News

Back to the drive-in future

New owner of the Lower Wonga Drive-In, Greg Beer, is looking forward to opening the cinema before Christmas.
New owner of the Lower Wonga Drive-In, Greg Beer, is looking forward to opening the cinema before Christmas. Renee Pilcher

NEW Lower Wonga Drive-In proprietor Greg Beer just picked up the keys to his new acquisition on Thursday and said he would have the cinema open before Christmas.

The Gympie Times was there when Mr Beer first arrived at the property as the new owner.

But he’s no newcomer to the drive-in, having worked on the last day it was open for previous owner Gary King.

The settlement for the purchase went through without any hiccups on Wednesday and now Mr Beer will start plans to relocate from Brisbane.

A popular destination, with 1062 fans on Facebook, the drive-in has languished since it closed in mid-October last year.

The grass is overgrown, weeding is overdue and some the equipment has “arthritis” but, after a spruce up, the place will hopefully be restored to its former glory, Mr Beer said.

Greg Beer is planning on living out at one of Australia’s last remaining drive-ins at Lower Wonga.

He just purchased the 20.23 hectare property that includes a house, the three screen theatre and eatery for the bargain price of $380,000.

“But there is a lot of work to do,” he said, before the cinema can be opened again.

The property was placed on the market by the bank when previous owner Gary King could not afford to run both the Sovereign Cinema and the drive-in anymore.

“I feel sorry for Gary, he put that much into it.”

Mr Beer worked at the cinema for 10 years keeping the movies running when Mr King was away working at the mines.

The Kilkivan man moved to Brisbane a few years ago and has worked for Birch Carroll and Coyle for 28 years.

So he knows a thing or two about fixing old 28mm film equipment and has bought up another technician, Roger Harrison, who has 45 years experience in the industry, for more help.

At 67 Mr Beer said he was at retiring age and there was nothing keeping him in Brisbane so he decided to take a gamble on the business, which he said was capable of doing well.

He will start moving in next Tuesday and by Thursday next week will be permanently on-site.

Then he will focus on getting the equipment up and running and securing some films to show.

Mr King will not return to help run the drive-in, as was rumoured, Mr Beer said.

Instead he will look for someone he can train up to help operate the machines.

The Lower Wonga Drive-In Facebook page was flooded with messages from people saying they loved and missed the drive in when the news of a new owner and its potential opening before Christmas was posted two weeks ago.

Over 60 comments showed fans’ support of the re-opening.

Mr Beer said movies showed at the drive in would follow the Sovereign Cinema’s release dates by up to a month.

Gympie Times


Where to find the best coffee

COFFEE snobbery is at an all-time high in Australia with the hipster movement carving a whole new breed of caffeine-loving consumers.

10 best street art spots to take an Insta selfie

Send yourself on a scavenger hunt around Brisbane to discover the incredible street art.

GET your phone and selfie-stick ready!

Theatre royalty graces Brisbane stage

Don't miss Charles Edwards in this incredible theatre performance.

WHEN acting royalty comes to town, you sit up and take notice.

Don’t go chasing waterfalls…find them on these drives!

The Scenic Rim is just one place nearby that you'll love.

BRISBANE isn’t all bright lights and city slickers.

Your boots are made for walking these tours

Brisbane Greeters tours are a great way to learn the local history of the city.

YOU don’t need a bike or bus for a seriously good tour of Brisbane.

Discover Brisbane’s laneway gems

Brisbane's laneways will surprise you.

NOT all of Brisbane City is as it seems…

Drink where the cool kids do this summer

There are a bunch of new bars open in Brisbane, make sure you're there!

CHECK out these new funky bars.

Fire fighters on scene at Bells Bridge

A storm is crossing the region but fire fighters are on the scene of a grassfire at Bells Bridge.

Fire fighters on scene at Bells Bridge

UPDATE: Warning issued as storm heads for Gympie

LOCAL STORM: A storm approaches Gympie.

Severe thunderstorm warning issued as storm expected to hit Gympie.

'Gympie water meets all standards and is high quality'

Mayor reassures residents of high water quality

Local Partners

Victory Care to take a two-month break

A COMMUNITY staple for the past six years, Victory Care Services is closing its doors for two months to give volunteers a breather.


Party Outback at the Kenilworth Hotel

PARTY OUTBACK: The Kenilworth Hotel aims to keep live music in pubs alive.

Kenilworth hosts live music

Kandanga hosts food and agribusiness forum

LOCALLY FRESH: A free food and agribusiness forum will be held in Kandanga this week.

Food and agribusiness forum to be held in Kandanga on Thursday

What's on in Gympie this weekend?

KEEP ROLLING: The long-awaited opening of Gympie's Skatezone is this weekend.

From roller skating to community expos, there's plenty on.

Jimmy Kimmel opens up about Oscars stuff-up

Academy Awards host Jimmy Kimmel gives his take on the epic Oscars envelope error: “It was the weirdest TV finale since ‘Lost’”

Groom threatens to walk out of Married At First Sight

Andrew is just about done with his “horrible” relationship with Cheryl.

ANOTHER explosive breakup is looming after a disastrous home visit.

'I wasn't naked': Blanca Blanco speaks out

Blanca Blanco arriving at the 89th Academy Awards. Picture: Ian West/PA WireSource:AAP

"It was a nude colour, it matches my skin, so I wasn’t naked.''

‘IT’S A LITTLE SAD’: Trump makes Oscars bungle all about him

US President Donald Trump claims Hollywood's elite were too busy mocking him to pay attention on Oscars night.

Donald Trump ‘explains’ Oscars stuff up.

Lama and Sarah’s ‘epic’ MKR fail

My Kitchen Rules contestants Lama and Sarah.

Tempers flare as Lebanese feast turns into an epic fail.

Oscars 2017: How did biggest award get stuffed up?

Presenter Warren Beatty shows the envelope with the actual winner for best picture as host Jimmy Kimmel, left, looks on at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2017, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The winner was originally announced as La La Land, but was later corrected to Moonlight.

'Guys in headsets starting buzzing around. They took the envelope.'

Lisa Curry can't marry her fiance

Lisa Curry breaks down in the jungle.

Lisa Curry says she can’t get married to her fiance

Casino boss loses $4m on waterfront Sunshine Coast home

The owner of this stunning Noosa home accepted much less than he had initially wanted for the home.

When illness struck owner forced to try and cash out of property

Mining homes dive: $600k homes sell for $120k-$300k

18 Yeates Street, Moranbah sold for $135,000 in December, after being repossessed by a bank. The owners bought for $545,000 in August, 2011.

The economy still has two speeds, but with a painful twist

Mackay's property market climbing like a Rocket Man

Renewed confidence in Mackay means more homes are being snapped up by those eager to plant their roots in the region.

There's movement in the real estate sector and it's all positive.

Agent: Mary Valley in 'happy place' after Imbil mega auction

Auctioneer Gordon Macdonald (left) with Ron Jeffery front the crowd in preparation to start Ron Jeffery's record largest auction.

Two sold, more in negotiations following Imbil mega auction.

'Why we drove 800km to buy a treehouse with a disco ball'

The new owners have planned a few updates, but will stick with much of the original design.

A couple travelled almost 800km for the home of their dreams.

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!