph Kopp, watchmaker and jeweller.) In the centre background is the Town Hall (1887). Trams ran down High Street from 1905 to 8th November 1952.

Majestic Theatre

Fremantle Library photo #1355, said to be c1934, but the film Happy Days Revue, originally known as Happy Days Are Here Again, was only released in 1936. Following is the caption that accompanies the photo.

The Majestic first appears as a theatre in Fremantle City Council ratebooks in 1916/1917. Previously there were shops here. In 1938/1939 it was taken over by G J Coles. When the weather was very hot, the staff were permitted to wear street clothes.

Majestic Theatre

Fremantle Library photo #1724, I.N. Branson [uncropped].

Notes and acknowledgements

Older images thanks to the Fremantle Library.

The Australian Museum of Motion Picture & Television has a page about the Fremantle Majestic.

There was also a Majestic Theatre in Perth, until 1937 when the cinema on the site became the Plaza and then the Paris. The Plaza Arcade still exists.

Thanks again to Five Star Tattoo.

References and Links

Bell, Max D., Perth: A Cinema History, Book Guild, Sussex: 32.

Davidson, Ron 2007, Fremantle Impressions, Fremantle Press: 256, 258.

Hutchison, David 2006, Fremantle Walks, Fremantle Arts Centre Press: 152, 153, 199.

Western Australian CinemaWeb page

Garry Gillard | New: 23 June, 2013 | Now: 5 May, 2019