Unique

  • First Melbourne cinema to be constructed with a parabolic floor and pioneered the 'Continental' form of seating
  • Opened by Cr. Free, Mayor of Footscray who expressed pleasure at being mayor when such a beautiful edifice was to be opened in Yarraville and thanked the Yeomans for giving Yarraville citizens such a building in which to enjoy themselves
  • Described at the time as being 'Ultra Modern' and currently revered as one of Melbourne's finest Art Deco examples
  • Noted in the Footscray Conservation Study as follows:
    • In Yarraville only the contemporary Railway Hotel offered similar Moderne lines while in Footscray only a Nicholson St Jeweler's shop and in Williamstown, a block of flats, we able to compete. The Sun remains among the few Moderne styled commercial or civic buildings in the western suburbs.
  • Its Art Deco peers are considered to be:
    • The Circle in Preston The Broadway in Camberwell
    • The Padua in Brunswick The Regal In Hartwell
    • The Time in Balwyn The Park in Albert Park......... all of which have been demolished.
    • The Rivoli in Camberwell which has undergone a substantial fabulous renovation and expansion to 8 cinemas.


Preservation

  • Single screen cinemas have closed their doors having lost their viability for a number of reasons:
    • New cinema multiplexes built within large shopping centres and in close proximity
    • New film distribution standards requiring minimum 4 to 6 week dedicated screening periods for movies
    • Ever increasing maintenance and renewal costs
  • Successful preservation of both Building and Cinema function are few and far between:
    • The Rivoli lavish restoration of the existing auditorium and expansion to 8 cinemas
    • Hayden Orpheum (Sydney) majestic original auditorium maintained in perfect condition and expansion to 6 cinemas
    • Regent Ballarat modest restoration of the existing Auditorium and expansion to 8 cinemas
    • Geelong retention of a portion of the existing auditorium and expansion to 10 cinemas
    • Sorrento renovation of existing auditorium and expansion to 3 cinemas
    • Warnambool splitting of existing auditorium, no architectural preservation, into 2 cinemas
    • Albury restoration/renovation of existing auditorium and expansion to 6 cinemas
    • The Astor modest refurbishment of single screen showing re-runs to avoid new film distribution
    • The Westgarth recently renovated and expanded to 3 cinemas
    • Palace Balwyn modest renovation of a portion of the existing auditorium and expansion to 6 cinemas
    • The Capitol now owned by RMIT and with Government funding will undergo substantial restoration
    • The Forum many owners, many uses, currently a venue for hire and screens for the film festival only
  • Sad Losses:
    • The Carlton Moviehouse a travel agency!
    • The Grand Footscray apartments!
    • The Metro Bourke St a nightclub!
    • The Metro Malvern shops!
    • The Progress Coburg derelict
  • Much of the Sun Theatre's unique interior suffered decay beyond repair during the 13 year period of it's abandonment:
    • The decorative ceiling had collapsed onto a tangled mess of wrought iron chairs
    • White ants had invaded all timber construction and floor boards, gaping holes in the roof, graffiti, rot and destruction
    • Vagrancy and pilfering stripped the building of ornate doors, skirting and decorative features
    • Walls were collapsing, cracks opening and the sub-floor furnace room was completely submerged
    • The building was an ashen shell having experienced several fires (believed to be deliberately lit)
  • Saved:
    • The exterior, including the Sun neon sign which has become an iconic landmark in Yarraville
    • The entry doors, foyer terrazzo and portions of the pressed metal roof, the ticket box and unique poster boxes
    • The auditorium side wall ornate hard plaster work, proscenium and cornice, foyer ornate hard plaster