World's smallest drive-in still operates here in CQ
MEMORIES were shared and beer was drunk as Jericho residents celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Jericho Drive-In last month.
The iconic landmark was built by Barcaldine Regional Council and opened on July 26, 1969. It is now one of about five left in Queensland.
The drive-in holds 36 cars plus walk-ins and is believed to be the smallest in the world.
To celebrate the milestone, the first movies ever shown at the drive-in were featured: a 15-minute Warner Bros cartoon and The Sound of Music.
Projectionist and president of the school P&C, Sandi Ford said about 60 people turned up for the celebrations, with about 30 cars filling out the lots.
"A few of the oldies who have been here before came along and were excited to be part of the celebrations and tell us their stories,” she said.
"We had one person say they went on their first date at the drive-in and are now 27 years married.
"We also had a few tourists who had never been to a drive-in before turn up and thought that was pretty 'fantabulous' to be part of the celebrations.
"We enjoyed the beer and it was good to catch up.”
Jericho Drive-In veteran Dallas Vale also made an appearance. Mr Vale was a projectionist at the drive-in for more than 30 years and received a life membership to commemorate his many years of service.
"Dallas enjoyed the evening,” Mrs Ford said.
"He still comes along every now and then. He retired a few years back when we changed over to digital.”
Una Vale, who sadly passed away this year, also received a life membership. She worked as a ticket seller in the booth at the drive-in for more than 30 years.
Mrs Ford said both Mr and Mrs Vale worked at the drive-in when she was a young.
"Back in those days we used to duck across to the old Drover Rest Cafe and get our interval snacks and head back just before the movies would start again,” she said.
"The one movie I will never forget watching on the big screen is Jaws. It was terrifying.”
Facing the grim fate of many other drive-in's around the country, Mrs Ford said she took over the drive-in because she would hate to see it ever close.
"I sort of made it my pet project because I didn't want to see an iconic thing in my life close down if I could help it,” she said.
"In a small town like this everyone has to be part of something to keep the town going.
"Now that we have upgraded to the digital system we can get new release movies and keep up with the big boys in the city.
"In the last 12 months I have noticed an increase in people coming along again. I would hate to see it ever shut down.”
Mrs Ford said without the support of the Barcaldine Regional Council the drive-in would have closed long ago.
You can purchase a paver and be remembered in history as being part of the Jericho Drive-In 50-year celebrations. All funds raised go towards improving Jericho State School.
For more information contact the Jericho State School P&C.
Jericho Drive-In is only open on the third Saturday of each month for a double feature.