Toogawah & District Progress association secretary Helen Brieschke in front of Alexandra Hall.
Toogawah & District Progress association secretary Helen Brieschke in front of Alexandra Hall.

The little cinema still screening the big blockbusters

OPEN the doors to the Alexandra Hall in the heart of Toogoolawah and visitors will find a movie theatre with a difference.

It’s now affectionately known as the Toogoolawah Pictures, and a trip to this theatre will deliver a feel for the old with its old school canvassed seats while enjoying the new in the latest big title movies.

The iconic theatre has played some of the biggest blockbusters since the early 1900s and is now operated by a group of hardworking local volunteers.

The volunteers run the snack bar, which serves movie classics including popcorn, chocolate, soft drinks and hot dogs.

In 2014 the committee of volunteers entered a new phase with the introduction of 2D Digital Cinema Projection and surround sound.

Up until then they were using 35mm projection equipment and carbon arc lighting, believed to be one of the last burners to be used in Australia.

Toogoolawah & District Progress Association Secretary Helen Brieschke said the cinema screened its first black and white film 1910 and films were generally screened on a Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

“Believe it or not, patrons would ride their bicycles into town for the evening and would be complete with suit and hat or dress hat and gloves,” she said.

The hall that stands on the main street today is also known as the second Alexandra Hall.

The original hall was built in 1906 and enlarged in 1915 but was destroyed by a ferocious fire in 1930 following a ball in aid of the Church of England.

It is thought there was a confetti battle and a smouldering cigarette started the fire after everyone left.

A new building was commissioned in January 1931 and the time allowed to finish the build was only three months.

Today the cinema screens a new release every Saturday and a movie for mature audiences one Friday a month.

This Saturday the cinema is screening the Dolittle with Robert Downey Jnr.