Time Theatre

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The Time Theatre looking north-east from the present-day site of the Balwyn Library on Whitehorse Road.

The Time Theatre was a cinema located on Whitehorse Road in Balwyn, at the intersection with Iramoo Street. It closed in 1963 and was demolished to make way for a petrol station.



Cowper, Murphy &​ Appleford were the architects of the art deco building, which was officially opened by the Mayor of Camberwell City Council, Cr Arthur Vine on 13 June 1941. The proceeds made from its premerie, a preview of the musical film Down Argentine Way, went towards the Red Cross and Comforts Fund to aid the war effort for the Second World War.[1]

The Theatre opened as one of many in the Hoyt's cinema chain.

1945 fire

During a movie screening at around 10:30pm on 3 May 1945, a fire started behind the screen curtain near the boiler house that provided heating for the building. Patrons and staff were safely evacuated, but the rear sections of the cinema were badly damaged.[2][3]

The next day, Hoyts had planned to erect a temporary screen and stage until the damage could be permanently repaired.[4]. However, the Minister for Health ordered that the Theatre be closed as Health Department inspectors had deemed the structure to be unsafe.[5] It reopened on 11 May after repairs were effected.[6]

1947 robbery

As part of a spate of robberies at suburban theatres at the time, the Time Theatre was broken into and a small sum of money taken.[7] The culprit was later identified as a 16-year old boy from Hawthorn, who was arrested by police later that month on suspicion of this robberty and several other crimes.[8]

1953 robbery

Three masked gunmen held up the Time Theatre on the night of 19 September 1953. A theatre attendent was counting the evening's takings and was forced to hand over 36 pounds in cash to the gang while they threatened staff with pistols. With the money taken, they ran to a waiting car on Whitehorse Road and fled westwards. The three men were suspected to have also been involved in other similar robberies around Melbourne at the time.[9][10][11][12] The perpetrators do not appear to have ever been caught.


The site of the Time Theatre today, which houses a petrol station.

The Time Theatre formally closed on 29 February 1964.[13][6]

The site of the former theatre is the Shell petrol station, opposite the Balwyn Library.


  1. "NEW BALWYN THEATRE", 14 June 1941, p. 18. Retrieved on 19 July 2019.
  2. "THEATRE FIRE AT BALWYN", 4 May 1945, p. 3. Retrieved on 19 July 2019.
  3. "FIRE ON THEATRE STAGE", 4 May 1945, p. 16. Retrieved on 19 July 2019.
  4. "Another Fire In A Theatre", 4 May 1945, p. 6. Retrieved on 19 July 2019.
  5. "THEATRE AT BALWYN CLOSED", 5 May 1945, p. 6. Retrieved on 19 July 2019.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Cinema and Audience Research Project. Time, Balwyn. http://caarp.edu.au/venue/291/view, accessed: 19 July 2019
  7. "THIEVES ENTER PICTURE THEATRE", 7 April 1947, p. 2. Retrieved on 19 July 2019.
  8. "YOUTH ON MANY CHARGES", 16 April 1947, p. 3. Retrieved on 19 July 2019.
  9. "Gunmen Rob Suburban Cinema Office", 21 September 1953, p. 3. Retrieved on 19 July 2019.
  10. "POLICE SAY ONE GANG IN TWO HOLD-UPS", 22 September 1953, p. 10. Retrieved on 19 July 2019.
  11. "War on thugs or slum drive?", 1 October 1953, p. 2. Retrieved on 19 July 2019.
  12. "Bandit toll grows", 14 December 1953, p. 5. Retrieved on 19 July 2019.
  13. Cinema and Theatre Historical Society of Australia. List of venues. http://www.caths.org.au/venues/pdf/vica.pdf, accessed: 19 July 2019

See also