Ben De Luca is the owner of Bowen’s Summergarden Theatre and has run the art deco cinema for 56 years. As a child, he made movies with his friends. His first job was as an assistant projectionist. Now he and his family live at the theatre, their home tucked away above the projection room.
The only cinema in the area, it shows all the latest releases, with state-of-the-art digital projection.
When the famous film Australia was filming in Bowen, the cinema was used by the filmmakers to view “dailies” (footage that was shot earlier in the day). It was also where the filmmakers decided to hold the world premiere of the movie—a star-studded event that brought Hollywood glamour to the beautiful Whitsundays town.
“Baz Luhrmann and his troupe marched in here and were completely captivated by the place,” De Luca said. “I suppose I was on cloud nine. It was possibly one of the highlights of my career in the movie industry.”
Bowen sits at the top of the Whitsundays and offers visitors a gorgeous paradise with eight beautiful beaches to enjoy and explore.
The inner reef is close by and at low tide, visitors can walk towards the North Head Lighthouse and admire sea life along the way.
There’s terrific accommodation in town and restaurants that make the most of Bowen’s rich diversity of local produce and seafood. It’s the perfect spot for an old-fashioned family getaway.
Watch the story to see inside Bowen Cinemas and hear what De Luca has to say about the visit from Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, and the gift they left for the Summergarden Theatre.