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John Kelly is a true local - born, raised, educated and worked in the city of Hobart all his life.

Dedicated participation in both community and small business in such diverse fields as sporting clubs, Army Reserve, committees and boards, surf lifesaving, charities, construction, to name a few, gave John the all round skills to acquire and turn around the much loved but neglected State Cinema in 2002.

For the next 20 years through sheer hard work, risk taking and wading through bureaucracy, John transformed the one screen heritage building into a multi award winning, 12 screen complex complete with bookstore, cafe and bar. Patronage increased from 30,000 admissions a year to in excess of 250,000 and this success of the State Cinema delivered to Hobart a major cultural, community and financial boost.

John was also President and inspiration for the landmark “Footsteps Towards Freedom” sculptures project honouring the female convicts arrival on Hobart’s waterfront. This culminated in the unveiling by the President of Ireland, Michael Higgins and Governor of Tasmania Kate Warner, which gained international attention. 


John has received many awards including Hobart’s Citizen of the Year in 2016 and the National Independent Cinema of the Year.

As Vice President of the North Hobart Retailers Association, the Hobart Heritage Tram Association and providing mentoring for small business, John continues to work actively in the community and local business.

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bike and bridge
bike and mountain
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