Epping Theatre/Fashions Galore/Video Ezy/Network Video & Gloria Jean’s & Jackie’s Hair and Beauty – Epping, NSW

Another testament to the power and influence of video shops in the old days – it took three shops to replace one giant Video Ezy. You can see on the left the space where new release posters would have hung, luring potential new members inside and forcing them to think of a password of the easily forgettable variety in order to get a video card just to be able to hire Maverick for the night. Sadly for the former king of weekly entertainment, Ezy Street is a long way away these days.

Meanwhile, if you paired up locations of the ubiquitous Gloria Jean’s with Thai restaurants, you might find the number is a perfect match. Even Mickey D’s doesn’t cover this kind of territory.

THEATRICAL UPDATE: After digging a bit deeper (read: having a look around the back), it’s become apparent that this location has a bit more to it than it would seem. From the 1930s to at least the 1950s, this was the site of Epping Theatre, which is laughably obvious when you check out the rear:

If it looks like a theatre etc… The discovery of the ‘Fashions Galore’ sign means that this is now probably the longest titled entry on this blog – quite an achievement given the competition. Epping Theatre is a bit of a mystery; apart from some old ‘staff wanted’ ads and its listing in several State Library photo archives (currently unseen), there’s not much out there. Or is there? Readers, if you can help, you know what to do.

HELPFUL UPDATE: Reader Carmen was kind enough to send in a picture of Epping Theatre in its prime. Judging by the films on show – Johnny Belinda, The Gallant Blade and Red Canyon – this was taken in 1949. Check it out:

Epping Theatre, 1949. Thanks to reader Carmen for the image!

PS. Just in case you didn’t believe this was at any stage a Video Ezy, check out this solid gold proof that awaits those brave enough to wander up the back alley:

It says a lot about the current state of Video Ezy that this guy’s chosen to park there despite the sign. Ballsy.

10 responses

  1. You are right, this was a theatre dating from 1935 when it was called Epping Theatre and then was renamed Kings Theatre. If you are interested we have more information and photographs.

  2. The original name of this building was The Cambria Theatre, and it opened in 1915, with 930 seats. The entertainments brought to the area by The Cambria helped Epping to thrive; its theatre crowds having the effect of attracting more businesses to the town.

    Significant Dates:
    1915 Opened as The Cambria Theatre on 6th November.
    1920-21 Building alterations made.
    1934 Redesigned in the Art Deco style (November).
    1935 Opened as King’s Epping Theatre on 2nd March.
    1960 Closed as a theatre on the 18th June.

    After its death-by-television, it was converted into a Woolworths variety store. Later it housed Fashions Galore and, by the 1980s, VideoEzy moved in, occupying the whole premesis. The former single-arch Railway Footbridge crossed Beecroft Road at this point, and VideoEzy’s signage on the upper frontage of the building was at eye-level as west-bound commuters left the station and crossed the bridge. There was a long ramp to the left, and a staircase to the right; the bottom of the stairs was closer to the VideoEzy entrance.

    After VideoEzy’s death-by-internet, the building’s current tenants found a home there, being (at street level) a branch of the Gloria Jean’s Café chain, and a branch of the Plus Fitness gymnasium chain. I’m less familiar about what’s tenanted the upstairs floor, but there seems to have been an internet café and a dance studio.

    A picture of The Cambria in 1917 can be seen at:

    Another photo, with the Theatre on the right, shows Beecroft Road (then, a part of High Street) in a far quieter state that can be observed today! This photo dates from some time after mid-February 1922, as Epping’s old War Memorial can be seen at the top of the hill. The Cambria was the location for a memorial service held to mark the monument’s unveiling. By 1937, the tranquil scene in the picture was no more and, as it was inconveniencing traffic, the war memorial was moved to nearby Forest Park, on the other side of the hill, where it stands to this day.

    1. Peter, I am very familiar with the last years (!957 to 1960) of the Epping Theatre Cinema, and have first-hand knowledge of its day-to-day operations, and am willing to share information.

      Kind regards,
      Ken Bishop, Tin Can Bay QLD

  3. P.S. Come to think of it, perhaps Fashions Galore were tenants after VideoEzy. I remember a cavernous, high-ceilinged womenswear shop, and am pretty sure FG were in residence before the building was partitioned into its current ground and first-floor shop spaces.

    P.P.S. I forgot to include Jackie’s Hair and Beauty, which pre-dates the current (2019) tenant, Fitness Plus.

  4. I am very familiar with the last years (!957 to 1960) of the Epping Theatre Cinema, and have first-hand knowledge of its day-to-day operations, and am willing to share information.

    Kind regards,
    Ken Bishop, Tin Can Bay QLD

    1. Hi Ken, I’ve lived in Epping all my life and would love to hear your recollections. I just remember it as a theatre and I worked in the building in the 70s when it became a Safeways supermarket..

  5. It was once a Woolworths variety store in the 60s and Safeways Supermarket in the 70s

  6. Hi, Mark, I will reply more as soon as I’ve got a little extra time, hopefully sometime in the next couple of days. Looking forward to a chat. Right now it’s bedtime. Cheers, Ken.

    1. Thanks for getting back to me Ken. I look forward to talking with you. I’ve lived in Epping since 1960 and have an interest in the history of the shopping centre. I wish I took photos during the 60, 70s and 80s as so much has changed.

      1. Hi, Mark, I arrived at Carlingford about 1954, went to Macquarie Boys High School in Parramatta, and barely scraped through to the intermediate certificate in 1957. Most everybody got a job in those days, and my first job was at P.A. James timber mill on Beecroft Rd, just downhill from the Carlingford Rd intersection. It wasn’t long before I got my next job as a trainee projectionist at Epping Theatre, where I worked as an assistant projectionist until a few months before the theatre closed down mid-1963. As noted earlier by Peter, death-by-televison was the fate of many suburban cinemas in Sydney, and by about March ’63, patronage at Epping theatre was woeful. The worst night was when we had just two patrons at the screening. The situation was financially unsustainable for the company, and morale among the staff was crushing. The company decided the bio box would have to be operated by only one projectionist and that position rightly remained with the senior projectionist, Ted Stoddart. Ted was a good guy and taught me the way to run a bio box safely and effectively. My time as an assistant projectionist at Epping theatre was both the best job I ever had and the saddest when I had to leave it. My first screening at the theatre was “The Robe” – Richard Burton, Jean Simmons, and Victor Mature. I don’t recall the last screening. I don’t think there would be many left who would have knowledge of those last days. I’d be interested in your time from those days. Cheers, Ken.

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