The Dungog Cinema is the oldest still operating purpose-built cinema in Australia.
Originally the site was used for an open-air theatre which opened in 1913. Under the control of James Stuart (hence the name James Theatre) by 1914 it had been roofed and in 1930 it underwent extensive reconstruction and was equipped for talkies. Seating was for 650, although the front section was flat and seating was not fixed, allowing for dances. A large stage, dressing rooms and supper room were also provided. It is believed the Spanish-style facade was added to the building in this rebuild.
In the 1980s the local council acquired the building as a community centre and the cinema operation continued under Ken Reeve until his retirement in 2007.
Architecturally it is historic for being one of only four Spanish Mission cinema facades in NSW. The James Theatre is home to the famous Dungog Film Festival.