Centenary of Cinema Events - 1996

To celebrate the Centenary of Cinema CATHS organised and/or participated in various events.

There were two Cinema Centenary events in Australia in 1998 …

                           •    The World Centenary. Celebrating one hundred years since the Lumiere Brothers of France filmed their first movies (1895 - 1995).

                                         The Australian Centenary of projected motion pictures (1896 - 1996).

Lumiere Brothers Centenary Dinner

The International Centenary of Cinema was the event of 1995. Celebrating the Lumiere Brothers filming their first movies in March 1895. Which they presented to a paying audience in December of the same year. CATHS celebrated the event with a commemorative dinner and film show held at the Dutch Club, Carnegie, the venue being a former silent film cinema.


Australian Cinematographe Centenary Celebration

The first time that projected motion pictures were shown to a paying audience in Australia was on Saturday 22nd August 1896 at the Melbourne Opera House in Bourke Street. Here, touring American illusionist and conjuror, Carl Hertz, demonstrated his amazing 'Cinematographe' machine (R.W. Paul's Theatrograph). He enthralled the audience with numerous short films including street scenes of London and London bridge, a dancer, and a seascape.

The Cinematographe was promoted as 'The Greatest Wonder of the NINETEENTH CENTURY', 'The Photo. Electric Sensation of the Day', 'Impossible to realise that the figures are not ACTUALLY LIVING', 'First Production in Australia.'

To mark this historic occasion and a hundred years of movies on Australian screens, on the evening of Thursday 22nd August 1996 CATHS presented the Australian Cinematographe Centenary Celebration at the Progress Theatre in West Coburg.

Wide publicity was given by Gael Jennings on her 3LO/774 radio program, The Age Entertainment Guide, and through our own networks of members and friends.

With a 'Full House' the evening was a huge success. Billed as 'A night of atmosphere and fun' the audience was treated to a very entertaining evening of music, films and supper!

Superbly hosted by Denzil Howson, the program included a video presentation of the Cinematographe's Early History; early silent and sound films; cinema and the war years, God Save The King; the Saturday Matinees, cartoons and newsreels.

The main film presentation of the evening was Roger and Barbara Seccombe's dramatised historical documentary Two Seats In The Circle. From the Kinetoscope Parlours to the modern day multiplexes the film celebrates the character of everyday cinema audiences in Australia and the people who worked in the cinemas.

    The 'Theatrograph'      Highlights of the night were Bruce Ardley at the organ, and Tenor Zachary Brown who sang 'Pal of My Cradle Days' and 'Road to Gundagai' complete

                                    with audience sing-along!

There was also a cinema Trivia Quiz with prizes and a wonderful supper and champagne afterwards. A special 20 page souvenir Program and Ticket were also produced.

Jaffas Down The Aisle Exhibition


A very special centenary event in 1995 was the Performing Arts Museum's Jaffas Down The Aisle exhibition for which CATHS contributed a significant number of exhibits. This was a magical exhibition which included an old Hoyts Staff Training Movie, a display about the travelling picture shows, drive-ins and lots of cinema memorabilia. CATHS members' contributions included a music stand  from the Balwyn Theatre, glass slides, a 35mm cinema projector and a working 1:50th scale model cinema.

Melbourne Opera House

The Melbourne Opera House, Bourke Street, where Australia's first projected motion pictures were shown on 22nd August 1896.

In 1901 the Opera House was replaced with a new theatre built for vaudeville king Harry Rickards. It was later called The Tivoli.