Point Cook Cinema Aviation Road, Point Cook, VIC - TRIBUTE to Sergeant Les Williams

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Point Cook Cinema Aviation Road, Point Cook, VIC - TRIBUTE to Sergeant Les Williams

TRIBUTE - TRIBUTE - TRIBUTE - TRIBUTE - TRIBUTE

After a difficult few years with his health, Sergeant Les Williams has sadly passed away on Feb 12, 2024

Les Williams in his own words - The first cinema I worked at was the Prince Edward Theatre Sydney, it was called the theatre beautiful, show place of Australia, the walls were covered with Thai silk & a live show was presented before each movie, while Noreen Hennessey played the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ at intermission. The usherettes without fail dressed to the nines for every performance. For me these are wonderful memories of a lost era I was proud to be part of.

Moving on I joined the RAAF, progressing to Sergeant and finally settling in the area of programming the base cinema’s of Laverton & Point Cook. Despite the competition of television, RAAF cinemas were doing thriving business, due mainly to the supply of high quality films. On an average night, 1,500 people attend RAAF cinemas in Australia. In one six-month period $27,628 was spent on the hire of films, many of which were in 35 mm & CinemaScope. I was also proud to be part of a major up-date where projection equipment equipment worth $57,000 was installed in the Metro cinema, Richmond Base and the Point cinema.

At Point Cook we installed Bauer U4C 35mm projectors. The Point Cook bio box is among the most sophisticated in the world. For me this was a life highlight and a major achievement.

During the period 1966 and well into the 70’s I established a close relationship with the major film distribution companies which reflected in the excellent box office results at the RAAF bases. Many long term relationships were established along the way with industry people that have lasted well into my retirement - Notes by Greg Lynch

Ken Hill remembers Les - My first meeting with Les was as the OIC of the RAAF cinema at Laverton.

We became friends, although he seemed like he got on well with everyone. He then started doing some projection work for us at The Centre Cinema, Albany, Dendy in Collins St, and the Star Cinema in Elizabeth St.I was impressed with his technical knowledge combined with his easy to get on attitude.

I offered him a job with a company called Video Commerce that specialised in recording special events like weddings originally on Super Beta and then on Super VHS.

As video was relatively new, he also looked after our rental A.V gear and mass video duplication. When we added Goulburn DIT to our group of theatres Les and his partner (Carolyn) he relocated to the township to manage and operate the theatre. But the growth of home video and increasing availability made it a challenge to keep the DIT operating.

Ultimately, we sold this beautiful DIT to a local Goulburn so he could collect metal products for resale. Les accepted the offer to return to Melbourne to look after servicing requirements for Infa Set (Cinema Equipment and A.V gear plus Educational projectors). During this period, he help form the Flemington Rotary Club where he served as the first president.

With our involvement in the Lumiere Cinema (Lonsdale St) converted into a triple he actively got involved in our new lease of the Capital cinema. This was pre RMIT, but he took a lot of personal satisfaction replacing most of the ceiling incandescent lamps. This was pre the L.E.D conversion but the cinema under the control of Paul Coulter looked very impressive and we occasionally had some features that made some money.

Footnote: Les Williams spent a life-time working in the Cinema industry and was a true cinema pioneer who will be greatly missed - Notes by KEN HILL

Contributed by Greg Lynch -

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