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Koorda Drive In

Koorda Drive In

Orchard Street, Koorda (WA), 6475, Australia

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08 9684 1081

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Koorda Drive In cover
Description The Shire of Koorda built the drive-in and paid for it with a loan of £2,500. It opened in October 1965. Paddy Baker was the first lessee, and he employed two local men, Len Thompson and W.J. (Jim) Weymouth, to operate it for him.

Baker sent the films up from Perth, and Thompson and Weymouth would send them on to another of Baker's drive-in circuit, at Trayning: Koorda opened on Friday and Saturday, and Trayning on Sunday. The venue, which held 110 cars, filled several times: Len Thompson remembers three overflow nights on The Sound of Music, and two nights on Gone with the Wind.

There was seating for about thirty inside the kiosk, and the people from the township often used this: cars would come from all around the district. The gates opened at 6 p.m., when the kiosk started serving meals, and the film would start at 8 p.m. Lil Weymouth was cook until she died, and then the kiosk was let out on contract, as it had not been a great money-spinner.

While they were on the local power supply the voltage might drop away 30-40 volts, and the conversion from AC to DC also entailed a drop in voltage: if the voltage dropped the automatic feed on the carbon arcs would also stop, the arcs would pull apart and the light would fade on the screen.

But it was not such technical problems that led to the demise of the drive-in: like most such venues, Koorda closed because of the drop in patronage after television. Where they had been getting about ninety cars on a good night, and perhaps thirty to forty even on a bad night, after TV they were lucky to get six people! So the venue closed about 1983.

In 1987 it re-opened: Steve Marvin of Perth screened once a month at first, then less regularly in the nineties, selecting dates to fit in with other community activities in the town. The Shire still owned the venue and renovated it in the mid-90s, so that it looked quite smart. The speakers hung from their stands in a sign of faith that vandals would not interfere, and patrons sti