Petone’s Palace Theatre

The Palace Theatre was the first cinema to open in Petone. Located at 2 Kensington Avenue, the theatre opened in 1910 and closed in 1957. The building was demolished in 1994.

According to the Evening Post in July 1910, “the theatre will be capable of seating 1500 persons, inclusive of gallery accommodation for 300. All conveniences are to be provided, including a skateroom, and something of a novelty in the shape of a refreshment-bar”.

Interior of the Palace picture theatre in Petone, circa 1930s. Photograph taken by Gordon Burt.

The building hosted various events over the course of its tenure including electors meetings, wrestling matches courtesy of the Hutt Valley Amateur Wrestling Assoc., school concerts, religious services, Petone Orchestral Society held a benefit concert for the Petone Ambulance Society, boxing tournaments, and many more.

The Palace had competition from the other cinemas in Petone – the Grand and the State. Both of which were located in Jackson Street. The Palace had a sandwich board man walking Jackson Street advertising Palace programmes. However both Jackson street theatres outlived the Palace.

Image from the Petone Settlers Museum.
Mr A. Mason competed in Petone’s inaugural Skating Carnival on 17 August 1910, dressed in this costume. Organised by The Palace Theatre Company, the carnival’s event programme included musical chairs, an egg and spoon race, and a fancy dress competition. Mr Mason won the prize for best gentlemen’s ‘poster costume’. His costume is decorated with paper advertising for the Empire Tea Company’s popular Crescent brand.

Leave a Reply