Hon. George Souris Member for Upper Hunter NSW Parliament

The James Theatre (Dungog Cinema) is the oldest purpose-built cinema still operating in Australia. In December 1912 the Dungog Electric Lighting Company set up an open air theatre seating 1000 on the present site!

Then in 1917 James Stuart who owned the land took over the Cinema and by Jan 1918 had constructed a new roofed building. The building, with its Spanish Mission facade added in 1930, is of significant cultural and architectural heritage.

The recent closure of the commercial cinema business is as a direct result of the film distribution change to the specific D-Cinema digital format and in no way a fault of the current management. The consequent scarcity of 35mm film prints or alternative digital media formats suitable for small cinemas to show movies in a reasonable time after release has meant business has declined. Also the cost of the new 2K projectors and E-Cinema server/media block systems has hampered their take-up by small independent cinemas.

The media moguls are too big to be fought by small operators, so help and lobbying at the highest level by Australian politicians and film industry luminaries is needed.

We, the undersigned patrons and supporters of the Dungog Cinema, seek your support and that of the NSW State Government to ensure that the Dungog Cinema can continue to screen films and that a viable and sustainable model of operation can be developed and implemented.

We see the Dungog Cinema as a very valuable asset to the local community and to tourists visiting the town. We trust that with your support the longest continuously running cinema in Australia can maintain its status as a centre piece of the Dungog Shire’s heritage and cultural focus.

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The Save Dungog Cinema petition to Hon. George Souris Member for Upper Hunter NSW Parliament was written by David Smith and is in the category Culture at GoPetition.