Friday, November 11, 2011
The Orion Center at 153-155 Beamish Street in Campsie opened on 7th March 1936 as the Orion Theatre. Named after the ship Orion it comprised 999 seats and was the most highly regarded cinema in Campsie for many years. The Orion was closed in 1959 until Canterbury City Council decided to refurbish it as a community hall in the 1980s.
The Wurlitzer organ from the Capitol Theatre was restored and installed in the Orion which was re-opened in 1988.
It is currently a Function Centre which was looking very tired in 2009 when the photo on the right was taken. I noticed the building has been repainted recently and it has made a world of difference both to the building and the streetscape of Campsie.
A new coat of paint!
The Wurlitzer organ in the Capitol Theatre
This photograph, courtesy of B Tooker and the City of Canterbury Local History Photograph Collection, shows organist Ian Davies seated at the Wurlitzer organ in the Capitol Theatre.
Canterbury City Council purchased the Wurlitzer Organ from T.O.S.A. (NSW Division), who had purchased it 1972 from Greater Union when the theatre company decided not to renew their lease on the Capitol. Members of T.O.S.A. then stored its many parts in their homes for over eleven years before it was purchased by Canterbury City Council in 1983. Restoration work on the organ was carried out by members of T.O.S.A. with organ builder, John Parker, employed from Auckland in New Zealand to head the project.
Ian was the last person to play the organ in the Capitol Theatre and, many years later, the first to play it after its installation in the Orion Centre.
Source Canterbury Heritage Listings