Former St Peter's Theatre Façade | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Former St Peter's Theatre Façade

Item details

Name of item: Former St Peter's Theatre Façade
Other name/s: St Peters Theatre, World Picture Palace
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Recreation and Entertainment
Category: Cinema
Primary address: 672 King Street, Erskineville, NSW 2042
Local govt. area: Sydney


Façade to King Street and side returns to the edge of the corbel only.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
672 King StreetErskinevilleSydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The façade has historic and aesthetic significance. It was built as part of the former St Peters Theatre, one of several former theatres in King Street all of which are from different periods of development and all differing in architectural style. It is a fine example of the Federation Romanesque style and demonstrates many of the key characteristics of the style. It was designed by prominent architect Emile Sodersten and is a dominant element at the southern end of King Street where the commercial buildings diminish at the railway line overpass.
Date significance updated: 20 Nov 07
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Designer/Maker: Architect Emile Sodersten
Physical description: The façade to King Street is symmetrical and four storeys in height constructed of rendered brickwork with a parapet screening the roof. It is divided into three bays with shopfronts at the ground floor which are not original, timber double hung windows with cornices and mouldings at first floor level and a Palladian style window and pediment supported by ionic columns in the centre bay extending over 2 storeys with rosette decorative mouldings at the third floor level. A heavy projecting cornice with dentil mouldings divides the facade horizontally above the third floor with a fourth storey with reduced height at roof level.

The building has been largely rebuilt behind the façade to King Street and its return to Concord Street..
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Date condition updated:20 Nov 07
Modifications and dates: Shopfronts added in 1955 (1739/55) Additions and alterations 1960. The interior has been substantially altered with little fabric remaining.
Further information: Only the three storey façade to King Street include the side returns to the corbel is to be remain as the rest of the building has been approved for redevelopment. Only this part of the building should be listed.

Heritage Inventory sheets are often not comprehensive, and should be regarded as a general guide only. Inventory sheets are based on information available, and often do not include the social history of sites and buildings. Inventory sheets are constantly updated by the City as further information becomes available. An inventory sheet with little information may simply indicate that there has been no building work done to the item recently: it does not mean that items are not significant. Further research is always recommended as part of preparation of development proposals for heritage items, and is necessary in preparation of Heritage Impact Assessments and Conservation Management Plans, so that the significance of heritage items can be fully assessed prior to submitting development applications.


Historical notes: The "Eora people" was the name given to the coastal Aborigines around Sydney. Central Sydney is therefore often referred to as "Eora Country". Within the City of Sydney local government area, the traditional owners are the Cadigal and Wangal bands of the Eora. .

With the invasion of the Sydney region, the Cadigal and Wangal people were decimated but there are descendants still living in Sydney today.

The King Street area was first surveyed for land grants in 1793 with the first grants being made to officers of the NSW Corps by Governor Phiillip prior to his return to England. By 1810 much of the land in the area had been distributed and a track established along the boundary of the grants. This track eventually became a road and was first known as Bulanaming Rd from 1789 to 1820 when it then became known as Cooks River Road, and then Newtown Rd in 1855 when the railway from Sydney to Parramatta was opened with a station at Newtown. By the 1850's the area had developed in to an established community. In the 1860's there was lobbying to establish a local council which occurred in 1862. From the 1870's the character began to change with light industry being established in the area resulting in a substantial increase in the population as workers moved to be in close proximity to their workplace. This included the nearby Eveleigh railway yards etsablished in 1879 and expanded in1885. The rapid increase in poulation resulted in the subdivision of the larger estates and the establishment of shops and services. By the 1880's Newtown had become the most flourishing retail area outside of the city and was well served by public transport. By 1910 The Victoria Palace and Clays Picture Theatres are in operation in King Street, and by 1913 the Coronation Picture Palace was constructed on this site. The St. Peters Theatre (Cinema) was constructed on the site, replacing the Coronation Picture Palace, in 1927, to the design of Architect Emile Sodersten. The building had two levels of seating and a total capacity of 1,707 seats. The cinema closed in 1960 and the building was subsequently used as a warehouse.

Development applications in 2002/2003 allowed the conversion of the building to residential apartments, with new development behind the façade. This was completed in 2007 with the façade to King Street and its return to Concord Street restored.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The façade was built as part of the former St Peters Theatre which has historic significance as one of a few former theatres that existed in King Street in the early 20th century.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The facade is a good example of the design work of Architect Emile Sodersten.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The facade is a good example of the the Federation Romanesque style applies to a theatre and demonstrates many of the key characteristics of the style.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The former theatre was a prominent social and recreational venue for the local community in the 1920s and 1930s.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The area is not identified in an archaeological zoning plan and the area has been well researched and it is unlikely that the site would reveal further information that would contribute to the significance of the area.
SHR Criteria g)
The building is a good example of a former theatre
Integrity/Intactness: The facade is reasonably intact.
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

The building should be retained and conserved. A Heritage Assessment and Conservation Management Plan should be prepared for the building prior to any major works being undertaken. There shall be no vertical additions to the building and no alterations to the facade of the building above awning level other than to reinstate original features. Any additions and alterations should be confined to the rear in areas of less significance and not be visibly prominent and be in accordance with the King St and Enmore Road Heritage and Urban Design DCP. The building should be retained and conserved. A Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement, or a Conservation Management Plan, should be prepared for the building prior to any major works being undertaken. There shall be no vertical additions to the building and no alterations to the façade of the building other than to reinstate original features. The principal room layout and planning configuration as well as significant internal original features including ceilings, cornices, joinery, flooring and fireplaces should be retained and conserved. Any additions and alterations should be confined to the rear in areas of less significance, should not be visibly prominent and shall be in accordance with the relevant planning controls.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney Local Environmental Plan 2012I61414 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Modern Movement Architecture in Central Sydney - Heritage Study Review2014 Tanner Kibble Denton Architects  Yes
Draft South Sydney LEP Amendment No.90    No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City
WrittenNoel Bell Ridley Smith & Partners Architects2002Heritage Impact Statement for proposed mixed use residential/commercial conversion: 672 King Street, Newtown
WrittenRoss Thorne Movie Theatre Heritage Register for New South Wales

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2420318

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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