Wooroloo Prison Farm volunteers help restore Kookaburra Cinemas.

Prisoners help local landmark cinema get back in business 

Cinema owner Peter Foyster says the volunteers have done a fantastic clean-up job and that the cinema looks completely transformed.
May 16, 2024

PRISONERS from Wooroloo Prison Farm have been working to get Mundaring’s Kookaburra Outdoor Cinema up and running after extensive storm damage forced the popular local landmark to close.

Part of the cinema’s screen was crushed by a large tree branch brought down by the severe January storm, which also caused widespread damage throughout the Perth Hills area.

Facing a repair and clean-up bill running into tens of thousands of dollars, cinema owner Peter Foyster put out the call for help – and Wooroloo Prison’s S95 crew answered.

Section 95 of the Prisons Act enables minimum security prisoners to contribute to the community through supervised work programs.

With the favourite film spot, which has been operating since 1997, the Wooroloo prisoners had their work cut out for them.

“When we first got here it was like a cyclone had gone through, there was debris everywhere it was a total mess,” Vocational Support Officer, Graeme, said.

Strong winds and falling branches from surrounding trees had also punched holes in the perimeter fence and blanketed the car park in debris.

Under close supervision, the S95 crew has been clearing branches and wreckage scattered across the venue before repairing the fences.

“I can’t believe the amount of work that they’ve done; incredible,” Mr Foyster said.

“I can’t imagine it would be where it is now. It looks like a completely different place.”

The work gives the carefully screened prisoners an opportunity to learn new skills and experience working as a team.

“When they get out of prison, they can use those skills to better themselves or get a job,” Graeme said.

That’s not all the prisoners get from the experience.

“It’s good to get into the community, get involved in the community and make a difference,” one prisoner said.

“When you get back to the prison you feel like you’ve achieved something for the day.”

Mr Foyster, who’d been planning to sell the venue before the storm hit, said while the future of the cinema is still not certain, he hopes the show will go on.

“Even though it’s a privately owned business, it feels more like it belongs to the community to me and that’s why I’d like to see it taken over, preferably by the community,” he said.

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