Location: Lockleys, South Australia
A Memorial for World War 1 Soldiers
Originally a reserve and garden had been suggested, but the people had something more grand in mind.
The Lockleys Memorial Hall was constructed in 1925 on land donated by John Mellor, for whom Mellor Park derives its name. It cost £3,800 to build (equivalent to $320,000 in 2020). Just under half that amount was raised by the people of Lockleys through various fundraising efforts.
If it wasn’t through various efforts, donations and fundraising activities from the local community, the Lockleys Memorial Hall may not have become a reality.
Re-built as a Movie Theatre
On October 10 1925, the Lockleys Memorial Hall was used by Lyric Theatres Ltd to screen it’s first film.
The Hall was such a success as a movie theatre, The Windsor Group acquired it in October 1948, re-naming it The Windsor Theatre.
In the 1950s the theatre was substantially internally modified. The original two front meeting rooms were restructured, leaving a vast foyer area. The entrance into the auditorium was raised and a staircase to a landing 5 feet above the foyer floor was constructed. That then entered into the theatre, and stairs to the left and right aisles were installed. The final result was a fully carpeted foyer and stairs.
A modern candy bar was built on the western wall of the foyer also incorporating the ticket box and the seating capacity was upgraded to accommodate 495 people.
1953 saw a further upgrade of the theatre. A hallway was built on the eastern side of the theatre as a separate entrance to the front stalls. The hallway would later become the well known “Nostalgia WALK”.
Over the next 30 years, original movie posters were glued to the hallway wall as a future nostalgic look-back to the films that had been shown there.
Hundreds of original movie posters – some more than 50 years old – were incorporated into the wall, including 1972’s The Godfather, 1971’s Clint Eastwood classic Dirty Harry and 1962’s Lawrence of Arabia.
The Hidden Basement
We originally started exploring The Windsor Theatre 5 years ago.
At the time we were told of an elusive hidden basement that nobody could find.
Upon closer inspection of the original building plans, there was meant to be a “large supper room and kitchen under the stage … [accessed] by means of easy graded stairs from the main floor level”.
During demolition, the carpet in front of the stage area was taken up, revealing a curious hidden panel. When opened it revealed a staircase leading down to a previously unexplored area. The elusive hidden supper room and kitchen, unseen for 70 years, had been found.
The Final Curtain
In 2018, The Windsor Theatre was purchased by The City of West Torrens Council, who then (later that year) applied for its demolition.
An 11th-hour bid by the Friends of the Lockleys Memorial Centre to save The Windsor Theatre was pleaded for, however those prayers were silenced earlier this week with the last wall felled and the site leveled.
A carpark will be built in its place.