Council seeks State and Federal contributions to fund Dawn Fraser Pool


Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Inner West Councillors have unanimously passed a motion to adopt the new master plan for Dawn Fraser Baths and will ask the State and Federal Governments for urgent funding for a heritage restoration of the pool.

The request for funding follows recent multimillion-dollar election commitments from the Federal and State Oppositions to save the historic baths.

The master plan shows that if at least $6.7 million in priority works are not undertaken immediately the pool is likely to become unsafe for public and sporting use in the near future.

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne, who moved the motion, said Council will now push for bipartisan support from the NSW and Australian Governments to match the funding commitments pledged by the State and Federal Oppositions.

“Last month, 700 people came to a community rally in Balmain to save Dawn Fraser Pool. At that meeting, local federal member Anthony Albanese committed $2 million to save Dawny, while Elly Howse, the candidate for the seat of Balmain, pledged $1 million if NSW Labor wins the next State election.

“We are now calling on the State and Federal to back these commitments and deliver the funding that is required to save this heritage landmark,” he said.

“As Mayor Leichhardt and now as Mayor the Inner West I worked hard to find the savings and delivered $4.5 million in funding to complete the $6.7 million refurbishment.

“Without this funding, there’s now a very real danger Dawn Fraser Pool won’t be able to operate safely in the near future,” he said.

Mayor Byrne said that given the pool’s unique heritage significance to NSW, the State Government should shoulder some of financial responsibility to save Australia’s oldest baths.

“We need to remember the considerable amount of heritage and history that Dawn Fraser pool represents and not throw it away.

“The State Government has an obligation to help Council save this landmark. If they matched the funds pledged by the Opposition, it would go a long way to helping restore a much-loved public pool that has brought a lot of joy to locals and visitors for nearly 140 years,” said Mayor Byrne.

The final designs for the Dawn Fraser will now be worked on and reported back to Council.

This report will also include the final cost for the restoration, as well as the impacts of any funding reallocation to Dawn Fraser Pool on Annette Kellerman Aquatic Centre, Leichhardt and Ashfield Pools, and Fanny Durack Aquatic Centre.

For further information, please contact John Roper on 0435 963 787 or

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Page last updated: 07 Nov 2018