PHOTOS

Video & Photos | AC/DC concerts part of Cronulla Theatre history

Cronulla Cinema has had several "near death" experiences before the latest announcement it will close in February next year.

In January, 1974, the Leader reported a new, three-storey shopping centre and offices would be built on the site of the Odeon, which was originally named Cronulla Theatre.

The proposal didn't go ahead and movies were still being shown two years later when another report said the theatre faced closure because it had not met council safety conditions.

At the same time, the theatre was reborn as a venue for rock concerts under the name The Last Picture Show.

Some of Australia's top rock bands, including AC/DC, Sherbet, Stevie Wright and Finch performed there in 1974-75.

AC/DC - Can I Sit Next To You, Girl, at Cronulla, 1974. Video: Rock Archive

AC/DC did four concerts between June and August 1974.

"People danced so hard it looked like the floor would collapse," one fan recalled on social media.

Another post by "one of the promoters", said, "We had some massive concerts there, and oh so cheap. Sometimes we made money, sometimes we did not.

"Unfortunately it all ended on a sour note. There was escalating violence, and the security team I had employed were caught up in some serious drug dramas, which led to a police raid, which led to an extremely unprofitable series of concerts".

The theatre was sold in 1987 and faced demolition again, with plans prepared to build high-rise on the site.

The election in 1990 of a new council, controlled by Labor with the support of independents, was instrumental in a change in the plans.

Byron Hurst, one of the independents, recalled the theatre owner came up with an "amazing redevelopment" for a new multi-screen complex while keeping the historic facade.

Mr Hurst has some great memories of the theatre, including "pretty wild nights" in The Last Picture Show days and crowds packing sessions when Crocodile Dundee was released in 1986.

"I would like to see some sort of entertainment complex go there," he said. "Cronulla has enough apartments and high-rise."

Cronulla Theatre opened in 1928, with a seating capacity of 1532.

It was bought by Greater Union Theatres and became part of the Odeon chain.

Event Cinemas leased the cinema complex in October 2010 and, in 2016, renamed it GU Filmhouse, with a focus on screening arthouse and niche films while still showing mainstream movies.

A development application for the new signage said historic and heritage listed cinema buildings were "important for their social and civic prominence in a community like Cronulla, illustrated by past community efforts to save the building".

The theatre is listed as an item of local heritage significance in the Sutherland Shire local environmental plan (LEP).