Cottesloe Picture Theatre

Cottesloe Picture Theatre was established during 1924 inside Wells Hall (named after Walter Wells who owned the premises), cnr Leake Street and Stirling Highway.

Wells Hall was a big two story building containing a large hall, stage and dressings rooms upstairs and a large lodge room used by Freemasons.  The lodge room (together with a series of other rooms) were called Boronia Lodge.  The lower level housed the Roads Board Office, shops, a meeting room and a large room for Lodge festivals.  In the early years the Hall was the social centre for the district with annual balls, fetes, concerts and club meetings regularly taking place. From 1924-1956 – Peppermint Grove Roads Board offices formed part of the rear section of the Picture Theatre.

Towards the end of 1920s an outdoor picture theatre garden was created on land behind the hall in Leake Street.  The outdoor area consisted of well-kept lawns surrounded by evergreen flowering creepers and flowerbeds and trees in the background.  Patrons had a choice of the more expensive deck chairs or the hard wooden benches.

Wells Hall was renamed Cottesloe Hall when it was sold to W. Waters

In 1937 the Theatre was remodelled in the “International” style and became purely a picture theatre (cinema) with open air picture gardens.  It was operated by Lou Hatfield.

In 1963 – Work commences for new shopping centre, “The Grove Shopping Centre” and by 1964 the Picture Theatre was demolished and replaced by Boans Department Store.  In 1977 – The Grove Shopping Centre was rebuilt and opened as “Grove Plaza”

Albion Hotel or Half Way House?

This has always had people scratching their head!  Is the Albion Hotel on Stirling Highway the original hotel which John Butler built back in the mid 1800s?

Well the answer is NO!

John Butler acquired a block of 250 acres of land way back in 1830.  He was granted the land due to the wealth of the cargo he bought with him from the United Kingdom.  This land later became known as Peppermint Grove.

Back in those days there was a track running from the river up to Perth, possibly along the same route as View Street today.  John opened an Inn along the route from the crossing  which was originally referred to as The Bush Inn or Half Way House.  He established a flourishing  business from travellers on their way from Fremantle to the Perth.

As time progressed the Perth to Fremantle road was comissioned and the original track was relocated to the site of the current Stirling Highway.  As the use of the river crossing declined, the Inn lost trade and the license lapsed.

Another Inn prospered from the newly formed Perth to Fremantle road.  It was built on the site of the current Albion Hotel.  John eventually moved with his family over to the Eastern States but after his death, his wife returned to Perth to reclaim the estate left behind in the care of Thomas Bailey.

So there you have it…mystery solved!