IT was the place where people shared their first kiss. It was once the No.1 venue in Cairns to take your date on a Saturday night and you were the cool dude if you drove in with your Sandman station wagon
Thousands of people in Cairns born before the 1990s had the former Coral Twin Drive-in at Woree to thank for some golden memories. But just like the Sandman wagon, the times of the drive-in cinema have passed us by. Overgrown, rusty and deemed unsafe, the old Woree drive-in had seen better days and yesterday was finally demolished.
"It’s a sad day to see some of the city’s history demolished but the site wasn’t being used and it was deemed unsafe," Cairns Regional councillor Rob Pyne told The Cairns Post. The drive-in closed in 2000 but after a successful Facebook campaign, it showed its final movies in August last year.
The site was formally owned by Udo Jattke’s Glencorp group and in 2008, Mr Jattke was given a permit to build 520 residential units on the site. But construction never began and the site is now in the hands of liquidators after the collapse of Mr Jattke’s construction empire.
Gavan Nolan of KordaMentha, the liquidator appointed by the Commonwealth Bank, said the site was in the process of being prepared for sale and was expected to be ready as early as next week.Those who want to drive through memory lane can still do so at the region’s only operating drive-in at Mareeba or at the new seated outdoor movies operating at Port Douglas.
Fond memories: Ryan Khay, Jacqui Nolan and Udo Jattke (above) were among the last crowd of moviegoers at the venue when they attended a charity event last year.
My view....The concept of the 'Drive-In' was a direct clone from the American movie industry. Considering the inclement weather conditions of the tropical north it remains a mystery why it was so successful in the 1960's and later years in Cairns.
I suppose the novelty lasted longer than most people thought at the time. But changing circumstances such as plush cinemas and abundance of videos saw the popularity diminish until Birch Carol And Coyle closed it down.
It is interesting to note that the Valmadre family based at Caravonica had at one stage proposed to build a drive in 'theatre' on their cane farm at Caravonica but the Council at the time was not too enthusiastic with the concept having in mind the falling popularity and changing habits of movie goers.
It would be interesting to read comments from 'drive-in goers' that had wonderful experiences, like hiding in the boot of the sedan to avoid paying a head fee.