That was an omen

“I was mates with George and Con Vassil who used to own the Whiteway Cinema. Con won the lottery and bought the Whiteway Cinema with the money and they ran it as a conventional theatre and then it became more of a 70s soft porn venue and it stopped operating, I can’t quite remember when or how. It was empty and I had a musician friend called Gerry who was a guitarist. Gerry had the keys and would take in his guitar and his amplifier and plug it in and just play in an empty cinema on the stage and just keep an eye on it and then of course – we knew the kids were getting in there and sure enough, down it came. And that was just devastating. We were all evacuated in our jammies standing out there in the street watching this bloody thing burn down. So that was the end of the Whiteway. But my parents’ first date was Ben Hur at the Whiteway Cinema in Port Kembla. Apparently mum fainted – that was an omen!”

– Ann Martin, 3 July 2017

Photo of firemen battling the fire at the Whiteway Theatre, 11 March 1992. From the Illawarra Mercury in the collections of the Wollongong City Libraries and the Illawarra Historical Society. Used with permission of Fairfax Media. P23129.