CREMORNE ORPHEUM: State Heritage Listing

Ensuring one of Sydney's last remaining grand old picture palaces is saved from transforming into another carpet warehouse, the Hayden Orpheum in Cremorne has officially been added to the State Heritage Register following a nomination by North Sydney Council and advocacy efforts by local community groups.

In her direction listing the cinema, NSW Heritage Minister Penny Sharpe recognised the Orpheum as "one of the last surviving examples of an art deco suburban theatre that is still used as a cinema today."  The ruling cements the 1935 movie house's cultural significance and architectural pedigree for all of NSW.

"We are thrilled that Minister Sharpe has recognised the special cultural and social significance of the theatre, as well as the wonderful art deco building," said North Sydney Mayor Zoƫ Baker, who hailed the state heritage listing as a hard-won community victory.

While already identified as a locally protected heritage site, the new state designation elevates the Orpheum's stature. The minister cited its importance to NSW's cultural history, distinct art deco design by noted architect George N. Kenworthy, social value as a community hub, and insight into 20th century cinema's golden age.

Originally opened during Hollywood's moviegoing heyday, the Orpheum was an exciting entertainment destination for suburban Sydney. Its stage for vaudeville and a rare ballroom made it a sumptuous outlier compared to typical local cinemas of the era.

After closing in 1977 as television doomed many movie palaces, the Orpheum narrowly escaped demolition. It was revived in 1986 by cinema operator, theatre producer and media performer Mike Walsh, who restored the art deco charm and transformed it into a modern multiplex while retaining vintage design motifs.

Today, the Orpheum stands as a beloved cultural landmark hosting film festivals, premieres and live performances. Its new heritage listing ensures the nearly 90-year-old cinema's history and grand art deco aesthetics remain preserved for generations to come. Bravo!