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Season 21 commences on the 18th November 2016


20 years of Kookaburra

Kookaburra Cinema turns 20 on the 3rd January 2017
** Come celebrate 20 years of screenings with us on Saturday the 7th January 2017
**
The cinema was officially opened on the 3rd January 1997 and the first public
screening was on Saturday the 4th.

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Movies now showing:
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Click on the Poster to view synopsis and watch the Trailer


The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years [PG] Poster

The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years
[PG] (US)

Directed by: Ron Howard
Rated: PG
Stars:
The Beatles
Screening in November
Fri 18th

Watch
the trailer!


Academy Award winner Ron Howard’s authorised and highly
anticipated documentary feature film about The Beatles’ phenomenal
early career screens at Kookaburra Cinema for one night only.
Based on the first part of The Beatles’ career (1962-1966) – the
period in which they toured and captured the world’s acclaim. Ron
Howard’s film explores how John Lennon, Paul McCartney,
George Harrison and Ringo Starr came together to become this extraordinary
phenomenen, “The Beatles”.
It explores their inner workings – how they made decisions, created
their music and built their collective career together
– all the while exploring The Beatles’ extraordinary and unique
musical gifts and their remarkable, complementary personalities.
The film focuses on the period from the early Beatle’s journey in the
days of the Cavern Club in Liverpool to their last concert at Candlestick
Park in San Francisco in 1966.

×

×


Inferno [M] Poster

Inferno [M] (US)

Directed by: Ron Howard
Rated: M
Stars:
Tom Hanks
Felicity Jones
Screening in November
Sat 19th, Sun 20th

Watch
the trailer!


Academy Award® winner Ron Howard returns to direct the latest
bestseller
in Dan Brown’s (Da Vinci Code) billion-dollar Robert Langdon series,
Inferno,
which finds the famous symbologist (again played by Tom Hanks) on a trail
of clues tied to the great Dante himself. When Langdon wakes up in an
Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Sienna Brooks (Felicity
Jones), a doctor he hopes will help him recover his memories. Together,
they race across Europe and against the clock to stop a madman from
unleashing a global virus that would wipe out half of the world’s
population.

×

×


Quo Vado? (Where am I Going?) [M] Poster

Quo Vado? (Where am I Going?) [M] (Italy (English
Subtitles))

Directed by: Gennaro Nunziante
Rated: M
Stars:
Checco Zalone (Luca Medici)
Eleonara Giovanardi
Sonia Bergamasco
Maurizio Micheli
Lino Banfi
Screening in November
Fri 25th, Sat 26th, Sun 27th

Watch
the trailer!


This hilarious comedy now stands as the highest-grossing film in
Italian cinema history, earning an extraordinary €65 million to date and
almost equalling Star Wars: The Force Awakens three week ticket sales in its
first weekend.
Checco Zalone, 39 and still living at home, loves his privileged lifestyle and
cushy public service job-for-life,
carrying a generous pension, and which it seems impossible to be terminated from.
When a new reformist government vows to cut down on bureaucracy,
Checco refuses to take a severence payout and is transferred to the North Pole
out of spite.
But as someone who refuses to to relinquish such a privilege, this slacker will
go to every length to keep his entitlements at the expense of all others.
With non-stop gags and pointed satire, it is no wonder that the film was such a
huge success.

×

×


Café Society [M] Poster

Café Society [M] (US)

Directed by: Woody Allen
Rated: M
Stars:
Jesse Eisenberg
Kristen Stewart
Steve Carell
Blake Lively
Screening in December
Fri 2nd

Watch
the trailer!


The film follows Bronx-born Bobby from New York to Hollywood and back
again as he falls in love and becomes swept up in the excitement and glamour of
1930s café society.

×

×


The Accountant [MA15] Poster

The Accountant [MA15] (US)

Directed by: Gavin O’Connor
Rated: MA15
Stars:
Ben Affleck
Anna Kendrick
J. K. Simmons
John Bernthall
Daeg Faerch
Screening in December
Sat 3rd

Watch
the trailer!


Christian Wolff (Affleck) is a math savant with more affinity for
numbers than people.
Using a small-town CPA office as a cover, he makes his living as a freelance
accountant for dangerous criminal organizations.
With a Treasury agent (J.K. Simmons) hot on his heels, Christian takes on a
state-of-the-art robotics company as a legitimate client.
As Wolff gets closer to the truth about a discrepancy that involves millions of
dollars, the body count starts to rise.

×

×


Julieta [M] Poster

Julieta [M] (Spain (English Subtitles))

Directed by: Pedro Almodovar
Rated: M
Stars:
Adriana Ugarte
Rossy de Palma
Michelle Jenner
Screening in December
Sun 4th

Watch
the trailer!


Straight from its Cannes Competition berth, Pedro
Almodóvar’s new film is a dramatic, emotional story of a woman’s
loves and regrets told in the master’s distinctive style.
Adapted from Alice Munro’s short stories, Julieta (Adriana Ugarte) is about
to leave Madrid to live in Portugal when she runs into Bea (Michelle Jenner),
the childhood friend of her daughter Antía. This chance meeting sets off a
range of emotions in Julieta, and she begins to write a long and revealing letter
to her daughter –
one filled with regret, guilt and love. With a sense of mystery, an expressive
score and his trademark use of vibrant colour, Almodóvar has made a film of
spellbinding beauty.

×

×


Arrival [M] Poster

Arrival [M] (US)

Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
Rated: M
Stars:
Amy Adams
Jeremy Renner
Forest Whitaker
Screening in December
Fri 9th, Sat 10th, Sun 11th

Watch
the trailer!


When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an elite team
– lead by expert linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) – is brought
together to investigate.
As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race against time
for answers – and to find them, she will take a chance that could threaten
her life, and quite possibly humanity.

×

×


Robinson Crusoe: The Wild Life [PG] Poster

Robinson Crusoe: The Wild Life [PG] (US)

Directed by: Ben Stassen
Rated: PG
Stars:
Screening in December
Fri 16th

Watch
the trailer!


On a tiny exotic island an outgoing parrot, Tuesday, can’t stop
dreaming about discovering the world.
After a strong storm, Tuesday and his friends wake up to find a strange creature on
the beach: Robinson Crusoe.
Tuesday immediately sees Crusoe as his ticket off the island to explore new lands.
Likewise, Crusoe soon realises the key
to surviving on the island is through the help of Tuesday and the other animals.
Join Crusoe on a fun-filled, colourful ride
for the whole family and pass down this reimagined classic to your children!

×

×


I, Daniel Blake [M] Poster

I, Daniel Blake [M] (UK)

Directed by: Ken Loach
Rated: M
Stars:
Dave Johns
Hayley Squires
Sharon Percy
Dylan McKiernan
Briana Shann
Screening in December
Sat 17th, Sun 18th

Watch
the trailer!


Daniel Blake is a 59-year-old joiner living in the North-East of
England who attempts to seek a disability pension in the wake of a massive cardiac
arrest.
While he endeavours to overcome the red tape involved in getting this assistance,
he meets single mother Katie who has her pension sanctioned because she arrives
late for her appointment.
Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival 2016

×

×


The Light Between Oceans [M] Poster

The Light Between Oceans [M] (US/NZ/UK)

Directed by: Derek Cianfrance
Rated: M
Stars:
Michael Fassbender
Alicia Vikander
Rachel Weisz
Bryan Brown
Jack Thompson
Screening in December
Fri 23rd

Watch
the trailer!


On a remote island in the years following WW1, a couple rescue a baby
from an adrift rowboat and decide to raise the child as their own,
unaware of the devastating consequences of their decision. Years later, they
discover the child’s true parentage and are faced with the moral dilemma of
their actions.

×

×


Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them [PG] Poster

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them [PG] (US/UK)

Directed by: David Yates
Rated: PG
Stars:
Eddie Redmayne
Ezra Miller
Zoë Kravitz
Katherine Waterston
Alison Sudol
Colin Farrell
Dan Fogler
Jenn Murray
Ron Perlman
Jon Voight
Screening in December/January
Mon 26th Dec, Fri 30th Dec, Sat 31st Dec, Sun 1st Jan

Watch
the trailer!


Author J. K. Rowling and director David Yates return to the Harry
Potter universe with this spinoff story,
starring Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) as writer Newt
Scamander who discovers an underground community of witches and wizards in New York
– 70 years before Harry reads his book.

×

×

Closed for Winter Recess & expected to re-open for Season 20 approx Nov
20th 2015

Movies that are now showing are below, click for trailers, ratings, and more
information about the
selected title.

  • The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years [PG] Poster for Kookaburra Cinema

    The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – The Touring Years [PG] (US)

    Directed by: Ron Howard
    Rated: PG
    Stars:
    The Beatles
    Screening in November
    Fri 18th
    Summary below
    Academy Award winner Ron Howard’s authorised and
    highly anticipated documentary feature film about The Beatles’
    phenomenal early career screens at Kookaburra Cinema for one night
    only.
    Based on the first part of The Beatles’ career (1962-1966) –
    the period in which they toured and captured the world’s acclaim. Ron
    Howard’s film explores how John Lennon, Paul McCartney,
    George Harrison and Ringo Starr came together to become this extraordinary
    phenomenen, “The Beatles”.
    It explores their inner workings – how they made decisions, created
    their music and built their collective career together
    – all the while exploring The Beatles’ extraordinary and unique
    musical gifts and their remarkable, complementary personalities.
    The film focuses on the period from the early Beatle’s journey in the
    days of the Cavern Club in Liverpool to their last concert at Candlestick
    Park in San Francisco in 1966.

  • Inferno [M] Poster for Kookaburra Cinema

    Inferno [M] (US)

    Directed by: Ron Howard
    Rated: M
    Stars:
    Tom Hanks
    Felicity Jones
    Screening in November
    Sat 19th, Sun 20th
    Summary below
    Academy Award® winner Ron Howard returns to direct the
    latest bestseller
    in Dan Brown’s (Da Vinci Code) billion-dollar Robert Langdon series,
    Inferno,
    which finds the famous symbologist (again played by Tom Hanks) on a
    trail
    of clues tied to the great Dante himself. When Langdon wakes up in an
    Italian hospital with amnesia, he teams up with Sienna Brooks (Felicity
    Jones), a doctor he hopes will help him recover his memories. Together,
    they race across Europe and against the clock to stop a madman from
    unleashing a global virus that would wipe out half of the world’s
    population.

  • Quo Vado? (Where am I Going?) [M] Poster for Kookaburra Cinema

    Quo Vado? (Where am I Going?) [M] (Italy (English Subtitles))

    Directed by: Gennaro Nunziante
    Rated: M
    Stars:
    Checco Zalone (Luca Medici)
    Eleonara Giovanardi
    Sonia Bergamasco
    Maurizio Micheli
    Lino Banfi
    Screening in November
    Fri 25th, Sat 26th, Sun 27th
    Summary below
    This hilarious comedy now stands as the highest-grossing
    film in Italian cinema history, earning an extraordinary €65 million
    to date and
    almost equalling Star Wars: The Force Awakens three week ticket sales in
    its first weekend.
    Checco Zalone, 39 and still living at home, loves his privileged lifestyle
    and cushy public service job-for-life,
    carrying a generous pension, and which it seems impossible to be terminated
    from. When a new reformist government vows to cut down on bureaucracy,
    Checco refuses to take a severence payout and is transferred to the North
    Pole out of spite.
    But as someone who refuses to to relinquish such a privilege, this slacker
    will go to every length to keep his entitlements at the expense of all
    others.
    With non-stop gags and pointed satire, it is no wonder that the film was
    such a huge success.

  • Café Society [M] Poster for Kookaburra Cinema

    Café Society [M] (US)

    Directed by: Woody Allen
    Rated: M
    Stars:
    Jesse Eisenberg
    Kristen Stewart
    Steve Carell
    Blake Lively
    Screening in December
    Fri 2nd
    Summary below
    The film follows Bronx-born Bobby from New York to
    Hollywood and back again as he falls in love and becomes swept up in the
    excitement and glamour of 1930s café society.

  • The Accountant [MA15] Poster for Kookaburra Cinema

    The Accountant [MA15] (US)

    Directed by: Gavin O’Connor
    Rated: MA15
    Stars:
    Ben Affleck
    Anna Kendrick
    J. K. Simmons
    John Bernthall
    Daeg Faerch
    Screening in December
    Sat 3rd
    Summary below
    Christian Wolff (Affleck) is a math savant with more
    affinity for numbers than people.
    Using a small-town CPA office as a cover, he makes his living as a
    freelance accountant for dangerous criminal organizations.
    With a Treasury agent (J.K. Simmons) hot on his heels, Christian takes on a
    state-of-the-art robotics company as a legitimate client.
    As Wolff gets closer to the truth about a discrepancy that involves
    millions of dollars, the body count starts to rise.

  • Julieta [M] Poster for Kookaburra Cinema

    Julieta [M] (Spain (English Subtitles))

    Directed by: Pedro Almodovar
    Rated: M
    Stars:
    Adriana Ugarte
    Rossy de Palma
    Michelle Jenner
    Screening in December
    Sun 4th
    Summary below
    Straight from its Cannes Competition berth, Pedro
    Almodóvar’s new film is a dramatic, emotional story of a
    woman’s loves and regrets told in the master’s distinctive
    style.
    Adapted from Alice Munro’s short stories, Julieta (Adriana Ugarte) is
    about to leave Madrid to live in Portugal when she runs into Bea (Michelle
    Jenner),
    the childhood friend of her daughter Antía. This chance meeting sets
    off a range of emotions in Julieta, and she begins to write a long and
    revealing letter to her daughter –
    one filled with regret, guilt and love. With a sense of mystery, an
    expressive score and his trademark use of vibrant colour, Almodóvar
    has made a film of spellbinding beauty.

  • Arrival [M] Poster for Kookaburra Cinema

    Arrival [M] (US)

    Directed by: Denis Villeneuve
    Rated: M
    Stars:
    Amy Adams
    Jeremy Renner
    Forest Whitaker
    Screening in December
    Fri 9th, Sat 10th, Sun 11th
    Summary below
    When mysterious spacecraft touch down across the globe, an
    elite team – lead by expert linguist Louise Banks (Amy Adams) –
    is brought together to investigate.
    As mankind teeters on the verge of global war, Banks and the team race
    against time for answers – and to find them, she will take a chance
    that could threaten her life, and quite possibly humanity.

  • Robinson Crusoe: The Wild Life [PG] Poster for Kookaburra Cinema

    Robinson Crusoe: The Wild Life [PG] (US)

    Directed by: Ben Stassen
    Rated: PG
    Stars:
    Screening in December
    Fri 16th
    Summary below
    On a tiny exotic island an outgoing parrot, Tuesday,
    can’t stop dreaming about discovering the world.
    After a strong storm, Tuesday and his friends wake up to find a strange
    creature on the beach: Robinson Crusoe.
    Tuesday immediately sees Crusoe as his ticket off the island to explore new
    lands. Likewise, Crusoe soon realises the key
    to surviving on the island is through the help of Tuesday and the other
    animals. Join Crusoe on a fun-filled, colourful ride
    for the whole family and pass down this reimagined classic to your
    children!

  • I, Daniel Blake [M] Poster for Kookaburra Cinema

    I, Daniel Blake [M] (UK)

    Directed by: Ken Loach
    Rated: M
    Stars:
    Dave Johns
    Hayley Squires
    Sharon Percy
    Dylan McKiernan
    Briana Shann
    Screening in December
    Sat 17th, Sun 18th
    Summary below
    Daniel Blake is a 59-year-old joiner living in the
    North-East of England who attempts to seek a disability pension in the wake
    of a massive cardiac arrest.
    While he endeavours to overcome the red tape involved in getting this
    assistance, he meets single mother Katie who has her pension sanctioned
    because she arrives
    late for her appointment.
    Winner of the Palme d’Or at Cannes Film Festival 2016

  • The Light Between Oceans [M] Poster for Kookaburra Cinema

    The Light Between Oceans [M] (US/NZ/UK)

    Directed by: Derek Cianfrance
    Rated: M
    Stars:
    Michael Fassbender
    Alicia Vikander
    Rachel Weisz
    Bryan Brown
    Jack Thompson
    Screening in December
    Fri 23rd
    Summary below
    On a remote island in the years following WW1, a couple
    rescue a baby from an adrift rowboat and decide to raise the child as their
    own,
    unaware of the devastating consequences of their decision. Years later,
    they discover the child’s true parentage and are faced with the moral
    dilemma of their actions.

  • Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them [PG] Poster for Kookaburra Cinema

    Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them [PG] (US/UK)

    Directed by: David Yates
    Rated: PG
    Stars:
    Eddie Redmayne
    Ezra Miller
    Zoë Kravitz
    Katherine Waterston
    Alison Sudol
    Colin Farrell
    Dan Fogler
    Jenn Murray
    Ron Perlman
    Jon Voight
    Screening in December/January
    Mon 26th Dec, Fri 30th Dec, Sat 31st Dec, Sun 1st Jan
    Summary below
    Author J. K. Rowling and director David Yates return to the
    Harry Potter universe with this spinoff story,
    starring Oscar-winner Eddie Redmayne (The Theory of Everything) as writer
    Newt Scamander who discovers an underground community of witches and
    wizards in New York – 70 years before Harry reads his book.

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20 Years of Kookaburra

20 years of Kookaburra

Kookaburra Cinema turns 20 on the 3rd January 2017

  • The cinema was officially opened on the 3rd January 1997 and the first public screening was on Saturday the 4th.

***** Come and celebrate 20 years of screenings with us on Saturday the 7th January 2017 *****

Behind Kookaburra’s Screen

Converting to stereo sound

Click here to show/hide contents

As a projectionist from the early 1960’s when Perth had many outdoor cinema venues (but killed off by dwindling patronage due to the start up of TV transmissions) original owner, Lindsay Morris, had identified a niche market for a local hills outdoor cinema during 1992.

Below you will find all sorts of facts about the founding and continuation of Kookaburra Cinema. Click on the titles for more information.

Behind the screen

Click here to show/hide contents

The largest hurdle was that many Councils then were reluctant to even consider such a proposal due to the noise factor from film soundtracks plus zoning problems as it was not a “hard top” cinema and thus not adequately covered in the Council bylaws. One rather amusing discussion arose over the insistence of a council officer that the cinema MUST have safety strip lighting in the “floor” installed. Had to be done as was a “requirement” under the Local Govt act but just how one would go about installing said strip lighting in a grassed area was entirely my problem. In the end common sense prevailed and the strip lighting was deemed not necessary.

Perth has an ideal climate for outdoor movies as the summers are generally long, hot and mostly dry so nights outdoors are well utilised in a variety of ways by the local population. The search for a suitable site continued until 1995 when The Hills Forest Discovery Centre was discovered equipped with a beautiful rammed earth ampitheatre which seemed ideal for film. However it was not possible to secure a continuos booking for a summer season at the ampitheatre and negotiations commenced for a natural bush site adjacent to The Hills Forest to ultimately become a new outdoor cinema. New meant renovating an old existing bush pole garage and adjoining “A” framed shelter into forming an entry area, ticket box and kiosk with the “A” frame providing a shelter area for the kiosk.

  • Case the builder wonders IF it can be done.Larger
  • Hmm bush pole construction going to be interesting.Larger
  • A bare & denuded site with potential.Larger
  • Good natural slope towards where screen will stand.Larger

As well the area had to be fenced, screen erected, biobox positioned and fitted out and the seating sorted out.

  • Bio Box ready for fitout.Larger
  • Kiosk floor is poured.Larger
  • Floor goes down in the foyer.Larger
  • Kiosk construction well advanced.Larger
  • Kiosk power cabling goes in.Larger
  • Jayson wields a brush painting the kiosk.Larger
  • Completed view of Box Office from front.Larger
  • View of box office area from lobby area.Larger
  • Old bush pole garage transformed into Box office & kiosk.Larger
  • Lobby area framed by lovely old Crepe Myrtle shrubs.Larger

One of the biggest challenges of the project was erecting the screen as apart from a hired hoist to lift the screen sections in place there was much climbing done so it was very much “hands on” in temperatures of over 38C. Painting the screen face was also challenging and done early in the morning as the reflection from the white surface in full sun made it almost impossible to see where the paint roller was going!

  • Setting up the first central leg.Larger
  • Three legs are up!Larger
  • Rails to hold screen panels bolted on.Larger
  • Jayson finds a better way to get down from the top.Larger
  • Just a couple more panels to go.Larger
  • Completed screen 10m wide, 9m above the ground level.Larger
  • All completed, just waiting for patrons.Larger

Within 12 weeks we were basically ready to go and after a couple of test runs to check out the projection quality the date was set.

However there was still plenty to do with lawn areas, general gardening, painting and tidying up. It has been a continual process of improvements from the day construction commenced.

Kookaburra opened to the public with the screening of “Gallipoli” on Saturday Jan 4th 1997.

Prior to the public opening night on the Saturday the official opening night on Friday (3rd Jan 97) was attended by invited guests which included the Director of CALM (now D.E.C.) Dr Syd Shea.

  • Some of the invited guests on opening night.Larger
  • Opening night crew, L-R Bronwyn, Stephen, Jayson & Paul.Larger

The name “Kookaburra” was inspired by the laughing Kookaburra’s as the lead in for Fox Movietone Newsreels of old and the large numbers of these birds present in the Jarrah trees about the cinema site. They are very cheeky birds and many a patron’s picnic has been disturbed by the rush of wings as one decides to do a raiding run on the food laid out below.

One night a very optimistic kookaburra misjudged his cargo carrying ability by stealing half a cold chicken from a table. He forgot the screen and in his hasty getaway he was unable to clear the top, collided with it and left a greasy mark about a metre down where his booty hit the steel surface. Undeterred he swooped again to retrieve his plunder and this time flew off under the screen to enjoy his stolen meal in the trees leaving the picnic table group still wondering what had happened.

Had it not been for a great Australian movie “Shine” which was screened in late January 1997 the cinema would have closed after the first season wound up at Easter 1997. Up until Shine was screened it was an uphill struggle to attract patrons and very few films screened covered costs. NO way to run a business!!

We had decided that as the land was leased for just one year and that attendances were very poor we would simply close at Easter and dismantle the gear, clear the site and forget the whole idea.

Shine was booked just prior to the Golden Globe Awards and when Geoffrey Rush won his Golden Globe for his portrayal of David Helfgott in the film interest picked up but we were not prepared for the surge in patron support when we arrived on the Friday night for the first screening. There was a HUGE queue of people patiently waiting to get in and we had to call in extra help to handle the crowds that night and subsequent nights as we screened the film.

After that reaction it appeared that Kookaburra could survive given the right choice of film so we decided to continue operating and took up the lease extension option and 15 years later Kookaburra is still operating.

Interestingly is that David Helfgott had his first commercial Gig at Mundaring Weir Hotel and he returns almost every year to perform there and Shine his biopic gave Kookaburra the support necessary to continue.

Thus on the anniversary of Kookaburra opening 15 years ago Shine was again screened at Kookaburra to celebrate the cinema birthday and the connection between Helfgott and Kookaburra. Was well received and in the audience that night was David Helgott’s younger sister (Susie) who introduced herself after the screening and it was interesting to hear her views of the way the family was portrayed on screen in the film.

Technical Information

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For the technically inclined the cinema is equipped with 35mm and 16mm equipment with the screen being 10m wide which is the size for Cinemascope features. 35mm Widescreen produces an 8.5m wide image and 16mm comes up to 7.5m wide.

Until 2004 the 35mm projectors in use were Simplex Standards of 1927 vintage with Westrex 206A soundheads in mono sound with a Westrex 35watt valve “toob” (EL34 output) cinema amplifier feeding a purpose built bass reflex enclosure with twin 300mm bass drivers.

  • HF horn on top of screen feeds into the seating area.Larger
  • High frequencies were initially handled by a Vitavox multicellular horn mounted on top of the screen. However a lightning strike a few seasons after it was installed left the driver unit a charred mess so it was replaced with the current Raycophone driver which although it predates the Vitavox unit by many years has a much warmer and more natural sound. (Raycophone was an Australian cinema sound equipment maker which ceased operation in the late 1940’s).

The early mono sound was good and customer feedback indicated that speech clarity was excellent and the bass unit reproduced the “bangs and thumps” of modern day sound tracks with ease, however I always felt that some measure of surround sound would enhance the presentation.

However stereo for film outdoors, can be difficult to handle as the stereo focus tends to be blurred by many factors such as the movement of wind in the surrounding trees, even the wind direction and the various seating positions. So surround sound and stereo was just a thought at that point.

With the early Simplex machines the light source for 35mm was from Calder (Australian made) carbon arc lamps fitted with 10″ mirrors burning 6&7mm carbons at just on 50 amps.

  • Bio box equipment being assembled.Larger
  • 35mm projection equipment installed and ready to roll.Larger
  • Bell & Howell Model 666 16mm projector.Larger
  • 16mm is handled by a Bell & Howell model 666 projector fitted with 6000′ spools for continuos play (unlike the 35mm plant which had reel changeovers every 20 minutes or so). B&H 666 machines are fitted with GE Marc 300 lamps which for their size at 300 watts produce a remarkable image on the screen.

All equipment was stripped and rebuilt prior to installation in the bio box and has proven very reliable running 7 seasons without a problem.

Screen advertising

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  • RCA Twin lens slide projector.Larger
  • Cinema screen advertising is also a feature and came about quite by accident using what is now considered “outdated” 83mm (3 ¼”) square glass slides utilising self made computer generated transparencies. The slide projector was “rescued” from a drive- in closure in Perth some years ago, given a good overhaul along with some modifications to suit the venue.

The light source is also carbon arc lamp. Primarily the intention was to simply screen the “housekeeping” type of slides but a few of the locals enquired about doing some screen adverts and it went on from there.

Changes in the wind

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Film presentation using 35mm film has been in use now for over 100 years. Initially silent films were the norm and then sound on film came along in 1927 and revolutionised the industry. In the 1950’s the industry looked for ways to enhance the screen impact and Cinemascope arrived on the scene and in some specially equipped cinemas patrons were to experience stereo sound with the inclusion of a magnetic stereo tracks added to the film.

There were other competing “widescreen” methods but none quite matched Cinemascope for overall impact and clarity. Due to many technical issues associated with the care and handling of magnetic sound equipped prints the use of “Mag” Sound stereo dwindled and it was not until the mid 1970’s that Dolby Laboratories developed an optical stereo sound system.

For the first time almost any cinema could provide patrons with crisp clear stereo sound with a very effective surround channel as well… again almost another revolution overnight. Hot on the heels of the optical stereo (Dolby SR) came other sound methods.

  • (a) Dolby Digital a digital track utilising space between the film sprocket holes.
  • (b) Digital Theatre Systems, DTS system which syncronised a special CD to the film by squeezing a time code track between the existing optical track and the image area.
  • (c) Sony’s, Sony Dynamic Digital System, SDDS which laid down 2 Digital tracks on the very outside edges of the film (beyond the sprocket holes).

Thus today many prints carry 4 discrete sound tracks for theatres to use and the Digital sound in all it’s 3 forms is extremely powerful as a much greater dynamic range is available from them than the optical track.

Interestingly all these changes were engineered around equipment many years old with upgrade modules available and even the most modern projector of today is capable of screening silent films with just a small portion of the image lost due to space taken by the optical sound track. The cinema projector is backwardly compatible unlike most modern computers where often the very latest will not run software just a few years old.

The industry began to become a little more “Green” when in the late 1990’s a move was made to try and reduce the amount of water required to process the film at the labs. AND at the same time remove some of the toxic chemicals used which are very difficult to recover from the washing water and could/did pose a threat to the environment. The group focussed on improving the processing of the sound track which since inception was black & white by using silver nitrate which is quite expensive and toxic. After many trials the concept of using a Cyan (blue) colored sound track evolved and this meant the film could be processed in one single pass through the lab where the image was developed along with the sound track. Up until then each reel of film had to be processed twice… once to develop the image and then a second time to redevelop the sound track. The use of Cyan tracks required a red light source to scan the optical track and this meant another upgrade from the white light exciter lamp to a red LED source of light or a Laser unit.

Implications for Kookaburra

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As the time drew near for the release of Cyan tracks the cost of converting 2 machines was looking rather prohibitive. Both sound heads were quite old (but very rugged) and besides the red light source a further upgrade was also needed to the actual sound pick up device in each head.

A year or so prior I had acquired a more modern projector (only 35 years old rather than some 60 years old) and with it came a long play system. Now the entire film program of up to 16,000 feet of film (enough for 3 hours screening) could be loaded onto a huge reel and fed through the projector and back again onto another same sized reel all controlled by a device called a double MUT.

The projector itself had seen a fair bit of work and neglect so it was given a complete overhaul and thoroughly tested and the sound head modified for Cyan tracks.

In 2004 a Century CC machine with a Westrex R3 sound head and a Lumex xenon lamphouse was ready to be installed at Kookaburra along with the Eprad MUT. The old Simplex machines were carefully recovered and stored along with the carbon arc lamps and power supply unit.

  • Century Projector & Lumex Lamp.Larger
  • The “newer” Century was installed and lined up to the screen and a test screening revealed that water cooling was required as the focus varied considerably due to the more intense light source now in use. With a recirculating cooling system installed focus was now very good and the machine ran very cool. The Westrex R3 sound head came equipped for stereo sound so the time was now ripe to convert from mono sound to full Dolby stereo surround sound.

Converting to stereo sound

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For this I had to build another sound rack to house the extra equipment and have continued the use of valve amplifiers as they are untroubled by lightning strikes of which 4 so far have burnt out screen speakers…. But never the amplifier. It is rather inconvenient when the high frequency horn mounted on top of the screen gets a “zapp” as it requires a cherry picker to get the thing down. Doing that is bad enough without having to find replacement amplifiers as well after a lightning strike.

  • Completed Amplifier Rack.Larger
  • The new rack now houses 4 valve amps of around 40watts each and are driven by a Eprad Starlet cinema processor which converts the left & right stereo signal from the optical track into Centre, Left, Right and Surround sound signals and are fed to the applicable amps.
  • Unusual styled speaker.. keeping with a bush theme.Larger
  • The conversion required Left & Right speakers on the screen in addition to the existing centre speaker plus 7 surround speakers mounted around the edges of the auditorium area. The original “home brew” bass driver unit was replaced by Raycophone twin 15”drivers “W” type bass bin below the screen and a small sub woofer also installed.

Stereo and surround sound had come to Kookaburra and has added that extra dimension to the sound I always thought was needed… the ambience now is magical especially with films like Master & Commander and Phantom Of The Opera.

Further developments

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  • Old Carbon Arc slide machine about to be removed.Larger
  • Plans are in hand to retire the old slide projector which used carbon arc as the light source with a more recent model of machine acquired from a cinema closure elsewhere. The current machine required that the slides be inserted one by one into either of 2 slide carriers and the light source was “wiped” alternately between those 2 carriers. This gave the appearance of the each slide running across the screen L-R and R-L as each was screened.

The replacement projector is a Cinemeccanica GPG 4 unit which is automatic in handling the slides. The slides are loaded in the required sequence into a special chain like loop hanging down below the lens. Once the Start button is pressed a small motor and timer work together to step each slide in turn through the lens area and the light from the lamp is briefly cut off by a small flap like shutter. The overall effect is that each slide blinks onto the screen.

Once the last slide is reached the light is cutoff from the screen and the machine automatically moves all the slides around until the first slide is detected and it then stops ready for the next screening.

  • New-er Cinemeccanica Slide Machine.Larger
  • Side View.Larger

Light source is also xenon lamp and thus the last of the carbon use at Kookaburra will cease which is timely as carbons are now becoming rather hard to source. They are still made but in limited quantities and sizes.

The entire project has become a very rewarding experience meeting many wonderful people who are frequently enchanted at the end of a performance by the small western grey kangaroos who have managed to squeeze under the boundary fencing to graze on the lawns during the show. This is especially so at the end of summer when the only green grass around is in the cinema. Surprises all round when the auditorium lights go up!

Over the seasons many “different” film nights have been run at Kookaburra ranging from a Wedding reception (because the groom met his bride at a cinema), birthday parties, a Wedding Anniversary and even performances by a local school band.

  • One happy Birthday Party Group.Larger
  • Local School Band performs.Larger

A very relaxed and pleasant way to view a movie outdoors in the hills of Perth WA with only the natural bush noises adding to the movie sound track.

The switch to digital

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  • Installed and commissioned on August 28th 2014, the new NEC NC1600C digital projector ushers in a new phase in the presentation of movies at Kookaburra. Once programmed a day or so prior to a screening, the digital unit only requires to be powered up each night to be able to fully take over the screening process. NO operator is required to be in attendance and all functions to do with a screening , such as lighting and sound, besides the projection process, are automatically handled entirely by the system. The unit is equipped for high quality 3D presentation of selected movies at Kookaburra. The first digital movie publically screened at Kookaburra Cinema was “The 100 Foot Journey” on December 26th 2014.

Kookaburra Outdoor Cinema

Kookaburra Outdoor Cinema

Allen Road, Mundaring WA 6073

Movies under the stars in the Perth Hills with the state forest providing a dramatic background to the on-screen entertainment. The season runs from November to the beginning of April, gates open at 6.30 pm and movies commence at 7:30 pm.

Overnight camping is available opposite at Hills National Parks Visitors Centre. Contact 9295 2244 to book a site (bookings are essential)

For programme details call our 24 hour information line on 9295 6190.

A wonderful way to spend a summer’s evening!



Kookaburra opened for business 4th January 1997.

Cinema is designed, built, owned and operated by a local hills family to fill a niche demand for a quality outdoor venue in addition to the existing outdoor cinema facilities in Perth some 40 kms west. Increased traffic growth and population levels meant that many hills residents were gradually experiencing increasing difficulty and inconvenience in attending existing outdoor cinemas in Perth itself.

It seats 310 in traditional steel framed and canvas slung deckchairs with ample room to the sides and rear for patrons to bring their own chairs if they desire.

The auditorium is completely grassed with 12 picnic tables scattered about.

Parking is alongside the cinema with overflow parking behind the screen with the main parking area being floodlit.

Kookaburra Cinema


Welcome to the Kookaburra Cinema website.

 


* Please note that we do not have credit card facilities or EFTPOS*

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GREAT NEWS: THE SEASON HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO 23rd APRIL 2017.

See details below
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Click on the Poster to view synopsis and watch the Trailer