The NSW Government’s Office of Environment & Heritage have a comprehensive report on the heritage significance of the Athenium Theatre.
The page provides reams of information about the Theatre’s history, physical descriptions and the criteria used for the Assessment of Significance.
The Offices’ Statement of Significance reads;
Due to its now rarity, as a building-type, the Athenium Theatre symbolises, for the State, an association with past events, persons and groups who contributed or participated in an important and cultural phenomenon of the 20th century, namely ‘movie going’.
Due to its rarity it symbolises the use of a cinema building as the social centre of a town with its being surrogate town hall. This and the role of the community (JADDA) organisation from 1976/7 accord the building the status of social significance for the State.
The building is highly representative as a good example of the design-work of theatre architects, Kaberry and Chard it being one of only three remaining relatively intact out of a large body of work across the State.
The building has as association with Greek immigrant business and benefactor, Sir Nicholas Laurantus, and through its rarity, symbolises his interests in cinema operation in the Riverina region.
It also is one of the few remaining buildings in NSW that has a direct connection with Gladys Moncrief OBE, and the country touring that she and lesser Australian stage artists did in the 1920s, 30s, and 40s.
Of the 116 movie theatres operated by Greek immigrants in NSW, this one unusually possesses added decoration (presumably by George Laurantus, brother of Nicholas) in the form of a trellis and vine leaf motif. It provides a ‘Greek overlay’ to portion of the auditorium. This exhibits significance in aesthetic terms in relation to the importance of the Greek contribution to developing cinema operation in NSW