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Bowenwood – Bowen Cinema, Queensland Australia

A cinema framed in Art Deco is not what springs to mind when you are searching for highlights on the long and dusty road up the coast of Far North Queensland from Brisbane to Cairns. Bowen is a quirky town. Broken up across a peninsula that juts out into the Great Barrier Reef. Primarily an agricultural and mining town, Bowen does have a few gems. The northeast corner is home to Queens Beach and a variety of accommodation that embrace the beautiful boulder strewn coastline around the tip to Horseshoe Bay Beach. But when Bowen cloaked itself in all things “1940’s Darwin” under the direction of Baz Lehman and his crew for the filming of the Nicole Kidman/Hugh Jackman led film “Australia”, the towns only cinema went from being a very quaint cinema experience to the annals of Australian film history. The Summergarden Theatre became the venue for viewing daily rushes during the filming and eventually became a part of the multi-cinema world premiere. This was 2007 and for five months the jetty and surrounding precinct was transformed as Hollywood does and, for just a little while, Bowen-wood was born.

Image from 2007, by Allan Henderson

Art Deco In Far North Queensland

Much of Queensland’s far northern coast has had to endure its share of cyclones. Back in the day (before the tech screw changed everything) a cyclone was a watershed moment. Ingham, Bowen, Ayr – the list is a long one – in the early part of the twentieth century towns were levelled and were forced to rebuild and embrace the architecture of time. Thankfully Art Deco was the ‘go to’ aesthetic and there are many terrific examples along this coastline.

For reasons I can’t really justify the Summergarden Theatre reminds me of the film Cinema Paradiso. Perhaps in that it is an identity in itself. A long way from the banality of the multiplex experience. It is everything we still love about the cinema experience and just can’t help but get a little excited when we unearth examples like this.

*If you fancy some inside tips on more iconic Australian Drives perhaps try our post on Cairns to Port Douglas, or if you are heading toward Cairns, take a quick detour via Yungaburra – The Cutest Market Town In Queensland.

Where & When  – Bowen Cinema, Summergarden Theatre

Where: 40 Murroona St, Bowen QLD 4805
Ph: (07) 4785 1241
Website: Bowencinemas.com

Map – Bowen Cinema, Queensland Australia


Whilst many of the images are our own we did get some help from the some talented individuals, we like to give credit when it’s due! If you click their links under the images you will see some fantastic portfolios of passionate travellers and photographers.
All images were obtains under the Creative Commons Licensing Agreements

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