Iconic Paragon cafe in NSW to be restored after six years

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The iconic Paragon café at Katoomba, New South Wales, is finally being restored six years since it closed its doors.

A restoration plan was decided on following a series of meetings and discussions with the council, Environment and Heritage NSW, and the building owner’s project manager.

President of the Friends of the Paragon, Robert Strange said he was delighted to see the restorations commence.

“The property has been inaccessible to the public for almost six years, much to the disappointment of locals and a great many visitors,” Mr Strange said.

“During the closure Friends of The Paragon have kept a watch on the property and reported risks observed.

“To the credit of the property agents, Theo Poulos Real Estate, responses have been quick, ensuring that damage has been limited. Fortunately, unlike other heritage properties in the mountains, the damage should be capable of remediation.”

Mr Strange added that he expects the Paragon café to re-open later this year.

“We look forward to The Paragon regaining its former position as a key destination for tourists and a delightful treat for local,” he said.

Paragon Cafe
People outside the closed cafe that’s being renovated. Photo: Jennie Curtin.

According to a Facebook post on the Greek Cafe and Milk Bars of Australia page, the Paragon was established in 1916 by Jack (Zacharias) Theodore Simos, who migrated from the Greek island of Kythera to Australia.

In 1975, the Paragon was listed by the National Trust in NSW and in 1977, it was placed on the Australian Heritage Commission’s Register of the National Estate.

Jack died in 1976, but Mary continued to manage the business for another 11 years. She passed away in 2001.

In 2003, the business and building were sold separately.

The Paragon Café officially closed in 2018 after failed negotiations between the building and business owners.

In 2020, the Blue Mountains council approved an application to restore the heritage-listed building. Due to very heavy rainfall over several years, the building was left with severe deterioration, and since then, it has reportedly been broken into, vandalised and graffitied.

Source: Blue Mountains Gazette.

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