World's first Feature Film, the Story of the Kelly Gang
The Australian film industry got off to a flying start, producing what was probably the world's first full length feature film in 1906. The film was the Tait brothers production The Story of the Kelly Gang, a success in both Australian and British theatres, and it was also the beginning of a genre of bushranger stories. While Australians took to bushranger stories, the censorship boards of the day did not. South Australia banned the screening of bushranger films in 1911, Victoria followed in 1912. The NSW police department banned the production of bushranger films in 1912. The Kelly story, however, outlasted the ban and has been refilmed a number of times since although only a few minutes of footage from the original film have survived.
Built in 1842 by the Mechanics Institute, early entertainment included a magician, singers and 'mesmerists'. Mark Twain was one of the many lecturers at the building.The current facade was erected in 1885.
The interior has had a number of existences including being fitted as a cinema. The first ever Australian feature film, The Story of the Kelly Gang, was shown there.