Avondale Primary School


Avondale entertainment and facilities

What does Avondale have to offer?

The children brainstormed what they understood a community to be.

This is what they decided...

A community is

  • A place where people do things
  • A community is people

We then decided to brainstorm what community facilities and family entertainment Avondale had to offer. This is what the children came up with....

  • Library
  • Community centre
  • Police Station
  • Shops
  • Race Course
  • Hollywood cinema

Room 17 chose to focus on the history and the present functions of the Hollywood cinema.

Hollywood cinema.

We looked at the Hollywood cinema website to investigate and we visited the cinema so we could learn about the historical significance of the cinema and why it is an important landmark in Avondale.

We discovered that the cinema was built way back in 1915! It is also the earliest cinema in Auckland. The building was first the Avondale Town Hall and has screened movies since the very first day it opened. The first movies to be shown were silent movies and today it shows movies through digital projection. When the movies were silent the piano accompanied the movie. The children were shown the Wurlitzer Organ and were even given a performance.

Mr Bill playing the organ.

The theatre was known as Hayward's town hall pictures from 1930-1946. In 1946 the name of the theatre changed to Grosvenor Theatre. In 1966 Jan Grefstad bought the cinema and then devoted his life to the theatre for the next thirty six years. He renamed it to the Hollywood theatre as it is called today.

Hollywood cinema 2.

The theatre is most famous for running "The Rocky Horror Picture show" every Friday and Saturday evening from 1979-1988. This was along time before the kids in Room 17 were born so they didn't know much about shows like the Rocky Horror. The theatre is also very well known for Saturday Matinees, Sunday Late shows, nostalgic movies and the Wurlitzer Organ recitals. The children learnt that the organ is only one of three left in New Zealand and it is seventy five years old.

Following are some excerpts from children's reports of their visit to the cinema.

"I like the hollywood cinema because the piano is moving". Phoebe

"The organ is 75 years old. The organ makes another piano make sounds." James

"Mr Bill told room 17 how the wurlitzer organ turns around and he let the piano go down as well. Mr Bill pressed the button then it went around." The organ cost $280.000. Vienna

"There are only 3 organs in N.Z." Anesu

"The wurlitzer organ is the most nteresting organ that I have ever seen. You can play all the instruments all at the same time." Edward

In our computer room at school we have pictures of famous movie stars on the wall. We wondered if some of the actors and actresses were stars of the silent movies. We have pictures of Charlie Chaplin he was definitely a star of silent movies. We also have pictures of Marilyn Monroe and we all agree she was beautiful.

Famous faces 2.

famous faces.

Today the Hollywood cinema shows all the latest movies available and they are now shown digitally and they don't need to be accompanied by the organ.

Hollywood cinema.

The children in Room 17 throughly enjoyed their visit to the cinema. They thought it was really cool. This is some of their comments.

"It was surprising when Mr Bill was playing the organ and you could see the other piano playing" Finau

"I liked it when Mr Bill played the piano" The theatre looked so old" Vienna

"I liked it when the piano was playing by itself" Ellen