They've long been history; now drive-ins are historical (Australia)

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TWO of Victoria's three drive-ins have been classified by the National Trust in a bid to protect a movie phenomenon that refuses to die.

The National Trust has classified the Coburg and Dromana drive-ins, and is considering classifying the third, Dandenong's Lunar Drive-In. However, classification offers the drive-ins no legal protection.

Drive-in theatres were almost wiped out in the 1980s by the video recorder and spiralling property prices.

But Melbourne's three remaining drive-ins have boomed in recent years — especially in summer. They also come to life during school holidays, as Coburg's did last night, despite the cold.

National Trust chief Martin Purslow said it was a first for his organisation to classify a drive-in. "But heritage is not just about grand 19th-century houses. It's also about protecting popular cultural phenomenons," he said.

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