The magic of
cinema since 1918
1937 – The Evert era begins
The Longreach Leader reports of the sale of the Winton Picture Theatre to Mr John Thomas William Evert (Bill), owner of the Central Hotel. From this point on, the Everts have remained loyal custodians of the theatre for generations. This also makes the beginning of a time of great improvements over the course of the next decades.
Pictured: Bill and his wife Ellen
1938 – Rise of the phoenix
At 10:30pm on October 1st, fierce flames were seen licking the sky above Winton. A blaze powered by a strong breeze swept through Elderslie Street and while no lives were lost, many buildings including the Royal Talkies Theatre were reduced to rubble with a monstrous £15,000 damage bill. The fire originated in the projection room and quickly spread, causing movie-goers to flee the theatre through Cobb Lane.
While it looked like the end for The Royal, this didn’t stop Bill in his efforts. It was reported in a local newspaper that a Mr Evert boarded a mail plane to Brisbane the following Thursday to purchase a new audio plant to replace the one lost in the fire. In November, Bill purchased the land on which the old Royal Mail hotel stood to gain complete control of the rebuild process. The steel skeleton of the new theatre space was erected by December 14th, and a date was set for the re-opening; December 21st. Nothing grand, as Bill wanted it to be business as usual. Corrugated iron cladded the structure and the projection room was made fireproof with Fibro sheeting. Weather permitting, William would be able to re-open his theatre just in time for Christmas.
Pictured: The Royal Mail Hotel and theatre engulfed in flames, and in ruin. (State Library of Queensland)
2005 – Larger than life
World Record Deck Chair donated (to be written)
Pictured: Biggest Deck Chair
2014 – Just splendid
Vision Splendid using the Royal Picture Theatre as a hosting location (to be written)
Pictured: Vision Splendid Picture
2018 – One hundred years
Royal Theatre turns 100 (to be written)
2019 – Winton Movies Inc.
Formation of Winton Movies Inc. (to be written)
2020 – The show must go on
This renovation stage is being funded through grass roots fundraising and grants. Project Manager Gavin Evert, “After we complete the Candy Bar project, we have a lot more work to be done and we need all the help we can get! We need to enclose the projection room to protect the equipment from the elements, we are building more deck chairs, have flooring to repair, the museum will be moved to better showcase the history, the entrance is to be restored, the bathrooms need work, we have some structural work and a lot of painting to be done.”
The passion of the Evert family and the Winton community is on show with this proud effort to bring the theatre back to life and put on a show!
Pictured: Envisioning for a refurbished Candy Bar and commenced renovation work.
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