The Strathfield Melba, was formerly located at Mosely Street Strathfield, north of Strathfield Railway Station.
The Melba was opened in 1913 by the Mayor of Burwood, Ald. William Archer. It was originally owned by Charles Noller.
By 1921, the property transferred to a John Marquett, who commenced redesigning the theatre. The ‘New Melba’ was opened in 1921, complete with a dress circle. One of the special features of the theatre was an open air reserve for smokers who ‘may thus light up and watch the pictures at the same time’.
By late 1926, the Melba was managed by Burwood Cinema Ltd and the Directors decided to again rebuild the theatre.
The ‘new’ Cinema was opened in late 1927 by Eva Novak [who appeared in ‘For the term of his Natural Life’] and the Mayor of Strathfield, Alderman George Davey.
The property was transferred to Western Suburbs Cinema Ltd in 1930, which was taken over by Hoyts in 1944. Consistent with the development history of the cinema, Hoyts embarked on another remodelling exercise.
Theatre attendances markedly declined in the 1950’s and the Melba’s last program screened on 19 November 1966. The property was sold and demolished for a large block of units.
Film footage of the theatre’s demolition is held at the National Screen and Sound Archive.
Cork, Kevin ‘The History of the Cinemas of Auburn, Concord and Strathfield Municipalities’, 1986.
Cork, Kevin ‘The History of the Cinemas of Burwood Municipalities’, 1986.
Thorne, R, Tod, L & Cork, K, Cultural Heritage of Movie Theatres in NSW 1896-1996, Department of Architecture, University of Sydney, 1997
Sharp, B ‘A pictorial history of Sydney’s suburban cinemas’, Vol.1, 1983.
© Cathy Jones 2005. This article is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced without permission of the author.