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Renovations to Balmain's Historic Dawn Fraser Baths Are Finally Complete

Australia's oldest public pool will reopen once health orders permit.
By Samantha Teague and Ben Hansen
August 03, 2021
By Samantha Teague and Ben Hansen
August 03, 2021

Renovations to Australia's oldest pool are finally complete, with the Dawn Fraser Baths set to reopen to the public as soon as the NSW Government's public health orders allow. Constructed in the 1880s and renamed after local Olympian Dawn Fraser in the 60s, the baths were closed to the public for upgrades in 2019.

The $8 million heritage restoration sees the much-loved swimming hole receive a host of cosmetic improvements, as well as addressing the structural issues that were flagged by engineers and the inner west council back in 2018.

"I promised to save Dawn Fraser Baths and, while its been a long hard fight, together we have now secured the future of Australia's oldest and most beautiful harbourside pool for generations to come," Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne said. "I spent half my childhood there and it's where I learnt to swim, so I know just how special this place is and how vital Dawny's is to the social fabric of our community."

The restored pools were originally flagged to be completed by summer of last year, however a series of issues arose throughout the restoration process. The southern pavilion and boardwalk, for example, were found to have no structural foundations, forcing builders to construct new foundations eight to ten metres underwater. The southern pavilion, kiosk and amenities of the baths were all in need of restoration as well due to flooding worsened by rising sea levels.

While the baths remain closed due to Great Sydney's lockdown, the inner west council has plans to celebrate the reopening with an extended winter swimming season and two weeks of free admission once public health orders roll back to allow residents to visit. As part of the winter season, daily health and wellbeing classes will be run at the baths including yoga, pilates and tai chi.

You can read more about the restoration of the Dawn Fraser Baths here.

Published on August 03, 2021 by Samantha Teague


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