The library contains an extensive range of books, periodicals, magazines, etc  on cinemas, theatres, architecture, technical matters and personalities involved in the cinema and theatre industries.  The library computer catalogue can be searched by title, author, subject matter, etc. The library is open to the public for on site research. See opening days / times below.

VENUES database

Our intention is to catalogue all cinemas and theatres which operated / are operating on a commercial basis across Australia. Of necessity, this will always be a ‘work in progress’.  

At present there are in excess of 5000 venues listed.  Check our Venues Listing for details.


This database contains details of the people who worked in the industry,  both behind the scenes (projection, production, etc.) as well as front of house (managers, owners, chain operators, etc.)

ARCHITECTS database:

The work of these skilled people is often little known. Our database contains details of the people, the partnerships and the cinemas they designed.


A little bit about our Archive.

The Cinema and Theatre Historical Society of Australia Inc. (CATHS) operates an extensive archive  containing material on the history of cinemas and theatres in Australia.

The material has been gathered over the years from donations, bequests, purchases, etc.  It includes books, manuscripts, clippings, photos, programs, memorabilia and so on.

 We hold in excess of 10,000 cinema photographs, and have an extensive catalogue of material relating to various venues ( large and small, old and new ) across Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

Donations of material are always welcome

The CATHS archive is located at the Prahran Mechanics Institute, 39 St Edmonds Road, Prahran Vic. 3181

Our archive is staffed by volunteers. Usual opening hours are Wednesdays & Thursdays 10.00 - 3.00

(We recommend a phone call to check opening times before calling)

Contact: CATHS Archivist - Royce Harris 0406 476 048 or email

The archive is open to the public by arrangement.

Please Note: If you are seeking information about performers in cinema and theatre try


Above: Volunteers at work on the archive computers.

Below: Volunteer Brian Hunt and Archivist Royce Harris discuss the CATHS Archive display for Seniors’ Week.