Target practice

“We tended to go more to the Odeon at Warrawong, even though we had to walk across the hill from our place, because it was a modern theatre and it was a much nicer place to go. The Gala is the old Odeon.

“One of my father’s good friends was the projectionist there, so we used to go up there and watch the movies from the projectionist’s point of view and he used to let me fit the advertising slides at half time. It was just a glass plate that would then project onto the screen. You slide that in and take it out and put another one in and slide it back. You knew when to do it because there was a record which you played which has all the sounds on it. So, when it goes ‘ding’, you start on the next one so you had to put it in the right order to correspond with the record.

“I remember those records as well, they were rather strange because they were made of metal. Never too sure why. I remember they were metal because they only had a certain life span in as much as they had to change the ads or redo them or whatever. My dad had a property at Appin which he bought because my brother had asthma. So, this bloke I’m talking about, ‘Pat the Man’, came up to Appin one day and he was a bit of a shooter and he had one of these records and it had a hole in the middle, and he put the record onto the tree and we used it for target practice. Because it didn’t shatter, the bullet just went straight through the record.”

– Ron Southall, Kembla Radio Service, 12 August 2016

Photo of Charlie Barwon operating the projection equipment at the Whiteway Theatre c1941 from the collections of the Wollongong City Libraries and the Illawarra Historical Society.