The Central Queensland Country Cinema exhibit is a tribute to Mr John White and his family’s Paramount Cinema providing decades of entertainment for their local community.
In 1926, Mr Dobson built a hall for dancing and concerts etc. and included silent picture projection equipment. The McLaughlin family screened movies in the building on an irregular basis until 1955 when Tom Giles purchased it as the Paramount Theatre and began weekly screenings.
John White first showed movies at the Paramount Cinema during 1956 and purchased the business in 1957 providing Capella and the surrounding Peak Downs District with movie entertainment, cartoons, National News Reels and local news reels that he shot and edited himself. The early 60s saw big screen, cinemascope equipment installed. The advent of videos eventually caused the cinema to go dark in June 1984.
The Paramount was demolished to make way for a drive through service station, but John kept much of the projection and sound equipment in storage and continued to build the John White Cinema Collection over the years.
From 1993, John operated the Capella Cultural Centre’s projection equipment. Jill Francis, who had worked in the old Paramount Cinema, was the other operator. The final 35mm film movie was shown on the Cultural Centre’s Meo projector in April 2013, after which it was replaced by a new technology digital projector. The Meo has become part of this collection.
The photography section includes a dark room set up for the production of black and white photographs. The early Chemists in the region’s larger towns would have had black and white negative and print processing labs. Still cameras, movie cameras, home movie projectors and other photographic memorabilia owned by local families are on display.
The communications section exhibits the region’s manual telephone network paraphernalia, early automatic and mobile telephones, wireless receivers, radiograms, records and cassettes, television, video, high frequency wireless communications and early computing objects.
This building housing these exhibits was constructed in Peaks Downs Street during 1975 to store the Summerhill Seeds company goods. It was used by Mark Murray to house building materials, then Bill Merry to store painting paraphernalia. Bowen Basin Hire purchased the shed and donated it for removal to the Capella Pioneer Village. It was resited by Darryl Mattingley’s team in 2013.