In the second such instance, Civic Video has taken up residence in a former cinema. This time, the Paramount Theatre of South Hurstville continues to provide movies to the public through the video chain. Let’s take a closer look.
The Paramount was built in 1934, joining a sister cinema at Mortdale (since demolished) and only four other picture theatres in the Kogarah/Hurstville region: the Odeon at Carlton, the Oatley Radio, the Hurstville Savoy and the Kogarah Victory being the others. It’s a pretty damn big building, with a seating capacity of 1,100 when it was built. In 1950, that old vaudeville villain Hoyts (boo, hiss) bought the theatre and renamed it the Hoyts. Sounds much better too, doesn’t it? Hoyts closed the theatre in 1959 (I’m growing more and more convinced there was some kind of Hoyts conspiracy to buy up the suburban cinemas in order to get people to head into the city). Hoyts made sure that a covenant in the sales contract ensured the building could never again be used as a cinema.
Since 1959 it’s been used as a recreation centre, a supermarket and a giant Civic. In the last ten years as video shops have declined, Civic has cut down on its floorspace, sharing with a Subway, a newsagent, a Curves gym and some kind of computer shop out the back. Cramming more into less space isn’t just a residential thing anymore.
CRUSTY UPDATE: Here’s a look at the Paramount in its heyday courtesy of reader Carmen. Thanks!
On the outside, it looks like an ordinary 80s-style sports club. The door is perfectly positioned in front of a busy main road for when drunks stumble out at the end of a night, clueless as to where they are or how much cars hurt.
Unfortunately for fans of empty buildings, the outside is as close a look as we’re gonna get. The Hurstville United Sports Club has moved, leaving the shell of its former home behind as it establishes a new pokie storage room at South Hurstville under the shorter, trendier and more abstract name ‘Club Hurstville Sports’. One can only imagine the third iteration will be titled ‘Hurstclub Sportsville’.
The most notable feature of this old building is the addition of what appears to be the world’s biggest wasp nest in this window. Or second biggest, in case the wasps moved to South Hurstville too.