Roxy Theatre headed for State Heritage listing

March 24, 2017

ONE of the region’s most iconic buildings may be on the way a more secure future, with the NSW Heritage Council recommending Bingara’s Roxy Theatre and Greek Café be permanently protected, Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall said last week.

At its March meeting, the Heritage Council considered the Roxy’s value to the town, as well as submissions from stakeholders and the community.

If successful, state heritage listing places legal controls on renovations of the building, and allows for new sources of funding for maintenance and renovations.

Mr Marshall said the building should be recognised for its heritage value.

“Since it was built in 1936, the Roxy Theatre and Greek Café is one of the most recognisable features of Bingara’s main street,” Mr Marshall said.

“Many similar buildings across regional Australia have closed their doors – so it was all the more commendable that Gwydir Shire Council saw the potential of the former theatre and café, and renovated it in 2009.

“Securing the Roxy on the heritage list will give it more protection in future, and ensure it’s enjoyed for generations to come.”

With the NSW Heritage Council tick of approval, the submission will now go before the Minister for Heritage Gabrielle Upton for final determination.

It is highly unlikely the Minister will reject the recommentation.

“I will be urging the Minister to approve the Heritage Council’s recommendation and list the Roxy to ensure it is enjoyed by future generations,” Mr Marshall said.

Georgia Standerwick, Marketing and Promotions Team Leader at Gwydir Shire Council said Council wanted to have the building listed for a number of reasons.

“Firstly it ensures that the Roxy is preserved for years to come, so future generations can appreciate not only the architectural splendour of the building but also the story that it tells about Greek Immigration,” Georgia said.

“This story of immigration in the early part of last century is a common one, there are so many small towns throughout NSW and Queensland that featured a Greek café and perhaps a Chinese restaurant, it’s an important reminder of the role immigration played in shaping Australia. It really changed the culinary and social landscape of Australia.

“I personally think is really important considering the current political landscape and the issues surrounding immigration that we can look back and see the positives impacts multiculturalism can bring, particularly to rural areas.  The confirmation of the Roxy’s heritage status is also a source of pride for many locals and people involved with the building.”

Georgia said that Heritage listing opens up a number of sources of funding to assist with the maintenance and up-keep of the building for emergency repairs, as well as restoration works and energy efficiency fit-outs which will save council money.

“We would like to look at replacing all the lights in the theatre with LED to save on not only the energy costs but also the manpower to change them,” she said.