Timeline

1899
Richard “Dick” Lunn walked over the Bump Track to Mossman with his mate Trilby

1909
Dick Lunn took over the lease of Tattersalls hotel and it was renamed the Post Office Hotel, owned by Mrs Pauline Weldon formerly Pauline Carstens of Port Douglas

1910
A new hall was built for Dick Lunn next to the Post Office Hotel and named Lunn’s Coronation Hall. Cairns Post 12 May 1910

Sept 11. Miss Gladys Moncrieff’s Star Pictures and Singers Company opened in Lunn’s Hall. “The pictures being new to Mossman were greatly enjoyed, and were splendidly screened by Mr Moncrieff.” (This could be the first attraction in the new hall. Gladys was 18) Port Douglas & Mossman Record 13 Sep 1910

1911
March 16. Devastating cyclone. Lunn's Coronation Hall collapsed.  
Cairns Post 20 March 1911

April. George Nielson of Mossman was employed to restore the hall
Port Douglas and Mossman Record 18 April 1911

July 6. The annual bachelor’s ball was held in the Coronation Hall and other events followed.
Port Douglas & Mossman Record 6 June 1911

1912
Dick Lunn with Ernest Hannaford showed films with their own ‘apparatus’ in the Hall during the crushing season. Charles May the butcher was also attached to the partnership
Port Douglas & Mossman Record 11 June 1912

First mention of the Northern Photo Play Company in Port Douglas & Mossman Record, Aug 20

1913
July 14 An electric light plant was installed at the Photoplay and screenings took place two nights a week.

July 11 Cairns Post 11 July 1913. Port Douglas & Mossman Record 15 July 1913

1914 to 1918 World War I

1915
Dick Lunn introduced the first motor car to the district and soon after, opened Mossman’s first garage at the front of his hall.
Cairns Post 24 April 1915

‘Lunn & Hannaford – picture show’ listed in the Queensland Towns Directory for the first time.

Cooks’ Pictures made a cinematogram at the Exchange Hotel corner and screened it at Lunn’s Hall the same night
Cairns Post 13 March 1915

1918
A side verandah was added to the Hall and a soda fountain was installed inside.
Cairns Post 16 Feb 1918

1919
Sept. The Northern Photo Play held open-air pictures at the back of the Coronation Hall twice a week
Cairns Post 29 Sept 1919

1925
September 29 Dick Lunn relinquished his ‘within licence’ of the Post Office Hotel to Hazel Browne and concentrated on his picture show and garage businesses. Dolly took over the Candy Bar at the pictures and made ice-cream.

1929
Nov. Lunn was given Council permission to erect a cantilevered verandah awning over the footpath in Mill Street, Mossman. This was probably part of renovations for the coming of the Talkies.
Cairns Post 26 Nov 1929

1930
March. The Photoplay installed a phonograph to play sound with the silent movies. (The journalist wrote ‘pantograph’, not ‘phonograph.’)
Townsville Daily Bulletin 28 March 1930

1931
Jan 28. The Post Office Hotel next door to the Photoplay burnt down but Lunn’s hall was saved.
Cairns Post 29 Jan 1931

May 5. Official opening of the Mossman Talkies by DSC Chairman S.B. Andreassen.
Cairns Post 11 May 1931

Cop Hingley, born in Mossman in 1914, says the films screened were “Words and Music” and “Tanned Legs”.

1934
March 13. Bad cyclone in Mossman and Port Douglas but the Photoplay did not suffer damage, being protected by the hill behind.
Cairns Post 14 March 1934

1935
Dick Lunn sold his garage business to his son, P.S. (Phil) Lunn.
Cairns Post 12 Oct 1935

1939
March 11. Rex Theatre opened in Cairns by Northern Pictures.
Cairns Post 13 March 1939

1939 – 1945 World War II

1940
Oct 10. Plaza Theatre in Cairns opened by Northern Pictures.
Cairns Post 10 Oct 1940

1942
Phil Lunn closed his garage after he enlisted for war service. Only two bowsers operated during the war because of petrol rationing.

1945
May. Northern Theatres became Far Northern Theatres with the Tropical, Palace, Plaza and Rex in Cairns, the Regent Edmonton, the Nelson Gordonvale, the Lyric Babinda, the Capitol Mareeba and the Roxy Atherton.

1945 onwards
S
ometime the roof of the Photoplay was raised again and Phil Lunn was repairing radios at the garage

1946
Nov. Dick Lunn sold the Photoplay to Far Northern Theatres and retired. Films then went on the circuit.
Cairns Post 27 Nov 1946

1947
June 4. The Roxy at Atherton burnt down.
Cairns Post 5 June 1947

1952
The Douglas Shire Council reported structural defects in the Photoplay building
Cairns Post 1 Oct 1952

1953
Phil Lunn opened a new garage and showroom for car sales in Front Street.

Sept. Far Northern Theatres announced the building of new theatres in Babinda, Mareeba and Mossman
Cairns Post 4 Sept 1953

1953 approx. Far Northern Theatres added the Tivoli, Grand and Olympia in Bowen, the De Luxe in Ingham, the Liberty in Halifax, the Tivoli in Mareeba and the Civic in Gordonvale to become the largest independent theatre circuit in Queensland.

1954
April. The Douglas Shire Council resolved to condemn the Photoplay building
Cairns Post 7 April 1954

1956
Jan. Far Northern Theatres began construction of the new Rex theatre, Mossman further up Mill Street.

May 17. Far Northern Theatres officially purchased land next to the Exchange Hotel from its owners Lorenzo Jose Martinez and Minnie Louisa Martinez, where the Rex was already under construction

Wed June 27. Last screening at Photoplay:
“Bounty Hunter” (G) color Randolph Scott. “Flamefoot” (G) Ronald Howard
Cairns Post 27 June 1956


June 28. The Photoplay closed and its projectors were taken to the Rex

June 29. The Mossman Rex was officially opened by Mrs R.D. Rex. The manager was Mr K Traine. First film was ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business”. Proceeds went to the Mossman Ambulance.
Cairns Post 29 June 1956 and 6 July 1956

1950s late.
The floor of the Photoplay was cut into panels and used as flooring in a local shed.

1957
Dec.
Photoplay site was sold by Far Northern Theatres to plumber Bertram and June Barnard.

1960
April 2. Dick Lunn passed away aged 89.
Cairns Post 4 April 1960

1969 to 1973
Television came to Mossman. At first reception was snowy. ABC and FNQ-10.

1961
The Coral Drive-In was opened in Cairns by Far Northern Theatres

Aug 14. Far Northern Theatres sold the Rex to Walter and Lily Plemenuk.

1964
Mar 17. The Photoplay site was sold by Bertram Barnard to Maurice Bertram (Jack) Fischer who later rebuilt the back of the building and ran a supermarket there until 1988.

1968
July 28. The Tropical in Cairns closed.

1971
Birch Carroll and Coyle took over four Far Northern Theatres – in Cairns the Plaza, Rex and the Coral Drive In and in Mareeba the Rodeo Drive-in.

1972
BCC opened the Odeon – Cairns’ first fully air-conditioned and carpeted cinema

1973
May 5. Wal Plemenuk sold the Rex to Rita Quaid, wife of George Quaid, and moved back to Townsville .
Australasian Cinema 10 May 1973

1975
July 12. Wal Plemenuk passed away.
Cairns Post or Townsville Daily Bulletin 19 July 1975

1978
March. The Cairns Rex closed

1980
Feb.13. Rita Quaid sold the Rex to William and Margaret Bourchier.

March 3. Application approved by Council for ‘Cinema, Dancing, Roller-Skating’ but not implemented

1982
May 11. Cairns’ Coral Drive-In reopened as a Twin.

Nov. TV came to Julatten and Mt Molloy but only ABC
(PD and Mossman Gazette SLQ)

1985
30 May. William Bourchier sold the Rex site to Christopher and Lynette Hayes who successfully applied to Council for ‘Indoor Cricket’ use.

1994
Mar 28. Christopher Hayes sold the Rex building to Pinjarra Enterprises Pty Ltd.
Later used as a showroom for Lifeline second-hand goods and offices including Centrelink.



For more information, the publication “Let’s Go to the Pictures in Mossman” is available from the Douglas Shire Historical Society email infodouglashistory.orgau