1932 Sept 22 1932 Cairns Post
A new company registered to-day was Northern Theatres Pty. Ltd., with a capital of £1000 divided into £1 shares with power from time to time to consolidate the capital into shares of larger amounts. The objects are to purchase, lease, hire or otherwise acquire any picture show and machinery, etc., for the purpose of carrying on the business of a Cinematograph show, etc. The signatories are Albert Lewis Nevitt, Owen Frederick Whittick and William Smith (directors and secretary of the Cairns Pictures Ltd.) and Michael John Hogan and James Burman (directors of the Palace Theatre Ltd). The registered office of the company is at Cairns.

1935 Aug 15 Cairns Post. Cairns Pictures Ltd.
The report of Cairns Pictures Ltd. for the year to June 30, shows, after providing for depreciation, a net profit of £1624. Depreciation has been written off, thus: Buildings 1 per cent.; plant and machinery, 10 per cent.; furniture, &c, 7i per cent.; and talkie installation, lo per cent. A loss of £1954 was brought in, and a balance of £329 is now carried forward. Capital allotted is £35,000. Outside liabilities are given at £384, and assets include land and buildings, £28,022; furniture, &c., £936; plant, &c, £2855; talkie equipment, £1907; all at cost, less depreciation. Goodwill is shown at £2000; and Northern Theatres Pty. Ltd. at £333.

1939 March 13 Cairns Post Monday 
The newly constructed Rex Theatre in Sheridan-street was declared officially open on Saturday night by the Mayor (Aid. W. A. Collins) in the presence of a large attendance, who appreciated to the full the excellent accommodation offered, and the entertaining programme provided.

Introducing the Mayor; the chairman of directors of Northern Theatres Pty. Ltd. (Mr. W. Smith) observed that it was the ambition of the proprietary to provide theatres to cater for the growing number of suburban residents, and the attendance was a gratifying indication that their policy was approved. They were pleased to be able to add their contribution toward the general progress of the city.

Mr. Smith mentioned that pictures would be screened on Saturday afternoons, and Saturday, Tuesday and Friday nights. Concluding, he thanked Mr. J. Burman (secretary of Northern Theatres Pty. Ltd.), Mr. V. M. Brown (the architect) and Mr. W. C. Kynaston  (the builder). (Also later built the Rex in Mossman) As the result, of their efforts coupled with those of the local staff and the technicians of Western  Electric they were able to have the theatre ready for the opening night in a most expeditious manner. (more – the Alderman’s speech and program)

1940 Oct 10 Cairns Post Thursday
Concrete evidence of faith in the future of Cairns has been exemplified by Northern Theatres Pty. Ltd. by the  expenditure of some thousands of pounds in the construction of its fourth edifice for moving picture entertainment, the Plaza Theatre. This magnificent tropical structure is situated almost opposite the show grounds and is within a few minutes travel of the city.

"The construction of such a fine theatre as the Plaza was indicative of the faith in the expansion of the City of Cairns," said the Mayor (Ald. W. A. Collins) when officially opening the theatre last night before a large audience.

The Mayor, who was introduced by the general manager of Northern Theatres Pty Ltd. (Mr. J. S. Morris) added: "It is my pleasing duty to open the fourth theatre in this city controlled by Northern Theatres Pty. Ltd. Recently the Rex Theatre was opened and then the Tropical and Palace were remodelled in a big way and now the Plaza Theatre is provided for the public in the Parramatta area. This theatre will cater well for the people of this suburb. The construction of such a fine buildings, indicates the growth of this suburban area and the progress generally of the City of Cairns

"I congratulate Northern Theatres Pty. Ltd," added the Mayor, "for their business acumen in setting out on a policy to provide the city with additional buildings, adding materially to the architecture of the city."

The Mayor paid a tribute to the company, the members of which were all Cairns citizens. They were well-known residents who had identified themselves with business operations in this city. Apart from pictures they had associated themselves with other organisations in the city, co-operated with patriotic movements and had fulfilled very worthy public obligations in an admirable manner. The proceeds of that night's entertainment were for patriotic purposes, and it was gratifying to know that on Sunday night next the Palace Theatre, controlled by the Northern Theatres Pty. Ltd., would be placed at the disposal of the patriotic movement to raise funds for the boys who were now overseas fighting for the British Empire. The management of Northern Theatres had identified them-selves in various ways with the patriotic movement, and the people of this city had made a magnificent response when the theatres were made available to raise funds for patriotic purposes.

The Chairman of Directors of the Northern Theatres Pty. Ltd. (Mr. W. Smith), extending a welcome to those who had come along to offer their co- operation and to assist the patriotic appeal, said that the proceeds of the night's entertainment would go to the Comforts Fund to provide Christmas cheer for those who had volunteered to assist the British Empire during its hour of trial. Many men had gone from this city to. do their share towards winning the war, and the raising of funds to provide the necessary com- forts for them was very important.

In that regard Northern Theatres Pty Ltd. had offered its co-operation by way of providing picture entertainments to which a great response had been made by the people of Cairns. It was the wish of the company to do its utmost to help the patriotic appeals, and the proceeds of that night's entertainment would go towards that purpose.

Mr. Smith thanked the general manager (Mr. J. S. Morris), the Queensland Construction and Building Company, to whose design the building was constructed, the Western Electric Mirrophone Co., the staff of the Northern Theatres Pty. Ltd, and the Mayor (Ald.. W. A. Collins), who has officially   opened the various theatres of the company and who had offered his co-operation in every respect.

Mr. Smith added that the theatre had very few equals in any suburban area in the State outside the capital city. The company had agreed to make a concession to members of the militia forces in uniform who desired to attend the entertainments, except on Saturday nights.

A representative of "The Cairns Post," in making an inspection of the Theatre last night, observed that it has been constructed on the most modem lines, and the coolness of the theatre for tropical conditions was an outstanding feature. The maximum natural air conditions have been provided.

The building is of concrete construction and the design is of modern type, and is equal to theatres in much bigger cities than Cairns. The construction has been carried out by the Queensland Building and Engineering Company, under the supervision of Mr. B. Cavanagh. The fittings were provided by local firms, and are a tribute to their ability to cater for theatres of such modern type. The seating accommodation provides for approximately 600 persons, and the illumination gives an ideal effect.

The stage is equipped with the most modern electric devices for the operating of curtains, and provides a pleasing blending to the green and gold. The entrance is particularly attractive, and gives an instant appeal, and the general reproduction of the screen presentation is all that could be desired. All the   electric fittings throughout the building are of modern design.

Complete comfort has been provided for patrons by the convenient seating accommodation, and the adequate exit, and passage ways.

The theatre will screen second release productions at reduced admission for the residents of the suburb, which is a thickly populated portion of the city of Cairns, and special concessions will be offered to militia men in uniform both at the Plaza and the Rex.

The company's present policy provides   for screenings at the Plaza on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday nights.

An attractive cafe and milk bar have been provided in the foyer, under the supervision of Mr. Diacos, who caters for the Cairns circuit of the Northern Theatres Pty. Ltd.

Mr. J. S. Morris stated last night that if sufficient patronage were offering the theatre will open on a greater number of nights. The company would not hesitate to deviate from the present arrangements to cope with the desire of the community in the suburban area.

Mr. Morris added that the company desired to assure the people of Cairns and district that it was anxious to pro vide the best and latest attractions. The Plaza and Rex Theatres were in proximity to local schools, and the management was prepared to cater for school functions at these theatres.

Far Northern Theatres Ltd was formed in 1945, with Managing Director J. S. Morris and Chairman W. Smith both of Cairns after the amalgamation of Cairns Pictures Ltd and Palace Theatre Ltd. They owned cinemas in Babinda, Gordonvale, Mareeba and Thursday Island as well as the Tropical, Plaza and Rex and ???? when in Cairns.

Once they acquired The Photo Play, films were put on a circuit. 
1944 Nov 22 Cairns Post and 28 Dec 1944
Ad Northern Theatres
Tropical, Plaza, Palace, Rex

1945 March 27 Cairns Post
Far Northern Theatres Ltd ad but only for Tropical Palace, Plaza and Rex

1945 April 26 Cairns Post and 22 Aug 1945 and 26 April 1946
Northern Theatres P/L

1945 5 MAY Cairns Post
TROPICAL-Showing TO-DAY, 1.45 and 7.45 p.m.      PALACE-Showing TO-NIGHT at 7.45.
Plans at Theatres for Reserves.
Donald O’Connor, Susanne Foster, Poppy Ryan “THIS IS THE LIFE”
Also - "THE FALCON OUT WEST," starring Tom Conway with Barbara Hale.

PLAZA Paramatta
TO-DAY at 1.40 and 7.40 p.m.
Plan at Theatre for Reserves.
ALWAYS IN MY HEART Starring Kay Francis, Walter Huston and Gloria Warren     
Heart-gladdening musical hit.
Also - "UNPUBLISHED STORY," co-starring Richard Greene and Valerie Hobson.

TO-DAY at 1.40 and 7.40 p.m.
Plan at Theatre for Reserves.
Starring James Cagney, with Grace George and Marjorie Main.
Story of a roving guy and three very different women !
Also - "WE'LL SMILE AGAIN," co-starring Flannagan and Allen.

"THANK YOUR LUCKY STARS" Starring Eddie Cantor, Joan Leslie and Dennis Morgan,
with Errol Flynn, Bette Davis, Dinah Shore, John Garfield, Alexis Smith, and others.
Also - "CURSE OF THE CAT PEOPLE," starring Simone Simon with Kent Smith.

SATURDAY To-day at 1.45 p.m. 7.45 p.m.
“THREE MEN IN WHITE” Starring Lionel Barrymore, Van Johnson and Keye Luke, with Marilyan Maxwell. Romantic drama. '
Also - "WEST OF ABILENE," starring Charles Starrett

SATURDAY TO-DAY 1.45 p.m.7.45 p.m.
‘’THE SULLIVANS’ Starring Thomas Mitchell and Anne  Baxter with Trudy Marshal and Selena Royle.
Exciting emotional drama.
Also - "PASSPORT OF DESTINY," starring Elsa Lanchester with Lenore Aubert.
Starring Margaret O'Brien with James Craig and Marsha Hunt
"PRESENTING LILY MARS” Co-starring Judy Garland and Van Heflin with Richard Carlson and Marta Eggerth. Musical comedy romance.
Also - "DANCING MASTERS." co-starring Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy.
SUNDAY SHOWS SUBURBAN AND COUNTRY reduced admission for Servicemen & Civilians

"SMART GUY," «tarring Rick Valiin with Veda Ann Borg.
Also - "TEXAS MASQUERADE," with William Boyd and Andy Clyde. ~

"DANNY BOY." starring Grant Taylor, Wilfred Lawson and Ann Todd. '
Also - "RUBBER RACKETEERS," with Ricardo Cortex and Rochelle Hudson.

"THIS IS THE LIFE," starring Donald O'Connor with Susanna Foster.
Also - "SONG OF TEXAS," starring Roy Rogers.

"THE HEAT'S ON," starring Mae West, Victor Moore and William Gaxton.

“MOONLIGHT IN- HAVANA;*'.? co-starring Alan Jones-and Jane Fragee.,
1945 May 26 Cairns Post



Direct from Overseas by Air Mail for simultaneous release with Sydney . .. Authentic and Official Films. (Authorised by the British Authorities.)

Rex and Plaza Theatres Cairns .. 26th-27th May
Tropical and Palace Theatres Cairns, 28th May, 1st June
Regent Theatre Edmonton.2nd-3rd June
Lyric Theatre Babinda 4th-5th June
Capitol Theatre Mareeba 6th-7th June
Roxy Theatre Atherton 8th-9th June
Nelson Theatre Gordonvale 11th-12th June

SEE the atrocities uncovered by the Allied advance into Germany.
SEE the utter barbarity and sadism of the Nazis practised at Belsen and Buckenwald horror camps in Germany.

This film is entirely factual and is NOT entirely suitable for children.  

1945 Far Northern Theatres first Directors; Report (QSA)

‘To be submitted at the Ordinary General Meeting of the Shareholders to be held at the Tropical Theatre, Abbott Street, Cairns at 11am on Thursday 30th August 1945.
Managing Director: J. S. Morris, Cairns
Chairman: W. Smith, Accountant, Cairns
O. F Whittick, Stationeer, Cairns
P.S. Cochrane, Cairns
M.J. Hogan, Retired, Cairns
H. E. Moody Farmer, Cairns
J. Burman, Accountant, Cairns.
Solicitor: J. J. Bell
Auditor: J. G. O’Donohue, AFIA, AIIS\
Secretary: J Burman, Shields Street, Cairns

To the Shareholders,
Far Northern Theatres Ltd., Cairns

Ladies and Gentlemen :
It gives us pleasure to submit herewith the Profit and Loss Account and Balance Sheet for the first year of the reconstructed Company, which ended on the 30th June 1945.

The increased population in the district for the greater part of the year has continued to enhance the company’s business and the result of the company’s operations after providing for all charges of the business and depreciation and reserving £40,0000 for taxation was £10,571/11/2. The depreciation has been written off the assets of the Company:

Furniture and Electrical Fittings 7 ½%
Plant and Machinery 10%
Talkie Equipment 10%
Reserves have been drawn on to pay taxation only.

In accordance with the agreement of the amalgamation both Cairns Pictures Ltd and Palace Theatre Ltd retained their funds, the result being that Far Northern Theatres started the year without any bank credit and in view of this and the expansion of the Company’s interests by the purchase of freeholds at Babinda, Gordonvale and Mareeba, your Directors recommend that a dividend of 5% be declared.

In accordance with the articles of the Company, Mr W Smith, J S Morris and Mr H E Moody retire, but are eligible for re-election.
The Company’s auditor, Mr J G O’Donohue AFIA, AIIS, retires and is available for re-election.
J S Morris, Managing Director
W Smith, Chairman of Directors
O F Whittick
M J Hogan
P S Cochrane
H E Moody
J Burman Directors. Cairns 11th August 1945

William Smith Cairns Public Accountant
Owen Frederick Whittick Cairns Newsagent
Michael John Hogan Cairns Business Manager
Peter Stevenson Cochrane Cairns Farmer
Herbert Edwin Moody Cairns Farmer
John Sydney Norris Cairns Manager
James Burman Cairns Public Accountant

1946 March 4 Cairns Post
Keeping Faith. Emergency plans formulated by the Cairns Post Pty. Ltd. to secure electric current from the Tropical Theatre's stand-by plant in the event of failure of supply from the Barron Falls Hydro Board service were brought into play in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Cyclonic conditions had caused a failure of the hydro supply, and as it was uncertain when power would be restored, the manager of Far Northern Theatres (Mr. J. S. Morris) was communicated with at 2.45 a.m.

Mr. Morris immediately arranged for his engineer to get the Tropical stand- by plant in operation; but at. 3 a.m. the hydro authorities had succeeded in restoring power to this newspaper. The publication proceeded, but Mr. Morris and his engineer stood by until the entire edition had been printed in case of another supply failure.

At the time the wind had reached cyclonic force. There were no further interruptions, but after the paper had been printed a trial "run" was made with power supplied from the Tropical Theatre. This power successfully drove the huge "Post" presses.

1946 MARCH 11 Cairns Post

Michael John Hogan, one of the city's best known and highly respected citizens, died at his home in Sheridan-street yesterday morning at the age of 74 years.
Mr. Hogan was chairman of the Palace Pictures directorate, and after the amalgamation of the picture shows in Cairns he became a director of Northern Theatres Ltd.

15 Nov 1946 reg 22 Nov Far Northern Theatres

the business was sold to Far Northern Theatres, a company which operated cinemas in Cairns, Mareeba, Atherton and Babinda

about 1948
JJB the name was changed to Far Northern Theaters when they bought Thursday Island.  Munro took over from Morris in 1950.

John Sydney Morris was an electrician in Babinda Sugar Mill who could see the future for picture theatres and made contact with Alan Whittaker in Cairns who brought in other business men Moody a cane farmer, Burman an accountant  and  Sir Thomas Covacecich a solicitor.

Sir Thomas Covacecich was a consultant at MacDonnells a firm of solicitors in Cairns. He identifies 12 places where there were Far Northern cinemas but it does not include Mossman. He was a director of Far Northern Theatres from 1956 to 1973 

"Far Northern Theatres, who built the Coral, were a northern Queensland circuit, who also had drive-in theatres in New Guinea. BCC took over the circuit in 1978.

Northern Theatres was started in 1935 by Jack Morris who was an electrician, he teamed up with a group of businessmen that included Mr. Whittaker, Mr. Moody, Mr. Burman, Mr Smith and Bill Moloney who worked as a manager for them. Jack Morris died in 1950 and a Mr. Munro took over as booker and General manager.

At one time they ran or had interests in 16 screens."

1953 Directors
William Smith Public Accountant
Peter Stevenson Cochrane Retired
Herbert Edwin Moody Farmer
James Burman Public Accountant
Cyril Joseph Hogan Tully Ambulance Superintendent
Charles Eric Munro Sydney Company Manager
John Jasper Bell Cairns Solicitor

Deputy Chairman: C. J. Hogan
Auditors: Hall, Chadwick Co
Solicitors: MacDonnell, Harris Co
Registered Office and Share Register: Tropical Theatre Building, 4 Shields St, Cairns

NLA from this website: www.drive-insdownunder.com.au/australian.htm

"Far Northern Theatres, who built the Coral, were a northern Queensland circuit, who also had drive-in theatres in New Guinea. BCC took over the circuit in 1978. Northern Theatres was started in 1935 by Jack Morris who was an electrician, he teamed up with a group of businessmen that included Mr. Whittaker, Mr. Moody, Mr. Burman, Mr Smith and Bill Moloney who worked as a manager for them. Jack Morris died in 1950 and a Mr. Munro took over as booker and General manager. At one time they ran or had interests in 16 screens."

1953 Far North Theatres Annual Report
William Smith Public Accountant
Peter Stevenson Cochrane Retired
Herbert Edwin Moody Farmer
James Bowman Public Accountant
Cyril Joseph Hogan Ambulance Superintendent Tully
Charles Eric Munro Company Manager Sydney
John Jasper Bell Solicitor

CAIRNS to BOWEN and controls the undementioned Theatres:

And in association with Northern Coast Theatres:

1953 Cairns Post 27 April 1953
MR. H. R. Kitching

Advlce was received in Cairns last night of the death cf Mr. H. R. ("Kitch") Kitching, the general manager for Far Northern Theatres Ltd for the past two and a half years, at the Lewisham Hospital in Sydney yesterday morning. Mr. Kitching left Cairns by plane recently for medical attention in Sydney.

Mr. Kitching entered the motion picture exhibiting field at an early age and was associated with Sir Benjamin Fuller and later came under the banner of Charles E. Munro, Australian entrepreneur for whom he managed various theatres.

He came to Cairns late in 1950 from Brisbane to take over the general management of the Far Northern Theatres circuit.

Mr. Kitching was the zone representative of the Motion Picture Exhibitors' Association of Queensland and on July 9, 10 and ll, 1952 he organized the annual convention of the association in Cairns. He was commended by the association for the successful staging of the convention.

It was announced in Cairns on August 12, 1952 that Mr. Kitching had for his general publicity been awarded a "Blumberg Citation" from Universal International Films.

In the same week he won the "Film Weekly Newspaper Award" (N.S.W.) for publicity and showmanship. It was considered unique for an Australian to win two such awards in such a brief time.

Mr. Kitching was interested in having films made of the Cairns and district. He assisted Armand Denis, who was making background pictures of the Barrier Reef for R.K.O. motion pictures and also was host to Dr. and Mrs. Hass when they were taking underwater "shots" off Cairns.

He was a staunch supporter of Legacy and conducted Sunday night picture shows for charities, including Legacy.

Mr. Kitching was hon. secretary of the Cairns Rotary Club, a former committee member of the R.A.C.Q. and a member of the Cairns Chamber of| Commerce.
He is survived by his widow formerly Miss Peggy Carroll of Sydney. There are no children of the marriage.

1958 Motion Picture Directory 1958/59
Far Northern Theatres Ltd Cairns
Chairman of Directors: William Smith
General Manager: William Moloney
Secretary: J Burman
Brisbane Rep : T M Osborne
Accountant: Val Basik
Booker: Daphne Allendorf

Theatres on Circuit: Tropical and Palace, City (City) Rex, Plaza (Suburban); Regent, Edmonton; Nelson and Civic, Gordonvale: Munro, Babinda: Civic and Capitol, Mareeba: Roxy, Atherton, Rex, Mossman; Tivoli and Grand, Bowen

Manager: R Johnson
Theatres: De Luxe and Garden, Ingham; Liberty, Halifax.

1960 FNT ANNUAL REPORT mentions Mossman


1961 (Australasian Cinema 15 March 1973): 

The Tropiciare Drive In Mt Isa became the first drive in operated by BCC. In 1966 Bundaberg and Ayr followed. BCC closed its large theatres and concentrated on opening Drive Ins with just one hard top theatre in each provincial city.

1971 Dec BCC took over four Far Northern Theatres – Plaza, Rex, and Coral Drive In Cairns, and Rodeo Drive In Mareeba (Australasian Cinema March 15 1973)

1972 Dec Odeon Cairns opened – built from the ground up, Cairns’ first fully air conditioned, carpeted luxury cinema operated by BCC.

Far Northern Theatres ended its involvement in motion picture exhibition altogether on 31 December 1971 when the Plaza and Rex cinemas and Coral Drive-In at Cairns, plus the Rodeo Drive-In at Mareeba were all sold to Birch Carroll and Coyle.

FNT was delisted in May 1973 after a takeover by Foxwood Ltd. It continued its Far North Television interests which had begun in 1961. The company applied for a licence for FNQ-10 which launched in 1966 and in 1982 partnered with TNQ-7 Townsville to become North Queensland Television and eventually Southern Cross Ten. 

The local businessmen who began Northern Theatres, investing in cinemas and motion picture exhibition, were visionaries who could always see where the best earnings were to be made in the entertainment field. They began with cinemas, then moved into Drive-Ins and finally into television.

Birch Carroll and Coyle, having opened its first drive-in in Mt Isa in 1961, concentrated on this area, and by purchasing and then closing down many small theatres, eventually only operated one hard-top cinema in each provincial city. It opened Cairns’ first fully air-conditioned and carpeted luxury cinema, the Odeon, in 1972.

In 2013, it operates three multiplexes in Cairns.