David Moore

We cannot lose the External and Internal architectural elements of the 95-year-old iconic Rex building in our main street.

It is internationally recognised that people involved in the conservation of heritage places should:

  • understand the place and its cultural significance, including its meaning to people, before making decisions about its future… Council to publish the 400 responses to the recent survey
  • involve the communities associated with the place
  • care for its cultural significance and other significant attributes
  • care for the place’s setting
  • provide an appropriate use…. Currently being considered or contested
  • provide security for the place
  • use available expertise…..we are struggling to do this
  • make records of the place and changes to it, and the reasons for these decisions… transparency
  • interpret and present the place in a way appropriate to its significance.

The Rex Cinema/Theatre Daylesford warrants inclusion in the Victorian Heritage Register for the following reasons:

Importance to the course, or pattern, of Victoria’s cultural history

  • The site was the Stubbs Commercial hotel and believed to be a former Cobb and Co staging post.
  • It reflects the development of cinema in Daylesford, Victoria’s premier Spa Centre resort, with the nearby Alpha Cinema Theatre, (c1915-1932, “the first Regional Cinema outside Melbourne”). Particularly during the 1929 depression when the gold miners descendants and tourists enjoyed cinema and in 2016 were still.
  • Cinema was one of the most popular forms of entertainment in the 20th century.

Possession of uncommon, rare or endangered aspects of Victoria’s cultural history

  • It’s a rare surviving purpose-built single screen cinema from 1929, particularly an example in a rural location;
  • It’s an example of the rare international ‘Spanish Mission’ style, particularly its ornament, associated with the Architects of the Melbourne ‘Forum’ and hundreds of 1930’s cinemas.
  • It was always uncommon, now it is the only ‘Spanish Mission’ one left and it is endangered.

Importance in demonstrating the principal characteristics of a class of cultural places or environments

  • It demonstrates the design qualities of the ‘Spanish mission Style’, to manage the viewers’ procession through the spaces, creating a sense of glamour and occasion, when going to the cinema. Eg. From the upper foyer, patrons would ascend another narrow stairwell, only to emerge into the ‘enormous’ auditorium of the dress circle with raked seating, and geometrically patterned ceiling panels. Moorish ornament on the faux windows, juliet balconies, side walls, balustrading, and the proscenium arch. The ground stalls floor being flat, suitable for multi uses; dinners and dances.
  • It’s a cultural demonstration of the progression from the ‘Atmospheric’ style to the later ‘Art Deco’ Style, being built around the world..
  • The exterior and the interior retain original fixtures and finishes that can be enhanced. eg a local still has a brass handrail from the demolished stair.
  • The value is embodied in the total original fabric of the building, much of it above the ground level remains, in spite of alterations.

It is inappropriate to exempt the Rex from planning permit controls.

David Moore is an architect and a Daylesford resident.