Heddon Greta Drive-In is usually closed for four weeks’ maintenance at this time of year, but will reopen on Wednesday for a special event.
The night will mark 50 years since the drive-in first opened, and it will celebrate with a screening of the film shown on its opening night – the classic British drama To Sir, With Love.
Owner Scott Seddon said he wanted to make the night about more than just the drive-in, so he sought a local charity to partner with for the event.
The night will benefit Richmond Vale Railway Museum, which was devastated by a bushfire in September.
The blaze left the museum with an estimated $1 million damage bill, with two kilometres of track, stainless steel passenger cars, a 100-year-old break van and at least 30 hoppers among the losses.
The Rebuilding Richi appeal was established to raise money for the restoration of the site to operation and exhibits for display.
About $26,000 has already been raised through corporate and individual donations, online fundraising, a trivia night and guessing competition.
It’s a small portion of what will be required to get the museum fully operational again – bridge repairs alone are estimated at $50,000.
Museum volunteer Graham Smith said they were thrilled to have the drive-in’s support.
“It’s tremendous – it came to us out of the blue, and we really appreciate Scott’s generosity,” he said.
Coincidentally, Richmond Main mine ceased shipping coal in July 1967, just five months before the drive-in opened.
The drive-in closed twice in the 1980s and ‘90s, before Mr Seddon bought and re-opened the complex in 1996.
It is now one of only two drive-in movie theatres still operating in NSW – the other is in Blacktown.
Mr Seddon said the drive-in offers a chance for moviegoers to “experience something different”.
He said the opening of the Hunter Expressway has brought a lot more young people to the drive-in.
The 50th anniversary screening of To Sir, With Love will be held on Wednesday at 8.30pm.
Admission will be $30 per car, with proceeds going to the Rebuilding Richi Appeal.
The drive-in will reopen on Boxing Day.