ALTHOUGH 2018 will see the end of Cobweb Craft Shop’s long occupancy of the Malachi Gilmore Hall, it will also see the restoration and regeneration of the beloved community landmark begin in earnest, led by members of one of Oberon’s oldest families.
The vision for the renovated hall is for it to be a vibrant and versatile cultural space for the Oberon community – being able to be used as a movie theatre or performing arts venue, in line with its historic cultural use in Oberon, as well as a space for art exhibitions and a hireable facility for the community.
This regeneration will take inspiration from the original role of the Malachi drawn up by the residents of Oberon in 1937 – somewhere that local art, culture, and community can be displayed, celebrated, and developed.
This vision is the brainchild of new owner Lucy East (neé Cunynghame), for whom both Oberon and the Malachi itself have family connections. Cunynghames have been living in Oberon since 1841, and the original projectionist of the hall was Les Antiss, husband of her great aunt, Grace Cunynghame.
Ms East said the opportunity to be part of the ongoing story of this wonderful building was impossible to pass over.
“The project has all the right ingredients to bridge the passage of time and to set its course for another 80 years,” she said.
The plan for the restoration aims for the Malachi to hold its first public event, The Malachi Revival, later this year, which will be a weekend of events set to capture the stories and memories of Oberon’s remarkable art deco jewel.
THE Malachi Gilmore Hall is an art deco building that was designed by Italian architect Virgil Cizzio and was opened in 1937. It was known as the Magna Theatre. A striking feature of the hall is the use of glass bricks.
It was built on land donated to the Catholic Church in memory of Malachi Gilmore, who had come to Oberon in 1872 and owned land in the Oberon area. It was originally built as a dance hall cinema, seating 310 people, but has also been a cabaret venue and a skating rink.