#9 Plaza Cafe Audio Script

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 DW The Plaza Cafe took obvious advantage of being next door to the newly-opened Plaza Theatre. There was an interconnected entrance area and you could also book theatre seats at the Cafe. And so, although it was separately owned, it became an integral part of the theatre, During the 1950s and into the 1960s this was a meeting place for the younger people of Mornington.
You can still see the pressed steel ceiling and the 1930s style window.
The Mornington Plaza Theatre on the left of Number 115, was opened in the late 1920s. [See The Ad In Tourist Brochure] with the advent of talking pictures. It was paired with the Frankston Plaza. It was known for many years just as Plaza Talkies, as you can see on the advertising hoarding on the cafe wall in a 1930s photograph. Prior to this purpose-built theatre, movies had been shown regularly in the Mechanics Institute further down the street.
The Plaza was a large building with a huge stage, a beautiful dance floor and an upstairs section. As well as films, socials, debutante balls, concerts and meetings were held here. Alf Florence owned the cinema for many years.
In the 1950s a major refit was done along with the name change to The Matthew Flinders Theatre. The foyer was tiled and had a large depiction of the voyage of Matthew Flinders who had come ashore briefly near the site of the future Mornington in 1802. At the rear of the hall, the proprietor put in ‘love seats’ – double seats without a central arm!
You may have noticed the tiled plaque set into the pavement outside commemorating the site of the theatre.
The advent of television during the 1950s saw many movie houses begin to struggle and Morning- ton’s Matthew Flinders Theatre closed its doors for the last time in 1970.
Shortly afterwards however, a group of enterprising Mornington citizens opened a new cinema at the beach end of Main Street where it still operates successfully today.
As you continue down the street towards numbers 78 and 81, you will see early photographs taken before the First World War, [PIC as well as cows walking down the street] which show a number of grocers operating under the name of Cash Stores or Railway Stores. There was also a baker and a boot repair- er. By the 1930s Charlie Franklin’s boot repairers were operating along here and next door Sheedy’s photography and haberdashery.
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