This is the Orpheum Picture Palace, located on Military Road in Cremorne on the North Shore of Sydney.
The Orpheum was opened in 1935 as a 1,735 seater cinema and theatre capable of screening films as well as live musicals. It was split over 2 levels, included backstage dressing rooms, an orchestra pit and a scenery fly-tower. It was a family run business which included Bob Virgona who is said to have been so passionate he would sometimes give cinema goers a lift home after their movie. His passion must have been strong as it is said that people have spotted his ghost hanging around the Orpheum in recent years.
Over the years the theatre gradually became run down until it was closed in the late 70s. It was taken over by property developers who turned it into a small shopping arcade and gym. In 1986, TV host Mike Walsh O.B.E. purchased The Orpheum and began to restore it with noted Theatre Historian and designer, John Love. Restoration included the installation of a 1925 Wurlitzer organ from the Fresno Theatre in California which ascends from below with it’s organist.
For a bit of fun, the recent premiere of the latest Star Wars movie included an organist dressed as Darth Vader and other theatre staff storm troopers.
These days the Opheum has six state of the art cinemas each a “tribute to an individual Art Deco/Modern Style”. It’s a beautiful place which provides a rich cinema going experience from the moment you step into the complex.
Note: I try to be as accurate as possible but make no guarantees. Please use this information at your own risk.