Junee Athenium Theatre to be restored

Encore: There will be no curtain call for Junee's Athenium Theatre after Pam Halliburton and fellow councillors this week agreed to restore the historic building.
Encore: There will be no curtain call for Junee's Athenium Theatre after Pam Halliburton and fellow councillors this week agreed to restore the historic building.

Pam Halliburton remembers dressing up for balls, movies and parties at Junee’s historic Athenium Theatre. 

That was before the old building fell into disarray, closing its doors in the ‘70s. 

But councillor Halliburton said residents who recalled the colour, class and majesty of the once magnificent theatre could rejoice this week. 

It follows news the iconic building, once an institution of the small town, would be resurrected, receiving a much needed spruce.

“It’s very exciting,” Cr Halliburton said.

“We want to encourage people to use it for conferences, weddings, funerals, dances, balls and functions.”

It comes after Junee Shire Council this week agreed to restore the 89-year-old theatre to its former glory and “bringing it into the 21st Century” at the same time. 

Heading May’s agenda, the draft conservation management plan – incorporating master plan designs – was approved at the monthly general meeting on Tuesday.

It comes after council put the Athenium Theatre renovation at the top of its project list for the second round of the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund. 

Cr Halliburton said the installation of an estimated $417,920 air conditioning system at the top of the theatre’s priority list, but heavily depended on grant money approval at this stage.

Either way, she said it was on the cards. 

According to the draft plan, the first stage of the restoration project would include damage brickwork repair, followed by the development of an auditorium, dress circle and stage area, and the upgrading of lighting and sound systems.  

A kitchen and amenities building will be built, linking the auditorium and an outdoor entertainment area. 

Fresh landscaping plans have also been earmarked for this space, with hedges, lawns, arbours and pavings, in what could be a landscaping masterpiece. 

The move comes 16 years after the iconic building was declared historically significant, being one of the state’s few remaining theatre’s of its kind. 

“The draft plans will be exhibited for public comment,” Cr Halliburton said.

“I’m very much hopeful people will comment favourably … it is wonderful”