The Oriana Cinema (1938-1972), on the corner of High and Queen Streets, was an art deco building which was removed in 1972 in favour of some very ordinary shops. Its first name was Hoyts Fremantle, but that was changed when ownership changed hands, and on the occasion of the first visit to Fremantle by the P&O ship, on her maiden voyage in 1961.
In 1937 a local company, Hoyts (Fremantle) Pty Ltd proposed the construction of a picture theatre at the corner of High Street and Queen Street, Fremantle. The cinema was estimated to cost £20,000 and seat 1,300. The site was previously occupied by the Rose and Crown Hotel which was built in 1830—although in the late 1870s it was used as the Fremantle Grammar School, as a private dwelling and lodging rooms.
This colour photo shows the earlier name. The marquee announces Trade Winds. This would be the Fredric March/Joan Bennett film first released in 1938. The other title is hard to read, but I'm going for Pardon Our Nerve, which was a comedy released in 1939. This would make 1940 a possible date for the photograph, which is from the WA CinemaWeb page.
The notes written around this 1927 photograph (which is from the Fremantle City Library Local History Collection) are informative. This is the building that was removed in favour of the Hoyts/Oriana Cinema.
On the bill at Hoyts Fremantle in this photo is Race Street (1948) with George Raft and William Bendix, and also a Randolph Scott flick from two years earlier, called Badman's Territory. This might be the best extant photograph of the building: it is from the Battye Library collection, and is dated 1950.
Another photo from the Battye Library, this one from 1957. It shows the Sandovers store on the other side of Queen St from Hoyts Fremantle, on what was to become the Myers site. The photographers for both of these photos is an anonymous 'government photographer'.
The Cinema with the Oriana sign in 1969. The photo is credited to Roy Mudge on the WA CinemaWeb page. The title on the marquee is that of a French film released in 1966 called La grande vadrouille (dir. Gérard Oury). It was released in English as Don't Look Now We're Being Shot At. It was a farce set during WW2 and featured Terry-Thomas among the English-speaking actors. (This photograph is from the Fremantle History Centre.)
Roy Mudge panned a bit to the left to take another shot. (You can see that it's the identical puddle in the street.) Locals may be interested to see that at this time Premier Pianos was in the Oriana building. They later moved down to 30 Queen St opposite the end of Henderson St and over the road from Myers. Mudge also shot the interior of the cinema.
These three photos of the interior of the Oriana Cinema from the Fremantle History Centre (#961, #962, #963) were taken by Roy Mudge 'about 1972', according to the Historians.
The front stalls appear to be in better condition than those in the Princess Theatre at about the same time.
And there is more decoration over the Oriana proscenium.
Garry Gillard | New: 25 June, 2013 | Now: 14 January, 2016