Jubilee Theatre (1935)
3 Walter St
Movie theatre company formed
In 1925, a 'Mr Hope' was described in The Queensland Times as "proprieter of the local picture show" in Lowood who showed movies in local halls.
In 1926 the Lowood Picture Theatre Company was formed by John Walters and three partners and, using Hopes's projection equipment, movies were shown in the Show Society Hall.
After a major fire in Railway Street in 1925, an imposing two-storey commercial and residential building was built (below) that included the 'Lowood Picture Hall', where the Lowood Picture Company showed movies from 1928.
Railway St fire destroys cinema
On 8 December 1933, The Queensland Times reported Lowood's worst fire, "(John) Walters' block consisted of a large double two-storey building, one half used as a picture show (theatre), and the other as a cafe. The top storeys of both sections were used as living quarters. So quickly were the premises gutted that only a few fittings were saved from the building."
C.H.D. Lindemann's three shops where the fire originated, and George's Cafe, were also engulfed. In all 10 businesses were destroyed, including the cinema with all its projection and sound equipment.
Multi-purpose theatre created
Although this was the second major fire in under three years to devastate several of John Walters' Railway Street properties, he soon started work on a new, multi-purpose theatre in Walter Street.
He installed Kalee projectors and a sound system custom-made in Brisbane, removable canvas seats, a 70ft by 50ft dance floor made of 'imported timber', a performance stage and a street-front cafe.
Grand opening night
The theatre was opened on 6 May 1935 by Sir Littleton Groom, former Federal Attorney General and Member for Darling Downs, with about 700 people present. Movies were shown to a delighted audience for two hours before the official opening ceremony. Afterwards the floor was cleared of chairs and a dance was held.
The Queensland Times reported, "It has been named the Lowood Jubilee Theatre in honour of the Silver Jubilee of the reign of his majesty the King (George V) and to mark the golden jubilee of Mr Walters's residence in the Lowood District." (In fact it was the 50th anniversary of Walters' arrival in Queensland from England in 1885. He had settled in Fernvale in 1893 and moved to Lowood in 1901.)
Initially the cinema was leased to Claude Cowley of Toogoolawah. Later Walters' son Jack took over the theatre and ran it until it closed in 1966.
Versatility popular with locals
The Jubilee's interior was stylishly designed and decorated. It was a popular venue for dances, balls, card nights and amateur theatre productions as well movies, which were sometimes shown twice a week.
Cinemas lose battle with TV
Like so many cinemas around the country, the Jubilee eventually lost out to the growing popularity of television. After operating continuously for 31 years, it's final screening was a Disney film, 'Big Red', on 18 June 1966. A TAB branch operated there for a while, but the theatre remained vacant for over 20 years. It's now a variety store.
In August 2012 some of the Jubilee's fittings and fixtures, unused for 46 years, were removed and auctioned, including the projectors, theatre seats, movie posters and its magnificent 7m x 4m hand painted advertising curtain.