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Show’s over for iconic Heddon Greta Drive-in

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The director’s about to call “cut” on one of the Hunter Valley’s most iconic attractions, the Heddon Greta Drive-in.

After surviving the rigours of bushfires, floods and a global pandemic in recent times, the much-loved entertainment venue will make way for more than 40 residential lots.

A redevelopment proposal for the site was recently lodged with Cessnock City Council, signalling an end of an era for local film buffs.

Owner Scott Seddon admitted it was a sad, but unavoidable, occasion.

“For me, the Heddon Greta Drive-in has been a big part of my life for more than two decades,” he said.

“However, last year, after a quarter of a century, I made the reluctant decision to surrender to the inevitable and sold the business and the land to a businessman.

“The DA (for subdivision into 44 residential lots) has now been submitted to council.

“For the time being, my company will continue to provide management services to operate the drive-in on behalf of the new owners.

“But, at this stage, it’s due to shut its doors late July 2023.

“We are looking at a couple of proposals to build in another location, which is actually quite exciting.”

Mr Seddon opened the gates in 1996, with two Hollywood blockbusters at his disposal, Babe and Apollo 13.

“It was just three days after the Academy Awards,” he said.

“And, it’s probably the best programming choice I’ve made in my life.

“Since that evening in March (1996), many thousands of families have sat together as a group for more hours than they would have otherwise.

“I truly believe we’ve given them an experience they’ll always remember.

“On top of that, in excess of 100 people, mostly youngsters, have worked here during their late high school, TAFE and university days.

“Historically, drive-ins were built on the outskirts of towns and cities on semi-rural land which, as the towns and cities grew, were taken over by suburbia.

“The thing with Heddon Greta was that it took a few more decades before progress caught up with us.

“From those early days in October 1995, when we started to hack down the undergrowth, I’ve been blessed to have so many amazing people join the team and support us.

“And, even though it was tough for us over the past couple of years, due to COVID, we were able to open before cinema complexes throughout the region.

“The big issue, however, was not having anything to run.

“But, we were still able to attract an audience, which I’m thankful for.

“It’s been a really great ride – and I’m proud of what we achieved.

“I can only say don’t wait until the very last week to come and experience the atmosphere of Heddon Greta Drive-in.

“Even this weekend, we’ve got the animated DC League of Superpets, Spider-Man: No Way Home (extended version) and Beast on the big screen.

“Please enjoy the shows but if by chance you don’t like the movie… you can slash the seats.”

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