Wandering around the Bowral area, you may have seen renovations happening on a historic Southern Highlands complex.
The Empire Cinema recently underwent a full replacement and renovation of the roof and surrounding area.
Gerry Kroon bought the Empire Cinema in 1999 and explained the drive behind the new work.
“Over the years things gathered in the roof and a huge storm had water coming through the roof,” Mr Kroon said.
After fixing minor leaks repeatedly, Mr Kroon decided that a comprehensive repair was necessary.
“The Empire Cinema is the oldest cinema on Australian mainland,” Mr Kroon said.
“When you start fixing one thing, you find other problems.
“I talked to the Heritage Near Me Program and explained I wanted to fix the roof and they helped out the cause financially.
“I thank them for that. I cannot fault what they did, they were a great financial support.”
Mr Kroon successfully obtained a grant from the Office of Environment and Heritage back in July of this year.
The grant was in the area of $90,000.
It was made possible following a series of seminars on July 3, 4 and 10 to discuss how to maintain and make changes to a heritage building or garden, where to find expert guidance, and potential sources of funding.
The seminar series looked to help anyone who owned or managed a heritage site with guidance to navigate all the aspects that come along with looking after an important historic item.
The opportunity for locals to get behind and learn of heritage buildings didn’t go as planned, as the turnout to those sessions didn’t meet expectations.
“Not many people showed up,” Mr Kroon said. “I was a bit disappointed with the turnout.”
But it was an opportunity that Mr Kroon embraced in an effort to ensure the longevity of the historic Empire Cinema complex.
He said that once reconstruction began, only local tradespeople were used throughout the renovation.
“We have done everything internally and externally,” Mr Kroon said.
“It should be 100 per cent.”
The closure of cinema one and two during the days of reconstruction hindered the theatre and the staff, but it didn't go unnoticed with Mr Kroon.
“They were a great support (Empire Cinema). Ensuring the safety of the workers and customers they closed down those cinemas and allowed the renovation to proceed smoothly,” Mr Kroon said.
Wingecarribee Shire Council took the opportunity to also get behind the project and make minor improvements to the adjacent public lane way. This included replacing the eaves and painting the metal work over the lane way.