Douglas has been a professional food writer since 1986. He is also an award-winning actor and director in Community Theatre and has been for many years. His blog may be found at: www.urbaneguerilla.wordpress.com
Published January 30th 2013
A wonderful way to spend a summer's evening
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.
Lindsay Morris, who had been a projectionist in Perth for many years, felt there was a need for a cinema in the Hills, preferably outdoors as increased traffic growth and population levels meant that many hills residents were gradually experiencing increasing difficulty and inconvenience in attending existing indoor/outdoor cinemas in Perth itself.
The search for a suitable site continued until 1995 when The Hills Forest Discovery Centre was found. 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.
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!
Within 12 weeks the cinema were basically ready to go and after a couple of test runs to check out the projection quality the date was set.
The Kookaburra Outdoor Cinema opened to the public with the screening of Gallipoli on Saturday Jan 4th 1997 and has never looked back.
Happy smiling staff at the Kiosk
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.
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.