The Woodville Town Hall is a prominent building of historic significance in Woodville Rd and is owned and operated by the City of Charles Sturt and is recognised as a Local Heritage Place.

The Woodville Town Hall building was initially constructed in 1903 as council offices and chambers. It was enlarged several times, first in the 1920s adding a supper room (now known as the Murree Smith Hall) and then again in the 1940s, to become a focal point for civic functions and community celebrations.

During its time it has hosted dignitaries, marked milestones, raised funds and cheer for Australian forces, delivered comfort, celebrated weddings and birthdays, held concerts and gala evenings, graduated students, welcomed new Australians, been the venue of debates and important decision-making and even had Jaffas hurled across its floors and Greek tragedies played out on its screen.

  • Red Cross Ball
  • Woodville Town Hall Foundation Stone Laying, 1926
    Woodville Town Hall Foundation Stone Laying, 1926
  • Woodville Council Chambers, 1903
    Woodville Council Chambers, 1903
  • Woodville Town Hall Foundation Stone Laying, 1926
  • Woodville Council Chambers, 1903

In 2011, the Town Hall underwent extensive renovations which saw new offices added and ensured DDA compliance with the installation of a lift, hearing loop and a number of other features. In 2013, the current audio visual system was installed. There are long term plans for further refurbishment to take place that will ensure a state of the art space that is adaptable for all types of seating and standing events.

Woodville Picture Theatre

The Woodville Town Hall was a much loved suburban picture theatre for many decades, in particular during the height of the golden age of cinema when attending the ‘flicks’ was an anticipated weekly event. It is one of the few relatively intact former picture theatres remaining in Adelaide from this era, and is a rare example of the work of Sydney-based architects Karberry and Chard.

The hall section began operating as a picture theatre in 1927 immediately following its construction. It was leased and operated by Mr Daniel Clifford, the owner of Adelaide’s ‘Star’ suburban picture theatre chain. The lease helped repay the loan taken out by Woodville Council to build the hall.

Construction of the hall represented a pivotal moment in the development of Woodville as a progressive suburb. The 1927 opening night booklet elaborately boasted about the quality and significance of the hall:

“Time had it when any old barn sufficed for a picture show. People were content to witness crude productions under primitive conditions, only the expensive ‘seats’ boasted the slightest comfort and ‘music’ from a time worn piano was consider a luxury.

Times have changed! for the Woodville Hall has all the embellishments of the modern Theatre.”

The hall was ornately decorated and furnished. It featured upstairs ‘Lounge De Luxe’ and ‘Dress Circle’ seating and extensive atmospheric, colour-changing lighting, including the five large crystal chandeliers that still grace the hall today. A beautiful painted scene adorned the background stage curtain. The total capacity of the hall was 1500.

The picture theatre impressively claimed to have the largest suburban orchestra in Australia with nine musicians. The projector equipment installed in the ‘Biograph Booth’ was said to be “the latest and most perfect machines in the Commonwealth” projecting a rock-steady picture with no trace of the flicker that occurred with “less up-to-date apparatus”.

Originally a silent movie theatre, the projection equipment was converted for sound within three years of the hall opening. The first ‘talkie’ was shown in April 1930. The final upgrading of the equipment occurred in mid-1955 with the installation of ‘CinemaScope’. This was done without the original proscenium surrounding the stage being widened or replaced and as a result, this 1927 feature survives to this day.

The early days of the picture theatre were profitable but, as Australia slid into Depression in the 1930s, this did not last. Soon attendances were so low that Mr Clifford was unable to pay the rent. After several difficult years prosperity returned to the Woodville district and the picture theatre once again became a thriving enterprise. Mr Clifford died in 1942 and in 1947 the ‘Star’ chain was sold to Greater Union and the theatre became known as the ‘Woodville Odeon Star Theatre’.

Despite the impact of television, mainstream commercial screenings at Woodville continued for longer than at many other suburban theatres. Eventually the end did come and the Woodville Town Hall closed its doors as a mainstream picture theatre on Saturday 9 November 1974.

We acknowledge this venue sits on the traditional lands of the Kaurna people and we respect their spiritual relationship with their Country. We also acknowledge the Kaurna people as the traditional custodians of the Adelaide region and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the living Kaurna people today.

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