Early film revisited

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Email Jackson Lavell-Lee
Former cameraman Daryl Binning who is writing a book about the history of WA's silent movie travelling picture showmen.
Pic Mogens Johansen, The West Australian
Camera IconFormer cameraman Daryl Binning who is writing a book about the history of WA's silent movie travelling picture showmen. Pic Mogens Johansen, The West Australian Credit: Mogens Johansen/Picture: Mogens Johansen

Former newsreel camera man Daryl Binning will launch a book entitled Nitrate Nomads concerning the early days of South West travelling picture showmen on Wednesday.

After several decades of research into the careers of Allan Jones and other picture showmen and women, the book details what it took to set up and operate cinemas in the era.

In 1923 Jones started the first screenings in a hired hall in Deanmill and gradually progressed to four picture shows in Busselton, Pemberton and Manjimup.

Binning said films began with rudimentary one to two-minute short stories which were the first moving pictures people had ever seen.

News reels were a vital source of information in World War II.

“I wanted to tell the story to describe the history of the region because in these isolated settlements the news reel was the only way people could see what was going on in the outside world,” he said.

“You simply don’t get that physical showmanship now that everything is digital.”

In the 1960s and 70s Jones ran four drive-in theatres and several hard-top cinemas.

“All the fun and real life has gone out of going to the movies,” Binning said. “People use the cliched line ‘If this van’s a-rockin’ don’t come a-knockin,’ it was a real thing and Jones had to discipline many teenagers.”

He will talk on more than 100 years of film at St Mary’s church at noon on Wednesday.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails