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Westgarth / Valhalla

Venue Summary
Name Westgarth / Valhalla
Address 87-89 Hight Street, Northcote, Victoria 3070
Operation Dates 1921-10-20 - 9999-12-31
Capacity 1444
Suburban/Country Suburb
Purpose Cinema
Screens 3
Roles
1921-10-20 - 1966-11-01 : Owned : Yeomans, Ernest
1954-01-01 - 1966-11-01 : Exhibitor : Westgarth Theatre Pty Ltd
1966-11-01 - 2006-01-01 : Owned : Yiannoudes, Peter
Venue Comments

The Westgarth Picture Theatre commenced screening on Thursday 20 October 1921. Lidted under the Independent Theatres section in the Argus newspaper.Purchased by Peter Yiannoudes in November 1966. "Yiannoudes, together with his partners Stan Raftopoulos and Andrew Papadopoulos went on to own and lease a portfolio of Greek language cinemas under the the banner Cosmopolitan Motion Pictures Pty Ltd. The Westgarth, with its vacuous interior and close proximity to Northcote's thriving Greek community, became a natural target." (Hall, p.17)

Operated as the Valhalla from 1987-1996. See: Crown / Victoria / Valhalla, Richmond

Sub divided in 2006 and taken over by Palace Cinemas.

Cinema Record (2001) states the following:
Built by John Seacull and firm.
Financed locally for 20,000 pounds (though this could range towards 30,000 pounds).
Directors: D. Dennis, A. Chands, W. Horan, F. Yeomans.
Secretary and Manager: E. C. Yeomans.
Stalls: 921 seats
Circle: 523 seats
On 5 November 1921 the Public Health Department demanded an improvement of cervices or face foreclosure. Ventilation was a major problem listed.
In the early years the theatre played higher quality films and musical numbers as opposed to live theatre and vaudeville.
In 1925 Mr. Yeomans was issued a $5 fine for overcrowding with patrons sitting on portable chairs and in the isles.
Throughout 1929 the interior was refurbished.
Sound was introduced in September 1929.
Due to the Depression the cinema was granted a sanction from The Health Depression over ventilation works, citing small attendances and financial strains as being reasons they could not afford an upgrade (April 1932). The ventilation was eventually upgraded in 1937.
In 1941 further renovations were made with the Stalls now seating 914 and the circle seating 512.
By 1959 audience attendance has dropped off by two-thirds due to the introduction of television.
The Westgarth Theatre was bought in 1967 for $70,000 by Cosmopolitan Motion Pictures Pty Ltd which specialised in cinema for a Greek audience. With Northcotes large Greek community this served the theatre well. Under Cosmopolitan direction the stage was expanded and live music shows would sometimes take place.
When Valhalla took control (but were unable to buy) of the theatre they spent a reported $250,000 on restoration.
In 1996 the Valhalla group left the Westgarth Theatre, leaving it in the hands of owner Peter Yiannoudes and family who continued to run the single-screen cinema as a specialised and art-house theatre.

Film Weekly records the following changes in capacity:
1946/47-1955/56 = 1438
1956/57-1961/62 = 1431
1962/63- 1971 = 1421

References
1953 'Order to theatres.', The Argus , 29 July, p. 7, viewed 11 November, 2011, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article23258511

1956 'Health order on cinema.', The Argus, 8 February, p. 3, viewed 11 November, 2011, [http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article72534700
]
Burchall, G 1996 'Credits roll for the Val' The Age 11 June, p. A15

Burchall, G 2007, 'Keeping it reel', Age- Metro, December 2, p.27.

Burchall, G 1996 'Real and reel at Val farewell' 7 June, p. 7

Film Weekly, Film Weekly: motion picture directory, Film Weekly, Sydney. 1946/7- 1971

Hall, C 2001, 'The Westgarth picture theatre' Cinema Record, Iss. 32, Autumn, pp.10-19.

Pollard, J 1996 'Valhalla exits in a crazy finale' Herald Sun 11 June, 1996, p. 11

Yiannoudes, P 2010 Greek Cinema Across Australia: Behind The Scenes Melbourne.

Venue Events
Event Date Name of Venue Address Latitude /
Longitude
Capacity Suburban Purpose Screens
1921-10-20 Westgarth Pictures 87-89 High Street
Northcote
Victoria 3070
-37.779953
144.996683
1438 Suburb Cinema 1
1941-01-01



1426
1957-01-01



1431
1963-01-01



1421
1967-01-01



1429
1987-01-01 Valhalla 87-89 Hight Street



1444
1996-06-20 Westgarth



2006-08-17 Westgarth Cinemas



3

Screenings

Screenings
Films Distributor Dates
Ciociara, La Embassy Pictures Corporation
Titanus Distribuzione
1962-05-08 - 1962-05-08
King of Kings Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) 1962-06-07 - 1962-06-13
Racconti D'Estate Ultra Pictures Corporation 1962-07-05 - 1962-07-07
Seven Ways from Sundown Universal Pictures 1962-07-05 - 1962-07-07
Komis Monte Christo, O 1962-08-25 - 1962-08-27
Perifrona Me, Glykia Mou 1962-08-25 - 1975-09-07
Agapi potismeno me dhakria 1962-09-02 - 1962-09-03
Ilingos 1962-09-08 - 1962-09-09
Koritsia stin ammoudhia, Ta 1962-09-08 - 1962-09-09
Pistolia tou tromou, Ta 1962-09-16 - 1962-09-17
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