Star Theatre – Torrensville

I came across this photo, it would be years ago now, and I have to say it lead to my interest in wanting to know more about the picture theatres that are, and that used to be, in South Australia.

Star Theatre in Torrensville was located at Henley Beach Road, Torrensville and its first screening took place on the 2nd March 1916 (Walker, 1995 p. 129). The theatre is described as

‘double-fronted buildings with two nice shops and a splendid entrance… tip-up seats in the dearer portion, the sixpenny section is all upholstered, and there is accommodation for 1 000 persons. Two sliding roofs and 20 large pivot windows make perfect ventilation. First- class plants have been introduced’ (The Mail, 26th February 1916, p.7).

The films and pictures were promised to be of a ‘high order, and a new era of pictures for the people in suburban districts’ (The Mail, 22nd January, 1916, p. 64).

Image Courtesy of State Library of South Australia

‘Staff of the Star Theatre cinema at Torrensville standing by equipment in the projection room. Note on the back of the photograph says “Star Theatre Torrensville 1916. Operator Wally (Son) Wallman, Assistant Bob Morgan. Theatre then run by Dan Coffee (later committed suicide) and Lew Powell – a well known theatre identity of that day. Previously they had run the All Star Picture Theatre in King William Street which was later to be known as the Majestic. Dan Clifford bought the Torrensville Star and the Hindmarsh Star (Town Hall) and eventually established a chain of theatres all around the suburbs known as the “Star Theatres”. Union theatres now have them and run them was the Odeon Star’ (State Library of South Australia, 2006 )

You have to use your imagination a little, but this is the former Star Theatre on Henley Beach Road, Torrensville (Image: Google Maps)


Google Maps 2018, Street View 124 Henley Beach Road, Torrensville, Retrieved 11/1/2019 from

State Library of South Australia 2006, Star Theatre, Torrensville – B 13332, Retrieved 11/1/2019 from

Walker, Dylan 1995, Adelaide’s silent nights: A pictorial history of Adelaide’s picture theatres during the silent era 1896-1929,  National Film and Sound Archive

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