Chelsea Theatre

178 Flinders Street,
Melbourne, VIC 3000

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Taken on: January 29, 2023

Uploaded on: February 14, 2023

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Date time: 2023-01-29 17:50:07 +0000

Date time original: 2023-01-29 17:47:24 +0000

Date time digitized: 2023-01-29 17:47:24 +0000

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Majestic Theatre 172 Flinders Street, Melbourne - 1936

Majestic Theatre 172 Flinders Street, Melbourne

The Majestic Theatre opened in 1912, and this photograph is of the theatre after it was remodelled in 1936.

The remodelling of the theatre, which included bold electric signage, and a new entrance on Flinders Street surrounded by black glass, was designed by Cowper, Murphy and Appleford. The firm was experienced in cinema architecture, and were the architects of the Sun Theatre in Yarraville, familiar to many.

The remodelling in 1936 removed many of the quirks of the original design by Klingender & Alsop and Nahum Barnet. It also brought it up to date, so as to compete with the ‘picture palaces’ built from the 1920s, such as the nearby State Theatre at the corner of Russell and Flinders Streets. The sign ‘Thoroughbred’ promotes the Australian film released in 1936, based in part on the story of Phar Lap, which played at the Majestic. Visible at left in this photograph is part of the Ball & Welch department store.

As with many cinemas, the Majestic went into decline after the introduction of television in 1956.

It was renamed the Chelsea in 1960 and modernised. The theatre closed in 1979, and was demolished in 1986.

Photograph: Commercial Photographic Company Source: Harold Paynting Collection State Library of Victoria

Contributed by Greg Lynch -

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