What is significant? The Memorial Hall, Koroit, constructed in 1957 as a multi-use complex with full cinema facilities, was one of the last single-screen cinemas built in Victoria. It was commissioned by the Diocese of Ballarat for the very large Catholic community around Koroit including the Parishes of St Patrick, Koroit, St Patrick's, Kirkstall and St Brigid's, Crossley. A local Catholic cinema had been mooted as early as the 1930s, but circumstances delayed its construction until the mid-1950s. Films were screened three nights a week until the mid-1960s, with the choice of films screened, presumably influenced by Catholic values of the times. The building also served as a memorial to those men of the Koroit Catholic Parish who were killed in the Second World War.
Architects Cowper Murphy & Associates of Melbourne were commissioned to design the Memorial Theatre. It was one of the last works of this firm of prolific cinema designers in Australia, which by this time were well known in this field.
The building is constructed of steel portal frames, which are exposed internally in the auditorium. Cream brick is used for the walls and the external casing of the nine portal frames. The front facade of the theatre has a cantilevered verandah with a large cement rendered panel above, containing a horizontal row of windows which light the bio box behind. The lower facade incorporates a set of three pairs of timber framed doors and flanking plate glass windows. A vertical cream brick section on the side of the facade, with a vertical strip of windows lighting the stairwell, creates a subtle asymmetry.
The flat floor auditorium is devoid of decoration and the square proscenium arch is decorated by simple flutes. The curved front edge of the stage contains a bank of spotlights. The seats have been removed from the lower auditorium, however the entire original 'Dunlopillo' seating in the dress circle, dramatically upholstered in alternating pink and green vinyl, the carpet and the wall lights remain. The projection room retains what appears to be its complete suite of original projection and sound equipment including apair of Gaumont-Kalee President projectors; a Raycophone sound system;an NTS GK National Selenium twin 65 rectifier (Model 2SR 42/65/1);a Gaumont-Kalee Duosonic amplifier;a slide projector (possibly by Gaumont-Kalee); a bank of 5 dimmer switches in the rewinding and splicing room; anda collection of 22 glass slides.
The building was sold to the Moyne Shire in the 1990s. The refreshment bar and ancillary areas, such as the kitchen and supper room, retain their integrity. The original kitchen fittings and equipment survive, including the refrigerator and stove.
How is it significant? The Memorial Hall, Koroit is of historical and architectural significance to the State of Victoria.
Why is it significant? The Memorial Hall, Koroit is of historical significance for its association with the Catholic church and for its demonstration of the moral and spiritual influence the church exerted on the lives of Catholics in that period.
The Memorial Hall, Koroit is of historical significance as one of the last purpose-built cinemas in rural Victoria.
The Memorial Hall, Koroit is of historical significance for its retention of original projection and sound equipment and its collection of rare glass slides which add to an understanding of the cinema's operation.
The Memorial Hall, Koroit is of architectural significance as an outstanding late example of the work of Cowper Murphy & Associates, one of the most important and prolific firms of cinema architects in Australia. Its high degree of integrity, including the service areas, is of great significance. It is also of note as possibly the largest building of several constructed at this time using portal frame construction.