Regent Theatre

197 Keira Street,
Wollongong, NSW 2500

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darrenparlett on November 1, 2013 at 4:24 am

One of the best cinemas in the Wollongong area! My first film seen there was MY PRIVATE IDAHO and last was DARKNESS FALLS. Attended a fun screening of ALIENS during a Halloween movie marathon in ‘92. Seen the TITANIC, FARGO, INDEPENDENCE DAY & SPEED there. The last film screened was THE MASTER & COMMANDER according to the local paper the film received at standing ovation when the final credits rolled since they knew it was the last time a film was going to screened there. My sister and I went past it on a Friday nite and the interior looked the same but messy cuz it was a church youth night nite…please someone buy this place and restore it back to its former glory!

johngleeson on July 23, 2013 at 12:47 am

Regent interior photos are from the collection of the Wollongong City Library and Illawarra Historical Society. Thank you Lisa!

Michaelstor on May 8, 2013 at 4:14 pm

I don’t know what was going on in 2010 but the Gateway City Church is still occupying the Regent for services and has just signed a deal with the Wollongong Conservatorium to put on regular shows – Jimmy Morrison first up.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on March 16, 2010 at 4:05 am

The Regent Theatre is up for sale again as of Monday March 15 2010. It is currently used as a church.

brendo80 on March 24, 2008 at 3:02 am

I visited Wollongong at the start of 2007 and had tried to leave a comment here, but maybe I had not gone through the correct procedure, anyway, I used to live around the corner from the theater on Smith street one block away from Keira street, and I have to say my earliest memories as a child growing up were of this theater and seeing films at that point in time, when most of the buildings around it looked similar to the theater itself and at the time crown street was a road for cars and not the paved over mall it is today, I very upset to see this theater gone as it was a rich cornerstone of my imagination growing up and I still have fond memories of it to this day..

PAULB on June 14, 2005 at 3:52 pm

The Regent Theatre is currently a Pentecostal Christian Church. I am not sure if they bought the site as it was for sale in late 2004. However, The Sydney Morning Herald dated Sat June 11th 2005 ran a freature article on Marion Best the interior designer whose colour scheme, lighting fixtures and rich decor is now recognised as the only cinema in Australia with its original work of hers all completely intact. A pic of the front revealed the movie times sign now reading: Church Services here now. The mega mall shopping complex next door had its expansion plans erased….
Re: Mr Edwards comment above that the interior is rather bland and could be cut up: tiresome negative and ill informed comments like that only de value this glorious theatre, which only helps heritage vandals get cinemas like this demolished at some stage. Really the Regent should still be screening films but at least as a church, it is intact and not tripled or demolished.

jefferywalker on May 31, 2005 at 5:21 pm

Has anyone heard what is going to happen to this theatre

GraemeEdwards on October 29, 2004 at 5:34 pm

This property is advertised for sale in the SMH today. Tenders close 30 November 2004. Details: .au[/email] or call Australia 0411 723 470. Obviously, LEND LEASE the company that owns the property (and adjacent mall) are worried about a possible Heritage Order. Exterior. entrance & foyers are the greatest attributes – the huge auditorium could be subdivided into multiple screens as is rather bland.

Lida on February 2, 2004 at 5:17 pm

not once in my life have i ever felt compelled to do something, but hearing of the closure of the regent theatre and walking passed it’s currently depressing state has made me, as a local, quite disturbed. For those of you who wish to follow me in taking action, please write letters to the wollongong city council urging them to protect such a valuable building. The more pressure from the local community the better. For further information you can contact me at .au Nicole.

PAULB on January 31, 2004 at 11:09 pm

The REGENT is NOT art deco – How could it be?. It was built in 1956 and is designed to look like an undersea kingdom with sea green and various underwater looking colours and features. The upper foyer recently described as art deco as well is equally mislabelled by persons who just don’t know what they are describing. The upper foyer is Japanese, for Gods sake! 1956 and Japanese.
It may continue as a performing arts centre if it is not sabotaged by the shopping centre next door.
It’s closure is a very worrying event. The sad passing of the beloved Rowena Millgrove is as stated above, Wollongong’s most recent major loss.

Gregg on January 31, 2004 at 8:05 am

Final curtain call for Regent Theatre
January 30, 2004

THE Regent Theatre will take its final curtain call tomorrow night after decades of holding centre stage as one of Wollongong’s cultural icons.

The historic theatre will screen its final session tomorrow night and then close its doors forever to movie-loving audiences.

The sudden end of an era will trigger a range of emotions from many people who have frequented the Art Deco building since its opening in 1959.

Speculation about the future of the city centre’s last grand picture palace has been mounting since the death last month of its owner Rowena Milgrove.

Yesterday Mrs Milgrove’s close friends would not comment on the theatre’s closing.

It is understood Mrs Milgrove, shortly before her death, had asked friends to refrain from speaking publicly about the decision until the theatre’s doors had closed.

Staff and friends intend to erect signs announcing the closure at the theatre tomorrow, but there will be no grand gestures or fanfare.

Mrs Milgrove did not want controversy, protests or placards marring the end of her family’s dream.

Cunningham MP Michael Organ yesterday called for the preservation of the theatre.
Mr Organ said he wouldn’t be surprised if theatre regulars staged some form of wake tomorrow night, as news of the closure reached more people.

Community concerns about the Regent surfaced two years ago when Lend Lease proposed a redevelopment of the Wollongong Central and Gateway shopping centres.

“When Lend Lease first promoted the idea of demolishing the Regent Theatre for a supermarket and car park two years ago there was widespread community outrage that one of the Illawarra’s most significant heritage buildings should be so threatened,” Mr Organ said.

“A subsequent campaign by the Friends of the Regent Theatre group and the NSW National Trust ensured that the building was appropriately listed with Wollongong City Council, the NSW Heritage Office and the National Trust as an item of regional and national heritage significance.”

Mr Organ has called on future plans for the Regent to be divulged.

“The owners and developers must take on board the heritage values of the building, recognise its significance, and involve the community in meaningful discussions as to its future usage,” he said.

“The Regent Theatre must be preserved.

“It has a unique role to play in serving the entertainment needs of the Illawarra in years to come.”

PAULB on January 16, 2004 at 2:23 am


PAULB on January 16, 2004 at 1:49 am

One of the truly momentus occasions in the Regent’s glamorous history has happened this week. The owner, the fabulous and truly loved Rowena Millgrove has passed away. She died peacefully in her sleep in the early hours of Sunday Jan 11th and was celebrated at a cathedral service and Regent wake on Thursday Jan 15……..all in a style befitting Wollongong’s favourite ‘Aunty Mame’. Consumer drones like Angelique listed here might moan at The Regent not suiting mall tastes, but if any person bothered to visit The Regent in the past few years and say hello to the glorious Rowena (pronounced RONA) they would find one of the truly great women of any age thre, happy and shining, greeting the crowd and showcasing her beloved Regent. In recent times, do-gooders and enthusiastic amateurs have descended on Rowena’s life like ego-centric bullies insisting on ‘having/saving’ The Regent, but true to her perfect style, Rowena avoided them all and continued on presenting first run films in her 1630 seat mermaids palace: the underwater fantasy that The Regent is…(if consumer drones bother to look and think). I went to the funeral, didn’t meet Angelyque (gee, funny about that), and celebrated the unique and special life of Rowena. I spiritually kissed her goodbye from the upstairs balcony, as I just sat and cried for the passing of someone I truly loved for 30 years. I am heartbroken to know I can never call her again and say hello and see her hilarious charming enthusiasm – and thrill to see ME (!) that always made just going there to see her an unwavering excitement. A delicious stylish honest and real woman, gone from The Regent and gone fron the lives of those like me who thought she was the bestest funniest and most lovely ‘aunt’ they could ever want to have in their lives. Angelyque should only know, but then again people like her just never ever know anything about anything, do they………….
A beautiful bird flew out of our lives last Thursday and I am sadder for it.
The Regent’s future will be decided in February. No doubt Angelyque will be happy the place can be fixed up and placed in better hands for her to bulldoze into and grab a Coke. If it survives. I think Rowena has already planned a suprise for all of us.

PAULB on January 3, 2004 at 3:05 am

The thoughtless and insulting comments above by “angelic” above are exactly what assists advocates of The Regent’s demolishion when the hard working elderly owner sadly passes on. The Regent is a superb and thankfully intact example of a massive 1950s glamour cinema purpose built and lovingly maintained by a truly stylish and much loved woman who could have closed it and sold it years ago. Instead she remains to this day a cherished city identity (why not say Hello to her next time?) who spends all the cinema’s imcome on seeing The Regent cleaned and in perfectly practical use. Instead of complaining about petty wear and tear, if you love it so much, why not offer to help – and show some respect. PAUL BRENNAN .au

KarenC on November 25, 2003 at 3:13 am

The “current” owner of the Regent is the now elderly daughter of the founding couple who were innovative cinema managers in the Wollongong area from 1930. The Theatre – which is probably operating at a loss – may need maintenance work, but this historic legacy should be respected.

angyelic on November 14, 2003 at 9:33 pm

I live in Wollongong and have been to the Regent theatre to see movies many a time. It is a wonderful theatre, but it certainly needs some work. The foyer is dank, dark, gloomy and smelly. The ticket booth was closed and replaced with a hole in the wall. The candy bar had its atmosphere removed and was replaced with a carnival style snack shop. Half the seats are unable to be sat upon, with the remaining slipping and sliding all over the place. The paint is actively peeling off all surfaces. As much as I love this old theatre, somebody has to get their hands on this old treasure and restore it to its original condition and beauty, and rescue it from its current owners who have left it in a trashy condition.